This is the hub page for my side project “Subtly Subjective” where I discuss how certain video games have affected me subjectively from the perspective of an autistic person. Video games are one of my special interests and video games aren’t something that is often talked about in a positive light especially from an autistic perspective.
The common stereotype around autistic people is that they spend all day every day playing computer games and doing very little else including not working. A lot of parents of autistic children (as well as autistic parents, though it’s mainly the former) worry about how much time their autistic child spends on video games and thus a frequent battle occurs in families with autistic kids is how to regulate time spent in front of screen-based entertainment or even ban it altogether. Thus families often begin to see video games in a negative light on top of the various other stigmas that come with both areas. This extends into adulthood especially if the autistic person isn’t in education or employment.
I won’t go into the specifics here, other than to say that the issues with both subjects are more complex than simply autism or video games. I hope to give some deep insightful discussion about games, broadly arguing that there are games out there that are beneficial (as well as offer a subjective view on it). Video games are a common interest for autistic people (in both stereotypes and reality) hence it is worth discussing in detail. I personally prefer to see them as “passions” as they are in part what drive me. Just like autism, my special interests are a part of me.
What kinds of games will I cover?
To get a feel for my tastes in games and thus what I intend to talk about my genres of choice are Japanese RPGs, platformers, rhythm games and visual novels (yes, I consider VNs games). There won’t be much, if at all, discussion of mainstream games (at least new ones anyway) simply because I haven’t played many and they do not interest me. Some of the games I cover will likely be titles most people haven’t heard of. It’s worth noting that, like autism, tastes of video games between people are across a spectrum and vary widely.
How do I decide what games to cover?
The criteria is simple – the game has to resonate with me in some way whether it’s philosophical, through it’s design or something else. It doesn’t have to be game of the year material. However the game does have to be interesting. If it gels with my perception of the world thanks to my disabilities or my tastes/life experiences even better. There may be spoilers and potentially triggering content however these will be clearly marked.
Are they reviews?
These aren’t reviews, they are subjective commentaries about my experiences. After all, video games are made to be experienced and everyone’s interpretations of a product are different. If you’re neurodiverse, well that changes the stakes significantly. Since I’ve started to blog about autism, I’ve found myself becoming more aware of how being autistic affects how I consume my products (as well as how inaccessible some games are for disabled people in general) and I’d like to explore this a bit more.
I hope you enjoy this column which will (hopefully!) become a regular thing on my blog. Below is the complete list where you can find links to all the games I cover.
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#01: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS, 2010)