I’ve Burnt My Hand

Posted on 1st Apr 2010 at 11:09 by Joe Martin with 30 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I’m an idiot. Right now I’ve even got a constant reminder of the fact in the form of a bandage covering the middle two fingers and palm of my left hand.

Important life lesson: When trying to impress your girlfriend by making jerk chicken and homemade cornbread it’s important not to pick up the griddle pan that’s been in the oven for the last 20 minutes unless you're wearing oven gloves..

Fortunately, my hand is now pretty much OK and the burns, while painful and annoying, were only superficial. No lasting damage. On the downside, the exorbitant amount of bandaging and the blisters beneath have had an impact on my gaming life.

I’ve Burnt My Hand
Jerked Chicken - hot stuff!

Playing action games at the moment is pretty much out of the question, as pressing W and S is pretty much impossible. I can hit A and D, but that’s useless unless I limit myself to playing Crab Simulator 2010. I’m fortunate to be in the position of playing games that can be done with just the mouse at the moment; tottering through Settlers 7 at work and The Witcher at home, both of which can be handled with just the right hand.

Still, the situation has got me thinking about how few games are designed for people with disabilities and so on, from the major to the minor. I’m reminded of Valve’s research into building games for deaf players and Dan Griliopoulos’ problems as a colour-blind gamer, not to mention the occasional sighting of controllers built for amputees. I’ve only scalded my hand and I’m nowhere near having comparable issues obviously, but there’s a certain sympathy borne out of it.

I’ve Burnt My Hand
I see...a monkey!

It’s a shame that there isn’t more support for gamers with disabilities or medical conditions and so on. It’s obviously not feasible (nor really desirable) to have first person shooters designed for play with just one hand, but when it comes to some of the wider issues of proper closed captioning and colour palettes there’s much less of an excuse.

Can you think of any games which offer great support for these situations? Let me know in the comments below.


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Lethal Jelly 1st April 2010, 11:23 Quote
I remember when I slammed my hand on a hotplate and had horrible burns. Had to have it inside a plastic bag for the first few days. First thing I did when I got home? Tried and succeeded in playing Day of Defeat: Source through the bag.

Such an addict.
StoneyMahoney 1st April 2010, 11:34 Quote
I had a fairly bad cut on my right hand along the knuckles and needed some stitches for it. Some of my Guitar Hero scores from my time off work then are still on my local score tables.
licenced 1st April 2010, 11:39 Quote
There were a few months after my son was born where he would only go to sleep while being carried. I learnt quickly that I could play games to pass the time, but needed games that could be played with just one hand while I supported him with the other. I found old games to be best at this - things like Fallout where you could easily play with just the mouse.
CardJoe 1st April 2010, 11:43 Quote
Ironically, since writing this blogpost my bandages have been taken off and my hand is back to normal!
Krikkit 1st April 2010, 11:43 Quote
Was it worth the burn for awesome jerked chicken? :D
Hugo 1st April 2010, 11:44 Quote
It's a schooner!
CardJoe 1st April 2010, 11:49 Quote
The food WAS delicious, yes.

I've even bought some leftover cornbread in with me today...
wuyanxu 1st April 2010, 11:59 Quote
first thought: Fermi?

ovens are dangerous, especially those electric oven with hot resistors on top, i burnt my thumb on that once.
WildThing 1st April 2010, 13:26 Quote
On the downside, the exorbitant amount of bandaging and the blisters beneath have had an impact on my gaming life.

I bet it's had an impact on your jerking aswell.

/I'll get my coat...
Blademrk 1st April 2010, 13:32 Quote
one handed games.... Monkey Island?
aoakley 1st April 2010, 13:47 Quote
Around one in ten British males are red-green colour blind, and I'm one of them. We outnumber wheelchair users by around ten to one. Whilst I see everything from buses to buildings designed for ease of wheelchair use, it's extremely rare to see anything designed for ease of colour-blind use. Car park meters which say "Insert coins and press the green button" are probably my biggest annoyance (I get my change refunded and no ticket about 50% of the time- and that's a major pain when I've spent two minutes trying to remember, let alone type in, my wife's car's registration number), closely followed by my Top Up TV schedule planner which has different on-screen instructions for different coloured remote control buttons depending on which sub-page I'm on (I have to learn it off by heart - second button from the left to confirm deletion).

In games, for the big names, colour blind players can be treated pretty well; Team Fortress 2 has teams of Red and Blu, easy to distinguish. Sometimes the design is good but the instructions are bad; instructions for Far Cry 2's diamond-hunting GPS says to watch the green flashing light- I've no idea which one is the green light, and even though I can only see one flashing light, for all I know that might be a red flashing light and I worry that there's another, green, light I can't see. Thankfully there are usually other cues such as sound or symbols.

Then there's the nigh-on impossible games. Torchlight, step forward. Whilst I can play this and have fun, apparently to really advance I need to look for items of a specific colour. Well, I can't. I'm getting enough enjoyment out of Torchlight to justify it's recent £3.75 special offer on Steam, but if I'd have paid full price, even at only fifteen quid, I'd be demanding my money back.

Thank God for discounts and try-before-you-buy demos.

You'll have noticed I've only talked about action/shooter games. To be quite honest I've given up on RTSes. I last played one about seven years ago and it was the usual mess of gazillions of tiny little coloured men/symbols/flags, none of which I could distinguish with any accuracy. I recall one medieval RTS where I not only couldn't distinguish the two opposing sides, but I couldn't even tell the soldiers from the trees. I can't imagine that this has got any better now that every blade of grass is rendered too.

Half Life and Quake wall switches that flip between red and green can sod right off, too.

Now I could understand this failure to accommodate disability if we accounted for a teeny tiny percentage of the developer's customer base, like, say, registered blind or amputees. But one in ten blokes? Having two daughters, I'd love to believe that this is a sign that games companies are targeting the female demographic (girls generally can't be colour blind, the genetic defect is almost entirely male and almost entirely white). But really, it's just a sign that the companies don't care. I mean, how much money do they save by designing a texture that is red/green instead of red/blue? Are blue pixels expensive?

It's not just the PC. I've also got a Wii. I have no idea whether I'm playing Mario or Luigi. Rubik's World is a bit hit-and-miss too.

Hey corporates, it's this simple. I have a nice enough job that I have to pay 40% tax. Cater for me and you'll get my money. Don't and you won't. You want to discriminate against ten percent of white males? Probably best not tell your shareholders about that.
Silver51 1st April 2010, 13:53 Quote
Grab a bottle of Water-Jel gel for your home first aid kit. I think Boots probably stock it; but if you're cooking, fixing exhaust pipes, juggling fire, it should be close at hand.
kenco_uk 1st April 2010, 14:04 Quote
Something witty about crabs. Probably toilet humour.
Hex 1st April 2010, 14:19 Quote
Originally Posted by aoakley
(girls generally can't be colour blind, the genetic defect is almost entirely male and almost entirely white).
It's true that it's rarer for females to be colour blind, but it does happen. The colour blind gene will now be carried by your daughters as it goes from father to daughter to son and so on.

My Dad is red/green colour blind, so I carry the gene. Not sure if it's the same with your girls as it is with me, but I can see what you're meant to see and also what a red/green colour-blind person would see when they use the Ishihara colour tests. It confused the hell out of the opticians when I was a child. They'd ask what number I could see and if it was one of the ones with two numbers (one for colour blinds one for normal vision) I'd always ask which number they wanted as I could see two. Your daughters also have a higher chance of being tetrachromats too. Which I really want to be tested for as the basic tests I've done so far show that I am. I am also bitchin' at colour matching. Oh and red/green colour blindness does have a bonus, you guys can spot camouflage soooo well ;)

Anyhoo... back to the games for people with disabilities thing, I am really hating this new trend for 3D. I only have vision out of one of my (awesome) eyes, so 3D glasses just mess everything up for me. It's almost as bad as when those Magic Eye pictures were the in-thing. If you don't have stereoscopic vision, forget it. Almost forgot, being a cyclops means that games with dodgy fov can really mess with me too and give me motion sickness quite quickly. I couldn't play HL2 at all as it made me soooo ill. Changing the fov and refresh rate helped, but I think it was too late and I associated HL2 with being sick :/
Unknownsock 1st April 2010, 14:22 Quote
Originally Posted by Hex
I’m fortunate to be in the position of playing games that can be done with just the mouse at the moment; tottering through Settlers 7 at work
Fizzban 1st April 2010, 15:48 Quote
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
Something witty about crabs. Probably toilet humour.

Crab battle!
Skiddywinks 1st April 2010, 18:19 Quote
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
first thought: Fermi?

*puts hand up*

mjm25 1st April 2010, 18:47 Quote
Novint Falcon anyone... You guys reviewed it, Valve like it and now it has a nifty pistol grip add-on!
Pete J 1st April 2010, 20:57 Quote
Originally Posted by aoakley
Colourblindess info
I too am red/green colourblind but not to the same extent; I can still see red and green but if there is a lot of one colour in my view I wouldn't be able to see the other. For example, I wouldn't be able to spot a cricket ball in a field.

Luckily this doesn't tend to have too much effect on my gaming but I find it can be quite difficult to tell light green and yellow apart. I make do :(
bigsharn 2nd April 2010, 00:32 Quote
I can think of a few games

I mean, anything for the Wii that doesn't require the nunchuck works... as do light guns for things like Time Crisis.

I know that Bust-A-Move for the Playstation had shapes within the bubbles, so those with colourblindness could still tell the difference between the blue balls and the red ones.
vampalan 2nd April 2010, 09:36 Quote
Reference to the movie "Mall Rats" in the sight test?
phuzz 2nd April 2010, 10:33 Quote
When I read the first line about you burning your hand, my first thought was "modding injury!".
The scar from the chunk of skin I managed to leave behind on a sharp drive bay on my new case is just fading. When I used to build computers for a living I constantly had at least one cut healing somewhere on my hands...

Walk into an A&E department in chef whites though and they'll just ask "cut or burn?"
GravitySmacked 2nd April 2010, 11:16 Quote
it’s important not to pick up the griddle pan that’s been in the oven for the last 20 minutes unless you're wearing oven gloves..

Ha I did the exact thing the first time I made Jerk Chicken!! Tasted great but I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I should have with all the pain.
KayinBlack 2nd April 2010, 13:57 Quote
I only have seven fingers that work reliably, the other three pick and choose what they wanna do. My two last fingers on my left hand and my right ring finger are somewhat useless. Lemme tell you, there are some games I completely gave up on. I'm writing my own to work with a gamepad, simply because I still have (some) use of my thumbs.

I know I'm a smaller demographic, but TBH, after playing the EXCELLENT Arkham Asylum, I'm left wondering why so many games are unnecessarily complicated. I was able to play it just fine, and beat the snot out of it. Sure, there's The Witcher and Torchlight and such, but MMOs? Problematic. Guild Wars finally made a decent enough controlset that i am STILL playing.

Come on guys... We do exist. I won't quit gaming until my condition completely claims my hands, and maybe not even then.
PingCrosby 2nd April 2010, 17:38 Quote
I've got a hole in my sock.
ZERO <ibis> 4th April 2010, 01:08 Quote
I hurt my middle finger one day and could not use it and so I just moved all my fingers over one and replaced my index finger with my thumb. This was slightly easier b/c I use the arrow keys and not wasd.
B3CK 4th April 2010, 07:26 Quote

I would think that the little add-on mini keyboard type accessories with the customizable buttons would be great for people with a few disabled fingers, but a completely disabled hand would make them useless. As I have been fortunate enough to still have full use of both hands however, it is just a guess and nothing more.

How about a review of one of those customizable mini-keyboard accessories while the fingers are still tender to get an opinion for those with slightly disabled hands?
paisa666 6th April 2010, 14:56 Quote
Come on. the real question here is

How long did you take to wrie this article :D... i see to many S's and W's

Jenny_Y8S 16th April 2010, 23:25 Quote
Have you checked out Ben Heck's single handed controllers?
bagman 17th April 2010, 00:31 Quote
Originally Posted by Blademrk
one handed games.... Monkey Island?

erm diablo II possibly:D
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