A first person game/simulation meant to let the player experience the world like a child with autism, presenting with severe auditory hypersensitivity.
The player is placed in a sunny playground with other kids, normally an idyllic scene. The game doesn’t really have much in the range of gameplay except the ability to walk around and find a way to deal with the limited world of a strange playground full of screaming kids that all seem to look alike. Trying to get close only to find just how hard to handle that is. This game is definitely an interesting experience.
- Release date:
- February 26, 2013
How to play Auti-sim
The visual element in this game is less about playability more about experience. The player can always navigate around the game world as there is no real way to ‘die’ and the sounds can give the player a fair idea of where they are (though there are no sounds for bumping into things the player could still hear because of their surroundings that they haven’t moved). The colours are brightened which helps with some visual problems but the focus of the image and the way it reacts when the player gets close to other ‘children’ might make it harder to see clearly. All these elements are there for the simulation of autism. Visual disabilities will make this simulation weaker but won’t make it completely useless.
One of the few serious games that really needs its audio. The audio of this game is at least equally as important as the visual elements and it completes the experience a lot. Unfortunately there is no real way (in the game or otherwise) to replace this auditory element. Someone with a partial disability should still be able to get a lot out of the experience but with a heavy one or full deafness playing this game will do little for the player. Walking around in the game world is perfectly possible but a lot of the experience the gamer is meant to gain from it is lost and thus the game would be almost nothing else than ‘walking around’. The view of the game world as seen through the eyes of a child with autism would still be interesting but the audio element is what makes it complete and brings with it most of the senses of distress. In conclusion; a hearing disability takes almost too much away from the experience of this game to be worth it.
This game contains the usual difficulties that apply if the player has to use both a keyboard and a mouse. Still, this game really has no way for the player to go ‘game over’. The keyboard and mouse don’t need to be used with any kind of skill and everything can be done in the player’s own time. As long as the player manages to move about somewhat with his/her controls, it doesn’t matter if it’s shaky, the full effect of the game can still be achieved.
This game is not necessarily hard to play for people with cognitive disabilities since it simply asks of the player to walk around and experience the game world. A problem will emerge when a player has more than a slight cognitive disability in the way they experience their surroundings. Since the game is meant for ‘normal’ people to understand the world from the view of someone with a fairly severe case of hypersensitivity, adding to this the way someone with a serious cognitive disability would experience the game would create an experience that would likely have little to do with the aims of the game. There is also a chance, with the way the game simulates the experiences that make it hard for someone with autism to be close to people, that someone who plays it and can’t handle that might have difficult reactions.