The fighting video game Street fighter, the same one that gained popularity in the late 80s in the fichines to currently be the protagonist of esports tournaments, has on the other side of the screen a fighter from life. With a blindfold, a joystick in one hand, and a braille keyboard in the other, BlindWarriorSven He shows all his skills through the Twitch platform.
Sven van de Wege, with cancer at the age of 6, lost his sight due to an eye tumor, but this did not mean that he gave up his incipient passion for fighting video games.
“I wear a blindfold because sometimes accuse me of not being really blind“, this Dutch champion of the game explains smiling Street fighter v Regarding some bad losers who participate in the most important platform for broadcasting live games.
Relying solely on sounds, is able to place the characters on the screen and describe their actions, to the point of becoming champion of the popular fighting video game developed by the Japanese company Capcom since 1987.
His foray into Twitch
This talent with fighting games led him to share it on his Twitch channel, which he opened in 2017. That’s how he rode a study adapted to your disability that required specialized equipment to carry out its usual transmissions.
“I have two computers and I connected a braille keyboard“added this computer engineer, sliding his fingers over small white dots that enter and exit the device based on what is supposedly read on the screen.
Blindwarrior, 35, shows off his Street Fighter V video game prowess through Twitch. Photo: capture.
However, in front of him, there is no screen. “I don’t need it and I save on electricity“he comments humorously.
A complex interface that he learned to master over the years, at the unbridled pace that live broadcasting imposes on him.
“The most difficult thing for me is to look at the discussion window, especially when there are many people who write messages, while they are focused on the game,” he says.
Every Sunday, he takes on his followers in furious fights where he comments and analyzes his opponent’s every move. “I win about eight out of ten times”, he says, proud of having beaten the best players in the world in the different tournaments in which he participated throughout Europe.
“If I thought that I am blind, that I cannot play video games, I would have given up and would not be where I am. I also think that if I do, other people can do it too“, he acknowledged.
To reach this level, Sven has been training several hours a day for years, in order to memorize the sound effects of each hit and of each character. Headphones “let me know what my opponent is doing, how I should attack him, how I should defend myself,” he says.
This does not prevent him from getting involved in other types of gambling, although he regrets that he is still very few have accessibility options enough for blind players.
Ryu and Chun Li, the protagonists of Street Fighter V. Photo Capcom
His channel has just passed 3,000 subscribers and shows between 40 and 50 viewers per broadcast. A more than honorable score on a platform where people with disabilities are not very visible.
In May 2021, Twitch added about 350 keywords to help identify specific groups, such as people with disabilities. But these profiles are still very rare.
For Sven, improvements are also possible in terms of accessibility, such as “the ability to have only text in the discussion window”, since emoticon playback tends to disturb his braille keyboard.
As a Twitch “affiliate”, Sven is paid based on the number of subscribers to his channel and their donations. Although at the moment it is only a few dollars a month, he hopes to one day reach the status of “partner”, which could allow him, in the long term, a sufficient income to make him his profession.