Sony has added a new "Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes" mode to the upcoming MLB 11: The Show that will bring disabled gamers into the action with single-button gameplay.
A few years ago, a die-hard baseball fan and cerebral palsy sufferer by the name of Hans Smith wrote Sony about the MLB: The Show series of baseball games. The producers of the game were so impressed by Smith's passion for baseball, the MLB: The Show series and his team, the St. Louis Cardinals, that they included him as a character for MLB 10: The Show.
For 2011, Sony decided to take things a step further by adding a special gameplay mode named after Smith's recently founded Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes. The new mode makes it easier for disabled gamers to take part by adding one-button play to the game. The AI controls fielders as they approach the ball, so players need only press a single button to swing the bat or make a throw.
"I'm never going to throw a baseball. I'm never going to run around the bases. So all of the adrenaline you feel by stepping out on the field and coming up to bat with two outs in the ninth inning, that's what I feel when I play the videogame," Smith told EPSN. "You can feel the highs of getting the big hit, and you can feel the lows of being out of position and making an error that costs your team the game."
Smith launched the Association for Disabled Virtual Gamers to try to bring the excitement of sports to as many disabled people as possible. "Some organizations for disabled people aren't available to everyone - you have to live in a big city. Plus, you still run the risk of getting hurt," he explained. "But with a virtual organization, you can adjust the settings to whatever you want. If you can't do anything but push one button, then you can control everything else via the artificial intelligence. This levels the playing field for people who are otherwise outside the sports arena."
MLB 11: The Show comes out on March 8 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PSP.