When Hibiki Sakai was a baby, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in both eyes and lost his sight due to the life-saving surgeries that were necessary. Fortunately, this hasn’t stopped this ten-year old from enjoying video games like other young boys.
Hibiki, a 5th grader from Japan, recently sent the Nintendo company a letter, telling them of his frustration at only having one Nintendo
game series (Rhythm Heaven) that is accessible to him. After describing his ability to beat anyone at this game, he wrote, “I strongly hope you keep making Rhythm Heaven going forward. I can handle it, even if you make it a bit harder….I hope you develop games that people with physical disabilities can enjoy with other people. I will continue to support Nintendo.”
The story does not end with Hibiki’s letter to the company. Nintendo not only wrote Hibiki back, but they also sent the letter in Braille. They indicated that they would send his request to the game developing team and would work hard to fulfill his request.
So, what can we learn from Hibiki? We can all be advocates for technology that may need a few tweaks in order to be accessible for people with disabilities. Instead of complaining about an item/product/game, we should contact companies or manufacturers to become partners with suggestions. Good access makes good business sense to them; by extending their customer base to include as many people as possible, more product will be sold. It can also improve the way their customers perceive them.