Extra Factoids - Autism and Arcade Games


Can playing arcade games be beneficial to people with ASD (autism spectrum disorders)?

The answer is yes – under the right circumstances.

  • Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon, has a high-functioning form of autism. He was a passionate player of Donkey Kong when he was younger!
  • Symmetra, a character in the team-based multiplayer first-person shooter Overwatch (2016), is autistic. Game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed this when questioned by young player Samuel Hookham in a letter to game developers Blizzard: “Dear Samuel,” wrote Kaplan, “I’m glad you asked about Symmetra. Symmetra is autistic. She is one of our most beloved heroes and we think she does a great job of representing just how awesome someone with autism can be.
  • Australian teenager Brad Hennesey started developing the video game An Aspie Life in 2016, to reflect on his own experiences as a young person living with autism, and to change public perception by educating the community about autism through the game. An Aspie Life has already won the AIIA’s national Senior Students, ACMI’s Screen IT senior game and young ICT explorers QLD awards in 2017, and will be released on Steam and Gamejolt in 2018.