Rennes: Hichem, disabled gamer, wants to improve accessibility in e-sport

In his room in the Acigné family home, decorated with multiple posters and costumes referring to Batman, Hichem put on his t-shirt in the colors of EA Sports and his reference game in football, FIFA. The forty-something, who calls himself “DJ H” on social networks, wants to give us a demonstration on his favorite video game. In his hands, no controller. Besides, his hands are slipped under his knees: “This is to avoid parasitic movements. I have been disabled since a convulsion at birth“, explains the young man, who also suffers from speech problems.

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In the bedroom, two levers placed on the floor. One takes the shape of a bat, the mark of the Batman, and the other is rectangular, and we can see the Joker, the sworn enemy of his hero. Hichem leads them with his feet. A feat, which he owes in part to his father, who made these controllers for him. “It’s important for me to draw attention to video games, and accessibility for people with disabilities, raconte Hichem. I play FIFA 2011, so I’m doing a little bit! We must fight for diversity in football, as in video games.”

On the screen, Benjamin Bourigeaud scored a goal, and the joy of Hichem, who commands Stade Rennais against OM, is communicative. Two years ago, the Rennais had been able to face former FIFA e-sports world champion Bruce Grannec during Paris Games Week.

Hichem has developed great agility with his feet to control his controller. This is a true concentrate of technology: in a wooden box, an Xbox controller connects each command to the keys placed by Hichem’s father on top of this adapted “controller”. Today the HandiGamers association is in the process of creating a new custom controller to be able to play also on the Playstation 5.

Hichem’s controller seen from above © Radio France
Francois Rauzy
The inside of the controller
The inside of the controller © Radio France
Francois Rauzy

Hichem’s short-term goal is simple: he wants to challenge a player from Stade Rennais in the club’s premises to highlight his fight for accessibility in e-sport for people with disabilities. The club has taken note of this request, and Romain Danzé recently came into contact with Hichem on social networks. Business to follow?

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