AbleGamers is a charity that looks to help disabled people through games. This year they’ve awarded their first ever fellowship. The major sponsor for the fellowship is Trion Worlds and they selected Alex James Ryan as their winner.

Alex was born with Arthrogryposis, a condition where weak or missing muscles and nerves spreads throughout the body. Because of this, Alex cannot use his arms. But that doesn’t stop him. He plays games (including Mortal Kombat, which requires quick reflexes) with his feet. In fact fighting games are some of his favorites. “I don’t have any friends that can keep up with me in fighting games,” reads an interview with Alex on the AbleGamers site.

Alex’s interest in games goes beyond playing them. He’s been making them as well. Besides a slew of original games, he’s also created what he calls a “Chill Edition” mod for Sonic the Hedgehog where the player has infinite lives and other elements of the game, such as time limits, are tweaked to make the game more accessible.

“AJ is the kind of person you want pushing for accessibility,” said Mark Barlet, AbleGamers Executive Director in an official release. “Passionate, driven and never takes no for an answer. People with disabilities like AJ can offer brilliant insight into the world of accessibility from first-hand knowledge and game development experience combined.”

The fellowship was started to give scholarship money and intern opportunities to those interested in pursuing a career in games.


This article was written by

Nicole has been playing games her entire life. Now that she's a mom, she's passionate about promoting games as a healthy pastime to other parents around the globe. She has been an editor at IGN, where she launched and hosted the Girlfight podcast. In her spare time (which is not very much, honestly) she enjoys gaming, reading, and writing fiction. Most of the time she’s a mom to a crazy, intelligent, and exhausting little girl.