Blind Gamer Wows eSports World
Dutchman Sven van de Weghe is a pro gamer despite being blind.
Sven van de Weghe is a professional gamer, his speciality being Street Fighter V, but remarkably the Dutch competitor is also blind.
A recent convert to pro esports, he uses the sounds of the characters he faces through a headset to know how to block moves and make attacks of his own.
He already boasts a victory on stage at a recent event in Madrid – against his opponent Mushashi – and he hopes he can pave the way for a wave of blind gamers to follow suit.
“When I was six I got blind and my biggest fear in the beginning was that I would be unable to play computer games anymore,” says van de Weghe, who lost his sight as a result of cancer.
But gradually he realised he was able to play Street Fighter 2, which in the past year has morphed into a primary passion for Street Fighter 5.
“I was able to hear what was going on in the game and react to that, so each kick, each punch, each move from each character has a different sound,” he says of months, even years of dedication to mastering it.
“After you learn each sound effect, you have to know how to react to it and so, from that moment on, my new game experience started.”
This year, he joined the professional ranks with a first tournament in the Spanish capital, which resulted in a victory and led to rapturous applause from an amazed crowd.
Of the experience, he says: “I almost had tears in my eyes because it was so wonderful to show everybody that, even with a disability, you can participate in the real world if you want.”
But the Dutchman, whose favourite Street Fighter character is Ken, insists this is not solely about his own personal quest in esports but a wider issue.
“I really hope in the future to have more games accessible to blind people and the other way around make blind people try to play video games like I did,” he adds.
“I really hope what I’m doing can inspire other people to do the same or go for what they want in their life even if they think it impossible. There’s always a way to do it if you want it.”