Erin Hawley, a.k.a. The Geeky Gimp, is one of many gifted contributing writers for The SNES Omnibus project, but her stories stand out because they are directly tied into her physical limitations. This not only gives the stories added weight and poignance, but makes a strong case for video games being a positive force for good. Further, she’s a terrific writer, as you can see from her story about F-Zero, reprinted from The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol.1 (A–M):
I’ve never played sports competitively. Growing up, I went outside with other neighborhood kids, getting my wheelchair stuck in the dense foliage of our backyard while playing hide-and-seek until the street lights came on, but I was never on a school baseball or basketball team. I was all right with that, as suffering through my brother’s games and practices were enough sporting for me. But there was one thing I excelled at and could contend in—racing video games.
The clearest and most nostalgic memories of my childhood took place in front of our friend’s TV, sitting crossed-legged on their carpeted floor, playing F-Zero. My brother and our pals would race the tracks, trying to beat each other’s high scores. I would repeatedly win, expertly dodging those bumpers and taking curves like a master pilot. Years of driving my motorized wheelchair gave me the skills to outplay everyone on those retro highways.
Maneuvering F-Zero’s hovercars felt natural and gave me the same thrills as driving my chair down a steep blacktop driveway. In F-Zero, when you pull to the side of the track to recharge, there’s a risk of losing control of your vehicle or slowing down enough for other cars to pass. You’d either take that chance or pray you don’t bang into another wall in the next lap. It was exhilarating to make such a decision in that instant, and it mimicked the choices I made when I went “off-roading” in my chair. Of course, I wasn’t flying at F-Zero speed, but the danger was real. Over 20 years later, I’ve slowed down and put safety first, but my driving hand is still flying. - Erin Hawley
Here's Erin’s bio from the SNES Omnibus books:
Erin Hawley is a writer, editor, and digital content producer living in New Jersey. She started playing games on the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64, and now spends her extra time streaming PC games on Twitch. Erin’s blog, The Geeky Gimp, focuses on disability representation and accessibility in nerdy media. You can find her work at geekygimp.com, and follow her on Twitter @geekygimp.
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