How the Video Game Runescape Gives My Deaf Child a Much Needed Escape

I am writing this review from an unusual perspective as a parent of an avid runescape player. This game has truly changed my son’s life. When he first started playing it I thought it would probably come and go like so many other things teenagers do. Not true of this game. It is a multilevel role playing game where you get to create your character, acquire different skills and get ranked on your levels of skill as you progress. It lets you look at how you compare to other players in all your skill levels. You also receive different color crowns as you progress through the game.
For my deaf son who doesn’t feel like he always fits in in the real world, this game is an escape where he is an expert and has built quite a reputation for himself and his character. He has spent countless hours refining his skills and getting to the level he is now. You can interact with other players by talking to them as your character, helping them get to a certain level, trading items with them by making an offer and they can decline or accept. You also have gold that you acquire that allows you to purchase items. He is constantly saying a new word to me and I’ll ask him where did you hear that or learn that concept and he’ll say on runescape. He is what they call a “mod” now where he has the ability to watch other players and ban them if they are breaking the rules of the game. It has really been a confidence booster for him because it puts him in a world where he is “top dog” and everyone comes to him and wants help or wants to know how he got this far in the game. I let him contact Jagex, the makers of the game, with my supervision via email to tell them he was interested in possibly working for them when he got old enough. He wants to be a character designer or help develop aspects of the game. They responded saying when he became old enough to contact them again and we’ll see.

I am not a big supporter of video games as a rule because I know there is plenty of bad out there. There are a lot of games I won’t allow him to play simply because they are suggestive or they have mature themes. I have to say this one is an exception. If there are rules broken such as profanity used or someone tries to hack into your computer and steal your character that you’ve worked so hard on, you can report it to Jagex via their complaint form and they take immediate action to investigate and ban the players involved if necessary. This has definitely been a positive experience for my son because it allows him to go somewhere where he not only measures up but surpasses others. That is important for a child with a disability who deals with lots of rejection in the real world. I’ve always taught my son to focus on his abilities not his disability and he can definitely apply that to runescape and hopefully build enough confidence to do it in reality on a daily basis. My hat is off to the makers of this game and hopefully someday he will get the chance to show his skills by becoming part of their staff. His dream is to develop video games and become a character designer and I will help him in any way possible to achieve it. It is truly his gift!!

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