In the age of professionalism in video games, where more and more young people are turning to activity in search of dollars and fame, a Dutch player stands out from the rest. Sven van de Wege, 32, is one of the protagonists of the eSports scene in Europe and his case surprises the world: he has been blind since the age of six.
In virtual games, he is known as "The Blind Warrior Sven" andaccumulates several tournaments in Germany, France and Spain, who did everything a video game star among the pros of Street Fighter Vthe game of fights 1 vs. 1 preferred for its clear sound effects.
In 1992, a tumor in his eyes caused him to lose vision at an early age. For months he felt lonely, he tells, without friends, and spent most of his days in the hospital. "I was totally healthy, going to school, having friends, doing things that I like to be blind, being sick, could not go to class, my friends left, did not want to play with me or did not know how to deal with me, "he says.
Far from resigning himself, this deficiency did not memorize the sounds of video games, and thus manage to win in official competitions sighted players.
"I went to visit a friend who had Street Fighter on his Nintendo and when he heard the sound effects of the game, I could hear almost everything that was happening on the screen, so I started to try at home buttons, but after practicing a lot, I started to play well, "said the Dutchman.
A year after losing sight, being a child of seven years of age, He started learning things again., like "walking down the street with a cane, reading Braille and even eating." Also dress yourself and re-control the joystick of your favorite video game.
"Learning to play again was an important part of my recovery and rehabilitation, it has helped me focus on the things I like, instead of thinking about how I will survive, how I will go to school or how I will make friends. Every time I felt bad or sad, playing video games helped me", account.
First andHe started playing against the computer., although from time to time a friend dared to challenge him, but Sven "always won" because he was an expert and knew each of the sounds that made every move of the game.
The technique he acquired at the beginning was to listen to what happened when the character – controlled by Sven – made a move, attacked, jumped or ran and slowed down because "he was always calculating what each sound meant" but now "everything is automatic". " no longer has to translate the sound, but simply react to it.
But every time the game received an update, a new character was introduced or simply an improved version, Sven had to start from scratch and learn all the sound effects. By him he limited himself to the popular title of fights, who some years ago plays on the Internet against opponents who do not even know that the occasional opponent is blind.
His first international tournament was in April last year at Sonic Boom in Madrid.
"People saw that I was blind and did not quite understand what I was doing there. I volunteered to try them, several people wanted to try and I beat everyone. They were surprised, they thought it was incredible. People came to me to take pictures and talk to me, "he told EFE news agency.
Such was their performance that the organizers they allowed him to participate in the tournament and beat his opponent, but "the funniest thing of all is that it was April 1st, April Fool's Day, and people thought I was joking and that I was not blind," he says.
Currently Sven van de Wege, who exchanges advice with other blind players and helps developers to make them more accessible, do not hesitate to recommend "perseverance" for those who, like him, consider that their blindness may prevent them from realizing the dream of being professional video games.