Gaming with Autism – An Interview with Game Designer Sarah Granoff

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Navigating the world can be difficult for anyone, but for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it can feel nearly impossible. Thanks to an early morning snafu, Lucy Garvey, a young woman on the spectrum, is struggling to get to school. She must endure a seemingly endless assault of sounds, smells, and the people that scare her, but how well can she cope when the threats come from within as well as from without?

ASD was created by Sarah Doherty Granoff over the course of four weeks as a student project at the New York Film Academy. The assignment was to create a rogue-like game, a genre which she did not know much about at the time.

She played a few rogue-like games for research, and found a few patterns: they were all randomly generated, very difficult, and each one she played had an unspoken goal of trying to survive for as long as you could before your inevitable death. She couldn’t help but think that it seemed an awful lot like her own life.

Granoff diagnosed with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2012 which she describes as “an inherent disconnect in experience – unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you won’t fully understand it.”

She does believe video games, and their unique capacity for empathy, can offer a potential solution. “In a video game, you aren’t watching someone else slay a dragon, you are slaying a dragon.” Similarly, she sought to put the player in the position of someone on the Autism Spectrum when creating ASD.

The Koalition spoke to Granoff about creating ASD, autism and more.

ASD is available for PC.

Check out our interview below.

About The Author
Dana Abercrombie Entertainment Editor / Media Liaison
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