Virtual autism with Auti-Sim

Games-for-Change has reported on a new game that simulates the experience of autism: “I had barely made it to the center of Auti-Sim’s world—a playground filled with children—before ripping off my headphones and pushing away from the computer.images-1

“Not because it was a bad game. Just the opposite. Because it’s so effective in its aim to simulate the unbearable sensory overload that is associated with some cases of autism.

“Auti-Sim, an experimental prototype designed to simulate what it’s like to have autism as a child, inundates players with increasingly intense, indistinguishable sounds as the game’s visuals continue to blur.

“It was created by a three-person team at the Hacking Health Vancouver 2013 game jam. Taylan Kadayifcioglu, pitched the original idea at the 48-hour event, and handled programming and game design. Matt Marshall designed the playground level and the project logo. Krista Howarth, an early childhood educator specializing in working with kids with autism, advised Kadayifcioglu and Marshall on autism.

“Since the game jam, Auti-Sim has picked up steam online, with more than 100,000 plays on Gamejolt and Kongregate. The team has continued working on it, with plans to make it more inclusive of the spectrum and add other environments, such as a classroom. Although there’s interest in Auti-Sim (one school approached Kadayifcioglu about adapting it for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder or general impulse control issues), funding remains a challenge. The team would like to keep Auti-Sim free to the public as a nonprofit venture.”

Kadayifcioglu recently discussed the game’s development and future plans.


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