If you thought getting beat at a game was bad, try getting beat by someone who can’t even see the game. This is the challenge that seventeen-year old Brice Mellen is presenting to teens in Lincoln, Nebraska. Steve Bauer of the Associated Press recently interviewed Mellen.
Mellen was blind since birth when his optic nerve didn’t connect due to Leber’s disease. Yet, this did not stop him from playing video games. He started playing when he was seven years old.
"He enjoyed trying to play, but he wasn't very good at first," said his father, Larry Mellen. "But he just kept on trying. ... He's broken a lot of controllers."
"I used to have quite a temper," Mellen confessed. "Me and controllers didn't get along very well."
Mellen started by playing games like "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids" and has worked his way up to games like "Mortal Kombat" and "Soul Caliber 2". He has spent a lot of time over the years perfecting his skill by memorizing key joystick operations and moves in certain games, paying attention to audio clues and asking lots of questions.
"He just sat there and he tried and tried until he got it right," Larry Mellen said. "He didn't ever complain to me or anyone about how hard it was."
Often, people will come into the gaming center in Lincoln thinking they will have no problem beating a blind kid. Quickly, they will learn that this task is not easily accomplished.
"I'll challenge them, maybe. If I feel like a challenge," he said, displaying an infectious confidence. "I freak people out by playing facing backwards."
Mellen will be a senior in high school next year. He looks forward to taking a year off after graduation and then going to college to study video game design.