Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

Pinball Wizard

Posted by Dan Draney on July 31, 2005

His name isn’t Tommy and the game isn’t pinball, but Nebraska has it’s own blind, 17 yr old video game wizard:

“Blind since birth due to Leber’s Disease, Brice Mellen of Lincoln, Neb., demonstrates Friday, July 22, 2005, at DogTags Gaming Center in Lincoln, his mastery of video games. Mellen, who will be a senior in high school this fall, wants to go to college to study video game design. (AP Photo/Bill Wolf)”

So how do you think he does it? What makes him so good?

“And as he easily dispatched foes who took him on recently at a Lincoln gaming center, the affable and smiling Mellen remained humble.

‘I can’t say that I’m a superpro,’ he said, working the controller like an extension of his body. ‘I can be beat.’

Those bold enough to challenge him weren’t so lucky. One by one, while playing ‘Soul Caliber 2,’ their video characters were decapitated, eviscerated and gutted without mercy by Mellen’s on-screen alter ego.

‘I’m getting bored,’ Mellen said in jest as he won game after game.

Blind since birth when his optic nerve didn’t connect because of Leber’s disease, Mellen honed his video game skills over the years through patient and not-so-patient playing, memorizing key joystick operations and moves in certain games, asking lots of questions and paying particular attention to audio cues. He worked his way up from games such as ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Asteroid,’ onto the modern combat games.

‘I guess I don’t know how I do it, really,’ Mellen said, as he continued playing while facing away from the screen. ‘It’s beyond me.’

Audio cues are critical, of course. Unlike Tommy, Mellen can hear. It’s still no less amazing, though.

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