Nesse episódio, duas pessoas descobrem que videogames podem ser mais que um simples passatempo.
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Helena: Quando era pequeno, Steven Spohn não podia fazer várias das coisas que outras crianças da sua idade faziam. Ele nasceu com uma doença que reduzia a mobilidade de grande parte do seu corpo e o impedia de caminhar.
Steven: When I played video games, I went to a new world where I was the same as everyone else. I could play sports, travel to other places, and meet new people. I could do everything that other kids could do in the real world, and I made some of my best friends while playing video games.
Helena: Steven passou a adolescência jogando videogame na internet com pessoas do mundo todo.
Steven: But then my disease got worse. My hands became weaker, and it was difficult to use a computer keyboard. But I didn’t want to stop playing video games. They were too important to me, so I needed to find a solution.
Helena: Welcome to “Histórias em Inglês com Duolingo”. Eu sou Helena Fruet. Nesse podcast, você vai poder praticar inglês no seu ritmo, ouvindo histórias reais e emocionantes. Os protagonistas falam um inglês simples e fácil de entender — perfeito pra quem tá aprendendo.
Eu vou te acompanhar em cada episódio pra ter certeza que você tá entendendo tudo. Você também encontra as transcrições completas em podcast.duolingo.com.
Hoje, vamos conhecer duas pessoas que estão mudando o mundo por meio dos videogames.
Helena: Steven cresceu no estado da Pensilvânia, nordeste dos Estados Unidos. Ele ainda era bebê quando sua mãe descobriu que ele sofria de uma doença terminal chamada atrofia muscular espinhal, ou AME, que em inglês se conhece como SMA. A doença afeta todos os músculos do corpo, incluindo aqueles que nos ajudam a respirar, ou breathe. Por isso, você vai notar que Steven usa um respirador.
Steven: My mom took me to the hospital when I was just one year old because she noticed that I wasn’t moving like other babies. After a lot of tests, the doctors told her I had a terminal disease called SMA. This meant that as I got older, my muscles were going to get weaker and weaker. Eventually, I wouldn’t be able to eat, speak, or breathe on my own. The doctors didn’t think I was going to live past my second birthday.
Helena: Steven viveu muito além dos dois anos, mas desde pequeno usava uma cadeira de rodas elétrica, ou power wheelchair. E ele passou grande parte da infância no hospital.
Steven: The doctors still didn’t know much about my disease, so they did a lot of tests. And every year, I had operations and spent many months in the hospital. When I was home, it was hard to make friends. I couldn’t go out and play games like other kids because I used a power wheelchair. So, I spent a lot of time alone when I was young. I built model airplanes, drew pictures, and played with Legos.
Helena: Com nove anos, Steven ainda tinha um pouco de mobilidade nos braços e nas mãos. E numa das idas ao hospital, aconteceu uma coisa que mudou a vida dele de um jeito inesperado.
Steven: When I was in the hospital, a nurse asked me why I didn’t play video games, like other kids. I explained to her that I didn’t have a game console at home. My mom couldn’t work because she had to take care of me, and we didn’t have enough money to buy one.
Helena: No dia seguinte, a enfermeira voltou ao quarto de Steven com um presente.
Steven: The nurse gave me a game console. When I first saw the controller, I thought it looked difficult to use. It had a joystick and two buttons. It was hard to push the buttons while I was holding the controller in my hands. But I realized that I could put it on a table and use it like a keyboard. Then, I could play games!
Helena: Steven começou a jogar muito videogame. Eram os anos 90, e a internet ainda era uma novidade. Então no começo, Steven jogava sozinho, ou com amigos que moravam perto dele.
Steven: Then, during high school, a friend showed me how to play games online. Suddenly, I could play with people from all around the world. I made some of my best friends during that time.
Helena: Mas conforme a doença de Steven avançava, ele começou a perder o controle das mãos, até que ficou impossível usar os botões dos consoles. Então, ele mudou pros jogos online de computador, já que o teclado era muito mais fácil de manusear.
Steven: I competed online, so I needed to be able to move quickly, but this became a problem for me. My disease made my hands and arms weak, and eventually, it was almost impossible to even use a computer keyboard and mouse. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to play games anymore, so I had to find a way to continue doing what I loved.
Helena: Steven resolveu procurar na internet informações sobre tecnologias pra ajudar jogadores com deficiência, ou disabled, como ele se define.
Steven: I found a blog that had lots of information to help disabled people like me play video games.
Helena: O blog se chamava Able Gamers. Em inglês, o prefixo “dis” é usado para negar o que vem depois dele. A palavra “disabled” junta “dis” e “abled”, que significa “capacitado”. Ou seja, “disabled” quer dizer “incapacitado”. Então, esse blog, o Able Gamers, veio para reverter a ideia da incapacidade, pois o nome quer dizer “jogadores capazes”.
Steven: I contacted the owner of the blog, and then he invited me to write an article! I decided to write about the game World of Warcraft, and I explained how I played it using only one hand. Another disabled gamer read the article and wrote to me. They said I changed their life. That made me feel amazing, and I wanted to help more people.
Helena: Nos anos seguintes, Steven começou a escrever mais no Able Gamers e fez até um guia pra jogadores com deficiência. Ele participou de grandes eventos e congressos de videogame e conversou com desenvolvedores pra dar dicas de como deixar seus produtos mais acessíveis.
Steven: I wanted the games industry to pay attention to disabled gamers everywhere. There are millions of us! Gaming can make us feel less lonely, and it opens a window into another world. As part of my work with Able Gamers, I helped Microsoft design a totally new controller that is specifically for disabled gamers. It can be controlled with only a hand, a foot, a shoulder, or even a chin. It was a big victory for disabled gamers.
Helena: Esse controle que Steven ajudou a desenvolver foi um grande passo, mas ele sentia que ainda tinha um longo caminho pros jogos se tornarem inclusivos de verdade. Então, em 2020, ele se propôs um grande desafio.
Steven: All of my life, doctors told me that my disease was going to kill me. But then, in 2020, I turned 40. Most people make their 40th birthday a big event, but I never imagined living to the age of 40, so I never thought about it. But I knew I wanted to help disabled people continue playing games, so I decided to raise one million dollars for Able Gamers.
Helena: Steven resolveu arrecadar, ou raise, dinheiro pro Able Gamers — pra ajudar outros jogadores como ele. O desafio era ainda mais importante porque em 2020 estávamos em plena pandemia, e Steven não sabia se ia sobreviver àquele ano.
Steven: I was worried that I might die during the pandemic, so I really wanted to do something big. The pandemic also meant that almost everybody had to spend many weeks or months inside — alone. So, millions of people started to understand what regular life was like for many disabled people and how being alone can be bad for mental health. I didn’t know how I was going to raise one million dollars, but I knew that I had to try.
Helena: Centenas e logo milhares de pessoas começaram a fazer doações pra campanha. Outros gamers famosos apoiaram Steven com mensagens ao vivo em suas redes sociais divulgando a iniciativa.
Steven: People from all over the world donated money. It was amazing! And then, on August 16th, 2021, we finally raised one million dollars! It was incredible to know that so many people cared about disabled gamers. I put so much energy and love into raising that money, and I felt very satisfied.
Helena: Steven alcançou a meta de 1 milhão de dólares em 12 meses. Mas sua arrecadação de fundos, ou fundraiser, não parou por aí.
Steven: I wanted to keep going, so I decided to do my fundraiser for Able Gamers every year. I might not raise another million dollars, but I’ll try. Because I have a progressive, terminal disease I can’t plan for ten or twenty years in the future. But when I think about what I’ve achieved in my life, I know that I’ve helped a lot of people.
Helena: Assim como Steven, Maddie Messer sempre encarou os videogames como uma forma de estimular sua imaginação. Mas quando tinha 12 anos, Maddie começou a identificar um problema em muitos jogos. E ela decidiu tomar uma atitude.
Steven: I grew up in Pennsylvania. I loved playing outside in my yard with my little sister and my dog, and our parents often took us hiking and kayaking. But I also loved to spend time indoors, playing video games. We didn’t watch a lot of TV at home, so playing video games made me feel like I was stepping into another world.
Helena: Isso foi na década de 2010. Maddie não tinha computador nem console. Ela jogava num iPod Touch.
Maddie: When I was 12 years old, my favorite game was called Temple Run. It’s fast and exciting, and it’s still very popular today. To play Temple Run, you choose a character. Then, your character has to run and jump to get away from a monster.
Helena: No caminho, o personagem, ou character, recolhe moedas, ou coins, que podem ser usadas pra comprar coisas dentro do jogo.
Maddie: I saved my coins because I really wanted to buy something from the game store. I wanted to play as a different character — a female character. When I started playing the game, I only had one option, to play as a male character. And the only way to play as a female character was to pay for it. So, you could save your coins after each game or spend real money to buy coins. I didn’t have real money to spend, so I saved coins for a couple of months until I had enough to buy the female character.
Helena: Quando começou a jogar, Maddie não achou estranho ter que pagar pra jogar com uma personagem mulher.
Maddie: But then, one day, I was playing video games with a friend who lived on my street. I was playing Temple Run, and she was playing a different game. I noticed that her character was a boy, so I asked her, “Why aren’t you playing as a girl?” She told me that there were no female characters in her game. All of the available characters were male. There was not even an option to buy a female character, like in Temple Run. That seemed wrong. It felt like the people who made video games didn’t care about girls like me and my friends.
Helena: Maddie se perguntou se algum videogame deixava os jogadores escolherem uma personagem mulher desde o começo. Então, com a ajuda de seus pais, ela começou a pesquisar.
Maddie: I downloaded the 50 most popular games that I could play on my iPod. I wanted to know three things: Did the games have female characters? If they did, was it free for a gamer to play as a girl? And if the female characters were not free, how easy were they to get or how much did they cost?
Helena: Pra encontrar respostas, Maddie teve que jogar cada jogo por várias semanas.
Maddie: After playing every game, I discovered that only one had a female character at the beginning. Other games did have free female characters, but they were hard to find. In most of the games, you had to pay — sometimes as much as $30!
Helena: Mas a maior descoberta de Maddie foi algo que deixou ela com muita raiva! E ela decidiu lutar pra mudar as coisas.
Maddie: More than half of the games didn’t even give gamers the option to play a female character! When I was growing up, my parents taught me that boys and girls are equal. But it seemed like the people who made the games didn’t think so. They didn’t seem to care that girls had to play as boy characters. I thought this was totally unfair!
Helena: Maddie decidiu que precisava contar pra todo mundo os resultados da sua pesquisa.
Maddie: My parents taught me to speak my opinion if I think something isn’t fair. So, my dad helped me write an article for a newspaper. I wrote about my research and how it felt to not be able to play a video game as a girl character.
Helena: Com apenas 12 anos, Maddie mandou o artigo pro The Washington Post, um dos jornais mais importantes dos Estados Unidos. E o jornal publicou o texto em março de 2015.
Maddie: I was so excited to see my article in the newspaper. My whole family read it. They were so proud! Then hundreds and hundreds of people started commenting on the article. People from all over the world saw what I wrote! A few people didn’t think it was a problem that there weren’t any female characters, but most people thought I was right. They agreed that the video game companies needed to make a change.
Helena: Um mês depois da publicação do artigo, Maddie recebeu uma mensagem muito especial.
Maddie: It was from the people who made Temple Run! They read my article in The Washington Post, and they agreed that the game needed to change. A few months later, they made one of my favorite characters, Scarlett Fox, free at the beginning of the game! I could now play Temple Run as a girl! Finally, there was a character who looked like me! I was so excited and proud that I made that change happen.
Helena: Com o tempo, mais e mais jogos começaram a mudar e a permitir escolher personagens homem ou mulher desde o começo, sem ter que pagar pra jogar como mulher. E um desenvolvedor de jogos foi ainda mais longe!
Maddie: I was contacted by the team who created another game I loved to play called Noodles Now. In this game, you have to ride a scooter around town and deliver food. The company asked if I wanted to be a character in the game! Of course, I said yes. They made the character look just like me, and they recorded my voice to use in the game. They even put a picture of my dog, Ginger, on the character’s jacket!
Helena: O artigo de Maddie deu início a uma grande onda de mudanças na indústria do videogame. Ela recebeu e-mails de apoio do mundo todo durante anos, e seu texto foi traduzido pra mais de 30 idiomas.
Maddie: I’m older now, so I sometimes babysit children and play video games with them. It makes me so happy that they have more choices for characters in games. Writing that article taught me that it’s important to talk about things that are unfair. It can make big changes.
Helena: Maddie Messer estudou Ciências Ambientais. Ela ainda gosta de jogar videogame quando tem um tempo livre.
Nosso primeiro narrador, Steven Spohn, continua se esforçando pra que jogadores com mobilidade reduzida saiam do isolamento social. E ele segue arrecadando fundos pro Able Gamers, que são usados pra comprar controles acessíveis e pra ensinar desenvolvedores a criar jogos mais inclusivos.
Esse episódio foi produzido por Sam Walker, uma escritora e locutora que mora no Arizona. Obrigada por ouvir mais um “Histórias em Inglês com Duolingo”. Gostou do episódio de hoje? Compartilhe e comente com seus amigos marcando o perfil @duolingobrasil. Se quiser, conta pra gente o que você achou desse episódio! Basta enviar um e-mail pra firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“Histórias em Inglês” é uma produção de Duolingo e Adonde Media. Você pode encontrar o áudio e a transcrição de cada episódio em podcast.duolingo.com. Segue a gente no Spotify ou na sua plataforma preferida!
Eu sou Helena Fruet. Thank you for listening!