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Out of the Matrix: "Jake," and Others, Share Their Responses

Three gamers dealing with Asperger's, including "Jake," share their stories.

The response to my story about "Jake," a 25-year-old Swedish gamer diagnosed with Asperger's, was tremendous. It was a different kind of story for Giant Bomb, and I'm glad you all dug it.

If you haven't read the story, the reason I'm saying "Jake" is because the individual I talked to wanted to remain anonymous, hoping to avoid judgement from others because of his condition.

After the story was published, Jake decided he wanted to write a response. Jake's story also prompted several other people with Asperger's to contact me and share their own stories.

Here's what they told me.

Because of difficulty with social cues, L.A. Noire may be difficult for someone with Asperger's.
Because of difficulty with social cues, L.A. Noire may be difficult for someone with Asperger's.
== TEASER ==

Hi everyone!

This is Jeff, sorry I mean Jake (what were you thinking Patrick giving me the same name as Mr Gerstmann himself?)

I found myself writing an entire article when trying to respond to some comments, but since I'm sure you don't want to read all that I've cut it down to the most important parts.

I never wanted to get attention and indeed I was as skeptical about having such an article on a video game site, interesting as it may be, as many of you. However Patrick had a feeling people would find it interesting and it seems a lot of you did find it interesting and there are many more nice comments than I expected. Thank you for that.

A lot of you think you have asbergers, if you think so then I suggest you should turn to professionals and find out. I was tested for 8 hours a day for a week by a team of specialists, it's not a pregnancy test you can conduct on yourself.

I agree that games are not a substitute for social interaction, in fact maybe it has been an escape from dealing with real people. From the comments here it seems most people are understanding. Maybe I should tell people about my condition so they can understand why I'm sometimes a bit weird, then maybe I can relax when talking to them instead of always thinking "don't say anything stupid." Then maybe I can have a conversation with a girl without explaining the definition of a hybrid car or going into details about the early Swedish nuclear program or at least when I do she will understand why.

I hope this is short and concise enough for anyone to read it. Take care people!"

The next story comes from Daniel, who doesn't struggle with Asperger's--his brother does.

"Hi Patrick,

I just wanted to say something about your fantastic Into the Matrix article as it dealt with a subject thats pretty important to me. My younger brother and i grew up playing games together and still enjoy meeting up every now and then and playing them to this day (I'm 24 he's 22). My brother was actually diagnosed with aspergers when he was little older than 5 and playing games together was a great way for us to overcome some of the difficulties he faced. When it came to dealing with logical puzzle type games (portal is the go to example here but it was before our time) he was always better than me and i would often seek his help when stuck in a logic based situation. Adventure games were his forte as he was able to puzzle things out in a way i couldn't which is why i thought it would be cool if we sat down and played L.A. Noire together since that's basically all it is. It didn't take long for us to realise that he had a hard time playing the game as he wasn't able to tell when people were lying or telling the truth. The main thrust of the game was really difficult for him because of his disability something we both found pretty interesting. (He still enjoyed the game despite this and i sort of feel this validates the developers 'you progress no matter what you do' decision).

Just thought i would let you know how someone with a medical diagnosis of aspergers dealt with L.A. Noire and praise your article. It's the type of insightful, interesting and mature work so often lacking in games journalism.

Keep up the good work, regards,

Daniel."

Sean is the author of our last story, who sympathized with getting lost in the world of RPGs.

"As one who has for years dealt with being told I have Aspberger's Syndrome, I wanted to express my appreciation for your article about the Swedish Aspie Jeff or Jake or whatever his name is. The things said therein about his gaming habits and how they relate to his psychological makeup are so similar to my own that they could damn near be called identical. I especially could relate to the idea of eschewing the FPS genre in favor of the vicarious living afforded players of RPGs. And yes, when it comes to RPGs I also skew toward BioWare, especially KOTOR. Lastly, allow me to commend your Matrix reference in the title, I found it most fitting for people like me who are always looking for a suitable alternative to the real world. Thanks again. ~Sean."

Sean and Daniel were not the only one who reached out, either. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed Jake's story, and especially thank you to Jake for giving me the chance to tell it.

Patrick Klepek on Google+