Dave & Buster’s

A recent trip to Dave & Buster’s saw some accessibility losses and wins.

Namine and I spent an evening at a Dave & Buster’s. For our readers who might not know what that is, it’s a restaurant and arcade. It’s a lot like Chuck E. Cheese’s, except in some ways it’s geared more for adults. There’s still plenty to do for children too, though.

The evening didn’t start out great. It was wet and snowy — but not snowing — and the plowed parking lot was not plowed very well. There were plenty of open parking spots, but we’d prefer a handicap spot with a loading zone on the left, to make it easier for Namine to climb in and out. There was a handicap spot that fit our needs perfectly, except for the snow that was plowed right over it.

It was, all things considered, a minor setback. We parked in another spot of hoped to not have the left side blocked, when we left. We headed inside.

Neither of us had eaten, so before we hit the games, we went to the restaurant to sit down. For whatever reason, there were no normal-size tables; they were all higher, with either tall chairs or booths up an extra ledge. Again, Namine can climb, but it’s not even on the same continent as convenient. After we finished eating, we loaded up our tokens card — you swipe them at each game like a credit card — and set out to see what Namine could play.

I’ll admit that the height of the restaurant tables had me somewhat apprehensive about the games’ accessibility. Fortunately, we found that, for the most part, Namine had no problem reaching the consoles. The games with simpler controls, like Crossy Road and Flappy Bird, were no problem.

Most racing games required sitting in a cockpit of sorts, so that was out. There was one racing game that only required one to stand in front of it, which was just about perfect. I say “just about” because only after Namine started playing, we discovered that there was a gas pedal which needed to be pressed. So I stepped on the gas while Namine steered!

Our most pleasant accessibility surprise, however, I’ve saved for last. There was a Star Wars VR game which caught our attention. The space in front of the screen — which was for onlookers’ benefit, since the player wore a headset — was obviously meant to be stood inside. Namine looked at me. “Let’s try it,” she said. “If I can’t reach it, you can play and then we’ll go play something else.”

To our surprise, the headset and hand controls extended down far enough for Namine to reach, even with her limited range of motion in her right shoulder. She slipped the headset on, gripped the controllers, and had a blast! (Literally. The character she chose had a light saber in the left hand and a blaster in the right.)

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