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Blind Kid rocks at Video Games

Brice Mellen is a whiz at video games such as "Mortal Kombat."

In that regard, the 17-year-old isn't much different from so many others his age.

Except for one thing: He's blind.

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."

Mellen knows this much: He started playing at home when he was about 7.

"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."

When the question of broken controllers comes up, Mellen flashes a smile and just shrugs.

"I used to have quite a temper," he said. "Me and controllers didn't get along very well."

Now they get along just fine.

While playing "Soul Caliber 2," Mellen worked his way through the introductory screens with ease, knowing exactly what to click to start the game he wanted.

He rarely asked for help. Once the game started he didn't need any help.

"How do I move?" an exasperated opponent, Ryan O'Banion, asked during a battle in which his character is frozen in place.

"You can't," Mellen answered before finishing him off.

"That's what happens. It's why I don't play him," O'Banion said after his blood-spattered character's corpse vanishes from the screen.

How Mellen became so good is a mystery to his father.

"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."

Mellen hangs out any chance he gets at the DogTags Gaming Center in Lincoln, which opened last month. Every now and then someone will come in and think he can easily beat the blind kid.

That attitude doesn't faze Mellen.

"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."

There's nothing he likes better than playing video games, Mellen said.

He will be a senior in high school next year. After graduation, he plans to take a year off because he wants a break from school.

When he does go to college, Mellen wants to study -- what else? -- video-game design.
Pure gamer instinct ;)
 

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Canadian Spaceman
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Hooray for button mashing!
 

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There's a kid at our school who is legally blind, though he can still see. It's scary at the LAN parties to get fragged by a blind man. he's actually pretty good.
 

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Leading the way.
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I love reading about stuff like this. How the body can adapt for senses lost.
 

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Heretic
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I have said it before and I will say it again, Soul-Caliber 1+2 are poorly designed because you can kill anyone by just mashing the regular attack button. Why do a bajillion manevours if you can dispose of evil pirates and sexy ninjas with the simple thrust of your sword/stick/spoon?
 

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Just visiting ^_^
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now thats talent...
 

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Heretic
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Player-X: I don't see why you commented on him saying "play him". Where I come from its the common lingo for talking about versing someone in a game.
 

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people really need to learn how to not take things like that in a dirty fashion
That`s how we are.:D Anyway, I know everyone here understood what you meant, it just is that it sounded funny considering what you wanted to say.
Well, I heard about this yesterday. I still can`t believe that he can predict everything that`s happening on a TV only by sounds. I`m thinking something about telepathy here. Then again, it could still be that he has mastered all of his other senses.
I wonder if he could beat people in real life that way. THAT would be freaky.
 

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I don't see why he should be expected to know another dialect - this is an English speaking board, and 'play him' wouldn't be considered strange at all.

I knew someone that could do the first level of Mario on the NES with his eyes closed - he just learnt the timing. I doubt this kid could have been any different on the earlier games he was playing, where sound certainly wouldn't have been much help..
 

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The ChinaDude!!!
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So if he is blind, just knock the controller out of his hands... he'll have his hands full finding his controller so you can beat him up (real life or gamewise, your choice) :evil:
 

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Somehow I think he would be able to sense the controller hitting the ground based on hearing, after all he can win in a fighting game based on what I assume to be hearing and controller vibrations
 

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...and now they do.
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Vanit said:
I have said it before and I will say it again, Soul-Caliber 1+2 are poorly designed because you can kill anyone by just mashing the regular attack button. Why do a bajillion manevours if you can dispose of evil pirates and sexy ninjas with the simple thrust of your sword/stick/spoon?
they should use blind people to test fighting games and its AI. if a blind dude can win, maybe it needs to be altered a bit.
 

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I knew of this quite earlier and I'd given it some thought. It's nice to say it's just mashing, but you forget, he played Asteroids and Space Invaders. No vibrations, no Surround sound...

I really have no idea how he does it. He'll never be able to tell how far I am from him in a fighting game. Let him mash all he wants, while I simply stand back and wait for an opportunity to knock him silly. Heck... tick him once then run like hell ought to work.

Shrug... I really have no idea...
 

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Heretic
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Lets put him up to the challenge of The Legend of Dragoon, and we'll see whos laughing :lol:.
 
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