Nintendo has had a great year so far with the release of the Switch, but something that sets them apart is not just giving up on their other consoles. That is service all gamers can appreciate. Fifth-grader Hibiki Sakai is a gamer and a big fan of the Nintendo‘s Rhythm Tengoku (Rhythm Heaven) games. Hibiki was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in both eyes when he was less than two years old. The surgeries that he required saved his life, but ultimately left him blind in both eyes. However, this set back did not stop him from doing what most other kids his age love to do: play video games.
Without his eyesight, his options in games is limited but Nintendo‘s Rhythm Tengoku series of games do not require sight to play. These games rely on players to button tap in time with the rhythm of the game, together creating tunes and melodies. So far Hibiki has gotten perfect scores on every level of each game. News of the young gamer reached the internet when his father posted on twitter about a fan letter his son wrote to Nintendo. He wasn’t asking for any special treatment or any free swag. He just wanted to let the people at Nintendo know he loved their games and that he is very excited for the next one. This is his letter translated from the original Japanese.
Hello. My name is Hibiki Sakai and I am in fifth grade. I am blind, but I’ve always wanted to play video games like everyone else. But there aren’t many games I can play at all. The one game I can really play is Rhythm Tengoku. It’s the only game I can enjoy together with others, and I never lose at it. I’ve gotten perfect scores on all the versions on the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Wii, and 3DS too.
So I really, really want you to make more Rhythm Tengoku games. And it’s perfectly fine if you make them a little harder too!
I think that there are a lot of other kids with visual impairments who want to play video games but can’t. So I’d love for you to develop more games for people with handicaps to enjoy playing with others.
I will always support you, Nintendo.
From Hibiki Sakai
Eight days later, a response letter came in the mail from Nintendo. They sent two versions; one written out and one in braille for Hibiki.
Thank you so much for sending us here at Nintendo your heartwarming letter.
We are so happy to hear that you’ve perfected and enjoyed Rhythm Tengoku, Rhythm Tengoku Gold, Minna no Rhythm Tengoku, and Rhythm Tengoku The Best.
We have passed on your letter to Nintendo’s development department. We want to keep making games that everyone can have fun playing, so thank you for your support.
It should inject a little hope into your day to see that the people at Nintendo were willing to take to the time to respond to a single fan like this. It certainly makes me happy to be a lifelong player of Nintendo games. While he waits for the next game release, Hibiki will keep practicing his other favorite hobby, the drums. I’ll let him play us out.