Tutorial experiences are important for those with cognitive disorders. Many gamers with cognitive disorders experience more positive results from being shown precisely how to play a game as opposed to being left to interpret cryptic instruction pamphlets or employ trial and error. It is also not good for to expect disabled gamers to understand the “standard inputs for the genre,” because many of these gamers may not remember what those were. 

Most MMORPGs have so-called ‘starter areas’ where the basics of the game are taught through linear quests that must be completed in order and successfully in order to advance. Many times these are accompanied by special interface components that point out parts of the HUD, or lay out how combat works. The theory is that basic skills are learned best by doing.

It is important to include thorough tutorials for the cognitively disabled, as well as to be considered for inclusion in good game design. Some people with severe cognitive disorders simply need extra time or encouragement to continue learning. It is important to realize that no game elements can be considered trivial if they are difficult for someone to learn. Many of these same features can also be used to welcome more casual, non-disabled players to your game, broadening your overall audience.


A woman with difficulty understanding linear steps wants to play a new game. She has no friends, caretakers or family that have the time to explain the game. There are no tutorials and as she attempts to play the game she continually does things wrong and receives ridicule from the in-game community for doing things perceived as ‘simple.’

If the game offered in-game tutorials in a closed phase where she could learn the game without fear of ridicule, she would be more likely to enjoy the game and continue playing