In Conversation With Hassan Rahim

Each of our gaming chairs comes with a special-edition poster designed by an artist we admire. Recently, we sat down with the designer of our Aeron poster, Hassan Rahim, founder of creative studio 12:01, whose past clients include Nike, Sony and Warp Records.
Written By: AMANDA KOELLNER Published: 02/25/2021

SUPPORT ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL

I love when accessibility is normalized. With my Hypermobile Type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I have mobility issues, memory issues, and macular degeneration, which means I’m going blind really fast. But I don’t want to feel as if I’m playing on “easy mode.” The Last of Us did an incredible job on accessibility. Right when you boot up the game, it will immediately ask things like: “What’s the visibility setting you want? What’s the mode that you want? Do you want these assists?”

I am a consultant for video game companies. Before COVID, I was traveling all over the world to work on video games with EA, Ubisoft, and Xbox. I helped them figure out how to make games more accessible for people with disabilities. These companies ask me: “How does this game play for you? What would like to add or what would you like to take out?” When we’re all included, everyone wins.

BUILD AND MODIFY YOUR SETUP TO PLAY
YOUR BEST

With my disability, especially when I'm having a hard pain day, I rely heavily on my three essentials. I absolutely need my Xbox adaptive gaming controller that has larger buttons. I struggle with button mashing and my body can’t do repetitive actions for a long period of time, so the adaptive controllers help a lot.

My second must-have is the Herman Miller Embody Gaming Chair! I have a spinal cord injury, so I cannot sit for long periods of time. But since I’ve gotten the Embody Gaming Chair, my pain has dramatically decreased. I was sitting in a DX Racer before, and I couldn't sit in it for longer than five minutes. The Embody Gaming Chair from Herman Miller… I’ve never experienced anything like it. I am so much more comfortable, I'm able to really focus on my community and focus on my job more, and it makes me a better content creator and a better person because I’m happier.

The last thing is my Herman Miller Motia Gaming Desk. On days when I do feel strong enough where I can stand for little bit, it’s great to lift it up a bit and stretch out my back.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

People think Twitch is all about video games. But really, it’s all about translating your hobbies and passions into a stream. When you’re having fun, that naturally radiates out of you and people are drawn to that. Don't limit yourself to what everyone else is doing. You won’t get noticed.

I’ve done streams where I’ve played with Legos, I’ve sewed, and I’ve even colored too. I did a camp a few years ago where we gathered as a community and had camp T-shirts, earned badges, did crafts, cooked, went outdoors, and did archery. And when I first started streaming, no one was playing The Sims on Twitch. Now there’s loads of Sims players! Just remember: Don’t give yourself a label—you are not a label!

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"When you’re having fun, that naturally radiates out of you and people are drawn to that. Don't limit yourself to what everyone else is doing. You won’t get noticed."

— RoryPlays

FIND (OR CREATE) YOUR OWN SAFE SPACE

I had a streamer once come up to me and make some very, very inappropriate comments. And they started chanting some really sexually violent things in their chat. It's been hard being a woman in gaming. I've been sexually assaulted at events and I have been told that my opinion doesn't matter (it does!).

I got to a point very quickly in my streaming career where I was tired of always walking up to the men’s table. I said, “No, I'm going to go over here and build my own table and I'm going to invite who I want to invite.” So that’s what I did. I don’t need to be at your table. I have my own table and it's amazing and I built it myself—it’s pretty and it has glitter.

A lot of people are experiencing different things in life whether or not they feel comfortable being open about it. So much of our world is online, and we need a safe space where we know we are loved and supported for who we are authentically. I am open about my chronic pain and my mental health. Knowing that I have the support of a community makes such a difference.

UNSUBSCRIBE FROM TOXICITY

Much like when you get trash or spam in your inbox, I just unsubscribe from toxicity to keep it positive. I surround myself with uplifting people. They're out there! It makes a big difference mentally. I am on social media all day for my job, and I don't want to have toxic things going through my feed.

Like any healthy relationship, you need to set up your expectations and healthy boundaries at the start. If you let your community know what your healthy boundaries are, then they know how to treat you and it shows that you have integrity—you stand up for yourself. When you go to my Twitch channel, you’ll see I have a list of rules. It lists out things like be kind, no homophobic comments, and just be nice! My mods and I immediately ban anything that is negative or harming to anyone.

SELF CARE = BETTER COMMUNITY

It’s really hard for me to find a balance when I'm working from home because I wake up, I take two steps, and I’m at work! I’ve found meditation is so important and blocking out some time for yourself. I also do things for my physical health like drink loads of water, do yoga a couple of times a day, and make sure I get fresh air when I can. I also take care lately to eat well. When you're younger, we all eat French fries for breakfast or stuff like that. But as you get older, I notice that I can't have French fries for breakfast. That really affects my mental state!

Also, I am in therapy. That is something that I'm very open with. I go to therapy every single week and I have my “homework” I work on every week. I'm a giver and I naturally just want to give everything to everyone, but I can't give from an empty cup. So that means I have to do the things that I need for myself like meditation and all those wellness routines so I’m I am strong enough for others and for my community. When you’re happy and your light shines, other people notice it and you can share your light with others. There are people that are in the darkness. They need that.

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