Paralysed former firefighter beats Elden Ring by blowing into tubes

Zhu Mingjun is a Chinese streamer, who came to prominence after beginning regular broadcasts on the video platform BiliBili in which he shares his life story and perspective (as well as playing videogames). Zhu is a former firefighter who was severely injured in a 2013 accident while on duty, which left him paralysed from the neck down: he couldn't speak for three years following the incident, and still requires a ventilator to breathe.

Zhu can now move his head and a limited part of his torso, and has a custom mouth controller which he uses to play games: it comes down to breathing into two tubes in different combinations, and coding them to respond appropriately to the game being played. Obviously the game of the moment is Elden Ring, and Zhu's been regularly streaming it: he initially had some help from his mother in moving the character around, but is now able to fully control it thanks to coding the tubes' responses.

On a recent stream, Zhu whipped the ass of the final bosses and became Elden Lord. His character is a sorcery-focused build, and in the video you can see Zhu's got seriously impressive control over both the camera and movement: and absolutely melts through these giant enemies.

You can read more about Zhu in this profile from the South China Morning Post. After years of mental health troubles and struggling to come to terms with his condition, he began speaking in public and streaming in 2018. He was initially worried about people judging him on appearance, but the "applause from strangers gave me strength."

His channel on BiliBili is highly popular, with several videos reaching millions of views, and he's able to support himself financially through the proceeds.

"Live streaming has changed my life dramatically," Zhu told the SCMP. "I have got to know many new friends. I am not alone like before. I am enjoying the happiness brought by live streaming. On top of that, I can earn money from it."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."