[games_access] Rating System for accessibility

Barrie Ellis info at oneswitch.org.uk
Mon Sep 27 17:59:47 EDT 2004

Hi Jonathan,

Very true, and long may these game continue to be written. However, I was 
thinking of globally known games, designed with no thought to access at all, 
and how to improve them with an "accessibility layer" to quote the AGRIP 
project (www.agrip.org.uk).

I can't see game programmers following a comprehensive set of guidelines, 
such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (www.w3.org) for a long 
time. Much less ticking all the boxes (as good and important as that would 

Could there be something written and a consensus found on what would be a 
good basic start for gaming access features? And from thereon, suggested 
further improvments for access? I think something needs to be put in place, 
then presented to developers that they can understand.

This is why I suggested thinking about Space Invaders. Does anyone remember 
the Atari VCS Space Invaders and the huge range of options that game had 
(112 I think)? Progress has seen that kind of flexibility wiped out for some 
reason.What would be the simplest access features to add? What would be the 
most complicated and time consuming?

My thoughts:

> Wider difficulty / game play options: For example invaders fire just one 
> bullet; You can shoot through shields, the invaders can't; Greater choice 
> over how many lives you get; Add a temporary invincibility feature that 
> can be time adjusted; Invaders don't speed up; invaders don't get lower.

> Controls: User definable controls; Constant firing mode; one button gaming 
> (pressing a X toggles between left or right); fire when left or right is 
> pressed.

> Menu system: Wrap-a-round menus (require less buttons to navigate); scan 
> and select menus; spoken menus; pictorial menus.

> Sight impaired options: Less invaders - bigger / simpler graphics options.

> Blind options: On screen game narrated.

Any other thoughts for this, any other game, or indeed the whole idea of a 
rating system?

Best wishes,


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd at btinternet.com>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>; 
"Barrie Ellis" <barrie at barrieellis.wanadoo.co.uk>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 10:11 PM
Subject: Re: [games_access] Rating System for accessibility

> Barrie,
> just like to point out there are a whole mass of games that are far 
> simpler than spaceinvaders.
> a 2 answer multiple choice question can be a game.
> hope I don't break the thread, however developing from wcag isn't a 
> nightmare, its just difficult, not impossible ~:"
> many of their suggestions should be helpful, speed controls are a 
> development of time independency.
> what makes the game fun? we need to be true to this.
> examples: do we have a drag and drop game that is keyboard accessible?
> a continuum of accessible games would be really exciting.
> especially if they were well written, fun and open source, and had  their 
> accessibility functionality well documented.
> thanks
> Jonathan Chetwynd
> http://www.peepo.co.uk     "It's easy to use"
> irc://freenode/accessibility
> On 27 Sep 2004, at 21:28, Barrie Ellis wrote:
> Hi all,
> I recently posted a new thread on the accessibility forum, regarding a 
> rating system for game access:
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
> -----------------------------
> The IGDA "Game Accessibility White Paper" is a very important document. 
> To pursuade game developers to read it, and start to implement 
> accessibility features, I think the following would help:
> . Give specific examples of inaccessible games, and how they could be 
> made accessible. These examples should include a good range of  different 
> games, starting with something simple and well known such as  Space 
> Invaders, up to a complicated game such as Shenmue. To avoid  frightening 
> developers away, the importance of even the most basic  features should be 
> made clear, such as broader difficulty settings and  subtitles.
> . The work of the AGRIP project should be made known, who may be able  to 
> aid software developers. Perhaps more people like this will sprout  up 
> offering their services to add accessibility features.
> . For the IGDA and related groups to agree to an up front ratings  system 
> for Game Accessibility, similar to the age ratings system. This  would 
> help developers get a grip on the range of accessibility features  that 
> could be implemented. It would of course help the public too.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
> -----------------------------
> Thinking about Space Invaders or any classic game, what accessibility 
> features to people think could be implemented?
> Barrie Ellis
> www.OneSwitch.org.uk
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> games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org
> http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access

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