[games_access] Some thoughts on games with CC

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Sun Apr 9 06:09:23 EDT 2006


Reid mentioned several times during the GDC that there are only about 3 games that are close-captioned. When I heard this my initial though was "that can't be... what about Syberia 1 & 2, most adventures made with the SCUMM engine (Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Grim Fandango, etc.), and gameX and gameY, etc." . Well, some games made with the SCUMM engine don't use auditory dialog at all (like Maniac Mansion) so captioning was all there was to express dialog. But still, there are at least 5 games I thought I'd know with captioning that Reid did not mention.

So then I remembered the difference between (closed) captioning and subtitling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_captioning) . And it turned out (of course) that the examples I thought of are examples of subtitles instead of captioning. But then I had a look around to see if there is some info on possible accessibility problems in these games (surely there's a deaf person out there still stuck in Monkey Island simply because it can't hear a clue. And I found this (on of of the Monkey Island games):

"Needless to say, you must also hone your senses to succeed in this adventure and give your imagination full rein. Clues abound, but only if you watch and listen for them. This means that there are clues in descriptions of persons and items and, much to my great relief, you can enable text subtitles so you don't miss a single thing. Even the opening sequence has subtitles, but you do have to enter the game first and enable this feature before you will get them. The dialogue is thoroughly entertaining and it's worth exhausting every conversation, not only to extract all the clues, but also to get some extra laughs. And watch out for all the quips taken straight out of Lucas Films such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones." - http://www.quandaryland.com/jsp/dispArticle.jsp?index=189

Then I had a look at DeafGamers.com, since I remember they have their own rating system for game accessibility over there: http://www.deafgamers.com/dgclassification.htm .
And found that DeafGamers.com too states that "...only Half-Life 2 springs to mind as being a game worthy of an A grade." While reading their reviews I found that there are actually quite a lot of games that easily have a "B"-rating and are not an "A" because of the caption/subtitle difference. However, as I read on, it turned out that most (if not all) "B"-rated games are FULLY playable while not having captions. Meaning: captioning was not present BUT captioning was not necessary for accessibility anyway.

So, to end this random-thinking-writing of mine with a point: I just found out for myself that there are many games out there with subtitles and which only lack captions which are not needed anyway to play the game. Maybe we should do something with this information... because after leaving the GDC it seemed like there were only 3 accessible games for deaf gamers?



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