[games_access] Guidelines (was: Teaching Game Accessibility)

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Tue Jun 6 04:42:26 EDT 2006

Hi Thomas,

Yes, I have teached game accessibility to MA Game Design Students together 
with Sander (Huiberts - also from Accessibility/AudioGames.net) at the 
School of the Arts Utrecht (Netherlands) in the past. This year we have had 
two projects concerning game accessibility: one in which game design 
students had to develop an audio game (which should be accessible for the 
blind) and another in which several students industrial design developed 
alternative controllers for an audio game that Sander and I developed. The 
purpose of the alternative controller was to evoke/stimulate physical (body) 
movement of blind gamers. Although both courses did not focus on 'making 
mainstream games more accessible', these courses gave us the opportunity to 
introduce and cover a great deal of this subject. In the case of the audio 
game designs, we did get the chance to teach about designing (games) for the 
blind and using sound to improve game accessibility.

I prefer to avoid the guidelines copied from the IGDA White Paper by MediaLT 
because of several reasons.  I for one think it is a shame that IGDA or any 
other party like our foundation, One Switch.co.uk, AudioGames.net or 
Games[CC] were never approached to help develop these "guidelines". But more 
importantly, I think these "guidelines" cannot be *practically* applied to 
game design. For instance, it does a horrible job (or actually no job at 
all) at describing how to improve the accessibility of mainstream video 
games for the blind. Guidelines 5.3 might be the only one to come close 
("Explanations of pictures and actions that can be switched off/on") but 
realistically, how does this make a video game playable? "There's a maze and 
32 dots and three ghosts and one is coming right at you and the other is 
coming around the corner, oh yeah you are this yellow piechart-figure- oh no 
you're dead!" ON TOP OF the original game? And what does guidelines 5.6 
actually *mean*? "Auditory feedback and rewards" should be explicit? 
Literally, does this mean "auditory feedback and rewards" or "auditory 
feedback and auditory rewards"? What is an auditory reward? Is that a 
result, in sound, of winning? Where does it say this? Even so, why is it 
important to distinguish "auditory feedback" and "auditory feedback of 
rewards"? And wait, and it says that it is a Priority 1 Guideline "For ALL" 
disabilities. Including gamers who cannot hear? Sjees...

(for everyone still questioning 400+ pages of WCAG 2.0 - that's why...)

In my opinion these 'guidelines' were written by someone very influenced by 
W3C (literally "guidelines" and "priorities") but who never attempted to 
create or even play an accessible game for the blind (my opinion only, am 
very open to other opinions!). Interestingly, at the same time as we are 
doing Develop Brighton (this years biggest game conference in Europe), Klaus 
Miesenberger (University of Linz) will be presenting (a newer?) version of 
these guidelines for game accessibility at the ICCHP (one of the biggest 
conferences on ICT for people with disabilities: see: 
http://www.icchp.org/content/view/79/113/#track3 > Thursday > Track 3 > 
Session F).

Ok, I might receive that Oscar for over-acting but I hope you get my point. 
Actually, this list has been dead quiet on the MediaLT/Linz guidelines so 
far and I am wondering of what you think... *anyone*?



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Thomas Christopher Roome" <thomas.roome at student.utdallas.edu>
To: <games_access at igda.org>
Cc: <thomas.linehan at utdallas.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 8:15 AM
Subject: [games_access] Teaching Game Accessibility

>I have been thinking about how to get "mainstream games" more
> accessible, and maybe we need to approach colleges and other higher
> education institutions  that teach game development to teach
> Accessibility to the students.  If game developers are instructed on
> how games can be made accessible, then maybe we can avoid some of the
> problems that we have today.   There is a starting point using the
> Guidelines for developing accessible games  at
> http://gameaccess.medialt.no/guide.php.  Is anyone already teaching
> Accessibility for Gaming in a college or University program?
> -----------
> Thank You,
> Tom Roome
> _______________________________________________
> games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org
> http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access 

More information about the games_access mailing list