[games_access] Re: Top 10 accessibility features in mainstream games

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Thu Mar 30 10:42:35 EST 2006

Hi Tim,

Thanks for joining in. I just remembered that the purpose of this Top10 list 
might not be clear to those who did not come to the 2nd GDC roundtable 
conversation so here goes:

While we were discussing the "Top 10 Ways To Improve Game Accessibility" 
during the roundtable, a new idea was formed. Instead of telling the game 
industry what they SHOULD do or what the industry is currently doing WRONG, 
we thought it would be a nice idea to tell the industry what it is doing 
RIGHT without them knowing so. We found during the conversation (and we 
really knew this all along) that there are several features in mainstream 
games that make games playable (even winable) for gamers with an impairment. 
And then we thought it would make a good Top-0 list.

So the purpose of this Top10 list is to name 10 examples of features in 
mainstream games that accidentally make games (slightly) more accessible. 
The goal is the pat the industry on the shoulder and say "wow, did you know 
your [feature] is helping people with a cognitive impairment to play ÿour 
game?". So instead of listing problems in games (which we should definately 
do too in another Top10 list*) or listing possible future solutions (this is 
the Top10 list we already got*), this list concerns only examples of 
features that actually improve accessibility (by accident?)*.



* so to list the lists:

1. Top 10 Ways To Improve Game Accessibility (we got this already)
2. Top 10 Features In Mainstream Games That (Accidentally) Make Them More 
Accessible (working on this right now)
3. Top 10 Accessibility Problems In Mainstream Games (maybe this should have 
been the first list by the way ;)

(4. Top 10 Issues Concerning Coffee Musical Songs - we should definitely 
work on this one too, although I already know #1: "make sure you drank 
enough the night before before composing the song in the morning")

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tim Chase" <agdev at thechases.com>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 5:26 PM
Subject: [games_access] Re: Top 10 accessibility features in mainstream 

> *Top 10 accessibility features in mainstream games (?) *
> /by Richard van Tol (and others…join in!) /

Good stuff so far.  I'd add "remappable controls" or
"keyboard access".  Some games do it well, some bomb at it.
  Bad experiences:

-I simply gave up playing Max Payne because it wouldn't
allow me to remap controls.  It relied on the mouse...when
playing on a laptop with a touchpad, it's just not quite the
same.  I didn't have enough desktop space for a mouse, and
was too lazy anyways to drag the mouse off an older computer
just for a little gaming on my laptop.  Full keyboard
accessibility would have made the game much less grating.

-it took me forever when playing one of the Tomb Raider
games to figure out how to "action" an item.  Turns out I
had remapped the "action" key to the un-re-mappable "jump"
key, and every time I tried to "action", Ms. Croft jumped
out of the way of precisely where I wanted to be.  (no, I'm
not still bitter about that)  I finally had to contort my
preferences so they didn't interfere with their unremappables.

-have you ever tried to play MS's stock games with just the
keyboard?  Solitaire?  Hearts?  Minesweeper?  Just can't be
done easily.

Good experiences:
-Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, Return to Castle
Wolfenstein...pretty much anything by Id (they're usually
quite good about it).  Played through the each of these
games with just the keyboard...mapped to my prefferred
keybindings.  I'm sure there are plenty of others who
haven't been so bigoted towards their preferred keybindings.

-the BSD games package on BSD/Linux...you can play cribbage,
solitaire, etc all with just the keyboard.  Granted, playing
them with just the mouse is all the more difficult.  A happy
medium of doing both kbd and mouse accessibility would be
even better.

Just some fodder...


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