[games_access] Fwd: Re Canadian Press article
d. michelle hinn
hinn at uiuc.edu
Tue Nov 21 18:57:15 EST 2006
It was Neil Davidson from the Canadian Press (Canada's version of the
Associated Press) -- he's a senior editor there and was covering the
Montreal Game Summit. And, yes, that was who I was collecting
pictures for. It wasn't that he didn't include our lines, I think, as
much as he included some links that would get you TO everyone's
links. So I can see why he did it -- a giant list of links in a
newspaper doesn't do much good. I didn't have editorial control over
the article, as it's a freedom of the press kind of thing so I didn't
see it until today...the day after it came out.
The article is appended at the end of this email and the original
email I sent out. If you go to:
You'll see that your picture is in the article, Robert. :) And your name.
>Who wrote the article is my question is this the one that Michelle
>was collecting photographs about quad controller that story? It's a
>little distressing that they didn't include our links. I think the
>readers would want to learn more about that and says that such a
>hard sell area any information people can get gather for a would be
>great but a kick that it might next time just to make sure the
>people know they should really stress links to the people they're
>putting articles on about. Where can I read that anyway?
>No big deal here just great to know. Thank you Michelle for that
>effort still amazing always your effort is always appreciated. One
>great thing about our group we are always helping each other out not
>arguing with each other getting no where and we can actually
>accomplished a lot in this area of interest because it's all of our
>From: games_access-bounces at igda.org
>[mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org] On Behalf Of Barrie Ellis
>Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 3:44 PM
>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
>Subject: Re: [games_access] Fwd: Re Canadian Press article
>Get a grip, Michelle! We know you're not a big-head. We won't let
>you be! So feel easier about posting your narcissitic
>Seriously though, it's a very good article, and I personally see the
>IGDA/GASIG and Game-Accessibility.com plugs as plugs for us all to
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <mailto:hinn at uiuc.edu>d. michelle hinn
>To: <mailto:games_access at igda.org>games_access at igda.org
>Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 5:53 PM
>Subject: [games_access] Fwd: Re Canadian Press article
>Ok...I didn't know that this article was going to be so focused on
>me. And Reid...I'm sorry games [cc] wasn't on the links. And Robert,
>I'm sorry that your site wasn't on the list either. And Barrie, and
>etc, etc, etc. The author found a few overall links. But he's a very
>nice guy and when we have major updates in the future, we should
>definitely include him in our PR stuff. He's a good guy to be in
>touch with for all of us!
>And Microsoft is gonna hate me. But I think Brannon (on this list)
>would also agree that accessibility is a hard sell within gaming,
>although it was great that he was able to talk about accessibility
>at Game Fest.
>Oh...you know, it's really not easy for me to point out articles
>that I'm included in. I'm trying to get over it but it took me a
>while for me to feel ok about forwarding it...
>Your press shy chairperson...
>>To: "'d. michelle hinn'" <hinn at uiuc.edu>
>>Subject: Re Canadian Press article
>>Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 12:27:52 -0500
>Our story moved yesterday. I have attached a link showing it on the
>Sun newspaper chain website up here. Also a copy of the story is
>Thanks for taking the time to speak to me and for helping with the
>pictures. I wish you well and hope you will keep me updated on your
>group. I would be interested in following up.
>Michelle Hinn campaigns for more accessibility for disabled gamers
>Nov 20, 2006 11:51
>By Neil Davidson
>The Canadian Press
>Game developers take Michelle Hinn's phone calls these days. But
>they may not always like what she has to say.
>Hinn is chair of a special interest group in game accessibility
>that's part of the International Game Developers Association. The
>adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
>is passionate about her cause, opening up video gaming to the
>``This is a social justice issue, this is not just a gaming issue,''
>Hinn told a seminar at the recent Montreal International Game Summit.
>So Hinn campaigns for developers to think about captioning games,
>allowing controllers to be remapped, offering easier modes of play,
>better manuals _ and to rethink the kind of titles they make.
>The payoff can be rewarding.
>``We have one member who also has mobility impairment and said he
>was able to dance for the first time in an online role-playing game
>and that was amazing to him,'' Hinn said in an interview.
>Access to gaming can also promote a sense of inclusion, said Hinn,
>citing the case of a blind gamer who just wanted to be able to say
>to a friend ```Yeah, I got such and such score on that, what did you
>``So we're no longer talking about `oh, this is my friend who has a
>disability.' It's `this is my friend that just kicked my butt in
>this game,''' said Hinn. ``It's a very interesting and very powerful
>social tool, I think.''
>Part of her group's job is also to share information and tips _ and
>to correct false assumptions.
>Hinn's group has been active as a fully fledged special interest
>group for about four years now. She speaks to major gaming
>conferences and works behind the scenes with console manufacturers
>and game developers.
>While there is much more work to be done, the developers now know who she is.
>``Yes, I'm getting e-mails back from people, like Will Wright who
>created The Sims,'' Hinn said, with a slight sense of disbelief.
>And there have been success stories. Hinn points to such enlightened
>developers as Namco and Valve, which after getting complaints
>offered full captioning on the hit game Half-Life 2.
>In some cases, it's a matter of convincing developers that thinking
>of the disabled does not have to mean not including game features
>but rather new ways to access these features. And to have them think
>out of the box.
>Hinn cites the game DEMOR for the vision-impaired _ imagine a
>sophisticated pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game that uses GPS. She
>also notes that games that only call for one button, currently
>popular in cellphone games, have been used by quadriplegic gamers
>Hinn's group is also trying new ways to get developers involved. One
>of the current projects is dubbed Accessibility Idol and involves
>inviting some big-name developers to show up at the Game Developers
>Conference with an idea for a game for the mobility-impaired.
>``We're thinking of an avid gamer who was in an accident and is now
>quadriplegic and loves to play games and loves to play games with
>his friends who don't have disabilities,'' Hinn explained.
>Many developers are astounded at the lengths that people will go to
>play their game. At GDC, they showed developer David Perry footage
>of a quadriplegic gamer playing The Matrix: Path of Neo using a quad
>controller that uses ``sip and puff'' tubes to control the action.
>``The look on his face was astounding,'' Hinn said of Perry.
>``Because it's touching when you see something that you've created
>and see what someone does in order to access your game because they
>think that it's so important to their lives.''
>``I think it really puts some things into perspective of what kind
>of impact the gaming industry has on people's psychological
>Hinn's unpaid game accessibility work is piggybacked on top of an
>already busy schedule. She teaches courses on video game design at
>the University of Illinois and runs a ``living-learning community,''
>which she explains is like a small college within the university for
>women majoring in math, science and engineering.
>Hinn, who has a BA in music performance, a B.Sc. in psychology and
>MA in multimedia in design, was recently named one of the ``Game
>Industry's 100 Most Influential Women'' by the online magazine Next
>``I'm always looking for injustice and trying to do research that in
>some ways helps,'' Hinn explained. ``OK, maybe this is not the most
>important issue in the universe but for some people it is.''
>Hinn has dealt with problems of her own. She is dyslexic, although
>she wasn't diagnosed until she was about to graduate from
>``I guess I felt a kind of personal tug in my heart, knowing I had
>somehow gotten through school with good grades despite having this
>``Then later I started developing a condition that gives me chronic
>pain. It just happens here and there and so I've become more aware
>in recent years of my own body kind of shutting down on itself and
>the importance of having things to do when that happens, I mean who
>wants to just sit there with nothing to do?''
>The term disabled run the gamut _ from vision-, hearing- and
>mobility-impaired issues to those caused by aging, genetics or
>Hinn says she gets e-mails all the times from parents or doctors
>asking about how to get hold of a certain controller.
>``Those are the heartbreaker e-mails,'' she said. ``You hate that's
>what brought a parent into the field but if we can help, just keep a
>child from being depressed, helping them feel more included in the
>world and in touch with friend groups, if more online multiplayer
>games were more accessible, that would open up a huge range of
>``We're always talking about bad things that happen on the web and
>online games but that's one of the positives, no one knows you're
>But the sands are ever shifting. Progress is made on one console,
>only to have a new one come out with new challenges for disabled
>Hinn, who once worked as an intern at Microsoft, sees progress among
>independent developers but says the larger console manufacturers
>have lagged behind.
>``Microsoft had not done very much which is disappointing ...
>because they have done a lot with accessibility with regards to
>their operating systems and other programs but when it comes to
>gaming not so much. And the same with Sony and Nintendo, although I
>think Nintendo has more of an understanding, especially games for
>the elderly with games like Brain Age, etc.''
>Each small victory is savoured by Hinn, whose passion shines through.
>``I've always been an advocate of social justice and that's why I'm
>involved in a lot of programs that help foster women in the game
>industry and women in technology,'' she explained.
>``So yeah. the pay's not so great but it feels worthy, for me it's
>the right choice.
>For more information, visit:
>_ www.deafgamers.com <<http://www.deafgamers.com>http://www.deafgamers.com>
>_ www.audiogames.net <<http://www.audiogames.net>http://www.audiogames.net>
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