[games_access] Blog: Top 3 Top 3 and IGDA GASIG Awards Ceremony 2008

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Sun Dec 2 06:54:21 EST 2007


Hi,

I got some thoughts about this and it is a bit related to what I wrote in my earlier email concerning incoherent information and stuff. I'll try to explain the best I can. On first glance I think "Excellent! 3 simple key points that developers can easily implement and therefore help to make many games a little more accessible".
But on second glance, I think these small Top 3 lists are misleading - in the bigger picture of game accessibility. If you put it like this to the outside world, it might seem that these three features (essentially the same three features repeated over three genres) are somehow "the most important" features because of the use of the word 'top' (which somehow refers to the option that there might be more). I agree that these three would makes many games a bit more accessible, but I think there are other features that are equally important and would also make many games a bit more accessible. I guess these three are mostly targeted towards the target group that you work with in real life (gamers with physical and learning impairments?) . For 'my' target group (the group that I worked with most - gamers with visual impairments) none of these 3 features make any difference accessibility-wise. Examples of "easy" accessibility features for them would include "color-blind accessibility" (no colour-communication OR provide alternatives to color-communication), "rescalable fonts", "customizable fonts", "customizable contrast", etc. Why wouldn't these not be in your list? They would make many games a little more accessible and are all very "easy"... ?

But here's another thought about "easy"...

Thing is, I have the feeling that there is no thing such as 'easy accessibility'. When I look at this top 3, your second feature ("Compatibility with Alternative Controllers") is not "easy" at all. It is a lot of work to make a game work with alternative controllers, especially when a certain controller has fewer control capacity than the controllable functions in the game. Your "easy" point 2 is actually my Keypoint 1 [1]. And to make my Keypoint 1 work, one cannot play without (my) Keypoint 2 (which is partially your point 1) AND (my) Keypoint 3 ("Interaction Techniques").
My point: I think many accessibility features have consequences that also need to be dealt with. If you do not communicate this fact to developers, I think that's misleading.

I think a list of accessibility features/requirements/design guidelines is good. I guess it is possible to rank each feature with a "easyness of implementation" (for instance, by looking at how much consequences a certain features has - providing a customizable font setting in Prince of Persia doesn't have as much design consequences as to control Prince of Persia with a single switch-controller). I also think that once you do that, you get a different Top 3 than you present now.

So...

I think such "easy Top 3" lists are a good idea but should be presented slightly different - not as "The Top Of Them All". And when it concerns "easy", we have to be honest about how "easy" it really is. I think you are doing a great job and am glad with your initiative!!!

Best regards,

Richard


[1] http://www2.hku.nl/~mosh/ga/gatheoryshort029.doc



Anyway - I've also set-up a "Top 3 Accessibility Features" section for particular game genres: http://gameaccessibility.blogspot.com/search/label/Top%203

Pinball, Golf, Driving games covered at present. I'd appreciate people's thoughts, and also on any suggestions of companies to contact once we have a basic consensus. I realise there's lots of things not covered - this is not the point - it's to try and get some of the simplest concepts with the lowest potential overheads to the people making games (indies, home coders, mainstream - anyone!).

This stuff stands on the shoulders of everyone's work so far - so please don't think I'm claiming this as my baby. It's not. It's ours - so help us to make it useful... Perhaps we should get a standard e-mail drafted (with further links for more help as it stands presently - e.g. Eelke's design patterns - Game-Accessibility.com - our forum? our mailing list and so on....

Enough from me today I think...

Barrie
www.OneSwitch.org.uk
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