[games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Mon Dec 3 16:29:50 EST 2007

I do agree with Ben, that walking down the political road is one to
take with caution and one to do in the right way in the right time. I
actually REALLY don't want us to take the lawsuit approach -- I've
been reading up on a lot of US constitutional law and the ADA and
this needs to be done VERY VERY well -- and be VERY VERY planned out.

As I was trying to point out -- national groups for the deaf are
STILL fighting after 7 years to get movie theatres to do what was
determined by the law (the ADA) had to be done. So a petition is not
going to result in action happening soon either. And done in an
antagonist way...we might indeed be seen as a group that's
anti-industry. The industry gets a LOT of political pressure just in
trying to even have the right to exist (think of all the people in
the government that would LOVE to see videogames go away -- tip the
scale just a little too much in the wrong way and we may give those
same government leaders MORE reason to try to make videogames go away
-- they are not only "bad" but they are "discriminatory."

I know...it sounds crazy. But the second we jump into political
waters, we have to be very savvy about what we are getting into.
Political spin is an obnoxious reality.

We do have ways of reaching people through surveys -- it's the same
way we would reach out to them with a petition. Why not think of a
way to combine the spirit of the petition in with a survey that we
send out press releases about. After we get initial results, we can
send out another press release and then go to industry leaders and
say "hey, this is interesting -- look what we found out?" Then we can
work with them to help try and create a position statement on what
the industry could be doing to correct this.

At the same time, we can send the press releases to the people in the
government with the goal of saying "hey, before you get on the
anti-videogame bandwagon again, check out what we know is a POSITIVE
thing about videogames."

This is not meant to be a cop out -- it's just about planning the
appropriate approach that will get the most action. Petitions are
cool but that might not be the best way to approach things in the
political world. So let's not stop our work in getting this figured
out -- let's keep pushing to figure out what the best first step is
going to be. This in uncharted territory for us and we need to know
the historical lessons of what other groups in the entertainment
world have learned so that we don't repeat any bad history.


>That's cool Ben I appreciate what you said.


>>From my experience and the experience we've already gotten results from

>leading industry people, there is no solution.


>I think it's ridiculous I don't think the sig will be viewed as an enemy I

>think it's a necessary step.


>The part about doing surveys and trying to find and research information is

>fine but I don't know how easy it will be because I don't think any of us

>has a direct way to actually go out and survey the people we need. And now

>we need that.


>It will make the petition stronger. Brainstorming is needed how do we get

>these surveys? Who do I contact, in person or just e-mail?


>The industry already we know they don't design excessively and we know they

>don't like the government messing with them, this is an entirely different

>thing. We're not saying they are ruining our child's development with

>violence, sex, drugs and alcohol, they are just saying we are discriminating

>against interested consumers. So that might be a little similar but either

>way you look at it I think a necessary thing.


>If anything I think a petition just serves to show whoever needs to see the

>information whether it be government, the industry leaders, whomever, that

>there is real backing behind this movement.


>Coupled together with what I think is a great idea for some research and

>surveys. But from what I researched petitions are not very detailed they

>become very lengthy and hard on the viewer to understand. They need to be

>right to the point specifically so I wrote up a draft I hope some people

>might look at it and say something.


>But I don't think waiting, Ben, like you might be suggesting, I might be

>wrong, for actual games to be made to show how it can be done most likely

>won't happen. Because we can't wait around for process of natural

>selection, I'm not an evolutionist, but it sounds funny that way the way I

>said it. I mean someday hopefully a big-time company might go all out on

>accessibility but that's like waiting and wishing not knowing anything.

>When and where.


>I appreciate your thoughts definitely agree that surveys will really help.

>In the meantime I think it's great to have a petition ready. I hope you

>look at the draft I wrote. It's in a previous submission.


>I think we absolutely should not be afraid of the industry. If we are

>afraid of them thinking of us as campaign issue starters and becoming

>opponents instead of partners, I feel like we will lay down our initiatives

>waiting for them to do something instead of going out and making it happen

>faster. It's a human rights issue and claiming I think everyone can see the

>industry is not budging. It's subjective with, budging, the way I mean it

>is there's absolutely no big talk on any huge game releases worldwide

>showing there is a movement supported by the industry. Besides independent

>gamers and designers but that hasn't made an impact.


>If we can rally the right people behind us coupled with surveys than we can

>get hopefully important people inspired to actually maybe do something. I

>think when people stand together in a crowd, it holds a lot more weight,

>than one or two people standing alone together pointing to a direction where

>everyone should be. When you can plainly see everybody already is behind

>these hypothetical 2 people to walk that direction. I think that's basic

>psychology and the way humanity approaches most serious issues.




>-----Original Message-----

>From: games_access-bounces at igda.org [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org]

>On Behalf Of Ben Sawyer

>Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 1:59 PM it's pretty

>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.


>So hear me out as a friend and consultant in this regard...


>I would not do this right away. I think you need to wait until there

>is a strategic plan in place to properly address this as a potential

>campaign issue (by campaign I mean campaign by the sig not the actual

>presidential campaign).


>If the SIG is viewed as trying to simply apply political pressure on

>the game industry then it will be viewed by the industry as an

>opponent vs a partner. Right now I think there is more work to be

>done as a partner then an opponent. I think also you will have a

>much better time applying political pressure when the solutions for

>such games are better researched and documented in such a way where

>the argument is reduced to implementing very defined solutions.


>In the meantime why not start something where you gather online

>information about people with disabilities and what games they can

>and can't play or wish they could, etc. And have the identify what

>makes them semi or entirely unplayable - vision impairment

>nothwithstanding. In the case of vision impairment if we're talking

>absolute blindness we should instead understand what games could be

>playable if they did make a slight change. Obviously no one with

>severe vision impairment is playing Halo anytime soon. This data

>captured properly would put a bigger face and set up numbers on the

>issue much better and is a stalking horse for what comes next...


>You could create a survey via survey monkey and then also capture

>email. Then later you could potentially turn these into bona-fide

>petition holders if you felt like you were getting an absolute cold



>My worry is that what you will do with something like this is

>basically redefine the SIG along seeing this requiring a governmental

>political solution. The games industry is not really great at

>reacting to such overtures.


>I don't want you to not think this is a valid option - it is - but to

>me done wrong it's the wrong option at the wrong time.


>- Ben



>On Dec 3, 2007, at 1:06 PM, Robert Florio wrote:




>> I know what you mean Michelle. But the bottom line is there needs

>> to be

>> something created so that the entertainment world has a standard also.


>> Take for example the product brought out by the movie industry.


>> In order for their productivity listened to by people with heart

>> hearing,

>> the movie theaters themselves by law, have to provide assistance

>> technology

>> to help the people either see or hear with devices.


>> To me that seems like not exactly the same thing but something

>> similar.


>> The game design industry also provides a product that is not equal

>> opportunity to enjoy.


>> If we can get the petition circled around then we can send it to

>> the right

>> people who know the law and who can help us voice in if they see

>> the need,

>> which will combine the most important people we can find to sign it.


>> Even if we just get around to the people we need to sign it, and

>> then send

>> it around to officials, and nothing happens, I think it makes a

>> very loud

>> statement. Because then it can be documented who signed it.


>> I would imagine trying to get the key names in the industry to sign

>> it.

>> Even the employees for those companies.


>> Not to mention sending it out to all the important institutions.


>> On their web site for the petition web page they do say that it's

>> prohibited, not allowed, to mass e-mail yourself they set it up

>> somehow

>> targeting it to the right people I'm not sure how.


>> I do not know what that's all about. Seems kind of crazy.


>> Robert



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