[games_access] New Member and thoughts about legislation

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Tue Dec 4 12:20:28 EST 2007

Robert --

Legislation is a whole other ballgame and historically in the
entertainment industry it has been slow to get implemented (remember
the example of movie theatres -- 7 years after the ruling the movie
theatre experience still remains inaccessible to a large number of
potential deaf patrons). And it's put the movie industry at odds with
national disability groups because it's been lawsuit after lawsuit to
try and make what IS the law a reality. My biggest concern with
legislation? It would take a full-time effort of the 4 or 5 of us who
are active in the SIG who are US citizens and all we would have time
for IS the legislation effort -- you can forget all about games. It
would be a purely political move with no time for accessibility
solutions to come from us -- just a mandate.

So ok, I see that what you wrote below that you don't want to take on
the legal issue and still want to go forward with a petition. Give us
some time to read through what you wrote -- this is the beginning of
finals for my university and I have a lot of grading (and papers to
read before I grade them) so I haven't had the time to really come up
with wording suggestions.

There are ways to write the petition so that it comes across as
inclusive and something non-hostile and might be a better approach to
take. Right now your personal anger is coming through -- I don't
blame you, nor am I saying you are wrong to write with passion. I
know from my own experience in trying to make change that it is not
fast and it is frustrating. To take other IGDA SIGs as example -- the
women in games sig has been around for maybe ten years now and they
are STILL trying to raise the number of women in the industry. That
doesn't mean they haven't been trying to change that (and by no means
am I criticizing them -- change is slow) -- and there are a lot more
active community members there than us and I think in comparison we
hold our own given that there are far fewer of us.

We HAVE done a LOT as a SIG -- you have to remember that we are about
10 active members. You are doing a great job in helping us figure out
this angle but you do have to give us time to digest it and then help
with the wording of it. We are all volunteers -- none of us get paid
for work we do with the SIG. It personally frustrates me to hear from
you that we have made zero impact. That's far from true. And it
frustrates me to hear things about projects being dropped -- that's
because the person raising the issue dropped it too.

So no one has said "no petition" -- we just have to have time to
think this through and make sure that it's written in language that
is inclusive and doesn't pit us as overly antagonistic. Petitions do
NOT automatically end up with results.

So please, please don't think we're piling up against you on this --
we're just trying to make sure we make this first move the best move
possible. When you raise an idea to a group, you are going to get
lots of opinions. That's the way it is. So then you start to adjust
and rethink through a few things -- that's totally natural.
Persistence and patience.


>Thanks for the info Mike... I guess it comes down to do we have the

>manpower? Most of the time it's been no. It seems like it's inevitable

>anything that's going to come down to actual results in developer community

>is going to take years upon years upon years.


>I still not understand why legislation would get in the way. It seems like

>the logical step to get someone to help those who need games accessible and

>said of the backdoor way your suggesting, which you are saying makes it

>still fun and innovative.


>I appreciate your thoughts and don't understand what you mean by making the

>software accessible? Do you mean making the game in cell or the software

>that the game developers use accessible? I think they're two different



>We are not concerned with making the software developers use accessible only

>that the developers create videogames that are accessible. I guess you're

>might be calling the videogame itself software?


>>From my perspective I have a paralysis I've been forced to use my mouth to

>play video games, and I can't use my hands so now that I've been around the

>industry for four years, graduating from the Art Institute game art and

>design now, it's so darn frustrating to see that the tiniest little steps up

>to come forward first.


>Maybe this is the way of the industry but it seems ridiculous to have to

>wait for some people who may or may not have the time, which from years of

>this city being open I think three years now, we really have not made that



>There was some contest that we helped sponsor for game accessibility which

>resulted in one of the games called, strange attractors now strange

>attractors tw o coming out.


>I still think there needs to be a group of people behind a movement instead

>of little tiny spurts of people being made aware of some issues, and then

>huge potential for the project not even go through. Talking about working

>on a game independently. I think you were suggesting.


>It's all very frustrating. Who gets the credit? I still believe it should

>be profitable these ideas for accessibility I think that's one of the

>best-selling points out leaning game, I said it time and time again, it

>seems like the industry only responds to examples.


>But who can compete when it takes millions of dollars to make them, with

>thousands of hours of professionals doing time.


>Maybe not legislation is what we need, I repeat maybe not legislation is

>what we need, not legislation, not legislation, not legislation, OK, but

>getting the petition around to the right people.


>And then maybe addressing the issue with some of the big corporations to see

>if they finally will do a project or at least see the big picture were doing



>I mean is exhausting thinking about the time it's going to take which most

>of us can't really spend individual time on these projects.


>To be honest the ideas here don't really go too far we have a couple ideas

>and then they fly away. Not all of them.


>I wish we could all finally get behind at least something and kick that idea

>in the butt until it gets results. Petitions are so easy to do. It's

>tradition for petitions to get results.


>I now understand how doing this would slow down fun and innovation. It's

>about a group of people who have real issues finally being a knowledge and

>industry trying to have some sympathy to understand that and then once they

>grasp the concept, they're mine will finally develop what is needed. It

>really seems selfish to me like I believe you might have said, Mike,


> " One of the big challenges any developer will face here though is


>>unless they themselves have an identical disability, they won't know

>>where to start to make something fun and easy for you to interact

>>with. That's where we need your help."


>That is the big issue. I mean does the entire game design industry have to

>fall fatally ill with injuries for them to finally see the need? That gives

>me an idea,lol, just kidding, there might be something in the water that we

>could get the right people to finally realize what's going on. lol






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

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

>On Behalf Of d. michelle hinn

>Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 11:52 PM

>To: games_access at igda.org

>Subject: [games_access] New Member and thoughts about legislation


>Hey Gang -- we have a new member and for some reason the bounce

>filter got him so I'm resending (Michael -- did you send from another

>address than you subscribed to the list with?). And welcome!




>PS -- we've been slaving away at getting us known in the dev

>community -- we're getting there and we now have the attention of a

>growing number of people. So we soldier on! :)


>>Greetings everyone!

>> Just joined yesterday. I'm a software engineer, basically trolling

>>for ideas for projects to kill some spare cycles and looking for

>>people who might be interested in helping me design and test the same.

> > My primary goal joining this group and the ACM's SIGACCESS group is

>>to try to figure out what types of accessibility software are

>>currently lacking and see if I might be able to fill a niche there.

>>I've got a lot of experience with industrial imaging and

>>automation/control software, and have spent the last several years in

>>consumer audio and multimedia development so hopefully we can find

>>something I can offer.


>>I can't rewrite Doom 3 from scratch to make it accessible to everyone

>>- hell, I couldn't see anything but the 4 pixels in the center of the

>>screen in that game myself - but I have done some experimentation with

>>inserting my code into video games and modifying their rendering

>>behavior. Any ideas from basic utilities to accessibility gaming mods

>>would be much appreciated.


>>On the current topic regarding legislation - I don't think that will

>>be the most productive direction to take. One of the great things

>>about the software industry is that any bloke with a grasp on logic

>>and some time can crank out a piece of software. If it doesn't suck

>>people might even use it. In the game industry specifically, we've

>>seen small groups of individuals with no money but a lot of time and

>>talent completely turn the establishment on its head and create

>>entirely new genres of games. This is one of the things that helps

>>keep the industry innovative and fun.


>>Legislation will create a barrier for independents and hobbyists, and

>>prevent new innovations that don't mesh with the laws. If it's done

>>in a lowest-common-denominator manner in the way the ADA is, it could

>>even create hurdles to those wishing to create games for a specific

>>subset of the market you wish to help. For example, some really neat

>>audio games would be kinda boring for a deaf person.


>>What I'd recommend instead is to try to make your market more visible

>>to the developer community and to approach smaller groups and

>>independents for whom making a game with a smaller target audience

>>might still be profitable or fun. There's a fair number of developers

>>out there like me that just enjoy writing software and do it as a

>>hobby as well as a profession - you'll find a lot of those in the Open

>>Source community. If you want to get their attention, write articles

>>for Slashdot and similar places to increase awareness and to educate

>>the community, then get projects started on SourceForge to get new

>>genres going, etc.


>>One of the big challenges any developer will face here though is that

>>unless they themselves have an identical disability, they won't know

>>where to start to make something fun and easy for you to interact

>>with. That's where we need your help.



>>Mike Ellison



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