[games_access] Legislating for Game Accessibility

Tess Snider this at malkyne.org
Wed Dec 19 19:33:14 EST 2007

On Dec 19, 2007 11:06 AM, Barrie Ellis <barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk> wrote:

> So if an expectancy of "reasonable adjustments" in commercial software was

> introduced (which I truly belive will eventually happen) how badly would the

> artistic side of things be affected? What is reasonable is the tricky

> point... But I didn't see too many shop keepers crying about giving greater

> access to shoppers with different abilities.

You're comparing apples and oranges. You can't just bolt a ramp onto
a game, and call it accessible.

There are some types of entertainment experiences that are simply
incompatible with certain disabilities. This is not due to
insensitivity on the part of the artists, but the very nature of the
experience. Someone who is vision impaired, but not blind, might
really enjoy the extra-large picture provided by IMAX movies, while
someone who is completely blind will get no benefit from the giant

A lot of audio-only games for blind players are made by small,
independent developers. Many of them are labors of love. Would you
force these folks to invest extra time and money to develop a version
of their game that could be played by deaf players? Would you rob
them of the time and money that they might have put towards making
more games for the blind? Legislation can hurt the very people we are
trying to help.

I continue to believe that the push for accessibility labeling
standards is the right approach. This does not mandate accessibility,
but it does create market pressure, and get companies thinking about
how they can tick off more checkboxes. I guarantee you, you'd see
much more widespread coverage for at least the low-hanging fruit (e.g.
captioning, visual cues for auditory alerts, configurable controls,
etc.) than you do right now. As it is, it's hard to get companies to
even remember that some people are left-handed!


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