[games_access] Legislating for Game Accessibility

John Bannick jbannick at 7128.com
Thu Dec 20 04:57:26 EST 2007


Tess,

Interesting you should suggest Accessibility Ratings.

Our small company makes computer games for the casual games market.
All of these games have a 7-128 Software Accessibility Rating and Age
Appropriate Rating.
We post the ratings at the electronic point of purchase and in all our
literature.
The Accessibility Ratings aren't perfect by any means, but they're a start.
(In fact, I'm working on a set of specific accessibilty criteria to back
the ratings.)

Check out: http://www.7128.com/supportratings.html

John Bannick
CTO
7-128 Software

At 07:33 PM 12/19/2007, you wrote:

>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

>screen.

>

>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!

>

>Tess

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