[games_access] Games for All research

Reid Kimball reid at rbkdesign.com
Tue Jul 31 09:51:39 EDT 2007


0_o... no one showed up to the meeting on Tuesday morning, here's what
I wanted to talk about.

Some of you have heard about my suggestion to begin talking about our
work in a larger context of "Games for All" instead of "Games for the
Disabled". I suggest this because I see an increasing trend from
publishers and developers showing great interest in making their games
more accessible, using the same techniques and methods we advocate.
However, they are applying these approaches not to the disabled, but
to the novice gamer who has never played before. The industry wants to
continue this growth and the only way they believe they can do that is
to broaden our reach to people who don't play games. Luckily, their
approaches also benefit those who are disabled, for the most part.

I think our new approach when talking with developers should be to
highlight, that we can help them make Games for All, and as an added
benefit, most features will already help disabled to play their games
without them having to do anything extra.

As an example, Peter Molyneux, famed game designer is working on Fable
2 which features a one button combat system.

"I want as many people to play this game as humanly possible," series
visionary Peter Molyneux told us as he began the demo. "To do that,
it's all about making the experience as accessible as possible, and
doing that comes down to this," he said, holding up the 360
controller. The key to accessibility is simplifying the controls so
anyone can pick up and play the game, he argues. "Action-RPGs like
Fable are 60 percent combat," he said, "so we absolutely have to get
that right. If we're going to make it so that anyone can play this, we
need to simplify things. In Fable 2, all of the combat is executed
with one button."
Source - http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3161110

EA Sports has announced a new control mode in some of their sports
games called Family Play.

"EA SPORTS Family Play on the Wii creates an incredibly accessible and
user-friendly experience that the whole family will enjoy," said Dave
McCarthy, Executive Producer for the three games developed at EA
Canada. "While many fans love to control every piece of the action,
novice players can have just as much fun jumping in to throw a
touchdown pass, nail a three pointer or take a shot on goal. Family
Play brings together fans of all ages to enjoy playing EA SPORTS
games, and even let's them ease in to Advanced play if they desire."
Source - http://games.ign.com/articles/801/801917p1.html

LucasArts, the company I work for is in the this same mindset, that we
must find ways to make our games more accessible so that we can
attract people who don't normally play games.

Because of this recent trend and our ability to position ourself as a
leader in this area, I'm doing some research. I believe that novice
players might experience the same exact control issues that disabled
people do. The only difference is that the novice player is able to
improve their skills to overcome the physical and mental barriers they
first experience. I'd like more thoughts on this, data that proves
this to be true. The only thing I've found yet is this artice,

http://primotechnology.com/issues/004/04/warrior-woman.html, in it I
think I've found many quotes that point to the same kinds of physical
AND learning disabilities as Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia.

In the end, I'd like to produce an article for Gamasutra with quotes
from Peter Molyneux, Will Wright, Sid Meir, EA and anyone else I can
find talking about the value of making Games for All and problems and
solutions encountered.

-Reid


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