[games_access] GDC 2008 Debrief

Corey 'Dis' Krull dis at d-gamer.com
Wed Feb 27 00:34:21 EST 2008

Congratulations guys, I was really hoping that there would be a better
turnout and more interest this year. It makes me very excited that game
developers are taking notice to accessibility issues in games. I'm looking
forward to see what happens with the games at the end of the year and the
future. Anyway, this is very good news for all of us. Keep up the good work,
I know that it's hard to do what you do but all of you make me/us very


DGAMER <http://d-gamer.com/>


Hi All,

I don't have a lot of energy at the moment but I wanted to let everyone know
how well things went at this year's GDC! We/I definitely missed having the
whole gang around this year (or as much of the gang as we have had before)
but it's definitely not the only conference and, in fact, some of the new
smaller GDCs are definitely worth looking into -- they have them all of the
world right now! So we might start sponsoring some SIG members to go to
conferences that are just a train ride away (ie, the european conferences).
More on that later when I figure out when the next batch of deadlines are!

So our big session was Accessibility Arcade: Or How to Do the Jedi Mind
Trick, which was repeated twice unlike the 3 times from last year. So some
overall comments:

* A/V Stuff: Of course the annual "where are the TVs?" "will they be
arriving -- during or after our session" kinds of things came up but thanks
to the conference associates that got worked out relatively quickly and I
didn't have to run all over the expo looking for the GES (A/V) contractors.
The funny thing was this year they set them up in the room next door so it
wasn't a big deal once they knew where to move them to -- and it wasn't very
far to move them! But honestly? That was the worst thing that happened and
it was resolved in time for our session -- sure I did have a few moments of
panic remembering last year but with everything getting solved and everyone
just going ahead and setting up their stations and not waiting for the TVs
before starting helped a lot. So that's not much of a "worst part," eh? :D

* Attendees: This blew me away...and I'm know it blew away Eelke and
Reid too who have seen way too many empty rooms we've presented to. It's
always hard to gauge exact numbers with a session like "arcade" that allows
people to come in late, wander in and out, etc. But basically...we went from
having an average of 2 attendees...to about 60-70 (The CAs gave me a better
count since they were watching the traffic moving in and out) for the 4pm
Wednesday session and about 30 for the 9am Thursday session (not bad for
early morning!!). And they weren't just our usual fans (yes, the cool people
from "games for grandma and grandpa" were there -- cool as ever and always
welcome!). We had people from Sony, Microsoft (and not one of my friends --
a producer of a new racing game who could use Barrie's help actually!), EA,
and much more. Yes...the big leagues! And yes, I cried after the first
session -- I couldn't believe that the months put into this, negotiating
with Natural Point and Emotive and all the individually sent press releases
helped get people in the room. It was just a half a year worth of stuff and
to see people there who were interested and involved...wow...you really
can't ask for much more!

* Presenters:

* Emotiv and Natural Point kept their deal and brought their stuff
(although I was a wee bit scared when they said they'd show up five minutes
ahead of the session -- and after all I went through getting them single
session passes -- yes, I invoked my crying spell on them...it wasn't hard
given that I was in a pain cycle and felt like collapsing. But I had my game
face on! :) And having them come to the session? Golden. So that gamble I
made to ask them to join us paid off -- it got people in the room to see and
do the "jedi mind trick" and then they stayed to check out the SIG stuff. So
next year? We do an all out sponsored session. Thanks to our numbers -- and
the percentage increase over last year -- we're going to look like "wow, ok!
they figured out how to make this accessibility thing work!" So I imagine
that there will be no argument about our getting another session like this
for next year and maybe even make it a little slicker.

* Mark and Stephanie from AbleGamers rocked -- they helped pass out
tons of our session fliers (they were combing the expo and helped me out a
ton because I could hardly move and this undoubtedly helped with getting
even more people in the room) and brought their enthusiasm and passion for
helping the disabled gamer community! Without them I don't think I would
have survived the show this year -- all three of us have our own
disabilities and I think we did a pretty good job helping each other stay
alive! :)

* Reid and Eelke -- Amazing as usual. Reid found a SUPER place to
print and burn the DVDs and they looked great and so professional! And
Eelke's new Blind Hero is something to behold. That haptic glove -- awesome!
Reid's poster looked awesome -- I'll let him talk about his poster session
in another email! And thanks again, Eelke for bringing all your equipment!

* Eitan -- again, always steals the spotlight with his wiimote music
game -- I'm so glad you could join us!

* Barrie, Dimitris -- you were with us in spirit as we showed "Game
Over" and all of the cool controllers -- and we passed out your cards and
the leftover FuturePlay fliers! :)

All -- Wow, all I can say is that this SIG really rocks -- we finally did
it! We had a great show at GDC and with funding that we are getting sorted
out...I'm on cloud 9. What a great achievement for all of us! This IS going
to be our year! We have tons of developers asking us where they should start
with accessibility (ie, which groups are asking for what in which game?
Sure, the numbers and financial stuff will always be there but what a great
feeling that now we are in a position to start talking directly to CEOs to
help them make their first steps toward adding in even just ONE
accessibility feature in future games.

So, hey, let's pat ourselves on the backs for a show well done -- sure we
could have all felt a little better but that's how it goes sometimes. It was
nice to know that we all had each other's backs and the passion for game
accessibility was showing through and through!

Well done, everyone -- and everyone includes everyone who added to the DVD,
helped with fliers, presenters, and just all of you who gave us good
thoughts all week! :)

Ok...need to rest a little now. But I had to give the post mort to the SIG.
I'm working on a posting about how much better this GDC was for game
accessibility to be published on ablegamers too. It was a long year between
this year's GDC and last year's but we've learned a lot and we keep fighting
the good fight!


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