[games_access] GDC 2008 Debrief

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Wed Feb 27 00:55:20 EST 2008


Thanks Corey! I see this as a big win for all of us fighting for
accessibility as well -- after five years on the battlelines I feel
that we're starting to move past simply awareness toward actual
implementation and seeing how different companies react/act on what
they learned this year and from how we work with them in the coming
year(s). GDC 08 definitely gave me renewed hope/excitement about how
much we've done over the years and where it's starting to lead us!

We didn't get much/any (?) press coverage this time but it's ok --
right now I feel like we have companies who want to learn more about
which disabilities would make the most sense to implement changes for
as a "first step." And that is way more important at this stage than
any story or film footage could do. Thanks to IGDA for helping me
connect to some people at the top rungs of companies so we can start
making real change happen!

Michelle


>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 proud.

>

>Corey

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

>

>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 Yay!

>

>

>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!

>

>Michelle

>

>

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