[games_access] The Human Controller

Kestrell kestrell at panix.com
Tue Jun 10 18:42:59 EDT 2008


I seem to have missed your original post in which you posted the link, but
here are some thoughts on language and disability:

Certain words and phrases tend to really be button words, as in they will
typically hit many readers' buttons, and the phrase "suffering from" is
definitely one of those phrases. Often the phrase can be deleted altogether,
leaving the phrase "people with disabilities" or "people with visual
impairments" or "visually-impaired gamers," etc. The informal rule is that
the individuals you are discussing are "people first," as mentioned in this
online article

and here is a link which includes links to writing about disability,
language to use in interviewing people with disabilities, and more resources


---- Original Message -----
From: "Eitan Glinert" <glinert at mit.edu>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:29 PM
Subject: Re: [games_access] The Human Controller

> Wow, awesome! Thanks for the feedback, I think you are the only person

> outside of MIT to have actually read this. Comments below.

> Eitan


> On Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 6:48 PM, Barrie Ellis

> <barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk> wrote:

>> Hi Eitan,


>> I've read through your thesis "The Human Controller"...


>> Had these thoughts...


>> Didn't like some of the language used. "Suffering from - impaired

>> people -

>> handicapped". All pretty crusty old terms with negative connotations.


>>>>EG: Point taken. Any suggestions for better terms?<<<



>> Not sure about the controller analysis in Chapter 1 - there's been

>> Driving

>> controllers and light guns since the 70's for many games consoles - which

>> are fairly natural feeling interfaces and have been popular in the past.



>>>>EG: I guess in chapter one I'm trying to draw general strokes about UIs,

>>>>saying that they generally weren't adopted by a mainstream audience.

>>>>Perhaps I should make this more explicit, though<<<


>> "Even if it is possible to remap controls it is not always advisable to

>> do

>> so. Frequently part of the fun of a game is the interface, and changing

>> it

>> without forethought is potentially detrimental. In the pervious example

>> of

>> Wii Sports tennis part of the fun is actually swinging the controller as

>> if

>> it were a racket. If this functionality were changed to pressing a button

>> then much of the game's charm and fun would be lost.". I'm not happy with

>> this statement personally - I'd like to see multiple-layers of

>> accessibility

>> (much like Dimitris "Parallel Universes" theory). Why can't a four player

>> game of Wii Sports allow player 1 to use the Wii-remote - player 2 to use

>> a

>> standard JoyPad - player 3 to use a single button and player 4 to use an

>> adapted Wii-remote with blue-tooth stereo head-set to relay personalised

>> timing sounds (think of live singers having a click track that only they

>> can

>> hear) in an ideal world? You mention this type of thing later as if it's

>> a

>> good thing - so I find this early statement a bit overly negative.



>>>>EG: I agree with what you say, which is why I discuss such themes in

>>>>chapter 2. I guess the reason I have that negative statement early on is

>>>>because I wanted to acknowledge the tradeoff early on, even before I get

>>>>to the sections on tradeoffs. I also wanted to make it clear that I

>>>>don't feel accessibility is a magic bullet, even if it is almost always



>> "Games have evolved tremendously over the past few decades, as

>> advancements

>> in technology have led to amazingly realistic and engaging offerings,

>> while

>> shifts in player demographics indicate the widespread popularity of video

>> games. Despite these changes many different disabled groups are still

>> unable

>> to play most titles due to inaccessible UIs.." - Would argue that too.

>> I'd

>> agree that most Blind gamers would be in that boat (those with very

>> little

>> usable sight) - but a better statement might have been "many different

>> disabled groups are faced with deeply frustrating barriers with many

>> main-stream games". I know Deaf gamers might struggle at certain points

>> of

>> certain games - and gamers using a single button frequently have to rely

>> upon a friend/helper to take on extra controls and so on - but they can

>> still play.



>>>>EG: Good suggestion, thanks! I might make a change to the argument on

>>>>the online version.<<<



>> Chaper 2


>> "Game controls should be as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Not

>> really sure what you're saying here.



>>>>EG: Simplicity is good, but you don't want to go overboard. You don't

>>>>want to cut out critical game elements or features in the name of a

>>>>"cleaner" UI. Maybe that's not clear? <<<



>> 2.5 "a rhythm title like Guitar Hero which focuses on music will not work

>> for the hearing impaired, and it is probably not possible to make an

>> accessible version." - I don't agree with this. Deaf gamers as a whole

>> covers a very broad range of hearing ability. There will be many deaf

>> gamers

>> perfectly able to play Guitar Hero. Even those unable to hear at all

>> might

>> enjoy such a game - did you see Deaf Gamers 8.5/10 review score:

>> http://www.deafgamers.com/07reviews_a/gh3_x360.html



>>>>EG: Wow, I flubbed this one. I'm going to have to change the language on

>>>>this. Good catch, thanks!<<<


>> But aside from this, I frequently found myself in full agreement with the

>> majority of your thesis - and did enjoy reading it. Thanks for making it

>> publicly available.



>>>>Great, thanks so much!<<<


>> Barrie



>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eitan Glinert" <glinert at mit.edu>

>> To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>

>> Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 10:50 PM

>> Subject: [games_access] The Human Controller



>>> Good news, everyone! In a surprise twist, I'm graduating! I know a lot

>>> of you are interested in my thesis, so you can check it out at

>>> web.mit.edu/glinert/www/thesis . I'm happy to answer questions about

>>> it, and I welcome feedback (both positive and negative). Special

>>> thanks to Dimitris, Eelke, Michelle, and Reid for all their help

>>> answering my questions over the months.


>>> In case you're not sure whether it is worth reading, here's some more

>>> info:


>>> TITLE: The Human Controller: Usability and Accessibility in Video Game

>>> Interfaces



>>> Despite the advances in user interfaces and the new gaming genres, not

>>> all people can play all games - disabled people are frequently

>>> excluded from game play experiences. On the one hand this adds to the

>>> list of discriminations disabled people face in our society, while on

>>> the other hand actively including them potentially results in games

>>> that are better for everyone. The largest hurdle to involvement is the

>>> user interface, or how a player interacts with the game. Analyzing

>>> usability and adhering to accessibility design principles makes it

>>> both possible and practical to develop fun and engaging game user

>>> interfaces that a broader range of the population can play. To

>>> demonstrate these principles we created AudiOdyssey, a PC rhythm game

>>> that is accessible to both sighted and non-sighted audiences. By

>>> following accessibility guidelines we incorporated a novel combination

>>> of features resulting in a similar play experience for both groups.

>>> Testing AudiOdyssey yielded useful insights into which interface

>>> elements work and which don't work for all users. Finally a case is

>>> made for considering accessibility when designing future versions of

>>> gaming user interfaces, and speculative scenarios are presented for

>>> what such interfaces might look like.


>>> Eitan

>>> _______________________________________________

>>> games_access mailing list

>>> games_access at igda.org

>>> http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access



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