[games_access] The Human Controller

Reid Kimball reid at rbkdesign.com
Wed Jun 11 11:35:31 EDT 2008

I'm with Barrie. I believe it is the environment and society that
makes people disabled. Imagine in a parallel universe where every
place has ramps, there is no such concept of stairs. People wouldn't
think of those in a wheelchair as disabled because they would be just
as able as everyone else to get around fine. Disabilities are not
inherent in the mental or physical forms but they arise from the
relationship between the physical/mental self and world environment
that produces challenges.

Through the use of my own technology, hearing aids, many people don't
consider me disabled even though I do wear them. In the future,
quadriplegics may be able to control much of their environment with
their minds. They will no longer be disabled but instead magicians!


On Tue, Jun 10, 2008 at 11:54 PM, Barrie Ellis
<barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk> wrote:

> Hi Eitan,


> I actually disagree with Kestrell's "people first stand point" with "people

> with disabilities" (although I did used to use it myself). I've long since

> prefered "disabled people" linking to people being disabled by society / the

> inaccessibility of their environment.


> Take a look through this item:

> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3708576.stm.

> Plus this on the Social Model and Medical Model of diability:

> http://inclusion.uwe.ac.uk/inclusionweek/articles/socmod.htm


> Barrie

> www.OneSwitch.org.uk









> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Kestrell" <kestrell at panix.com>

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

> Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 11:42 PM

> Subject: Re: [games_access] The Human Controller



>> Eitan,


>> 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

>> http://iod.unh.edu/press.html


>> and here is a link which includes links to writing about disability,

>> language to use in interviewing people with disabilities, and more resources

>> http://ncdj.org/links.html


>> Kes


>> ---- 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 applicable.<<<


>>>> "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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