[games_access] IGDA Newsletter, Great Story on Page 16 and 17.

Mark Barlet mark at ablegamers.com
Wed Feb 10 09:07:19 EST 2010


/start random rambling

I know we have had this discussion off list in the past. I agree that the
game is not perfect for every disabled person out there. But one of the
challenges AbleGamer has to come up with was what was a reasonable
expectation for a MAINSTREAM game to have for accessibility. To your point "
I know a lot of players who just can't grasp RPG's" to make a game that is
accessible to those you call out would in turn make the game not a
mainstream success that it has turned out to be. And if you want to argue
inclusion before profit then I think we are all dreaming. As a gamer I am
willing to accept that there are some things that I may not be able to play
due to my disability, just like I accept that there are NON gaming tasks I
am not able to do, but while I do not speak for the whole disabled gamers,
the ones I know are would rather see a good game that they can not play than
an okay game that they do not want to play.

This is where I have always struggled with game accessibility in the
mainstream space. There is a huge number of disabled people that are fully
cognitive. They are in bodies that are less than ideal, but the cognitive
side of the house is in order. With the technology that is out today there
is no reason why MAINSTREAM games cannot be built to help that disabled
population and still stay mainstream. DA proved it. That said, there is also
this population of folks with cognitive disabilities, and the needs of this
population is 180 degrees of what the other population needs to play and is
a lot more complex to do even if you set out to do it, because many of these
cognitive disabilities manifest themselves in SO MANY different ways. But
even then DA did have one feature that is part of Michelle's top 10, and
that is the ability to pause the game anywhere and do things. DA does that,
and we called it out.

I have had many conversations off list about mainstream gaming and universal
accessibility, and to me, if that is where you want to set the bar, then the
gaming industry will not be able to ever get over the top of it, and because
the bar is so high and so counter to the art of making a blockbuster game,
they will stop trying and move on. That is why AbleGamers has setup the
review system as it has. I can run 100 feet if I have to, I can not run 500
yards if I wanted to... and I am not even going to try because I know I will
fail, and why on earth would I set myself up for failure?

That said, the bulk of the staff of AbleGamers is in fact disabled. Some
more than others but 80% of the staff is disabled. We are working with folks
on the front line of some of the independent gaming space to make sure that
we cover and call out games that are less mainstream and more focused on a
target audience. Look for some of that in the spring.

Anyway way that is my 2 cents... I am sure it is worth far less.

Oh and speaking of text size and my promotion of AbleGamers Mainstream
Accessible Game of the Year,


Off given that BIOWARE makes both games... and ME2 only got a 5.0 on our

/end random rambling

On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 6:37 AM, Sandra Uhling <sandra_uhling at web.de> wrote:

> Hi Barrie,


> that is one of the reason why we should always work in a team. :-)

> Game Accessibility is very complex and sometimes confusing.


> Usually it is not possible to make it accessible for all.

> The only thing we can do is to reduce barriers and give feedback.


> And this is something that works very well in this group.

> I like it that the members help each other and give friendly feedback.


> It would be great, when this would be the same with exergaming groups ;-)


> Best regards,

> Sandra


> ************************************


> Barrie wrote:


> Thanks for the support, Joshua! We appreciate it.


> I think Mark had done a great job promoting this article as I've seen it

> all

> over the place, and the IGDA mag is looking very nice. A great improvment:


> http://www.igda.org/sites/default/files/February2010-IGDA_Perspectives.pdf


> I do think there are some overblown (perhaps just over enthusiastic

> statements) as regards the Dragon Age: Origin's overall accessibility, such

> as: "However, the relatively small font size was immediately addressed by

> Bioware, bringing the number of accessibility problems to zero." and

> "Orders

> can be issued during the pause, allowing anyone to keep up with the game no

> matter the level of cognitive impairment.". I don't agree with those

> statements as I know a lot of players who just can't grasp RPG's, couldn't

> manage the control scheme, and some of whom wouldn't get on with the

> graphics as they stand. However, I can't take away the fact that Mark is

> making some waves and the push for greater accessibility is a good thing.

> I'd say, good effort, but don't forget the niche-of-a-niche disabled

> gamers.

> Now how arrogant do I sound?!


> Barrie

> www.OneSwitch.org.uk

> _________________________________________

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