[games_access] PS4 controller irritation

Lynsey Graham lgraham at blitzgamesstudios.com
Wed Jul 17 17:14:53 EDT 2013

About 8 years ago, we worked on a game featuring a certain cartoon sponge. One of the levels featured a vehicle section, where you steered and fired a tank.

Right towards the end of the project, we did usability testing on children. I still remember the look of horror on the tank section designer's face as he saw the children at the younger end of the age range struggle with the controls due to the size of the controller vs the size of the their hands. The problem was that you used the right stick to aim the turret, and R1 to fire. The younger children couldn't do both, they had to keep on moving their right hand - aim the turret, then move hand around to fire... by which point, the thing that they were aiming at at moved, or they were being attacked due to being stationary, etc.

This provided a valuable lesson in really considering the audience - not just in difficulty, or in conveying information, but the actual physicality of what you're asking them to do. Outside of kids games, this still applies - don't assume that everybody has the dexterity of a concert pianist (or in the case of Kinect, the stamina of an athlete!).

Other lesson - start usability testing MUCH EARLIER!

It'd be nice if the big manufacturers do start encouraging remapping and alternative control methods - the big button and eye controller setups that Special Effect demonstrated at the Backspace Festival were amazing, but it'd be nice if they were more generally available.


From: Barrie Ellis [mailto:oneswitch at gmail.com]
To: games_access at igda.org
Sent: Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:13:09 +0000
Subject: [games_access] PS4 controller irritation

It's probably the heat, but I found this Sony press statement very irritating:


Just seems like a bit of self-stroking, gob-smacking naivety and two-fingers up to physically disabled gamers... For how long will main-stream consoles keep up this level of contempt I wonder. Atari were onto this in 1983 with the Kids Controller. Surely we should have moved on since then from console producers.

Dual Shock 4 looks like a nightmare to make broadly accessible: http://youtu.be/vv5uI2vlXE8 assuming there's no push from Sony for providing alternatives.

Sony seem to be enemy number one for access to games machines. And it's so sad, because they make great products if you can use them.


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