[games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?

Ian Hamilton i_h at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 20 21:25:16 EST 2014

Personally, I agree completely with the importance of all the below, however there is already an IGDA SIG with precisely that mandate - the diversity SIG.

Despite all of the great work done by not only AG & SE but also the many other other people involved in game accessibility advocacy (from vocal individual advocates such as Brian Bors and Brandon Cole through to industry/government bodies working behind the scenes, from gamers to researchers, from internal studio/publisher champions through to university educators), accessibility unfortunately is still not taken care of.

It's easy enough to see from other industries that you can never have too many people working towards the advancement of accessibility, and certainly as lack of awareness is still such an issue, every voice counts. There are many many alternative ideas and routes to take, more than could be addressed by the number of people working in the field at the moment, and I personally wouldn't want to see any move in the direction of less people focussing on it.

Diversity and accessibility are also two different topics with very different legal and practical knowledge required, people who know about accessibility aren't necessarily the best to be working on diversity, and vice versa - I've seen all of that first hand from internal corporate set-ups, it can go pretty wrong.

If the accessibility SIG was to establish closer ties with the diversity SIG that would be great, but that's something different again.

So in short, yes diversity is critically important, but I honestly don't think that changing the focus of an accessibility group to instead be about diversity is a good way to go about furthering it, especially when there's already a direct sister group that has that mandate - the IGDA obviously doesn't need / can't have two diversity SIGs.


----- Reply message -----
From: "Steve Spohn" <steve at ablegamers.com>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Subject: [games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?
Date: Sun, Dec 21, 2014 00:57

I, for one, would like to see and strongly believe *should *the SIG
concentrate on getting people with disabilities employment opportunities
within the game industry, while AbleGamers and SpecialEffect continue to
lead the charge for gamers with disabilities. With much gratitude to an
increasingly welcoming community, both organizations continue to gain steam
in both funding and technological enhancements, effectively taking care of
the making 'games accessible' push we would all care about.

It is my sincerest hope to see GA-SIG re-direct its efforts in 2015 towards
supporting game *developers* with disabilities. The employment statistics
for people with disabilities are nightmarish, at best, and the number of
game developers who identify as having a disability are extremely low. The
bullet list below should not be the mission of this group, as it defines
75% of what AbleGamers and SpecialEffect already does. but rather than
focus this group overlapping what is already being accomplished, GA-SIG
could be making huge advancements in the support of developers with

Imagine the incredible inside push that could be accomplished from this
SIG, which is owned by the International Game *Developers* Association, if
all of you (including lurkers who read and don't post) were to come
together and start really advocating for developers with disabilities. Then
game accessibility guidelines like Includification and Ian's guidelines
become less critical because people who have disabilities will be in the
industry, fighting from within, instead of us pushing from the outside in.
The knowledge will already be inside the industry itself and therefore
accessibility becomes a part of the gold standard instead of an initiative.

>From someone who has been a part of this group for eight long years, it is
always been a group about the long game. While SpecialEffect and AbleGamers
are fighting in the trenches of here and now, you all are ensuring tomorrow
will be a land of equal opportunity for game developers.

I cannot speak for SpecialEffect, but I can almost guarantee they would
share my sentiment in that we would love for there to be no need for our
organizations. We would love for games to be accessible to all and the
technology to be covered by government insurance plans,. By supporting game
developers with disabilities, you'll change the world of video games from
within, and maybe, just maybe, lessen the strain on us nonprofits, enabling
us to focus on gamers.

Have a great holiday season everyone,


On Sat, Dec 20, 2014 at 5:14 PM, Thomas Westin <thomas at westin.nu> wrote:

> Hi Sandra,
> I think most people might have gone offline for holidays by now :) but
> adding to Ians thoughts, the description below (quoted from our website)
> have been the aim almost since the start in 2003 (perhaps slightly modified
> over the years), but your question is very legitimate:
> - some of the points in ”what we do” section have already been well
> achieved by members of the SIG and others; e.g. regarding points 2, 3 and 5
> (bold text): there are now various sets of guidelines, whitepaper, website,
> recurring attendance at GDC / other conferences, academic papers by various
> members of the SIG
> - Point 6, to develop a road map, well there is a session to look forward
> to
> http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/building-a-manifesto-for-game-accessibility
> - the final (seventh) point relates directly to your question :) and this,
> and the non-bold points are perhaps not so clear aims, more of what is
> needed to be done continiously to reach those aims
> Our Mission Statement:
>    - “Computer and console games are an important cultural and quality of
>    life issue. By collaborating with the rest of the game development
>    community the Game Accessibility SIG intends to develop methods of making
>    all game genres universally accessible to all, regardless of disability. In
>    order to do this we will promote education of game developers in
>    accessibility design, tax incentives for accessible game developers,
>    corporate sponsorship and accessibility ratings.”
> What do we do:
>    - Work together as a community to make great games accessible.
>    - *Develop accessibility methods and share this knowledge within the
>    community.*
>    - *Define the needs raised by different disabilities and game genres.*
>    - Push the current game technology to its limits from an accessibility
>    perspective.
>    - *Learn from accessibility design in other areas.*
>    - *Develop a “road map” to what accessibility designs are possible
>    today and in the future.*
>    - Collaborate with professionals and students alike on what they can
>    do to make a difference.
>    - Develop the above goals further together.
> Best regards,
> Thomas
> 20Dec 2014 kl. 20:29 skrev Sandra_Uhling <sandra_uhling at web.de>:
> other thoughs?
> *Von:* games_access [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org
> <games_access-bounces at igda.org>] *Im Auftrag von *Ian Hamilton
> *Gesendet:* Freitag, 19. Dezember 2014 23:28
> *An:* IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
> *Betreff:* Re: [games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?
> For me, it is to get at close as realistically possible* to the only
> barriers to participation and enjoyment being those that are actually
> required as part of a mechanic.
> *it won't ever be completely possible, as developers and manufacturers
> won't ever stop having new ideas
> Ian
> ------------------------------
> From: sandra_uhling at web.de
> To: games_access at igda.org
> Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:51:35 +0100
> Subject: [games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?
> Hello,
> one important question:
> What is our meta aim?
> What do we want to reach?
> Kind regards,
> Sandra
> _______________________________________________ games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org
> https://pairlist7.pair.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access The main SIG
> website page is http://igda-gasig.org
> _______________________________________________
> games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org
> https://pairlist7.pair.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access
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> _______________________________________________
> games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org
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> The main SIG website page is http://igda-gasig.org

Steve Spohn

*Chief Operations Officer*

AbleGamers Charity
AbleGamers.com <http://www.ablegamers.com/> | Facebook
<http://www.facebook.com/ablegamers> | Twitter

Read the award-winning, critically acclaimed set of game accessibility
guidelines for developers to create mainstream games that are accessible to
*everyone*: Includification.com
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