Accessible Gaming: An Introduction
Gaming is brilliant fun, but it is harder to access the world of gaming when you have a disability. In a series of blog posts over the coming weeks, I will be reviewing the various ways that people with disabilities can access games over the Internet or through the use of games consoles, such as the Xbox or the Wii U.
As someone with a visual impairment myself, I can understand the frustration of wanting to play a game that is not accessible. I used to have help from family and friends to ‘clear’ particular levels on games that were simply not accessible due to my vision. However, with technology now evolving so rapidly it is becoming easier for disabled people to access gaming.
In this first blog, I am going to review some gaming websites that are designed for people with disabilities.
1. Able Gamers – This is a charity which aims to increase the accessibility of gaming to include everyone regardless of their disability. It provides news and reviews on both video games and assistive technology, as well as a comprehensive list of video games and how accessible they are to people with a range of disabilities. I found this site relatively easy to access, although bolder font and clearer layout would have been helpful. A bit more news would be helpful – this seems to be more where the website advertises events – but still a good resource.
2. 7-128 Software – This website has a list of the top 25 games for those who are motion impaired, as well as other ‘Top 25’ lists relevant to those with other disabilities. This includes sight impaired, hearing impaired, and colour blindness among others. I found the website incredibly easy to use because it has clear graphic, large font in bold type and the ‘Top 25’ lists are arranged clearly and neatly.
3. OneSwtch – This website is designed specifically for switch users. It has a wide range of games for people who use switches to access a computer, and there are some games that need only a single press of a switch to be played. In addition to this, there is also a rating system where the website tells you how accessible a game is for switch users. The site also includes a blog, which highlights the latest news in accessibility gaming. It also has an accessible gaming shop on the website. I found the website easy to navigate, the links were very clearly displayed and the blog posts were clearly written and engaging. I also liked the fact that the website has an online shop where you can purchase switches, adapted controllers and so on.
4. Ian Hamilton, an accessibility specialist, talks about how to make games accessible to disabled people. He encodes games which he has created to make them accessible and encourages others to do the same. This interview was transcribed from BBC Click. Hamilton talks to Gareth Mitchell about how the accessibility of gaming has changed significantly and how it can be improved, also about how he himself is designing accessible games. I thought this interview was brilliant as Ian explained very clearly not just how he wanted to make the games accessible but why it was so important for disabled people’s inclusion.
5. Game Accessibility.com – This is a website with a gaming forum specifically for people with physical disabilities. I used the website myself and it is relatively easy to access, although the links could be made a little clearer. Other than that though, it is easy to access and has a wide range of forum posts about different aspects of gaming.
So there you have it; accessible gaming in your front room! These gaming resources are undoubtedly the way forward.
Blog by Maya Haynes
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