Here is our selection of resources worth checking out:
Can I Play That
If you haven’t come across this website yet, do check it out. This platform provides accessibility focused game reviews and news – for disabled gamers, by disabled gamers. Here you will find in depth accessibility reviews for games, commentary and opinion pieces from disabled gamers, helpful accessibility guides, and a Community Soapbox feature where you can get to know members of the community.
The guides on their site are particularly helpful, and if you’re thinking about making your own game, or your role involves promoting games – there is something here for you.
SpecialEffect’s Video Game Accessibility Resources
SpecialEffect are a fantastic charity we love to work with at London Studio (more about them at the end of this blog!) They recently put together a resource called Game Access, which digs deeper into video game access! There is information on games, equipment and software for physically disabled players all laid out in super clear way so you can filter through topics.
Accessible.Games is powered by the AbleGamers Charity. It is a free resource designed to make the world of video gaming a more accessible space.
If you’re a game professional that wants to design more accessible games, want input from players with disabilities or more – there are a range of panels and tools available to help support you. The resources are continually evolving and their aim is to connect players with disabilities with the games industry as well as help inspire people to create accessible solutions so that everyone can play. Check them out.
Big Brain Plays: Gaming with cognitive differences
Stacey Jenkins is a disabled content creator and passionate advocate for accessibility in gaming. Their talk shines a light on what it’s like to be a gamer with cognitive difficulties and how some of their favourite games have provided the tools to break down those barriers. There are lots of great examples of how other games have made themselves more accessible for players with cognitive differences helping to break down barriers.
Accessible Game Design – Infinite Play & Infinite Time
This is a great talk by a father of two children with Hereditary spastic paraplegia. He created a custom version of the Microsoft controller to be used on the switch for Breath of the Wild. Here he discusses the limited amount of games that his children can actually play and describes how the hardware is really improving but games aren’t as fast, as many games don’t really tailor themselves to players with motor/cognitive based disabilities. Online games don’t allow players the aim assist they need and don’t allow players to take their time when making decisions.
Accessibility in Last of Us Part II: A 3 Year Journey
This talk is led by Lead Designer, Emilia Schatz and Lead Systems Designer, Matthew Gallant from Naughty Dog. They deep dive into the whole host of accessibility settings available in the game (over 60 settings!) They discuss the development process, including an in depth focus on the features designed specifically for blind and low vision players – a first for the studio. They review how these features were planned for, tested, iterated upon and shipped, as well as key learnings.
Karen Steven’s GDC Talk, ‘I can’t hear you.’
In 2019, deaf game developer and the EA Sports Accessibility Lead, Karen Stevens gave a practical presentation to demonstrate best practices in creating games that the deaf and hard of hearing can still play fully. Some of the topics covered (with concrete examples and suggestions for best practice) will include captioning and subtitles (and the difference between the two), alternate cues, audio channels and more.
Game Accessibility Guidelines
This platform is a collaborative effort between a group of studios, specialists and academics, to produce a straightforward developer friendly reference for ways to avoid unnecessarily excluding players and ensure that games are just as fun for as wide a range of people as possible. There is big range of resources, ranging from the category of basic (easy to implement, wide reaching and apply to almost all game mechanics) to advance (complex adaptations for profound impairments and specific niche mechanics). To start with, check out their help and advice section on how to work with the guidelines.
There are many more resources available and we recommend subscribing to the IDGA YouTube channel for access to many free talks well worth watching. The International Game Developers Association are also the organisers of the annual Game Accessibility conference, dedicated to the advancement of game accessibility. Registration for the event will be coming soon.
Last but not least, we wanted to give a shout out to a charity very close to our hearts. SpecialEffect is a UK based charity which uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities. By using technology ranging from modified joypads to eye control, they find a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities. By levelling the playing field, they bring families and friends together and have a profoundly positive impact on quality of life.
They don’t charge for one to one support and they don’t sell anything. That’s why they rely on donations large or small, and whether involvement is through a donation of time, skills, or funds, simply raising awareness about what they do makes a huge difference.