IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group

E for All

E for All logo.
"E for All" takes place on October 18-21 - at the LA Convention Center in North America. It will be jammed packed with video gaming companies with a ton of games to play. What's really exciting for accessible gaming, is that the organisers really mean it - and have invited us along to promote accessible gaming. See you there?


Cheese Swingers - new one switch game

Cheese Swingers one switch game.
"Cheese Swingers from Blackrat Studios is a one switch game in which the player controls a rat as he swings a piece of cheese around on a string and knocks bees out the air as they try to steal pots of nectar. Weird, but fun. Also included in the zip file is a source template (.gmk) showing how to set up your own one switch game along with a list of websites with various articles on accessibility gaming to help you out."

Reminiscent of an ancient Cinematronics game called Rip Off, this is a lot of fun - and brilliant to see the support for accessible gaming all there from the go.


Dream Gamer

Dream Gamer head-control unit and switch interface box.
The Dream-Gamer head controller and basic switch box for Playstation 2's is due to go into production from next week. I've used a prototype, and can't wait to have a go on the finished item. Good luck to Excitim with this - I hope it's a huge success for them.



Able Gamers has recently undergone a fresh lick of paint. It's looking rather special now, with lots of great features and news items. Nice work.


OZNAKI Project

Non-vocal disabled user of PLUSMINUS via prototype Talking Communicator. The prototype was based on the Poly-88, which was in 1976 the first Intel 8080 microcomputer with built-in graphics.The OZNAKI Project was an educational robotics project inspired by the MIT LOGO Project. The project, which ran from 1975-84, used the very earliest micromputers, including the Australian Poly-88 (in 1976+), TRS-80 (1977+) and Apple II (1978 +).

The Educational aim was the enhancement of mathematical abilities, however, the project evolved to cover enabling technology for disabled users. This included possibly the earliest use of accessibility switches with computers. Learn more on their pioneering "Computer Communication Access and Programming by Severely Disabled Project" at the OZNAKI Project web-page. Perhaps the year zero of switch accessible gaming?


Austin Game Developers Conference 2007 Debrief

So my promised debrief on the Austin Game Developers Conference from two weeks ago...

Richard and I had worked separately on our halves of the presentation until we arrived in Austin. Richard concentrated on examples of audio games and I worked on the game accessibility bits -- the need for, introducing the issues of audio for the hearing impaired (had to give them the other side of the audio issue). The presentation was titled "When Audio IS the Experience: Games for the Visually Impaired" and should be available on the web for download soon. I'll post news when I learn about it.

We weren't sure how the talk would be received given how few people often show for our sessions at GDC San Fran AND the fact we were in the audio track, which isn't the usual track for us (although it made perfect sense once we were there). We'd been invited by the conference chairs -- they tried to get us last year but they asked too late and we couldn't make it but we could this year. So first of all...they wanted the session so badly that they contacted us at the earliest possible time to try to get the session this year. Impressive support for Game Accessibility from a non-traditional source!

So the audience...wow. The head count according to our session coordinator was about 60. GDC Austin is a LOT smaller than GDC San Fran -- so an audience of apx 60 people was pretty huge considering all the multiple tracks going on simultaneously.

Richard and I argued a bit about my "closer" for the talk, which referenced social justice as a reason to care about game accessibility, as we were afraid that might turn off a dev audience who is concerned with the bottom line and not social messages. What was interesting was that we talked about game accessibility "why's" at the END of the presentation so that they got to hear the audio games, get a taste of what we were talking about and then I did my evangelist work. :) But taking the social justice chance worked and I think it was probably because we were talking to an audience of people who are already "right on" with the audio message and the idea that their work could serve another important purpose really sank in. We got wild applause at the end of the talk and we had people talking to us for about an hour AFTER the talk (we went ten minutes OVER time with audience questions alone (20 minutes total)).

In the week after AGDC, I've received some great emails from audience members and I'm hoping we'll get more audio designers on the list very soon. Our talk was also sponsored by an anonymous donation -- I'll tell you who the source was if I can get his permission (I know who it is now). He's an audio designer who first got interested in the idea of gamers with disabilities after DJ-ing a dance for a school for the deaf. He was perplexed as to why they wanted a DJ. The students showed up with balloons in their hands and, of course, he was now really interested in what the deal was. Turns out that as the music started, the students put the balloons up to the side of their faces and danced to the rhythms that they felt through the balloons. Wow. I'd heard some things like facing the speakers down to try and pipe the beat into the floor but with so many students, this was the better option.

Official Playstation 2 Magazine - UK

Official Playstation 2 Magazine - UK (issue 89) - with Accessible Gaming Article.This month sees the Accessible Gaming Campaign take a step into the mainstream, with a five page article in the September 2007 Official Playstation 2 Magazine - UK.

This is the UK's best-selling PS2 magazine, so to have a five page article on accessible gaming is something special. For it to feature interviews with some of the IGDA's Game Accessibility Special Interest Group, including me, is very nice too! Go out and get yourself a copy!



AudiOdysseyAudiOdyssey is a PC music game aimed at all gamers, but intended to be accessible to the blind too. It makes use of a Nintendo Wii controller, but can be downloaded and played without one too. More on this at AudioGames.net.

Via: Eelke Folmer.

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(CRASH) - (BRICK WALL CRUMBLES) - "Why, hello!"

Greeting everyone, please forgive my destructive entrance into this blog. I am Reid Kimball, a member of the IGDA Game Accessibility SIG and my focus is on closed captioning in videogames.

A quick note to say that in September 2007 issue of Game Developer magazine, on page 61 there is an article titled "Audio Accessibility" written by Jesse Harlin, a music composer at LucasArts (where I work a well). It's a great article as an introduction to using closed captioning in videogames and he also mentions audio games for the blind/visually impaired. Informative article all around, check it out.

Welcome to the IGDA Game Accessibility Blog!

This is a place for announcements and news on all things about accessibility and games!


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