IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group

GTA IV - As inaccessible as ever...

Grand Theft Auto Four Xbox 360 Box Cover.
Ach mein gott! I've just seen the leaked control layout for the PS3 version of GTA IV - which makes this Alienmelon layout look simple! If only Rockstar would consider adding an optional context button with a simple drop down menu - you could cut the number of controls down by around 80%. It's just too many buttons for too many gamers - and it's not fair! GTA's are fun IF you can play them (and you're old enough).


Games for Health 2008

Games For Health: Image of a night time city-scape.Mark Barlet, Editor-in-Chief of AbleGamers.com, is participating in the Games for Health 2008 Pre-Conference workshop May 7, 2008. Mark will be speaking at 11:10am on the subject "Games Accessibility from the Players Standpoint" at the Baltimore Convention Center. The day will be filled with speakers from all over the accessibility in gaming field, including Dr. Michelle Hinn, Ben Sawyer, Ben Heckerson, and more. "I think it says a lot about how far AbleGamers has come for us to be invited to Games for Health. The real winner in this is the disabled gamer, the more people are aware of the issue, the more game we will see open up to everyone who wants to play them.

See AbleGamers for more.

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Michelle invited me to post on this blog so I hope this is helpful update to the previous post!

Broadened Horizons (GimpGear) has a very limited quantity (only 18) of the Super Robot Wars One-Handed Controllers in-stock New-In-Box! Perfect for individuals with full dexterity in one hand such as stroke or amputees. Get one before they are gone!

These controllers are no longer manufactured and have become quite difficult to obtain and at high cost. Almost unheard of new in box. However I told a veteran returning from Iraq I would find one for him and did a bit better. Luckily I had a few contacts from back from when I used to teach software quality test automation/verification to development groups at some of the high-tech companies in Tokyo and Seoul prior to my plane crash in 2003.
These are the silver version which offer maximum compatibility. Indistinguishable from the original PS2 controller by most games. Also compatible Also tested compatible with a variety of adapters we have available for the PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox, GameCube, and even PC gaming with reprogrammable buttons and dual joystick support! (These controllers are like the DragonPlus RPG DuoCon2 but the D-pad is positioned for left hand thumb, although the controller can be used right-handed.)

Mark Felling - President, GimpGear by Broadened Horizons

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GAIM article at CGAT, Singapore

A paper about my master thesis "Game Accessibility Implementation Model" (GAIM) was accepted for the upcoming Computer Games & Allied Technologies - CGAT Conference, Singapore.

Via: Thomas Westin - Pin Interactive.


New One Handed Controller - Your Thoughts Appreciated

Image of a prototype one-handed video game controller. (c) LEPMIS and Geoff Harbach.There is quite a shortage of one-handed controllers available today for non-Wii games consoles. You may be one of many people who tried and failed to get hold of the elusive "DragonPlus RPG DuoCon2" controller. OneSwitch and Broadened Horizons can supply people with some one handed controllers, but these still don't suit all.

Help may be at hand. Geoff Harbach of LEPMIS is working on a new design of one-handed controller that will come in left and right handed style (see prototype photo above).

To help him design the best controller he cans - he needs to hear from the people that count. Those that would potentially use one...

Do you think the idea of the two joysticks, top and bottom is a good idea? You would control one with your thumb, and one on your leg / gripping surface (see the black and white image above).

Would you want "ALL" of the buttons of a conventional JoyPad controller?

If it is not possible to fit all the buttons into the hand-held controller - what switches or functions do you feel would be the most important to have easy access to?

Would you actually just prefer the "DragonPlus DuoCon2 RPG" style over the grip-stick prototype?

Please contact Geoff with any thoughts you have here: Geoff@LEPMIS.co.uk. It would be greatly appreciated.


Mario Kart Wii - Supporting Alternative Controllers

Mario Kart - WiiLight ripple of applause for Nintendo: Mario Kart Wii allows gamers to use alternative controllers - including "Classic Controllers". This is fantastic news for gamers unable to use the traditional Wii Remote.

Using GameCube or Playstation controllers (via a Playstation 2 adapter) a huge range of alternative controllers can be used to play this game - including switches. At last! - but, please Nintendo - don't make this the exception! We need more games with this facility or you are cutting a lot of people out of the fun...

Via: Guardian Games


A New Way To Live - DVD by Robert Florio

A New Way To Live - DVD by Robert FlorioIGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group member Robert Florio has just released his first full length film, "A New Way To Live". This DVD, directed and produced by the man using head-controls over a two year period, documents his life and passions. These includes how he dealt with becoming paralysed at the age of 14, his friends, family and a sizable chunk on accessible gaming and his superb art work.

Proceeds will support Robert to keep supporting the push for greater accessibility in gaming. You can purchase his DVD on-line at RobertFlorio.com. Great work, Robert!

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Last Atari Arcade Game - Hidden Accessibility Feature

Promotional Flyer for Atari's 1999 game San Francisco Rush 2049. Special Edition poster pictured from 2003."I found this out by reading the manual for [Atari's] SF Rush 2049 one slow day at the arcade I managed. There is a section there where it states that the game has an option where players that don’t have the use of their feet can play where the game will do the gas for you. I checked it out and it’s an option that can be set by the operator - the only problem is that it takes a couple of seconds of not stepping on the gas for it to work (I tried it out of curiousity) but either way it lets someone enjoy the game [who might not be able to otherwise]."

Via: ArcadeHeros.com


Colour-Blind Gamers: Common - Developer Awareness? Minimal

Image of colour matching puzzle game: Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo as seen by someone with normal eyes and by someone with Deuteranopia (a red-green color deficit)There's a good article on the barriers facing colour-blind gamers at the somewhat unfortunately titled ARS Technica (well if you're from the UK anyway!). Don't let that put you off as it's a neatly put article.


Experimental Audio Games 2008

Experimental Audio Games 2008
"It's that time of the year again! Groups of game design students of the Utrecht School of the Arts have developed 13 small audio game prototypes! Try them out and let the developers know what you think in the forum! You can find all the experimental audio games, as well as many others from the previous years, in the Experimental Audio Games Section. Have fun!"

This is my favourite time of year for Audio Games. "Typing of the Deaf" sounds especially fun - although shouldn't it be "Typing of the Blind and Partially Sighted"? Not so catchy I guess!

Via: AudioGames.net


4Noah - One Switch Accessible Driving Games

4Noah one switch projects just get better and better! Really exciting pioneering accessibility work.

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Inaccessibility Simulator

Liz Car"I hate amusement arcades. When I was a little wheelie on holiday with my family in Wales, this was one of our safe havens on rainy days. Dad would ration out the two pences and send me and my brother off into a world of flashing lights, electronic beeps and underage gambling.

We both had very different experiences. My brother would have the best time, returning with handfuls of silver coins and tales of winning against all odds. I would have the worst time, returning with the same number of copper coins as I began with and tales of being the biggest loser.

I couldn't reach to put the coins in the slot machines, the strength of my two arms was no match for the one armed bandit and even if I had won, I couldn't have retrieved my winnings. I tried other 'amusements' but I was no pinball wizard, didn't score with table football and never got to grips with the claw.

Years later, amusement arcades became video arcades and I hoped that the new virtual reality would be virtually accessible. I was still too young to learn to drive so I couldn't wait to try the car racing simulator. You paid your money to sit in a car seat, push on the pedals, and steer your way to victory. I transferred into the seat. The screen barked out instructions to hurry and a countdown began. I tried to drive but I couldn't; being a short arse, my feet didn't reach to put the pedal to the metal and with my crippy arms, grabbing the steering wheel was just a distant dream. There were no virtual car adaptions, no steering knobs and no hand controls. I was sitting in an inaccessability simulator."

Read the rest of Liz Carr's excellente column at Ouch!

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Retro Remakes

Retro Remakes: Classic Gaming For The Next Generation.Our friends at Retro Remakes have posted a great Accessibility update. Amongst other things it details the progress of the very exciting "4Noah" project - making previously inaccessible games accessible to one-switch gamers. It also points to a few new one-switch games and hints at something coming in the Autumn. Can't wait!

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Xbox 360 Controller Rumours

Xbox 360 Wii-mote. Rumours of a simplified Xbox 360 controller: Via Kotaku. I'll believe it when I have it in my hands.

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Game Informer: Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Feature: Part one of a look at how implementing accessibility features for disabled gamers ultimately improves everyone's experience. There's a great article on game accessibility up at Game Informer written by Meagan VanBurkleo. It comes in two parts and is very much worth your time. Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


Brain Control

O.C.Z. Brain Controller. OCZ Technology are due to release thieir £100 ($200) "NIA" Brain Controller on the 21st of April this year. This device will enable users to map certain thought and muscle movements to individual key presses on a keyboard. With about an hours training - games are claimed to start to become accessible completely hands-free.

Having used something like this before - it's likely this controller will best suit slower paced games - but none the less - this looks exciting.

An alternative mind controller is the
Emotiv EPOC due in late 2008. Of historical note - Atari were working on something like this in 1984 with their "Mind Link", but never released it.

Via: Special Effect

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One Switch Duelling

TIG Duels For Extraordinary Gentlemen

"TIG Duels For Extraordinary Gentlemen" is a highly accessible duelling game for two one-switch gamers. Pick your head - pick your weapon (i.e. hit your switch/key of choice) - then let the battle commence!

If you don't have a ready opponent - it seems that it is also possible to duel on-line in an updated version of the game. Set up your computer for on-line play then pick a time for your duel across the internet against a friend/enemy!

The Independent Gaming Source



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