IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group

Games for Health Trailer

More Games for Health videos at the BenSawyer's YouTube channel.


Accessible Controllers Video

AbleGamers interviews GASIG chair Michelle Hinn

Photo of Michelle Hinn. Long term chair of the IGDA's GASIG, Michelle Hinn, has been interviewed by AbleGamers this month. If you'd like to learn more, click on Michelle above - she won't mind.


Default Controls Suck

Alt-Gamers.com is a great campaigning accessible gaming site best described by themselves:

"The lack of support for alternative controls in the modern gaming world is becoming a major concern for many console gamers. With first and third person shooting games in particular, many gamers miss out on numerous great titles due to the omission of Southpaw, Legacy and other alternate control styles.

Why do some developers provide alternate control schemes while others don’t? Which games offer additional control schemes and customization? These are question that resulted in the need for a website dedicated to keeping gamers informed on the use of alternative controls in gaming.

Alt-Controls.com is focused on keeping readers up to date on this issue to prevent gamers from the disappointment of purchasing or renting games that they can’t control comfortably. We offer comprehensive lists and current news on this growing concern in the gaming industry that is being neglected by many developers and game reviewers.

In essence, the mission is simple: Keeping Southpaw, Legacy and Customizable Game Controls Alive."

They also do T-shirts! Found via the AbleGamers.com forum.


Alt-Controls.com and AbleGamers petition Sony

AltControls.com Established Accessible Gaming site AbleGamers.com and new-ish kids on the block Alt-Controls.com have teamed up to launch a laudable petition aimed squarely at Sony's PS3 division. They want support built in at a firm-ware level for reconfigurable controls.

The petition reads:

We, PS3 owners and the members of Alt-Controls.com & AbleGamers.com, request that customizable controller settings should be added to the PS3 firmware.

Right now controller layout options are rather limited in most of the games available for PS3. Left-handed players, accustomed using the left analog stick to aim and also disabled gamers with specific needs in the controller setup would benefit from such a feature. Even "regular players" could take advantage by remapping the buttons to their taste. Not to forget about the players who are used to the legacy control layout.

Technically this should be feasible. For example, PSP received this feature in the 3.95 firmware for the PSone games: "While playing
PSone games on your PSP, you can now customize how the buttons are assigned by going to [Controller Settings] > [Assign Buttons] and select [Custom]."

Please support the petition - and if you're this way Sony (and Microsoft) isn't it time to start making some positive moves instead of backward steps?

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1981: The Year Zero of Accessible Gaming

1981 Year of Disabled Persons Some interesting information has turned up in TheGameReviews.com's "Truly Innovative Controllers For Disabled Gamers" article. Does it really cost $500,000 to "just to talk to [Microsoft] about creating a controller for their XBox platforms"? Frightening if so.

There's some historical background within the article including a little interview with Ken Yankelevitz of KY Enterprises who started adapting and creating specialised controllers after a call from Atari in 1981.

1981 seems to be the year zero in many ways for accessible gaming possibly linked with the UN's "International Year of Disabled Persons". More on the history of accessible gaming here and here within the IGDA's GASIG Blog.

Via: Tera-Kirk Blog


GDC ambassador award: Michelle Hinn...

Image of a Hindustan Ambassador - Michelle Hinn not pictured! ...that would be pretty sweet. But not yet, Michelle Hinn, chair of the IGDA's GASIG has this to say and needs all the support we can muster:

"I am writing you today because one of the (if not the biggest) Game Developers Conferences is reducing diversity programming at an alarming level.

Diversity topics (not just accessibility but all diversity areas) have REALLY been cheated out of GDC this year I feel. I got one tiny and VERY basic talk accepted but we nearly got knocked out completely this after getting our best talk scores and feedback ever last year. I've heard similar stories from others in other area of game diversity

I've decided that I'm "running" for a Game Developer Choice ambassador award because game conferences are really squashing out most disability (and diversity programming in general -- Chris Bateman, Joe Saulter, Ernest Adams and I have been frothing at the mouth about this...as I am sure you are as well!).

For years I've been trying to get a "game accessibility" award in the Annual Game Developers Choice Awards...and we almost had it. Then things shifted with CMP and this year we only had one small proposal on the most basic accessibility information accepted, which I can already read the session feedback now..."Why don't you do the Accessibility Arcade or the more advanced/applied sessions anymore?" There is still need for the basics but if GDC wants to really present "the best of/state of the art" talks then some content control has to be given back to those of us who know what people are currently asking from us. But I digress...

This is definitely not an ego trip thing -- I feel quite humble asking you for your support on this! Because this is not a Gamasutra Reader "voter" award and is instead chosen by an advisory board I am campaigning so every bit of support will help. I just am getting mad at how little attention (and it's dwindling) we (those of us in all areas of gaming diversity) get and I want accessibility to be recognized! And this is the only way I can think of to have an opportunity, if I happen to win, to say on record "next stop? Game accessibility award for GDC awards!" and give props to those who have always been supportive of the accessibility and diversity message.As you know...I, along with members of the IGDA Game Accessibility SIG that I chair, give our blood sweat and tears to keep game accessibility (making sure games are playable by the disabled, the elderly, etc) in the minds of both academia and industry...and we don't get paid for it -- we do it because we believe so strongly in the topic . I've been involved in it for nearly ten years now (before I help start the SIG 7 years ago I did my own independent work on the topic). I've given talks the past 5 GDCs, SXSW, Develop, Montreal, Games for Health and many more industry conferences. Now that I'm finished with my Chapter for Chris Bateman's book I can get back to the SIG book on game accessibility! :)

Here's the info on the award:https://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/choice_2009_nominate.php (it's the last on the list). And just in case...if you don't have a gama registration (I'm sure you do though -- if not no worries! It's free!), you can get one for free. I've never campaigned for an award before and so I feel like a bit of a goof, to be honest! But I would be really grateful for the opportunity to get the issue covered in more gaming media if I should win and be able to give even a 30 second speech!

And if you know anyone else who might get behind the nomination,
please, please feel free to pass the message along! Thank you in advance and I hope you are well! Best wishes for the New Year!




Image of four switch accessible games via NanoGames.The on-line resource of accessible games NanoGames.com is slowly transforming into something very special indeed. Tweaking game settings has become easier, the web-site has been beefed up with helpful information: things are looking impressive.

NanoGames.com owner and designer Dennis Asher had this to say:

"Still lots more planned (many more games, many more features) but I will get as much feedback as I can about the current version first."

Contact Dennis and NanoGames.com here.

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