IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group

PS3 joypad game played with a Head Tracker

Fantastic to see a PS3 being uniquely controlled by a head-tracker and symbols based control grid courtesy of the SpecialEffect GamesLab. Read my previous post The Holy Grail of Accessible Controllers? to find out why this kind of work is so important. Special Effect are making some huge strides for accessible gaming.

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XCM "Magic Link"

Image of two XFPS adapters in front of an Xbox 360 and PS3. XCM were the first to crack Microsoft's anti-choice circuitry enabling gamers to connect just about any Playstation compatible controller, PC mouse and/or keyboard to an Xbox 360 and PS3 with their XFPS adapters.

The latest XFPS 4.0 takes with one hand (PS2 controller compatibility removed - boo), gives with the other (PC reconfiguration tool for remapping controls) and promises something very exciting for the future in "Magic Link". Cribbed straight from their site:

"When using with our new coming product (Magic link), the remote player can help you to pass the game level via the internet from his PC." I wonder...

Tip via ErigBurger with thanks!

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SY!NSO! (Xbox 360) - With One Switch Mode

Squid Yes! Octopus Not So! Virtual Box Cover Art for Xbox 360 Indie game with One Switch mode.About time! The Xbox 360 gets it's first game with a one-switch mode. Forza 3 promised it, Bayonetta may deliver it, but indie title SY!NSO! has it right here, right now in the Xbox Live Indie Arcade.

SY!NSO! is a frenetic arena shoot-em-up where the aim of the game is to score as close to 9 as you can. I've managed 1 and a half so far in one-switch mode, and it was huge fun. The game has some great accessibility features, previously seen in the PC version, including: a practice mode where you are invincible, zoom options and auto-fire modes. Marvellous. You can read more over at the Daily Rodent.

The lovely thing about Xbox Live is that you can try before you buy. From this I spotted another one button playable game in Fishing Girl. This is a pleasant enough fishing game where you can cast off and reel in using a single switch. Best played with a friend nearby to assist with the occassional extra buttons needed. See XNPlay for easy to digest reviews of the huge number of indie games.

Whilst I'm on the Xbox 360, thought I'd quickly share that the Playstation to Xbox 360 joypad converter from Korea, the Xconverter 360, works very well. It still needs a wired Xbox 360 joypad attached, which in this case, becomes inactive. The main downside with this is that you won't be able to use two controllers at once for the same player as is the case with the Max Shooter for joint play.

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Always-Available Muscle-Computer Interfaces

Via Sandra Uhling at the IGDA GASIG mailing list.

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Show and Yell

Image of a rat holding a radar listening device in front of a red spiral. Intended to represent previously anti-accessibility game developers starting to prick up their ears. No offence re. the rat - just liked the Banksy picture.I had a really enjoyable evening on Friday at the "Show and Yell" event run by Pixel-Lab. In a packed room, various indie game developers spoke of their passions in gaming and talked about their latest work.

Absolute highlight of the evening for me was when Rob Fearon took to the mic'. He spoke with a soft voice and powerful words. He asked those who gave thought to accessibility in their games to raise their hands. About five hands were proudly raised including my own.

To inspire the majority with their hands down into future action, Rob explained how each of the accessibility features in his game Squid Harder took about ten minutes to add. These include subtitles, consideration for colour-blind players and a one-switch facility.

Robert concluded by pressing home that adding accessibility options does not break a game, nor ruin the experience. As a player, if you don't want to use the features, no one is forcing you to, but don't deny them from those who need them. Simple really? Thank you, Rob for having the courage to stand up for what is right in our world of video gaming. I feel like this message is slowly getting though. One day EA, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and the likes will hear it and act on it consistantly.



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