IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group

Design Tips For: Subtitled Games

Full subtitles (aka Closed Captions if you live in the USA or Canada) in a game, can make the world of difference to deaf and partially-hearing players. Now that games and films have so many parallels, imagine how hard it would be to follow a film without the sound-track. It's not much a stretch to imagine how hard some games become without sound.

My friend, Reid Kimball, has posted a really helpful Mockup of Heavy Rain with full closed captioning. It shows some of the importance of having the mood of music described, the sound effects as well as the essential dialogue.

Reid is offering a service to advise game developers upon how to best include deaf and partially-hearing players. He definitely knows his stuff, after having worked with the team that modified Doom 3 to include full subtitles, and spending many years supporting the IGDA's Game Accessibility Special Interest Group.

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Natal becomes Kinect

Image of HAL's electronic eye from the film 2001. Microsoft's enormously promising Project Natal has become Kinect, and is due for release later this year. Borne of the massive influence of Myron Kreuger's 20th century works and the success of Nintendo's Wii, Kinect could become something special. It could equally well become another missed opportunity to open up gaming to those residing outside of the average gamer demographic.

It wasn't that long ago that I felt that Microsoft, and others, were not hearing the pleas of excluded gamers at all. After a nice e-mail from Microsoft earlier this week, I'm now hopeful that things may be taking a positive turn in attitude. Watch this space, and in the interim, I'd recommend reading Steve Spohn's take on Kinect for another view.



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