My GIO 30/30- Day Thirteen

[As Read on GIO.]

[Titled: A Little Talk on Accessibility]

Not all gamers are created equal. I mean- we are, but…we aren’t. Don’t understand where I’m going with this? All of our bodies and minds are different, and some inhibit or prohibit us in different ways. I don’t think of this as a limitation however, rather as an opportunity. An opportunity for game developers to cater to a larger, more diverse audience- which is certainly a win for them and a win for us. They get to do more of what they do best- make and sell games that people will buy, and we (all of us), get to buy them. Gaming accessibility may not be the hot button topic it once was only a few years ago, but it is just as much as an omnipresent issue today as it was then. Mind you, not every game comes packed with accessible content for all types of people- ones with disorders or not. Some games are quote on quote “discriminatory” with their production, meaning that they either did have enough money, time, or care to include subtitle options and other accessible features for the more impaired gamers among us. And also, mind you, have a disorder or impairment of any kind is nothing at all to be ashamed of as a gamer, or as a simple human being. Just because you can’t play some game now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to later. And that is one of the main topics of today’s daily blog- accessibility in all of its splendor.

Simply because a game isn’t currently available in a very accessible format does not mean that it will never be, or that it can’t be reworked and released later if successful enough. This is often the case with Game of the Year versions of retail games, if they weren’t made readily accessible before that particular edition. Games, like movies, cater nowadays to everything from hearing impediments to palsies and other movement inhibiting deficiencies or difficulties. This is not only excellent from a  gaming perspective, but also simply from a technological one in terms of advancement and research. Because of movement impediments and hearing impediments, games and game developers have had to come up with new ways of getting their games and messages to broader and more diverse audiences, and therefore have increased technological capacities in many gaming fields as a result. We already had several languages and options available to us in spoken and written formats, however, now we also have the choice to entirely set or change our control schemes from either pre-sets or to our entirely original and own format. That is an excellent accessibility tool, not just for the disabled, but for any random gamer who simply wishes for an easier experience or one they are more used to in their games. That is the base point of accessibility, and why it is often essential, and becoming increasingly more so among developers today- both because of the attraction of larger, diversified crowds, and because it gives them a better reputation as well at the same time.

In closing on this brief little piece, there will always be more we can do in terms of accessibility, as we can never do enough as we need to obviously. Even if we had completely virtual realities available for every gamer to peruse, they would not all be able to because of their movement issues if one were present- unless of course, we can rig something up like the pods in Avatar…which is a thought, but most likely quite a few years off. Either way, accessibility is a blessing and a curse in some ways, however, it has a vast array of possibilities and pros that totally outweigh the few cons that are present simply because of funding or other issues. I’ve talked about today’s blog and taken in this particular direction mainly due in part to my reading of Josh Straub’s (via DAGERS) blog about his successes in the video game reviews and accessibility field thus far. Something clicked to where I realized that I felt strongly that I should post something on the topic, however related, as a token of both my support and my own feelings on the matter. As a shoutout to you Josh, if you are reading this particular piece of work- I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and I think you will fit in just fine with the game reviewing and perusing professionals among us- as you’re certainly on the right track right now. Keep up the good work.

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Milly Schmidt

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