We all love video games. However, for many of us – picking up the latest game, booting it up and flying through it happens without a second thought. It’s sometimes easy to forget that not every game is created equal. And not every game can be played by everyone. Barriers exist. Some intentional, some less so.
Back in April, Marko wrote a great opinion piece about the importance of accessibility in games. It’s something that can go under the radar but after Microsoft’s wonderful adaptive controller got some headlines and the vitriolic arguments over Sekiro‘s refusal to offer ‘easier’ difficulty options rode the airwaves for some time, the issue of accessibility really started to get some traction again. And that can only be a good thing.
What they mean to me…
It’s something that I realise is close to my heart. I work as a sign language interpreter. I have many Deaf friends. And while I have to admit that, at least in my friend-group, not many are big gamers – adding something as simple as audio descriptive subtitles for Deaf people can literally be game-changing. (Not to mention those of us that struggle with our eyes and how simply adding the option to enlarge text can be a godsend.) My wife has also just recently got into video games. For someone starting out – a lot of what’s available can seem really intimidating. And I can’t tell you how important the ability to modulate difficulty has been in easing that process. She actually managed to complete Super Mario Odyssey thanks to the easy mode. It’s a special video game moment we now both share.
I know talking about some of these features can become really divisive but today I’m hoping we can keep it positive. Rather than argue about the merits in some sort of detached abstract way, I thought we could instead channel some good vibes by mentioning real-world examples and talking about the accessibility features we love in the games we have played and why they were so important to us.
So let us know in the comments section below…What accessibility feature is most important to you?