Video games offer so much more than just simple entertainment, they provide an outlet for those who are unable to engage in physical activities due to their disability. Video games are a great way to experience new worlds and to go on exciting adventures. That’s why accessibility in video games for those with disabilities is essential. It makes all the difference.
In the video game environment, Dr Pamela Rutledge a media psychologist says“ People are relating to you in the context of the game, you are no longer disabled in that environment. You have the ability to improve your self-confidence because you are skilled at something that others value.”
Mark Barlet raised another valid point. He said, “People with disabilities have a trillion dollars in expendable income, there’s money being left on the table if you ignore them.” Mark is a disabled veteran who founded Able Gamers a non-profit that attempts to wield the power of gaming to break down the barriers of economic and social isolation for children, adults and veterans with disabilities
The decision we make as designers, developers and content producers have way more impact on people’s lives than most people working in the industry realize. They determine whether what we make enables or denies access to recreation, culture and socialization.
Make your game accessible
The following are 5 ways to make your game more inclusive.
- Add larger type in subtitles and visual cues for hearing impaired people
- Add audio cues to help visually impaired people to identify objects that they can interact with, in the game.
- Tweak the game to let artificial intelligence or other human players assist when the need arises
- Develop audio games or audio adaptations of games to be played by blind or visually impaired people
- Colour contrast accessibility. It is good practice to aim for a 4:5:1 ratio between the foreground colour and the background colour. This ratio ensures people with moderately low vision can tell the colours apart and see your content.
APX Tool for designing more accessible games
There are many tools available online to help developers make their games more accessible. One of the most popular resources available is the AbleGamers’ Accessible Player Experiences (APX) tool.
It contains information and resources to help developers on this journey of accessibility. It also offers different options such as the inclusion of controller setups, colour contrast, accessibility and subtitling options among others.
Developers also get access to input from players with disabilities so as to ensure that disabled players have a level playing field as everyone else.
Video games are a great way to make meaningful connections, especially for differently-abled people who have few ways to connect and interact with the world. It is, therefore, important for us as game developers to empathize and build accessible games after all as Mark Barlet said, People with disabilities have a trillion dollars in expendable income, there’s money being left on the table if you ignore them.