Hi Dakotah,
Well said. My thoughts exactly. As a game developer myself i certainly know many games can be made accessible. on the other hand there are limits to how far I can go with accessibility. Obviously anything specifically requiring vision won't work at all. Often times there is simply no sound for a certain item, object, etc. Sometimes the design of the level is such that it is hard if not impossible to navigate while being blind. A case in point. In Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness there is a room in the Hall of Seasons filled with lava. There are little stones jutting up out of the lava you can use to jump onto to get across the lava. however, they are at such odd angles I have never managed to get lined up correctly to jump on to them. Plus when you land on one it starts to sink meaning once you get over the lava, get the crystals, you can not use the same stones coming back across. There are sighted gamers that have troubles playing that level, and it is impossible for a blind person to play it without some serious sighted help. I've tried coming up with my own accessible version of that level and it isn't easy. If a company was really going to make the game accessible it would be better to just scrub the entire level or line all the stones up in a row or something. That would in turn defeat the challenge for sighted players. There is only so much we can ask for before companies tell us point blank accessibility can't be done without sacrificing large portions of the games replay value.


 Dakotah Rickard wrote:
 I agree that there are many games which would only require
slight tweeking to make them accessible, there are many more which
would require an overhaul of the entire game structure. Consider the
popular game, The Sims. If one wanted to make that accessible, first
of all, they would have to find a way to label anything and everything
in the game somehow. There would have to be an enormous amount of
keystrokes, which I've found most people don't like, and you'd have to
slow down the game clock to get everyone to be able to do what they
need to do.
Many of the developers of the world aren't big developers,
percentage-wise, but almost every game you see on store shelves was
released by a company. If you're part of a company, it doesn't matter
whether you have no blind family members or come home to a completely
blind wife, kids, dog, and toaster oven. You do what the companyies'
higher-ups say. If the higher-ups have blind family members, they know
that it sucks that there aren't many games for the blind, but they
have a company to run. Let's face it. We are a minority. Not only are
we a minority, we're a hard minority to grasp, because it's not based
on ethnicity or creed or anything like that. Some people, from every
population, are simply blind.
So, if you take the fact that making some mainstream games accessible
is a project that would either be impossible or would take the fun out
of the games, combined with the industrially required indifference of
big companies, we either need to get all the developers of accessible
games together into one company that has loads of talent working for
it, or we need to rely on individual developers to do the best they
can. I'm not saying that it's impossible for big companies to
eventually consider us when making games, but it's going to be a
while, and there are some games that, I believe, we are going to have
to accept that we just can't play. It kind of sucks, but there it is.

Signed:
Dakotah Rickard


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