Acessibility for Computer Gamers

Image of the Game Accessibility IconA group from The Netherlands, the Bartiméus Accessibility Foundation, has a website devoted to encouraging and facilitating accessibility to computer games for “gamers who function under limiting conditions . . . such as blindness, deafness, or mobility limitations.”

As the website notes, computer games aren’t just the shoot-em-ups of old any more:

Games have evolved beyond entertainment and have found their way into other applications, such as mixed-media educational programs. The number of games not intended for entertainment is growing fast and has led to a completely new branch in the game industry: “Serious Games”. Serious gaming deals with the educational, medical, economical and political application of games.

The website, Game-Accessibility, is completely in English, and quite comprehensive, though the site organization might be a little confusing to visitors from the USA. There’s a rather extensive “Introduction” under the “Home” tab which describes the overall state of gaming accessibility, a “News” section (under the “Research” tab), and what looks like a pretty active “Forum” under the “Community” tab.

The “News” section appears to function somewhat like a blog, and as if it would be well worth checking regularly.

The “Games” section is divided into four sub-sections about gaming with auditory, visual, physical and learning disabilities. These sections discuss adaptive issues, suggest various solutions and provide game reviews and recommendations. The changing needs of an aging gamer population are covered, too.

The site’s goals aren’t modest:

The Game Accessibility project has been setup to address these problems by . . . informing disabled gamers about the availability of accessible games and by providing resources for developers, publishers and researchers in order to stimulate accessibility in games.

It looks like an impressive job on all fronts.