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Game Accessibility

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One of aims of the Game Accessibility project is to gather and provide (links to) resources for developers, publishers and researchers. Under 'Papers' you will find a collection of (academic) writings such as papers, theses, project reports, etc. 'Articles' covers articles, such as news items and gamer stories, published on other websites. 'Multimedia' provides links to audio- and/or video-footage. And under 'Organisations' you will find a list of organisations that are active with game accessibility.
This section of the website is updated regularly.


Title Author Year Abstract Download
Towards a Low Cost Adaptation of Educational Games for People with Disabilities Javier Torrente, Ángel del Blanco, Ángel Serrano-Laguna, José Ángel Vallejo-Pinto, Pablo Moreno-Ger and Baltasar Fernández-Manjón 2014 In this paper we analyze how to increase the level of accessibility in videogames by adding support for it in game authoring software. This approach can reduce the effort required to make a game accessible for people with disabilities, resulting in significant savings. A case study is presented to support the approach based on the eAdventure educational game authoring platform, which allows semi-automatic adaptation of the games. The game, "My First Day At Work", was made accessible for students with different disability profiles, mainly blindness, low vision and limited mobility, although hearing and cognitive disabilities are also considered. Results show that the effort needed to make the games accessible is moderate in comparison to the total effort dedicated to game development. Although the specific solutions proposed are optimized for educational games, they could be generalized to other game frameworks and purposes (e.g. entertainment, advertising, etc.). Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Children with Motor Impairments Play a Kinect Learning Game: First Findings from a Pilot Case in an Authentic Classroom Environment Symeon Retalis, Michalis Boloudakis, Giannis Altanis, Nikos Nikou 2013 This paper presents the first very positive findings from an empirical study about the effectiveness of the use of a Kinect learning game for children with gross motor skills problems and motor impairments. This game follows the principles of a newly presented approach, called Kinems, which advocates that special educators and therapists should use learning games that via embodied touchless interaction – thanks to the Microsoft Kinect camera- children with dyspraxia and other related disorders such as autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Attention Deficit Disorder, can improve related skills. Several Kinems games have been proposed. These games are innovative and are played with hand and body gestures. Kinems suggests that games should be highly configurable so that a teacher can modify the settings (e.g. difficult level, time settings, etc.) for the individual needs of each child. Also, a teacher should have access to kinetic and learning analytics of the child’s interaction progress and achievements should be safely stored and vividly presented. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Visualizing Audio in a First-Person Shooter With Directional Sound Display Alexandra Holloway, Robert DeArmond, Michelle Francoeur, David Seagal, Amy Zuill, Sri Kurniawan 2011 As the popularity of videogames continues to expand in the United States and around the world, it is alarming that the majority of developers are overlooking the needs of players who are deaf. In the US alone, there are close to one million people deaf individuals. Sound is often an integral part of immersing players into a gaming experience. The creation of Digital Sound Display (DSD) was in part motivated by wanting to provide deaf players with the vital, strategic aspects of the game which are usually lost to them. Although users were consulted at various stages of development, we approached the design of DSD with a task centered paradigm, building the system around providing directional information to deaf players. We targeted the visualization of reactionary sounds (e.g., an enemy discharging a weapon at the player), as those are the ones most often associated as critical in first-person shooter (first-person shooter) games. A Fast-Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm was used to translate the sound into a visualization in realtime with unnoticeable delay. We showed that DSD was capable of visualizing sound in three ways: pitch, intensity, and direction. In a pilot study, we found that participants most valued preemptive sound visualizations to visualizations of other sound types. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
When Gaming is not Suitable for Everyone: Playtesting Wii Games with Frail Elderly Kathrin Gerling, Maic Masuch 2011 This paper discusses the accessibility of commercially available video games for frail elderly players by providing an exemplary focus group analysis of Wii Sports and Wii Fit mini games. Although recent research results show that engaging with gamesmay have positive effects of the overall well-being of senior citizens, the results of playtesting sessions presented within this paper suggest that not all games are fully accessible to elderly players. While the average perceived playing experience reportedin focus group discussions is very positive, observations during the playing sessions suggest a variety of problems ranging from low-level controller issues and the inability to proceed through menu structures to complex effects of demandingi n-game challenges and inadequate player feedback. Concluding, we argue that commercial games are not suitable for frail elderly and designing for accessibility needs to go beyond providing simplistic interfaces: To address institutionalized elderly, specifically designed games are necessary to provide a positive gaming experience. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Game Accessibility: a Survey Bei Yuan, Eelke Folmer and Frederick C. Harris, Jr. 2011 Over the last three decades, video games have evolved from a pastime into a force of change that is transforming the way people perceive, learn about, and interact with the world around them. In addition to entertainment, games are increasingly used for other purposes such as education or health. Despite this increased interest, a significant number of people encounter barriers when playing games due to a disability. Accessibility problems may include the following: (1) not being able to receive feedback; (2) not being able to determine in-game responses; (3) not being able to provide input using conventional input devices. This paper surveys the current state-of-the-art in research and practice in the accessibility of video games and points out relevant areas for future research. A generalized game interaction model shows how a disability affects ones ability to play games. Estimates are provided on the total number of people in the United States whose ability to play games is affected by a disability. A large number of accessible games are surveyed for different types of impairments, across several game genres, from which a number of high- and low-level accessibility strategies are distilled for game developers to inform their design. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
PlayMancer: Games for Health with Accessibility in Mind Elias Kalapanidas, Costas Davarakis, O Fernández-aranda, Susana Jiménez-murcia, Otilia Kocsis, Todor Ganchev, Hannes Kaufmann, Tony Lam and Dimitri Konstantas 2009 The term Serious Games has been used to describe computer and video games used as educational technology or as a vehicle for presenting or promoting a point of view. Serious games can be of any genre and many of them can be considered a kind of edutainment. Serious games are intended to provide an engaging, self-reinforcing context in which to motivate and educate the players towards knowledgeable processes, including business operations, training, marketing and advertisement. Serious games can be compelling, educative, provocative, disruptive and inspirational. The potential of games for entertainment and learning has been demonstrated thoroughly from both research and market. Unfortunately, the investments committed to entertainment dwarf what is committed for more serious purposes. In this feature, we will argue that the motives, incentives and expectations of the computer game industry differ from one cultural and economic environment to another. As the game industry is dominated by US companies, computer game products are targeting user groups mostly informed by the marketing departments of those companies. This process creates marginalised user groups and game types that are not addressed effectively by the computer game market. Accessible games and games for health comprise this underdeveloped niche. Research project PlayMancer is a multi-partner effort to tackle both of those issues in a coherent way. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Papers by Thomas Gaudy and others Thomas Gaudy 2005-2008 Thomas Gaudy has authored and co-authored several papers on game accessibilty and very related subjects. (Some of these articles are in French)

Click this image to view the list of documents(external website)
Towards Generalised Accessibility of Computer Games Introduction to the Special Thematic Session Dominique Archambault, Roland Ossmann and Klaus Miesenberger 2008 This is the fourth time that a Special Thematic Session on accessible entertainment has been organised at ICCHP and we are beginning to see progress in the field. A decade ago most work focused on how to play computer games with alternative devices; today we are starting to talk about the accessibility of mainstream games. People with disabilities probably make up the single group benefiting the most from Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Not only does ICT improve their ability to do things which could be done another way, but it makes a real difference to independent living: with the support of Assistive Technology (AT) they are actually able to do things they had no chance of achieving before and this in an independent way. This positively affects many situations in their daily lives, at school as well as at work or home and concerns mobility and other issues. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
More Than Just a Game: Accessibility in Computer Games Klaus Miesenberger, Roland Ossmann, Dominique Archambault, Gig Searle and Andreas Holzinger 2008 During the last decades, people with disabilities have gained access to Human-Computer Interfaces (HCI); with a resultant impact on their societal inclusion and participation possibilities, standard HCI must therefore be made with care to avoid a possible reduction in this accessibility. Games, considered as a field of research, could provide new interaction principles, which can be incorporated into the existing HCI Standards, thereby complimenting and expanding these standards positively. However, games also provide an interesting new potential for better access and for supporting people with disabilities. They can be used to acclimatize people, who have had little or no exposure to technology, to interaction with modern Information and Computer Technology (ICT). Some simulation games act as an interface between games playing and real life, where the end user, in the form of an avatar, can interact within modern communication systems. It is important to ensure that everyone has accessibility to this technology, regardless of abilities or age. This paper advocates pro-active “research in games accessibility” and provides some first considerations on establishing a) guidelines for accessible game development, b) Active Game Accessibility (AGA) development framework to support game developers and Assistive Technology (AT) providers and c) a collection of games or game scenario examples (“code pattern collection”) as a reference for game and AT developers. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
PowerUp: an accessible virtual world Shari Trewin, Vicki L. Hanson, Mark R. Laff and Anna Cavender 2008 PowerUp is a multi-player virtual world educational game with a broad set of accessibility features built in. This paper considers what features are necessary to make virtual worlds usable by individuals with a range of perceptual, physical, and cognitive disabilities. The accessibility features were included in the PowerUp game and validated, to date, with blind and partially sighted users. These features include in-world navigation and orientation tools, font customization, self-voicing text-to-speech output, and keyboard-only and mouse-only navigation. We discuss user requirements gathering, the validation study, and further work needed. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Blind hero: enabling guitar hero for the visually impaired Bei Yuan and Eelke Folmer 2008 Very few video games have been designed or adapted to allow people with vision impairment to play. Music/rhythm games however are particularly suitable for such people as they are perfectly capable of perceiving audio signals. Guitar Hero is a popular rhythm game yet it is not accessible to the visually impaired as it relies on visual stimuli. This paper explores replacing visual stimuli with haptic stimuli as a viable strategy to make games accessible. We developed a glove that transforms visual information into haptic feedback using small pager motors attached to the tip of each finger. This allows a blind player to play Guitar Hero. Several tests have been conducted and despite minor changes to the gameplay, visually impaired players are able to play the game successfully and enjoy the challenge the game provides. The results of the study also give valuable insights on how to make mainstream games blind-accessible. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Accessibility in virtual worlds Shari M. Trewin, Mark R. Laff, Anna Cavender and Vicki L. Hanson 2008 Virtual worlds present both an opportunity and a challenge to people with disabilities. Standard ways to make such worlds accessible to a broad set of users have yet to emerge, although some core requirements are already clear. This paper describes work in progress towards an accessible 3D multi-player game that includes a set of novel tools for orienting, searching and navigating the world. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Digital Game Design for Elderly Users Wijnand Ijsselsteijn, Henk Herman Nap, Yvonne de Kort and Karolien Poels 2007 The current paper reviews and discusses digital game design for elderly users. The aim of the paper is to look beyond the traditional perspective of usability requirements imposed by age-related functional limitations, towards the design opportunities that exist to create digital games that will offer engaging content combined with an interface that seniors can easily and pleasurably use. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Making the mainstream accessible: redefining the game Matthew T. Atkinson, Sabahattin Gucukoglu, Colin H.C. Machin and Adrian E. Lawrence 2006 Research into improving the accessibility of computer games can enable us to better understand what makes a good gaming experience for all users. We discuss work carried out in developing AudioQuake (an adaption of Quake for blind gamers); specifically the techniques used for rendering information and the nature of this work in contrast to other accessible games (both research and commercial). Based on user feedback regarding the effectiveness of the methods employed in AudioQuake, techniques for not only imparting but allowing vision-impaired users to edit 3D structures are proposed. Taking into account the progress made so far, we make the case for future research work, which could benefit many different types of users and help increase accessibility in other areas such as education. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Switch Access to Technology David Colven and Simon Judge (ACE-Centre) 2006 The main subject of this freely downloadable pdf document is the switch user. The document aims to encourage developers to include switch access into their products, and standardise practice and terminology. It explains some of the issues involved for people with severe physical difficulties who access computers and other electronic devices with switches. It details the ways in which switch users interact with computer programs and other technology designed to be directly accessible to them. It also attempts to survey the whole range of issues associated with switch use. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Alternative Access – Feelings and Games 2005 Proceedings Grigori Evreinov (ed.) et al. 2005 The seminar “Alternative Access: Feelings & Games” was organized first time in the spring of 2005 at the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Tampere. The seminar is one of the advanced courses on human-computer interaction supported by TAUCHI Unit for Computer-Human Interaction. Game is a natural environment to study and improve interface design and interaction techniques, to test usability and accessibility. Nevertheless, primarily games are intended for people without sensory problems. There are many blind and visually impaired people; there are people with limited dexterity or a cognitive deficit; there are deaf or dumb people. There is a small group of the deaf-blind users who also need special educational and training tools. Perceptual testing & training are exceptionally important for all. The projects and ideas, which were shared during the seminars, present the novel view and understanding human feelings which should be tested as early as possible; moreover, actual or residual feelings might be involved and developed through technologies and augmented communication. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
If Looks Could Kill – An Evaluation of Eye Tracking in Computer Games Erika Jonsson 2005 The possibility to track human eye gaze is not new. Different eye tracking devices have been available for several years. The technology has for instance been used in psychological research, usability evaluation and in equipment for disabled people. The devices have often required the user to utilize a chinrest, a biteboard or other cumbersome equipment. Hence, the use of eye tracking has been limited to restricted environments.In recent years, new non-intrusive eye tracking technology has become available. This has made it possible to use eye tracking in new, natural environments. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of eye tracking in computer games. A literature study was made to gather information about eye tracker systems, existing eye gaze interfaces and computer games. The analysis phase included interviews with people working with human-computer interaction and game development, a focus group session and an evaluation of computer games. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Switch Access to Technology David Colven and Andrew Lylsey (ACE-Centre) 2005 The 2005 edition of the freely-downloadable 53-page guide to introduce software developers to the issues regarding accessible software. Provides an general overview of the access problems posed by various disabilities, and gives guideline advice about how to deal with them. The document starts by defining the needs of those requiring accessibility, and outlines the benefits of providing it. Three principles of accessible software are presented, along with case studies of how developers can design their software accordingly. The Appendices include a good listing of resources, centres and organisations that can provide further advice or information on accessibility. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Accessible Game Controllers Abilitynet 2005 This factsheet is for anyone with an interest in computer gaming, in particular consoles, and disability. It is intended to raise awareness of the adaptations that exist to help people with a disability use games consoles. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Playing Audio-only Games: A compendium of interacting with virtual, auditory Worlds Niklas Röber and Maic Masuch 2005 Talking about games refers in today's world often to the play of audio-visual computer games. Since their first introduction in the 1960s, computer games have evolved in many ways and are today one of the fastest growing industries. Besides the classic visual games, another niche has emerged over the last decade: audio-only computer games. The main difference to conventional games is that these games can only be played and perceived through sound and acoustics. Although, initially developed by and for the visually impaired community, these games posses huge potentials for mobile (transportable) gaming and can be enjoyed by all hearing. In this work we present an overview of audio-only games, and discuss the methods and techniques to play and design such auditory worlds. We further explore the evolved genres and address the advantages, as well as the limitations of audio based gaming. Our work is motivated by our own research in this area and the development of a framework, which allows an easy design and setup of audio-only computer games. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Playing in the Sandbox: Developing games for children with disabilities Paul Kearney 2005 Many researchers believe that special games are needed for people with special needs. However, this study highlights some of the issues surrounding computer games and disabled children by conducting interviews to ask them what games they would like to play. Interestingly, they wanted to play the same games that everyone else did. What they do need is a way of interacting with these games, especially those on Xbox and Playstation consoles, which require two very dexterous hands to control. This paper is the start of an ongoing project to investigate input devices for disabled people, to allow them to interact with other players through playing commercial multiplayer games. The study also considers the issues of using computer games to test the abilities of disabled people in an attempt to integrate them into mainstream society. Click this image to open the document(DOC)
Game accessibility case study: Terraformers – a real-time 3d graphic game Thomas Westin 2004 Terraformers is the result of three years of practical research in developing a real-time 3D graphic game accessible for blind and low vision gamers as well as full sighted gamers. This presentation focus on the sound interface and how it relates to the 3D graphic world, and also include post mortem survey results from gamers and comments to those. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Audio Games: New perspectives on game audio Dan Gärdenfors and Johnny Fribergr 2004 This paper discusses the design of audio games, a quite new computer game category that originates from games for players with visual impairments as well as from mainstream music games. In the TiM project (Tactile Interactive Multimedia), SITREC develops three sound-based games that point out new directions for game audio design. The TiM games demonstrate different ways in which games can be designed around an auditory experience. Several unique features of audio games are presented emphasising unexplored potentials for interactivity and future development areas are suggested. SITREC proposes an approach to the design of auditory interfaces that takes three listening modes into consideration: casual listening, semantic listening and reduced listening. A semiotic model is presented that illustrates this view on sound object design and ways in which sounds can be combined. The discourse focuses on issues of continuous display, musicality and clarity, and introduces the notion of ”spatialised game soundtracks,” as opposed to separated background music and game effect sounds. The main challenge when developing auditory interfaces is to balance functionality and aesthetics. Other important issues are the inclusion of meta-level information in order to achieve a high level of complexity and to provide elements of open-endedness. This refers to planning the overall gameplay, as well as to designing individual sound objects and combining them into complex, interactive soundscapes. Click this image to open the document(PDF)
Guidelines for the development of entertaining software for people with multiple learning disabilities Media Lunde Tollefsen 2004 Persons with multiple learning disabilities have very different assumptions and requirements making it difficult to set up guidelines for the development of entertaining software. The implementation of recommendations in this document should however allow many more to use the standard programmes. The purpose of these guidelines is that program developers should take into consideration different user groups, which will benefit both the producers and the users. The guidelines are for entertaining products, but many of the items are of course valid for all program development. The guidelines are primarily for PC products, but the principles are equally relevant for other platforms (Mac, PS2, X-box,..). Click this image to view the document(external website)
The TIM Project: Tactile Interactive Multimedia computer games for blind and visually impaired children Dominique Archambault, Dominique Burger and Sebastien Sable 2001 TIM is a project whose main objective is to offer to visually impaired children of various levels of psychomotor development the possibility to play computer games in an autonomous way. TIM proposes to develop an adapting tool allowing to design high quality computer games using a tactile and audio interface from existing contents. TIM includes high level research on cognitive psychology and education sciences in order to ensure a high level of quality allowing blind children in early youth to use a computer, like sighted children. The software gives to the computer a double role: ludic and educational. For some children, having additional disabilities, like cognitive troubles, it can have a third role: a therapeutic tool. Click this image to view the document(external website)

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Title Author Year Introduction Download
The role of the mouse in audio games Brian Bors 2007 Pre-build Computers usually ship with a free mouse. Visually impaired user usually don't use that mouse though, the keyboard is a much easier way to control their computer because it doesn’t involve clicking on things. But is it the same story in gaming? Can the mouse add to the gaming experience of an audio game? Can the mouse have more uses than just clicking on things? Could the mouse in some situations even work better than a keyboard? Can a mouse gesture recognition system be enhanced with audio feedback? This article says it can and shows why and how, not just with text, but with three simple downloadable examples.

Click this image to view the document( website)
Hinn campaigns for disabled gamers Neil Davidson 2006 Game developers take Michelle Hinn's phone calls these days. But they may not always like what she has to say. Hinn is chair of a special interest group in game accessibility that's part of the International Game Developers Association. The adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is passionate about her cause, opening up video gaming to the disabled. "This is a social justice issue, this is not just a gaming issue," Hinn told a seminar at the recent Montreal International Game Summit.

Click this image to view the document(external website)
Making Video Games Accessible: Business Justifications and Design Considerations Brannon Zahand 2006 Game publishers and developers love to focus on features that will get their titles noticed by the mainstream gaming community, such as graphics and audio. But there is another audience, eager to take part in these games as well. These gamers come from the accessibility community—a community of people with disabilities, as well as those who care about their welfare. This paper is for game content developers and producers who want to reach this market by adding basic accessibility features to help people with disabilities or impairments.

A copy of the article can also be found at the MSDN home page. This article originally debuted as a lecture at Microsoft's 2006 Gamefest business conference. Click this link to download the lecture material (.ZIP).

Click this image to view the document(external website)
The Sound Alternative Richard A. van Tol 2006 Game accessibility for players with a hearing impairment often revolves around text-based closed captions. This is an easy and cheap solution to solve the majority of problems that hearing impaired players face in games. But plain text is not as much fun as the sounds of roaring monsters and exploding rockets. When it comes to making game audio accessible for players with a hearing impairment, is text-based closed captioning the only alternative? In this feature article the author explores the possibilities of alternatives to game audio that might not only make games more accessible, but also more fun. Click this image to view the document( website)
The Theory of Parallel Game Universes: A Paradigm Shift in Multiplayer Gaming and Game Accessibility Dimitris Grammenos 2006 Is there a way to set up a chess game where a 6-year old can match up a grand master? Can a blind quadriplegic compete in a massive multiplayer game against sighted, non-motor-disabled, gamers? Can two people cooperatively share a role playing game, when one of them is using a mobile phone and the other a next generation game console? These represent just a few examples of the type of questions that the Theory of Parallel Game Universes aims to address. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Game Law: Everybody Conga? Tom Buscaglia 2006 Remember those old movies with the long conga line in them? Well, imagine that the line is a line of gamers. But some of the gamers can't dance. So, no conga for them. They're just watching their friends have fun while dealing with a frustrated desire to dance themselves. That is what it is like for an estimated 20-25% of the population over the age of 17. This is because these potential gamers have one or more physical or cognitive disabilities. And the games most of us make do not provide a means for these folks to access them. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Physical Barriers in Video Games - Problems and Solutions Barrie Ellis and Eric Walker 2006 Inaccessible controllers and inaccessible games are the bane of many disabled peoples lives. Many games have too many buttons to remember, are too fast, and have very little help to offer the player at all. Many games won't allow people to use their favourite controllers, nor change the layout of their controls in a useful way. These barriers cause frustration for many. Games a person might desperately want to play, frequently prove to be an unrewarding, uncomfortable, or impossible challenge in reality. Disabled people regularly facing these barriers are novice gamers, physically disabled gamers, learning disabled gamers and many children up to the age of eight. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Controlling the basics: forget the joypad Aleks Krotoski 2006 Controllers have been on my mind, inspired by a presentation by Infovore's Tom Armitage, and the nomination of the one-switch game Strange Attractors at the Independent Games Festival awards. Armitage argued that the control pad interface adopted by all three major console creators is preposterous, exclusive and inaccessible. Click this image to view the document(external website)
One Hand Gaming! Albert 2006 Here is a small website with some information about my handicap, and how I game. When I was born I had a shortage of oxygen, that's why my right hand and leg do not function properly. Many friends and family and off course the members of wonder how I can game, with the loss of my right hand and leg, and at the same time be so good. That's why I put this site togheter, so I can let you guys see how I do this magic. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Accessible Video Game Controllers Barrie Ellis 2006 One Switch adapt existing game controllers making them switch accessible. Almost all games consoles and computers can be controlled via switches in this way from the 1977 Atari VCS to the PS2 and beyond. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Success Factors of One-Button Casual Mobile Games Brandon Sheffield 2006 Gamevil has been publishing games in South Korea since the year 2000, but has recently gained some fame for their one-button mobile title, Skipping Stone – the 2005 mobile game of the year across many publications. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Is the Game Over for Speech Recognition? Robin Springer 2006 This article discusses the current state of art for speech recognition in video games and the role it plays for game accessibility and game experience. The author argues that manufacturers publicize speech recognition not as a way for an individual with a disability to join his friends in the social activity of playing games, but as a new game play option to enhance the experience for hard-core gamers. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Ouch Guide to ... Switch Gaming Barrie Ellis 2005 If you use a switch interface to access your computer and are into a bit of gaming - or think you might want to be - then read on. We've collected together some top tips, suggested games, accessibility gear, techie info, websites and messageboards you can visit to help you in your quest to become the ultimate gamesmaster. Good luck, young Jedi. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Interview with Valve's Yahn Bernier on Closed Captions in Half-Life 2 Reid Kimball 2005 Here at Games[CC] we take great interest in researching and developing solutions for adding closed captions into games. While playing Half-Life 2 by Valve Software, it was evident they had done their research and took the issues of closed captioning seriously. Games[CC] and the IGDA Game Accessibility SIG was interested in learning more about the experiences Valve Software had while creating their custom closed captioning system for Half-Life 2. It wasn't long before Yahn Bernier replied to the various questions we asked and his responses are well worth the read. Click this image to view the document(external website)
One Button Games Berbank Green 2005 This article is an exploration of interaction. It is likely to appeal most to designers with a particular interest in the low-level mechanics of basic actions. It does not intend to set out facts and figures, rather its intent is to pose questions, provide suggestions, and present possibilities. The focus is on the abstract, where exploitation of interaction is not considered or considered only in moderation where necessary. A glossary is included in the appendix. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Improving Game Accessibility Kevin Bierre 2005 For most gamers, the process of setting up a game and starting to play is pretty straight forward: install the game, skim over the instructions, and start playing. Unfortunately, people with disabilities find this process considerably harder. The difficulty starts at the store. A disabled purchaser has no idea if a game is accessible to them or not. There are no ratings on the box that will indicate if the game is closed captioned or supports alternative input devices. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Accessible Gaming Pioneers Barrie Ellis 2005 This page is a tribute to some of the pioneers in accessible gaming, low-tech and hi-tech. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Games Need Closed Captioning Reid Kimball 2005 Videogames need closed captioning. Why? Because you and your team have given every ounce of energy they have into making the game. Your creation deserves to be experienced by the widest possible audience. Unfortunately, outside of your control, there are bound to be players who are dying to play your game, but because they are not familar with your game's native language (English, Spanish, etc) or because they may have a hearing impairment, your game will not be experienced in the same way you intended. Click this image to view the document(external website)
The Blind Fragging The Blind David Cohn 2005 Michael Feir is an avid gamer. He spent so much time playing games in college he created his own online gaming magazine. But Feir doesn't play the best-selling games and has never seen World of Warcraft -- he's blind. It doesn't matter. A growing library of computer games has been built specially for blind gamers, using sound instead of visuals to let players know what's going on around them. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Blind computer users are playing by ear Hiawatha Bray 2005 There are about a million blind people in America, and they've got as much right to save the universe as anybody else. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Assistive Technology to Enable Cyber Gamers Samsung 2005 At the Grand Final of World Cyber Games 2005, SAMSUNG Electronics, a leader in the digital technology era, and The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD), a registered voluntary welfare organization, unveiled plans of a joint collaboration to provide people with physical disabilities an opportunity to experience the joy of gaming through customised assistive technology devices. Special adviser to the collaboration is Rapture Gaming, organizers of World Cyber Games 2005 Singapore National Final. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Getting Blind-Sighted: Games For All Levels Of Visual Ability Michelle Thurlow 2005 One hobby my visually impaired friend Charlene and I share is a love for games of practically every sort. We've wiled away many a glorious breezy afternoon at the cabin playing card games like Kaiser, 500, Euchre, and Pinochle using my friend's special pack of brailled cards. To this day I'm still trying to figure out how she cheats using that deck. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Blind Gamers Get Their Own Titles Geoff Adams-Spink 2005 Visually impaired people are now increasingly able to join in the video gaming fun thanks to an ever-expanding range of audio games. Click this image to view the document(external website)'s choice of 2004. 2004 There have been many great games in 2004. Every format has had its fair share of great games but we thought we'd take a look back at what we consider to be the two best games on each format. Some of our selections will surprise a few people and I daresay that some of you will completely disagree with what we've picked. In the end of course it all comes down to personal opinion but from the many games we've seen this year there's only a select few that we constantly pull out to play again and again. Let's take a look then at what we consider to be the best games of 2004. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Accessible gaming Sile O'Modhrain 2003 Many disabled people first get their clutches on decent accessible computers at work; access equipment and software can be prohibitively expensive to buy for home and leisure purposes. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Playing by Ear: Creating Blind-Accessible Games Gavin Andresen 2002 Have you ever played a game with a configuration option to turn off the graphics? I'm not talking about an option to turn down the level of detail or switch off textures, but to turn off the graphics completely? How many games have you played with options to turn off the sound? Click this image to view the document(external website)
Going to before Mr. Bond 2002 For all of us, the thought of being paralyzed for life is certainly a horrifying one. Simple tasks like eating and moving can suddenly become meticulous chores. When your whole lifestyle has to change, a long list of recreational activities you used to enjoy just aren't possible. Hundreds of other activities would never be experienced. For a quadriplegic thirty-something, a fast paced online computer game would usually be at the top of that list. Not for Bobby G. Click this image to view the document(external website)
Captioning Computer Games Gary Robson 1998 When movies first appeared in the theaters, they had no sound. A sequence of flickering motion was followed by a slide containing some dialog or narration (gee -- captions!), which was then followed by more flickering motion. Deaf and hearing viewers had the same experience at the movies, except for the accompanying music. Click this image to view the document(external website)

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Screenshot Description Author Year
Screenshot of video of controlling Space Invaders using electrocorticographic (ECoG) activity - click this image to view the video (.WMV Stream). This video is part of research conducted by Washington University in St. Louis. Footage of controlling controlling Space Invaders using electrocorticographic (ECoG) activity (.WMV Stream). This video is part of research conducted by Washington University in St. Louis. Click this link to read more about the project. Washington University in St. Louis 2006
Screenshot of video of controlling Quake with Tobii 1750 Eye tracker - click this image to view the video (YouTube Online Flash) Footage of controlling Quake with Tobii 1750 Eye tracker (YouTube Online Flash). dsmith3689 2006
Screenshot of video of controlling NeverWinter Nights with Tobii 1750 Eye tracker - click this image to view the video (YouTube Online Flash) Footage of controlling NeverWinter Nights with Tobii 1750 Eye tracker (YouTube Online Flash). dsmith3689 2006
Screenshot of video of controlling Access Invaders with pitch - click this image to view the video Footage of controlling Access Invaders with auditory pitch. Individual musical notes, irrespectively of the instrument used to produce them (e.g., by whistling, knocking a spoon against a glass, playing the guitar or the piano, or even singing) are recognised and mapped to game controls (.WMV). ICS-HCI 2006
Screenshot of video of controlling Access Invaders with hand gestures - click this image to view the video Footage of controlling Access Invaders with hand gestures. A standard web camera is used to track hand movement and recognize palm and finger gestures. This module was developed by the Computational Vision and Robotics Laboratory (CVRL) of ICS–FORTH. (.WMV). ICS-HCI 2006
Audio recording of a blind gamer explaining how to play Lord of the Rings Tactics on a PSP using sound only - click this image to listen to the recording (MP3) Audio recording of a blind gamer explaining how to play Lord of the Rings Tactics on a PSP using sound only. It also demonstrates the basics of using a PSP when you are blind (MP3). Brandon Cole 2006
Screenshot of video showing subtitles on television - click this image to view video This video shows subtitles on American television. Reid Kimball 2006
Screenshot of video showing the different closed captioning options in Half-Life 2 - click this image to view video This video shows the different closed captioning options in Half-Life 2 Reid Kimball 2006
Screenshot of video showing the different closed captioning options in Half-Life 2 - click this image to view video This video shows the closed captioning in Half-Life 2 during gameplay. Reid Kimball 2006
Footage of quadraphlegic Robert Galanida playing various games using SmartNav headtracker (.WMV) - click this image to view video Footage of quadraphlegic Robert Galanida playing various games using SmartNav headtracker (.WMV) Robert Galanida 2006
Screenshot of documentory about Cyberlink Brainfingers - click this image to view the video (.WMV) Documentory about Cyberlink Brainfingers, which enables users to control a computer using brainwaves (.WMV). Brain Actuated Technologies, Inc 2005
Demor - location-based audio game - newsitem on SBS6 (.MOV) - click this image to view video Demor - location-based audio game - newsitem on SBS6 (.MOV - Dutch-spoken, no captions yet) SBS6 2004

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The Accessibility videos are licensed under Creative Commons BY.

licensed under creative commons BY


Logo Organisation Description
IGDA GA-SIG logo - click this image to visit this organisation IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest group (GA-SIG) The GA-SIG was formed to help the game community strive towards creating mainstream games that are universally accessible to all, regardless of disability.
Universally Accessible Games Activity logo Universally Accessible Games Activity (FORTH ICS) The Human Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCI Lab) of FORTH-ICS , established in 1989, is an internationally recognised centre of excellence, with accumulated experience in user interface software technologies, design methodologies, and software tools. The Laboratory currently carries out the Universally Accessible Games Activity, in which the principle of universally accessible design is tested with games. It has currently delivered two accessible games: UA Chess and UA Space Invaders.
Website: logo - click this image to visit this organisation Switch gaming for learning and/or physically disabled gamers). Lots of games and information about switch gaming.
Games[CC] logo Games[CC] Games[CC] is a dedicated group of captioners, translators, artists and programmers who mod existing games to add closed captioning to them. Games[CC]'s first completed project is Doom3[CC] which in addition to adding closed captions and a unique visual sound radar to Doom 3, was also nominated for the IGF Choice Award for Best Doom3 Mod of 2005. logo - click this image to visit this organisation is a site dedicated to audio games (games based on sound) and blind-accessible games. Here you find a large database with games, a forum and more! logo - click this image to visit this organisation AbleGamers is a website that looks to bring mainstream games to the disabled community.
MediaLT logo - click this image to visit this organisation MediaLT MediaLT develops games, query books and other computer products for visually impaired children. MediaLT collaborates with a number of persons and professional environments with different expert competence in a wide range of fields. This ensures high quality work, and their goal is to be one of the leading research and development companies in Norway. MediaLT also participates in the UPS project, a project dedicated to increasing the accessibility of mainstream games.
Pin Interactive logo - click this image to visit this organisation Pin Interactive AB Pin Interactive AB creates concepts for communication and learning environments adapted to the users' needs, from a pedagogical grounding with a technical competence within digital media technology. Pin Interactive AB started the IGDA Game Accessibility SIG in 2003, contributed in writing IGDA white papers and having roundtables and panels at the Game Developers Conference about Game Accessibility. Pin Interactive also won the "Innovation in Audio Award" for their 3D blind-accessible game Terraformers.

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