AbleGamers Site Caters to Gamers with Disabilities

August 7, 2009 -

Yesterday we happened upon AbleGamers, a website devoted to assisting and building community among gamers with disabilities.

Among other services, AbleGamers provides reviews of games and peripherals with an eye toward how effectively they can be utilized by physically challenged gamers. The site was founded by Mark Barlet, who explained his motivation to writer Scott Thompson:

My dearest friend in the world and I use[d] to use games as a way to bridge the distance between us as we grew up and started our own families. The game of the day was Everquest, and the hunt was on Friday nights. Well, one day she and her hubby did not log on. I waited. After about 15 minutes, I gave her a call.

She was crying "Mark, I can't feel my hand, it is not working" and she handed the phone to her husband. 4 months prior to that night, she was told she has Multiple Sclerosis... So I said to myself that there had to be a site about disabled people and gaming... there was none. So I started one. I am disabled myself, and while my disability does not really interfere with my gaming, I could relate.

Barlet points out that things like remappable key bindings, adjustable controller sensitivity and closed captioning for voiceovers can make an otherwise inaccessible game playable to disabled individuals. Why, he wonders, are such features not standard on games?

For a good example of what AbleGames is all about, check out the site's coverage of Microsoft's Project Natal and how it will impact disabled gamers.


Comments

Re: AbleGamers Site Caters to Gamers with Disabilities

Standardize full control mapping would be a good first step.... then allow non profit orgs to build and sale controllers without having to pay licensing fees,ect.

 


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Re: AbleGamers Site Caters to Gamers with Disabilities

I'll definitely be popping in there to check it out.  No time right now though.

Kudos to the creator, however!  :)

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

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Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: AbleGamers Site Caters to Gamers with Disabilities

Just to answer the closing question, a business is a business. And it doesn't make business sense to implement features that will not be used by the majority of users.

Although the things he mentioned have been in almost every game I've played in recent years, except for the adjustable sensitivity. 

Re: AbleGamers Site Caters to Gamers with Disabilities

This tends to be a big problem for those with disabilities.  A feature that is unique to a very specific group, most often small in size, tends to be overlooked, be very expensive to produce for that small market, and has a tendancy to not have support for the addition of that product.

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a book called "Seeing Beyond Blindness" (I have a subscription to the Library Of Congress National Library Service which, unless I specify particular books on tape, they randomly send material for me to listen to, such as this book).  Among many issues, it discussed how expensive certain software for the visually impaired was because, for the most part, the specialized software had a limited customer base.  Certain Text-to-Speech software, as well as magnifying software tends to be massively expensive because this particular software is, for the overwhelmingly most part, only used by those with a particular disability.  Usage by the General Public really isn't widespread.  However, whenever a particular specialized piece of technology becomes of widespread interest to the General Public and is incorporated into general use equipment or software, the price drops dramatically.  One might argue that when something is used only by those who NEED it, the price is high, but when used by those who DON'T need it, usually a much large population, the price drops dramatically.

Look at the ability to change Text Font sizes or even graphics resolution.  One would think that the only ones who NEED it, the visually impaired, would be the only ones who would have access to it.  Yet, the ability to change Font sizes and resolution sizes has caught on with the General Public for convience and enjoyment.  But ONLY to the degree of the desire of the General Public.  Those with extreme vision problems who cannot be served by what the general systems allow, must pay extravagant prices for equipment and software to go that extra distance for what they NEED.

Text-To-Speech software is another example.  And, recently, general business is actually FIGHTING against it's incorporation into general use.  After all, some businesses charge a much higher rate for professional audio material which, in many cases, contains less than what the written material contain.  But, having a machine read the written material, ANY written material, would mean the general public could pay for the price of the written material and have the entire, unabridged/uncondensed material read to them at no extra cost.  And it's suspect that the advancement of this technology is slow because of the fight by big business to prevent such an option from being more accepted and popular.  After all, such a device would cut into their profits created through "charge more for less product".  We've seen this recently with the Amazon Kendle and its Text-To-Speech function.

And of course the ever existing, but still clearly in need of development for wide use, voice recognition devices, including controllers.  In regards to the general public, it's really more of a fad.  On a small command scale, it has lots of uses for those who NEED it.  But on a larger scale, the General Public needs a much larger command structure that the system just isn't fully capable of withstanding yet.  But it still catches some people's eye, and that gives it a bit of affordability, if not functionality.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl
 
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Andrew EisenIf you do, I hope you can provide some examples of people (again, other than random no-name numbnuts on Twitter) who are genuinely trying to dictate what should and should not be allowed so far as themes, topics, language, plot devices, etc. go.07/01/2015 - 9:43am
MattsworknameI'd go into why I think it's a bigger problem then most realize, but nows not the time really. I'll catch up with everyone later07/01/2015 - 9:42am
Andrew EisenThat's the thing though, rarely is anyone (again, other than random numbnuts on Twitter) attempting to dictate what can and cannot be said or done.07/01/2015 - 9:39am
Andrew Eisen"Don't write rape scenes" is being offered as advice (along with reasons for that advice) not a mandate.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
MattsworknameOh, on that last one andrew I wasn't talking about the article, I was being more general, lately it seems like all the news and media is trying to decide what is and isn't proper to say. Thats what i was refering to.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
Andrew EisenPerhaps you should consider reading the entire article. Despite quotes you can pull from the intro and conclusion, the author isn't arguing that you can't or shouldn't be allowed to cover a certain topic.07/01/2015 - 9:35am
MattsworknameOne of the things I hate right now is that people are trying to be the deciders of what is and isn't proper to be said. It's political correctness to a level that makes me angry.07/01/2015 - 9:29am
Mattsworknamemake them, i just tell peopel that I think what they did sucked. Just cause I dont like what they did, doesn't mean I can tell them "You shouldn't wrtie that" cause thats just another step on the way to telling them "YOU CANT WRITE THAT".07/01/2015 - 9:24am
MattsworknameNo, but you or I aren't the one to tell someone else what they can or cannot do beyond EXTREMELY narrow limits. Telling a person then shouldn't write something or say something. I may hate certain movies or music, doesn't mean I dont' tell peopel not to07/01/2015 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightHasbro is taking steps to fix its Dinosaur gender issues. http://io9.com/the-jurassic-world-dinosaur-toys-are-clever-girls-again-171513589607/01/2015 - 9:20am
TechnogeekImagine that level of accuracy, only applied to something that has actually caused physiological and psychological trauma in more cases than just whatever the equivalent of the CD-i Zelda games would be.07/01/2015 - 8:40am
TechnogeekThat's the issue I see as well, E. To put it in terms anyone reading this site will likely understand: you know how any time video games show up on TV, they feature absurdly outdated 3D graphics and/or audio from the Intellivison era?07/01/2015 - 8:40am
InfophileWell, you CAN go to a crowded streetcorner and tell everyone who passes by your social security number and bank account PIN, but you shouldn't. Is that censorship?07/01/2015 - 8:36am
E. Zachary KnightSo if it is going to turn out to be a bad scene, why even bother writing it?07/01/2015 - 8:07am
E. Zachary KnightMatts, Goth, The article, and others I have read making the same conclusion, state that most people fail in their attempts to write rape scenes without being overly offensive or overly incompetent in their attempt.07/01/2015 - 8:07am
Adam802http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ex-Sen-Leland-Yee-may-be-headed-for-a-plea-deal-6358941.php07/01/2015 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28408532/leland-yee-case-plea-deal-appears-likely07/01/2015 - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
 

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