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 EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
 

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