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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Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/03/13-year-old-minecraft-player-confesses-to-swatting-police-say/ not surprised.03/27/2015 - 3:51pm
Matthew WilsonI know most of my friends first saw robotech when it was on Toonami in the mid 90s, but it is possible that a fan who watched it in the 80s are in a position to do it.03/27/2015 - 1:04pm
Andrew EisenRobotech was mid 80s. Fans of the show (who were kids when it aired) are my age and older.03/27/2015 - 1:01pm
Matthew Wilsontiming. anime only really became widely known in the US in the mid 90s. if we assume it was mostly kids watching it, they still wouldnt be high enough in managment to be given full creative control yet. it would still be another 5 to 10 years for that.03/27/2015 - 12:59pm
Andrew EisenI agree. Now what makes you think that there is no one in power who cares about (or has the ability to) make a good adaptation?03/27/2015 - 12:47pm
Matthew Wilsonits not about pratice, it is about people who understand it getting in to positions of power.03/27/2015 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonallot of the comic book characters that have been turned in to good movies started in the 70s or earlier.03/27/2015 - 12:32pm
Andrew EisenWell, if it really does take two generations of practice to get it right, we'll never get good live action adaptations of anime if no one starts making them.03/27/2015 - 12:31pm
Andrew EisenWhat have you seen that would make you say that?03/27/2015 - 12:30pm
Matthew WilsonIt took 2 genarations of comic book reader before we got good comic book movies. I imagine that will be the case for anime as well.03/27/2015 - 12:28pm
Matthew Wilson@AE yes if they have people that understand the content give it a shot, but as far as I can tell that does not look like it is happening in this case.03/27/2015 - 12:26pm
Andrew EisenI understand the skepticism but I don't think "this will never work" and "no one should even bother" are very healthy attitudes.03/27/2015 - 12:11pm
Andrew EisenWhy would you doubt that? A lot of writers are my age and older, the perfect age to be fans of the content. All I'm saying is it's not impossible to get a good Robotech movie. In fact, it's more likely today than any other time.03/27/2015 - 12:11pm
Matthew Wilson@AE the difference is in the case of marvel the writers and directors clearly understand the source content. I doubt many of any of them are that way with robotech, or any anime for that matter.03/27/2015 - 11:10am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.playstationtrophies.org/news/news-15838-Sony-Cuts-the-Price-of-PlayStation-TV-Today.html Sony cuts the price of the Vita TV in the UK, still wont force developers to make their stuff compatible with it.03/27/2015 - 10:49am
Andrew EisenMechaCrash - It's true, there are a lot of examples of crap adaptations. But there are increasing numbers of great adaptations such as the Marvel movies. That said, it's certainly going to be an uphill battle at Sony, especially with Tom Rothman around.03/27/2015 - 10:45am
ZippyDSMleeOh live action crap...I dunno with hollywood being stuck in the 90s grimdarkblack mode I can not see how anything would work well other than SNK or Akira.. then again Akira is a bit of head trip...03/27/2015 - 10:11am
MechaCrashI meant Hollywood in general. If they did a Robotech movie, it'd just be a slightly tweaked Macross, because usually when people talk about Robotech, they just mean the first third. Nobody cares about the Masters/Southern Cross or Invid/MOSPAEDA stuff.03/27/2015 - 9:36am
ZippyDSMleeYes Macross is good..... robotech....not so much..... Now Pizza Cats that's the definitive TV dub, if not best dub ever I'd put it up there with COwboy Bebop just becuse the Pizza Cats dub is fun as heck and crazy,Medabots and Fighting Foodons are decent.03/27/2015 - 9:20am
InfophileAged well plot-wise, I mean. The animation is showing its age, but if you don't mind that, the plot holds up quite well03/27/2015 - 6:52am
 

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