The video game industry has experienced exponential growth in recent years, becoming a significant form of entertainment worldwide. However, as games become more immersive, there is also a need to address accessibility more broadly.
Including accessible features benefits gamers with disabilities, broadens the potential audience, and enhances the gaming experience for everyone. Here are some examples of how video games can address accessibility, along with five accessible games you can explore.
Some features that make a video game accessible:
1. Flexible configuration options: Games must offer various configurations that adjust the difficulty, speed, controls, and other aspects according to the player’s needs, ensuring that players with different abilities can enjoy the game.
2. Subtitles and descriptive audio: Accurate subtitles and descriptive audio are vital for hearing or visually impaired players. Developers can include clear subtitles that indicate who is speaking and provide detailed descriptions of events so that all players can follow the story.
3. Visual aids with clear signage: Visually impaired players can benefit from various aids, such as directional sound indicators, interactive elements, and adjustable color contrast. These features make it easy to navigate and understand the game environment.
4. Single button mode: Some players may find using multiple buttons on the controller difficult. One-button mode allows important actions to be performed with a single key, simplifying the experience and opening up the game to a broader audience.
5. Adjustable reaction time: Some players may need more time to react to in-game events. Offering the option to adjust their speed can allow more players to enjoy the experience without being overwhelmed.
Five accessible video games that promote inclusion
1. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Hearing-impaired gamers will be happy that this game features one of the most robust subtitle options. Ambient sound effects and story dialogue can be subtitled separately. The game includes optional sound indicators that point you toward the speaker. The case is similar for players who are visually impaired or color blind. Thanks to a user interface customization system, it allows players to manage almost 30 different elements to ensure high visibility.
2. Fire Emblem Engage
This game has large text and full dialogue narration for all story-related scenes, making it easier for those with visual impairments to experience. Its voiced dialogues make it easier to enjoy the story, and the text for each conversation makes it possible for people with hearing disabilities to understand the entire story and mechanics of the game. Being a turn-based game makes it easy for people with fine-motor challenges.
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
This game has several new features for visually impaired players, such as screen reader support. This tool reads all the text in the menus. Additionally, audio descriptions are available for cutscenes, allowing you to understand what’s happening beyond the dialogue and sound effects. Subtitles are also available for modality, essential for hard-of-hearing gamers but valuable for any gamer in a noisy environment.
4. Street Fighter 6
Dynamic controls make the game decide what combos to do based on the situation, and it’s the most accessible type of control for players with fine-motor challenges. A wide variety of audio cues are available for visually impaired players, primarily focused on combat. Different audio signals are available for attack hits, health depletion, player movement, and distance from the opponent.
5. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
This game has essential visual aids, for example, large and bold text. Like many of Nintendo’s games, it changes the text color of important words in dialogue to make them easier to remember. Plus, it features fully voiced dialogue with accurate on-screen text to show what each character is saying. On the other hand, it provides accessibility in fine motor skills since it allows characters to move around the environment with a button.
These are a few examples of widely recognized video games based on their accessible approach. The use of these video games is the responsibility of the person who plays them since some themes may not be appropriate for children. You can check more references on the Can I play that? site. As awareness of inclusivity in gaming continues to grow, we will likely see more titles incorporating accessibility options to ensure all players can enjoy the gaming experience.