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Game Mode: Video Game Accessibility

A young man plays Grand Theft Auto IV.
A young man plays Grand Theft Auto IV.

Imagine: You’re playing “Destiny,” an online multiplayer first-person shooter game.

You level up and up and up until you get to a mission where you’re suddenly shrouded in complete darkness. The only way to advance is to listen carefully to what’s happening around you.

Spooky? Yes.

Thrilling? Maybe.

Impossible? If you’re deaf or hard-of-hearing: probably.

This kind of scenario is a reality for many gamers with disabilities.

From Digital Trends:

When it comes to talking about accessibility and video games, the loudest voices are often those who never had to worry about the subject in the first place. The ability to plop down on the couch at the end of the day, pick up a controller, and play any title on the market is often taken for granted by players who don’t have disabilities. For players that do, added customization options can mean the difference between finding their next beloved title and being unable to enjoy it at all.

These potentially pivotal customizations are incorporated into titles by developers who don’t personally require them, which can (and has) led to some hits and misses, from illegible subtitle styles to difficulty settings that fail to [tailor] crucial elements of combat. It’s why so many companies have been turning to accessibility advocates and consultants in recent years, and the results have been promising so far.

One of these game-changers is the website Can I Play That?. It features game reviews and commentary from gamers with disabilities, in hopes of keeping the accessibility conversation alive until the industry becomes more inclusive.

We talk with one of the website’s co-founders, Courtney Craven, and accessibility consultant and developer Cherry Rae Thompson.

Show produced by Morgan Givens. Text by Kathryn Fink.


Courtney Craven, Co-founder and editor-in-charge, Can I Play That?; @CyclopediaBrain

Cherry Rae, Accessibility consultant; @cherryrae

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2019 WAMU 88.5