Here at Ability Powered you see the typical gaming content. Sometimes I find articles to share, I make first impression and gameplay videos, and I try to post tips or guides. There’s one thing you might notice is missing though… Reviews Rating Accessibility.
Don’t get me wrong, if you watch my videos you’ll definitely pickup if I’m having fun, getting frustrated or if I’m just getting bored. I can definitely be transparent with reactions. Those kind of opinions I don’t mind sharing. I love Don’t Starve but dislike Chicken Shoot. If my site wasn’t for a more focused purpose I would definitely share my thoughts in a Review format. Let’s face it, that’s not why you’re visiting Ability Powered. You want to know about accessibility and that’s something I can’t rate with scores or stars.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering, “But Short, Why Not? One of your first videos did!” To that I say I’m Sorry and it was a mistake. It’s a mistake to assume my experience can be the same as yours. The world of disabled gamers is so diverse. Even if you and I both share the exact same disease, the progression can make us 100% different. You might can click fast while I click slow. It’s a mistake to say “I can’t play this so you can’t!” It’s a mistake to say “This is THE MOST ACCESSIBLE GAME EVER! Buy it for all your disabled friends this holiday season!” I’ve been the gamer that bought an “Accessible Indie Game of the Year” before and paid my monthly fun money budget for a horrible experience. I opened it with my headset on, alone, late at night and for 30 minutes sat stuck in a game I couldn’t play or exit until help arrived.
It’s not just that side of rating games that worries me. I never want there to be a game you’re really excited about and me shoot it down based on a few hours of playing. In games that I struggle with, I don’t give up. If something isn’t ideal accessibility, I look for ways to change that and try to find alternative ways so I CAN play. So YOU can play. The Binding of Isaac is a prime example. Was it frustrating as a mouse only gamer? YES! Would different input options have helped? Absolutely! Who finished the first section using Onscreen Keyboard regardless? This girl.
Now imagine if I had to score it based on my experience for a generalized mobility challenged gamers group. I’d say 2 of 5 stars because I only play with a mouse, but what about the mobility challenged gamer that can use a keyboard? It wouldn’t be true for them. I refuse to be that gamer that doesn’t understand we’re all different.
If I won’t rate a game, how can I help? That’s an easy one:
- I promise to show people accessibility options in games.
- I promise to explain how I play.
- I promise to share what I struggle with and what works well for me so not only will you get a heads up, but should a developer see it maybe they’ll listen and learn.
- I promise to point out issues that might be a victory/problem for others even if they’re not for me.
- I promise to share information and corrections to anything I get wrong. I will get things wrong and fixing, even trivial errors is important even if it can only help 1 gamer.
- I promise when problems arise, that I’ll try to find ways to make them a little better so someone CAN play the game they want. I won’t give up easily.
- I promise to always share solutions to any hard mechanics that I can find or that others find. Just because it might not change my experience, it might change someone else’s.
- I promise to try to find answers when people have accessibility questions.
- I promise to try my best to show and share everything I can so YOU can decide if a game is right for you.