A Default Level of Accessibility

Video games are not inherently very accessible. The controls are complicated. The screen is full data, with lots of words, symbols, bars and actions. The speed of most games require quick reflexes and swift thoughts. The list of barriers is quite extensive.

Each gamer brings a different set of handicaps to the game. Because of this, there is no one methodology that works for everyone. The key to making a game accessible is flexibility. One way is multiple ways to play, like the one button mode in MLB 2K11.

Another way to add flexibility is to include customizable controls. Recently, a gamer named Gareth Garratt made headlines by posting a plea for customized controls in Dead Space 2. As a gamer living with cerebral palsy, Garratt is trying to play the horror sequel on PC, partly by pushing a mouse with his chin, and is unhappy that he can’t assign the “walk forward” command to a mouse button. Visceral Games has heard his complaint and patched in customizable controls.

But this complaint never should have happened. There is no reasonable excuse for not including customizable controls. This is true on consoles with their dozens buttons and on the computer with its 100+ button keyboard and multiple button mice. While a customized controller is an option, they either one has the engineering knowledge to build it or the money to pay those who do. They are simply not available to many, especially if one is already burdened with disability related expenses.

Customizable controls are beneficial for everyone. They allow each individual gamer to adjust the game so that it is the most enjoyable for them. Controls should never get in the way of enjoying the game or limit access to anyone. If someone buys the game, they should be able to use it however they want to. Customizable games allow that and should be the default in every game produced.

-That is all.


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