You may know that video games that are played on video game consoles like Xbox and PlayStation require a lot of proficiency, and can be physically quite taxing. They require a lot of interaction through the game controller – think of mashing buttons constantly during a fight sequence or when a door needs to be opened. In some game modes, there are not many colors available for options. For example, in a team based game, there may be a red team and a green team. Those options don’t really work for someone who’s colorblind!
Disabled people who like to play video games do it not just to escape the daily challenges that come with being disabled but also to avoid people out there who judge them because of their physical appearance and disabilities. Disabled gamers would rather be in a social space where they are judged purely on their video games skills. However, as described above, there are certain limitations that a person with physical disabilities has to face while playing video games. There are times when games cannot be beaten because they lack certain accessibility features that make gaming not so easy for disabled gamers. How frustrating would that be when they spend around $60 and cannot finish the game?
At the request of D.A.G.E.R. (Disabled Accessibility for Gaming Entertainment Rating System) editor in chief Josh Straub, Naughty Dog, the company that makes the “Uncharted” series, added several accessibility features to reach out to a much wider audience. These features may be considered minor changes from an able bodied gamer’s perspective but bring great convenience to a disabled gamer. The developers added a little tweak where just keeping a button pressed is the equivalent of pressing the button repeatedly. Similarly, while in combat mode, the camera moves on its own to help spot the enemies. Also, when a gun is pulled out and aimed at an enemy, it snaps to the target so the gamer could shoot with minimal effort. Last, but not the least, for team based games, they added more colors then just blue and green!
The goal of Naughty Dog is to make games as widely accessible as possible. Why is accessibility so important in gaming though? It’s because people with disabilities, just like anyone else, like to escape into a fantasy world where they are completing awesome missions and finding secrets. This little escape is why accessibility is important. The more games offer that, the more people will be able to experience the escape and have better lives.
Watch the video below to learn more about accessibility in Uncharted 2.