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Game accessibility quotes of 2016

2016 has been a momentous year for accessibility. Not just the advancements that have been made, but also important because of the things that have been said, and the people who have been saying them. This post is a compilation of some of my favourites.

Ian Hamilton, Blogger

December 30, 2016

13 Min Read

2016 has been a momentous year for accessibility. Not just in the advancements that have been made, but also important because of the things that have been said, and the people who have been saying them. This post is a compilation of some of my favourites.

If you’re looking for a sense of where things are coming from, where they are going, looking for some tweet material or looking for something inspirational to take you on into 2017, I hope you’ll find something of interest here.


“Games provide a social space where, instead of being judged by physical appearance, we’re purely judged on the actions that we do and the things that we produce.”
Josh Straub, D.A.G.E.R.S.

“When I turn on a game like “Uncharted”, I’m no longer confined to a wheelchair. I’m a swashbuckling ne’er do well treasure hunter like Nathan Drake. That brief period of escape is why accessibility is so crucial.”
Josh Straub, D.A.G.E.R.S.

“With my disability I often have to do day-to-day tasks slower or in more convoluted ways. Speedrunning is my chance to do things as fast or often even faster than others and that just feels excellent.”
Clint “HalfCoordinated” Lexa, Household Games

“Two decades ago, video games saved my life. Thanks to video games, I’ve been able to make friends, experience life, fall in love, and become a part of something greater than myself– something that will last far beyond this disabled body I call home. Everyone deserves to experience virtual worlds where you can run, jump, soar and fly, just like anyone else.”
Steven Spohn, AbleGamers

“Video games offer fantastic opportunities for fun, sociability and competitiveness, and when gaming accessibility can be perfectly matched with gaming ability, the playing field really starts to level out.”
Mark Saville, SpecialEffect

“Ppl who respond to criticism re accessibility with “so play a different game” have obvs not experienced the world locking them out of stuff”

“As I age, I wanna be able to still be able to play games, and accessibility is the way I know I can game for forever.”
Tara Voelker, Gaikai

“Access to the products of culture is as important as access to to the day to day fundamentals.”
Michael Heron, MeepleLikeUs

“Acceptance without access is meaningless, inclusion without accessibility is void.”
Josh Straub, D.A.G.E.R.S.

“Nice young guy asks me if we have controller support and I immediately go into my pre canned response about that we are PC first and that keyboard mouse and pretty easy to learn at which point he holds up his lack of a hand and shrugs”
Cliff Bleszinski, Bosskey

“I think video games, for a lot of people, are often about being able to do things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do, experience great adventures. And so when you find that there are some people who can’t enjoy those kind of things, it’s kind of crushing.”
Kevin Keeker, Playstation

“I went to have the initial pitch on, hey, this is game accessibility, this is why it matters. And everyone was just like, yep, everyone should be able to play our game, that’s a good point Tara. And I was like.. well, I had this whole speech prepared about about how much money we can make and why it’s good, but you guys are just good people so you’ll do it, awesome.”
Tara Voelker, Turtle Rock

“When talking to our executives and people around here about accessibility, people around here want to do the right thing, the right thing by our consumers, by our fans.”
Kevin Chung, Sony

“I said, “Well, why are you putting this much effort into it?” Because it’s just curious to me as to why, and he goes: “Well, I spent a lot of money telling an amazing story with some great gameplay, and I want every person who possibly can to enjoy this hard work that I put into it.””
Mark Barlet, AbleGamers

“As a developer, you want everybody to enjoy your game. So that kind of became a big part of the motivator for me to continue to work on games, just to make sure that everybody could play them, as many people as possible could get to enjoy them.”
Alex Neonakis, Naughty Dog

“This doesn’t affect me at all, but I’m upvoting for visibility because I hate to hear that others can’t have the same experience as me.”

From the top

“I just want to tell you how important this [accessibility] panel is to our community, to our business, to our life, to what we do as PlayStation gamers.”
Shawn Layden, Sony

“We are a diverse bunch, the PlayStation nation. We come from many different places. We have many different skills and abilities. We’re coming together with our love for PlayStation, our love for gaming.”
Shawn Layden, Sony

“The ideal is every gamer should be able to have all the different gaming experiences we can possibly bring to them. And that’s why this is such an important thing for us, it’s important for PlayStation, it’s important for all of us here. We really want to be leaders in this field.”
Shawn Layden, Sony

“This is an important topic for our industry, great job by Naughty Dog to make it a focus.”
Phil Spencer, Xbox

“Xbox is embracing inclusive design as part of our Gaming for Everyone effort. In this ongoing initiative, every single person on Team Xbox is working together to try to make gaming accessible, equitable and sustainable for all.”
Phil Spencer, Xbox

“The results of inclusive design for accessibility always leads to a better product for everyone.”
Phil Spencer, Xbox


“There’s nothing we’ve done for accessibility that hasn’t just made the game better for all players”
Jason Canam, Household Games

“Our answer to a player who wants to play our game can’t be “git gud” or “this game isn’t for you bro”. Let’s make games that are parks, museums, concerts … not private clubs and closed properties”
JP Monge, Headless Chicken Games

“Realize that gamers just want to have fun and may not play the game “as you designed” but can still have fun with your title”
Tara Voelker, Gaikai

“Understand that people with disabilities aren’t trying to take your game away. They’re not trying to make it an easy game. We’re just looking for options so that we can tailor the game to play the way that we need it to be. It might not be your way, and that’s okay.”
Mark Barlet, AbleGamers

“I hope to one day work myself out of a job. I hope that one day every studio has a person whose job it is to examine the accessibility of a product from concept all the way to release.”
Josh Straub, D.A.G.E.R.S.

“I know sometimes you feel when you’re tweeting or messaging a company that it’s like going out into the void and nobody is responding to you. But we do see. When you tweet those things or when you e-mail, somebody is seeing it. Oftentimes we can’t respond, NDAs, a lot of reasons but… I think that’s a really important thing. If you tweeted the developers about the games you care about to tell them: “This is something that I care about.” We do see it. Even if you’re not a person that has disabilities, if this is something you feel strongly about that you’d like to see included, add your voice to that. You’re only helping people by contributing your voice, and you’re making the community better as a whole.”
Alex Neonakis, Naughty Dog

“Reach out to developers! Having a disability it is very easy to hide and just try to be unnoticed, we’re practically trained by society to do so. Unfortunately if we do that very little will change, so if something in a game is preventing you from being able to play, let the developer know. It is in their best interest to make their game or future games playable by as many people as possible, and telling them what accessibility features are needed is a great start.”
Clint “HalfCoordinated” Lexa, HouseHold Games

“#gaad is a great day to remind folk of this great games accessibility resource - http://gameaccessibilityguidelines.com. As are all days ending in Y.”
Giselle Rosman, Hipster Whale/Global Game Jam

“I think the biggest thing right now that’s missing for most dev teams as far as, implementing this stuff, actually putting it into their games, is understanding when in the pipeline they need to start doing it. Which is very, very early on.”
Alex Neonakis, Naughty Dog

“Love to implement my game accessibility feats early so I can turn my music up to 11 while I test thanks to the subtitles!”
Bob De Schutter, Miami University

“The lesson really is that if you think about it and raise awareness it can be done, it just needs to be made something that is part of the design fabric.”
Kevin Chung, Sony

Specific issues

“I don’t necessarily think I’ve been educating the wider audience about playing relatively high difficulty level games. The basic approach is to let players experience a sense of accomplishment through overcoming difficulties. And setting a relatively higher difficulty level is actually only one of the answers to meet that goal.”
Hidetaka Myazaki, From Software

“I’ve been mute since I was 12 and I found out online gaming is a great outlet, but I want a game where I can really interact with people without being shot while typing”

“Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam offers clear cues indicating which brother an enemy has its sights set on. The cues, which are optional and can be turned on and off on the fly, give my reflexes and my brain sufficient time to chat and formulate a plan for survival. This prevents me from drop-kicking my Nintendo 3DS and then retreating to my Shame Corner with a cartoony stormcloud hanging over my head.”
Nadia Oxford, Tiny Girl Tiny Games

“The only things that should be mashed are potatoes. Button mashing is my nemesis.”
Erin Hawley, GeekyGimp

“As a disabled person who legitimately can’t hold two vive controllers, if VR becomes the future, I guess I won’t have one in games…”
Harrison Barton

“Gaming is designed as enjoyment for all but the cracks in VR show the limitations placed on disabled gamers. As a big Batman fanboy being able to embody him in Arkham VR was something, I wanted to experience but the inaccessibility of VR gaming thwarts me like Joker.”

“Early in Valve’s Robot Repair demo, I was expected to follow directions I couldn’t hear. I had the sinking realization that VR titles might not include subtitles at all, forcing me to sit out on a lot of opportunities I’m excited to experience.”

“There’s a small but very real possibility that I’ll never walk again. I want to be able to enjoy these new worlds the same. So please, if you’re building something for VR where you “move” in a way not everyone may be able to, think about alternatives for movement”
Dannel Jurado

“As a low-vision developer with a deaf mum, VR seems inaccessible to me currently but has potential to be life changing.”
Toby Baratta, Grinnell College

“VR has tremendous potential to change the way people work, learn and play, but with this unique medium comes unique challenges. Making sure that designers and developers are solving them at this early stage is paramount.”
Brian Van Buren, Tomorrow Today Labs

“So we noticed things like many many Vive players don’t use headphones at all, so if you rely on audio cues.. well.. you can’t. So if you correct for that, you also correct for audible disabilities. We also found that say if you don’t support seated play, good luck having a successful title on say PSVR. If you don’t support forward facing gameplay only, good luck launching on Oculus. A lot of these things that we thought would be solved by hardware or solved by the tech over the last year have been borne out not to be. If you solve for disabilities you also grow your market incredibly. It’s kind of silly not to.”
Andy Moore, Radial Games

“It’s very important that we continue to ask game developers to insert remapping into their games.”
Bryce Johnson, Xbox

“More and more games seem to be widening their audience, and unless we are really making an initiative to include a wider audience as far as controls go, we are just going to be leaving a lot of potential customers behind.”
Emilia Schatz, Naughty Dog

“I have now just the right arm, I have not been able to enjoy many games for this reason. I found a mobile game that allow me change smartly the controls, Super Phantom Cat. Just when I was going to uninstall the game, like all other games when I see that I can not play them, I found the options of controls. I was overjoyed”
LuisMiguel Maldonado

“I just wanted to thank you, Blizzard, for having near endless control customization in Overwatch. I don’t know if this was your goal, but because of your extensive options I am able to play every character in the roster and it feels great. Because of you I made my first snipe in a video game today.

Thank you Blizzard.

Fan Forever, Zak”

And some closing thoughts…

“Game accessibility race to the top between Apple, Microsoft and Sony (Hello Nintendo – are you listening)?"
Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch/SpecialEffect

“Things are certainly improving, but there’s a long way to go before you can buy any game and expect the developer to have taking into account at least a basic level of accessibility. That day will come.”
Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch/SpecialEffect

“The attitudes from games industry have gone from “who cares” five years ago to today’s “how can we help”.”
Craig Kaufman, AbleGamers

“When we are working on these things, the thing that comes up a lot from my fellow teammates is: “Why didn’t we have this already?” Or, “Why haven’t we been talking about these types of things before?””
Alex Neonakis, Naughty Dog

“You should be excited about game accessibility. You should tell everyone how great game accessibility is."
Tara Voelker, Turtle Rock

“Accessibility FTW”
Erik Ortman, lead UX/UI designer, EA/DICE

“Many thanks to every developer who thinks about accessibility.”

Reposted from personal blog

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