May 6, 2014 4:45 PM | Lena LeRay
Women get a lot of the spotlight in discussions about diversity in gaming, be they developers, players, or characters in gaming worlds. There is a lot more to diversity and man vs. woman vs. other, though, and one group of people who get little thought is people with disabilities. Many games are simply unplayable to those who have a disability, and while in some cases this is unavoidable (i.e. people with no eyesight won't be playing games like Call of Duty any time soon), sometimes it's a small thing like color choice or the inability to rebind keys. With Global Accessibility Awareness Day coming up on May 15th, a few people have put together this Accessibility Jam with Game Jolt's help in the interest of raising awareness of what developers can do to make their games playable by a wider audience and getting them some practice in doing so.
The Accessibility Jam web site's stated goal for this jam is: The goal of this jam is to raise awareness, giving developers knowledge and experience of how to make mainstream video games accessible to gamers with disabilities, to provide good examples of what's possible, and move accessibility towards being widely accepted good practice in the game design process.
To support this goal, they've reached out to the AbleGamers Foundation, accessibility consultant Ian Hamilton, and others to gather together tips and resources to support participating developers. These can be found at the Accessibility Jam web site. The site also encourages developers to reach out to impaired communities. The AppleVis community, for example has a history of working with developers to help them test vision-impaired accessibility for iOS games.
The theme will be announced when the jam officially starts at 4PM EST on May 11 and the jam will run until June 1st, giving developers ample time to experiment and iterate. All games for the Accessibility Jam will need to be uploaded to Game Jolt with appropriate hashtags. Developers are encouraged to make a Game Jolt account ahead of time if they don't have one already.
To pull one more quote from the Accessibility Jam web site: And remember, the goal is not to produce a lot of niche games for a niche audience. The main goal is to include more gamers in wider mainstream gaming! So first (and foremost!) you need to focus on a good idea for a game, and secondly ways of opening up that game to as many people as possible.