accessibility-options-sorely-lacking-in-games

Disability Limitations

I’m disabled. What’s wrong with me? Glad you asked. See, I’m paralyzed from the neck down. I play video games with my mouth, and quite well, but there is just some stuff I cannot do. In the vast majority of FPS games, aiming is done with one shoulder button while firing is the shoulder button on the other side. My controller consists of three tubes: left tube is L1 and L2, middle tube is square and circle, and the right tube is R1 and R2. To aim and fire, I would have to stretch my mouth across my whole controller. Wack. With my buttons being pressed by puffing and sucking, I can’t do most button combinations because it’s physically impossible to blow and suck. In summary, there aren’t enough accessibility functions.

Accessibility Workarounds

In the game God of War 2, Kratos has this amulet that slows down time. You use it by doing L1 and R1. As I just said, I can’t do that. However, I found out that if I did one button then the other in rapid succession, the game still counted it. I’ve always had to find workarounds to features like this and others, and it gets annoying. It’s especially bad if there’s no alternative for me. It’s honestly sad how many games I can’t play because of button restrictions. I’m looking at you, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows!

Accommodations

It’s not all doom and gloom, folks. Some games actually offer settings for people like me! Mass Effect: Andromeda, a game that I love that others seem to hate, offers the most beautiful setting I’ve ever seen in a game. That setting…is the amazing Toggle Aim. It’s one of the few shooters that I can actually play and is a key reason for why I’m a Bioware fanboy. Warframe is another great example! I can’t hold R1 and press any button besides X. For the longest time, I couldn’t use 3/4 of my powers. Then I discovered that I could freely rearrange the buttons of the game to anything I wanted! Sure, my abilities are up on the D-pad, a tap on the touchscreen, and R1 plus X, but it’s a solution all the same. Games like this mean so much to me because, whether intentionally or not, they’re making things accessible for people like me.

Call for an Accessibility Revolution

I don’t want companies to completely alter gameplay just to accommodate their disabled player base, but I do want more settings and options that allow me to overcome these obstacles. I’ve missed out on so many games because of rigid controls. If you want to put this angle on it, you can also say that companies are losing money by not thinking of my demographic. Offer more choices to let me play my way. I love the products, but I don’t love the struggle. I think studios need to consider an accessibility revolution.