Punishment, But It Feels So Good
Accessibility is an area of game design that’s often deeply misunderstood; it’s about barriers, not difficulty.
It’s about making the experience as consistent as possible to as much of our audience as possible.
Disability is normal human variation, so we’re already in every player base.
Some who need accessibility don’t identify as disabled (RSI, arthritis, back injury, broken arms, ADHD, overworked, tired, etc.).
There are hard and soft barriers (both = “too hard”):
Hard = Can’t play at all due to physical, cognitive and sensory barriers.
Soft = Playing is painful/exhausting/stressful/”difficult”.
Every option or setting is accessibility for someone.
Accessibility often happens accidentally (organically).
Accessibility doesn’t have to fundamentally alter the core experience for others or affect artistic vision.
FromSoftware Has Already Made Strides in Accessibility
FromSoftware has made a lot of improvements to its household formula since its early games.
Empowerment, Understanding, And Acceptance
Difficulty is a construct and illusion of game design, and every setting can alter the perceived ‘difficulty’ for a given player.
Cherry Thompson works on accessibility in games and practices ultra-violence with feelings as a public speaker. They have a one-eyed cat called Odin who’s really good at designing his own games. You can follow them on Twitter @cherryrae.
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