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Has The Improvements to Technology Made Gaming More Accessible?

Has The Improvements to Technology Made Gaming More Accessible?

Has gaming has become a bigger industry through the years many discussions have been had about inclusion and accessibility. Video games being an interactive multimedia entertainment platform really makes it hard for many people who are visually impaired or have less upper mobility to be able to enjoy and play games the way they want. But while the discussion is still going on in the industry, what actual changes or strides have been made to actively make things better for these gamers? Has the progress in technology made gaming more accessible? Let’s see for ourselves by going through many of the options proposed by game developers.

While many gamers love to play Minecraft online for free, many of them are happy to be able to enjoy many of the accessibility tools and features of the game. For example, Mojang has added many tools such as speech-to-text for online chatting. These tools also allow people to dictate and use voice communication if they can type their own messages as well. They also have been part of some of the pioneers who added menu narration to help people who are visually impaired and want to play video games. Many other options such as color-blind options for all types of colorblindness also become part of Minecraft and become a standard setting in most games coming out nowadays.

Colorblind options have become very widespread, especially in multiplayer competitive games. Colorblindness can really hamper your performances as they usually rely on the opposition of blue vs Red. As you may know Red-green color blindness such as deuteranomaly, protanomaly or protanopia/deuteranopia are really problematic for some. For example, deuteranomaly makes the green look redder but usually very mildly. Protanopia and Deuteranopia make you completely unable to tell the difference between red and green. Tritanopia is another more pronounced form of colorblindness that will make you unable to differentiate blue and green, yellow and pink, or even purple and red. This form can also be addressed by the color settings of many games as it also makes colors dimmer. Obviously, this makes it incredibly hard to game if you can see anything properly.

One of the most impressive technological advances in gaming accessibility is obviously the Quad Stick. The Quad Stick is a controller made to be operated only by tongue movement and blowing. This controller popularized and developed in concert with the streamer No Hand’s Ken is a wonderful tool that allows quadriplegic gamers to be able to get back into their favorite hobbies and play video games like anyone. Nowadays it is mostly known as the tool that allowed the streamer Rockynohands to not only make a career of streaming gaming online but also to be picked up by the professional esports agency Luminosity Gaming. The Quad Stick not only allowed Rocky to live out his dream of being of a professional gamer, but it also allowed him to win tournaments and become a three-time Guinness world record holder for his gaming exploit.

Another great accessibility tool has been the inclusion of options to prevent flashing lights as well as a warning for said flashing lights for all sorts of gamers at risk of having seizures. The discussion about this issue came back into the popular discourse not long after the release of Cyberpunk 2077. In one of the earlier missions, you go to meet your employer and are introduced to the fan-favorite character, Judy Alvarez. Once there you are put in a chair and get to know firsthand the experience and concept of what brain dances are. The only issue is that brain dancing requires you to enter a trance induced by flashing lights. While many noted the risk it posed, CD Projekt Red push out an update as soon as possible to prevent any danger to the gamers and apologized to anyone who was possibly affected. Hopefully, this will serve as a cautionary tale for upcoming games and game developers when it comes to epilepsy gamers’ inclusion.

These are only a fraction of all the technology and new design choices made to include more people and make video games more accessible in general across the world and the gaming industry. Hopefully, we can continue to see major developments in accessibility technology and the democratization of video games. Many indie games have learned to have accessibility settings, and even massive games like Riot Game’s League of Legends have started to introduce major accessibility settings. These examples show great hopes for many gamers who want to see an all-inclusive video gaming industry and community where no one is left behind.

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