What’s The Best Game For Disabled Gamers?

That may sound like a tough one, but actually, the AbleGamers Foundation has an answer, and that answer is Forza 3.

The Foundation, which exists to promote awareness and accessibility in video games for disabled gamers, selects once a year a recipient for its “Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year”.

This is awarded to the regular game – as in, one not specifically designed for the disabled market – that is able to best accommodate the needs of gamers with various categories of disability.

Driving game Forza 3 was selected thanks to its wealth of customisable options that allow gamers with a variety of disabilities and/or ailments to still get the most of the game.

Chief amongst these are an “auto-braking” option, which means the game can be played with just two buttons, as outlined in the accompanying video.

This not only aids gamers unable to use their fingers/hands fully, but also colourblind users, as the game’s on-track guide to braking – which is red/green, making it useless to the colourblind – isn’t needed with auto-braking engaged.

Forza 3’s “rewind” feature, which lets users shift the race back to a point in time before a crash or pivotal momeny, was also praised, as for those with cognitive difficulties like “those who have trouble making fast decisions on which way to steer”, it lets them continue a race after a hiccup rather than restarting.

While none of those options were specifically included in Forza 3 to accomodate the disabled, that’s not the point. The point, as AbleGamers points out, is:

What makes this title stand out from the rest is the amount of options given for those who need it. As we always say at AbleGamers, options are the key to including accessibility for those who need it while preserving the difficulty factor for those who don’t. Forza 3 gives disabled gamers the tools to tailor the game to their particular disability but does so in a way that if you don’t need the accessibility you might never know it’s there.

2010 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year [AbleGamers, via GamePolitics]


  • I agree with their finding, but would suggest that Bayonetta must be right up there too – ‘very easy – automatic’ mode is basically one button press… and if I was unable to play games conventionally for whatever reason I’d find this quite a thoguhtful inclusion.

  • I’ve got limited hand function, and you just learn to adapt to any game.

    That being said the 360 controller is absolutely terrible for disabled gamers with quadriplegia etc. It’s heavy, the triggers are far too inaccessible and the distance between the analogues makes it hard to coordinate.

    I can use the PS3 controller just fine because it’s skinny and the triggers can be pressed by pushing it into your legs. Far more open to crippled hands.

  • Like Sergei said, you adapt to any game. Depends on disability and severity.
    (I’ve cursed my Epilepsy for making my arm twitch during Guitar Hero for example, but cracking 100% on Dragonforce…damn, what a feeling!)

    I’d disagree with the XBOX 360 being badly sized/weighted for ALL disabled people. This 6’6″ gamer’s giant hands LOVE the size and weight!
    (In comparison, the PS3 controller feels flimsy, light and triggers loose and hard to keep hold on.)

    Oh and for the curious: NO, not ALL Epileptics are photosensitive (set off by flashing lights). If I was, I’d be one sad gamer gadget geek, reading magazines and books and those alone instead of using the Internet and playing Games as well.

  • Kind of interesting how those features are listed as a positive where I can well imagine them being used as a negative to explain why forza 3 was ‘dumbed down’ (because anyione who’s seen such an argument would know optional things are really compulsory)

  • I was impressed recently that my dad, who just turned sixty and has suffered crippling arthritis in his hands for almost 25 years now, could use Kinect. Unfortunately most of the games were way too physical for him, goal kicking on Kinect sports was good but he thought Kinectimals was stupid.

    Hopefully some more Kinect games come out that focus on the gesture controls and less on leaping and ducking.

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