People with disabilities can feel socially isolated and – as games become a greater force for socialisation in our world – AbleGamers helps give those people the tools to play with their friends.
AbleGamers’ Founder and Executive Director, Mark Bartlet, and Chief Operating Officer, Steve Spohn, sat down with Meredith Molinari during this weekend’s Playstation Experience to talk about the importance of making games accessible.
“It’s not really about the games, it’s really about the people,” said Spohn.
AbleGamers is an American charity that works to provide free accessibility options to gamers with physical and cognitive disabilities. They do this by developing technological solutions to help people play games – such as using eye-tracking software to control movement in Assassin’s Creed – and by reaching out to developers to give assistance with accessibility.
There’s a lot of overlap between accessibility and comfort features. Things like allowing remapping of controls or changing the screen and font size are nice options for anyone to have but they’re vital for someone who can only play with one hand, has visual impairments or cognitive impairments.
“All we can do is make games as accessible as they can be, to the largest audience that we can.”
Every disability is different. AbleGamers works to find the appropriate solution for each person they work with.
Video games are a way for people to socialise and AbleGamers understands that. “The people stay in games because of the community. Our charity is all about making sure these people can get into communities, connect with their friends, their loved ones, be social and be out there to have some fun with other people,” said Spohn.
By giving everyone a chance to play, AbleGamers is helping tear down barriers that previously stopped disabled gamers from being a part of these communities.
During the Playstation Experience, sales of the MediEvil tshirt worn by Shawn Layden helped raise funds for AbleGamers.
You can watch the full interview below.