Accessibility celebrated at game developer awards

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013 17:17pm

The development of games designed to include people with disabilities will be recognised at this year’s Australian Game Developers Awards with the introduction of the Accessibility Award.

Presented at the Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) conference, the awards recognise excellence and innovation in games developed in Australia. For the first time, they have added accessibility as an award category. According to the conference website, accessibility is defined as “mainstream games that make an effort to avoid unnecessarily excluding people with motor, cognitive, hearing speech or vision impairments.”

Many mainstream games accommodate the needs of people with disabilities through customisable settings, similar to the accessibility settings on a computer. For example, the ability the adjust colour contrast, the ability to enable audio cues through synthetic speech or the ability to magnify the screen. Some accessibility can also be provided through the console.

Other accessible games include such settings as part of the original design and game itself. Universal Accessible Games, for instance, provides different interfaces for gamers so that people with different needs can participate.

The Australian Game Developers Awards also cite the game accessibility guidelines on their website for the accessibility category. The guidelines have been published by a group of studios, specialists and academics as a resource for developers so that games can be designed to include gamers of all abilities.

The Australian Game Development Awards categories include:

  • Game of the Year
  • Studio of the Year
  • Excellence in Art
  • Excellence in Design
  • Excellence in Audio
  • Technical Excellence
  • Innovation Award
  • Accessibility Award

The eligibility criteria and nomination forms can be found on the website. Nominations close Monday 30 September. The awards will be presented on Tuesday, 22 October during the 2013 GCAP conference held at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre.

Resources for gamers with disability are provided by the AbleGamers Foundation.

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