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With Microsoft‘s adaptive controllers, new eye-tracking technology, and a wide array of in game settings that allow all gamers the chance to play many industry-leading titles, there are many options that provide accessibility to those who may not have had access before. Just recently, accessibility options took the main stage at The Game Awards, as they were given their own category. While only five were highlighted there, many other titles boast new ways to connect with fans
10. Accessibility Maze (2020)
It can be easy to take exploration of the internet for granted. Most who surf the web will not understand the day to day obstacles faced by someone with disabilities. The developers of Accessibility Maze set out to create a game that would help those who do not experience these obstacles empathize with those who do.
Players are challenged to complete a series of mazes and levels that incorporate obstacles faced every day by those with disabilities. As the winner for the WebForAll 2021 Accessibility Challenge Award, the game accomplishes the developer’s goal, helping to create empathy for those creating online content.
9. Uncharted 4 (2016)
An early adopter of extensive accessibility features for both UI and gameplay, Uncharted 4 allowed players to customize their gaming experience to their needs. Options such as holding an input in place of quick taps as well as snapping the camera to a location or target were relatively new concepts as gameplay alternatives to the established Uncharted series.
While other games had these settings as defaults, Naughty Dog incorporated them as additional options for players to choose. After the game’s 5th anniversary, they even revealed that 9.5 million gamers had used at least one of the accessibility options.ADVERTISING
8. The Last Of Us Part II (2020)
Not a developer to rest on their laurels, Naughty Dog improved and increased their accessibility feature list for The Last of Us Part II during development. From the moment players boot up the game even, they are greeted with an initial options menu, allowing them access to the settings immediately.
More than willing to give players the opportunity to adapt even core tenets of the game, Naughty Dog offers detailed settings like enemy, stealth, and resource difficulty to be modified independently of each other rather than as one overall slider.
7. A Blind Legend (2015)
Originally released on Steam and now available on Android and iOS, A Blind Legend is a game that does not incorporate visuals. It can be played entirely through sound and only asks for touch screen or mouse input. Playing as Edward Blake, gamers are tasked with completing 3D audio-based levels in order to progress the story.
While the game does incorporate the timed replenishment of lives mechanic, it is an important addition for gamers with limited sight and is regarded as an engaging adventure for anyone.ADVERTISING
6. Grounded (2020)
Wearing it’s Honey, I shrunk the Kids inspiration on its sleeve, Grounded sees the player getting shrunk down to the size of an insect in their backyard. The player is then tasked with exploring the yard to discover their way home. This conceit, however, opens the game up to the phobia-triggering Arachnid.
Developer Obsidian Entertainment understood this worry and created the Arachnophobia Safe Mode Slider. This option allows players to edit in-game spiders to remove legs, mandibles, or eyes. They can even remove textures and sounds entirely, allowing them a safe alternative while not sacrificing the enemies’ difficulty.
5. Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart (2021)
Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (another PlayStation-exclusive franchise) garnered praise for inclusion of accessibility features, and even highlighted them in a Sony State of Play. The extensive list, broken down among categories such as gameplay, visuals, HUD, and others, allows players the opportunity to dial in their gameplay preferences.
A few specific features are the ability to customize color shaders, ledge guards that keep players from falling off surfaces, and the ability to map gameplay shortcuts to the DualSense controller. Additionally, on screen prompts can be resized for the visually impaired.ADVERTISING
4. HyperDot (2019)
Developed by Tribe Games founder Charles McGregor, HyperDot is a top down game where the player avoids incoming attacks by darting around the screen. Think Geometry Wars, but without a way to attack. One of the core pillars of McGregor’s approach was to ensure the game could be played on any controller, including eye trackers.
Players can play HyperDot using only their eyes to move the titular dot around the arena and avoid incoming attacks. This approach opened up the the hundred levels to a new set of gamers with disabilities, and helped to earn McGregor a Game Awards nomination.
3. Ikenfell (2020)
Another game with limited required inputs, Ikenfell only asks the player to move and tap one button to interact with the retro game world and combat. While combat initially asks that the player also time their button taps in order to make sure they hit for maximum damage, Happy Ray Games provided a semi-auto and auto toggle for this feature.
When activated, attacks in combat become automatic, ensuring that the player hits every time. Additionally, the game offers a photosensitive mode that lessens the amount of flashing lights in the game.ADVERTISING
2. Gears 5 (2019)
Third-person shooters can be notoriously difficult to control for those with disabilities. Often requiring complex inputs, and precise aim, they have a high barrier for entry. The Coalition’s Gears 5 was a large step in the right direction for the genre. Incorporating things like increased aim-assist and controls that can be remapped, Microsoft’s hit is its most accessible yet.
With focus on its accessibility controllers, Microsoft has been opening up its franchises to gamers with disabilities for the last few years. With Gears 5, they helped to realize that vision for many who were unable to play the previous games in the acclaimed Gears of War franchise.
1. Overland (2019)
Dyslexia is a prominent learning disorder than can impede gamers from being able to read subtitles in a video game. Dialogue-heavy games, then can have quite a large barrier for entry for anyone with Dyslexia. Overland’s developer Finji sought to fix this issue by incorporating OpenDyslexic into their game’s subtitles.
While many games offer the ability to change font size, Overland is one of the few that gives the option of type. With tweaks to the style such as weighted bottoms and differently-shaped letters, the OpenDyslexic font-type makes Overland‘s subtitles much more accessible for many people.