2012 turned out to be a very encouraging year for game accessibility. We saw big-name studios adopting the game accessibility guidelines of Includification -- and by doing so -- creating some of the most disability-friendly video games to date.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and Dishonored followed these guidelines as closely as they could. And although the natures of the genres they belong to are inherently riddled with accessibility problems, we hope they continue on their plight to become fully accessible.
We also saw a few games slipping backwards. Froza Horizons fell backwards in accessibility removing many of the most crucial accessibility features that won its predecessor the AbleGamers Accessible Game of the Year Award just two years ago.
This year we have a carefully chosen selection of six titles that was presented to the disabled gaming community and the expert staff of AbleGamers.com. After one of the closest races in the award history of AbleGamers, one game has stood out above and beyond the rest.
FIFA 13 is the first high-end mainstream sports game to allow users to control the entire game with only a mouse. For disabled gamers with Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and even one-handed gamers, the ability to play such a sophisticated sports game with simple controls that can be handled by a trackball or mouse mean gamers who may not have been able to enjoy iconic sporting activities like baseball, football, hockey or soccer can now take part in the fun.
Features including remappable keys, customizable color options, high contrast and intuitive menus, visual cues for all audio input and high socializing replayability tipped the scales in favor of the English football game.
But the number one reason FIFA 13 came out on top is the inclusion of perhaps the most powerful feature seen in any game to date. By manipulating the game’s AI and PC settings, disabled gamers can tailor the game to their needs. The entire game can be slowed down. The computer can be set to perform slower and with less efficiency. Player controlled avatars can utilize additional speed, accuracy and shot power.
For those with cognitive disorders and motor impairments, the ability to set the game to an acceptable rate of speed enables those with even the most severe of disabilities.
AbleGamers congratulates Electronic Arts on their fourth and most impressive win. On behalf of the more than 33 million disabled gamers, we thank EA for accepting the game accessibility guidelines of Includification with open arms and utilizing the disability community’s suggestions on how to improve game accessibility.
Although there can only be one winner of the AbleGamers Mainstream Accessible Game of the Year Award, we felt unequivocally compelled to mention two other titles that stood out among the rest.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown from 2K Games narrowly lost out on the title, and in fact beat FIFA 13’s score by 0.1 in our accessibility review database. Scoring an almost unheard of perfect 10, XCOM features fully remappable keys, the ability to play with the keyboard or only the mouse, impeccable subtitles and colorblind awareness.
AbleGamers would like to congratulate 2K Games on creating one of the most accessible games of the year. Had this year’s winner not included so many world firsts for game accessibility, XCOM: Enemy Unknown would have won.
We hope 2K Games continues to improve accessibility and heed the call of our practical game accessibility guidelines.
Indie games have never even reached the final round of selection for the coveted AbleGamers award. Yet this year Colour Bind captivated the admiration of our expert review staff. Indie developer, Finn Morgan, went above and beyond to include game accessibility in a game specifically designed to make colors difficult. Finn spoke with AbleGamers, researched game accessibility and most importantly helped prove reaching out to young developers leads them towards good game accessibility practices and game design early on in their careers.
AbleGamers congratulates Mr. Morgan on a wonderfully well-designed game with simplistic controls built with thoughts towards disabled gamers. We look forward to seeing his work in the future, and just maybe winning an award of his own.