How to review the accessibility of a game

This website gives you the ability to write reviews about games. The plan is to not only review how fun these games are, but also how accessible they are. This guide will help you review if a game is accessible or not.

First of all, if you have an impairment yourself feel free to write about any problems you might have encountered while playing this game because of your impairment. Other gamers that share your impairment than know what to expect when playing the game.

Secondly think about how gamers with other impairments might encounter problems while playing these games. There are, roughly speaking, 5 main groups of impairments that might hamper gameplay. Mental/cognitive. Physical. Visual. Hearing and Voice impairments. These are broad categories and it might be hard to accurately guess whether or not a gamer with a different impairment might encounter problems, but if you describe the possible issue detailed enough they will be able to judge this by themselves. Try and include a line or two about how accessible the game is for every impairment.

When reviewing, you can ask yourself the following questions per disability:

Mental/cognitive impairment:
– Do the menu’s have many different layers?
– Is the font easily readable?
– Is the language used complex?
– Is the tutorial easy to follow?
– Can players choose to read text at their own pace?
– Are there flickering images or repetitive patterns that might trigger epileptics attacks?
– Does the game contain (good)tutorials?
– How much and how fast does the player have to learn in order to play the game?
– Is it easy to start up the game and is the menu clear?
– Is the purpose of the game clear?
– Check the intellectual difficulty level of the game and possible ‘easy’ modes.
– Can you still play the game if you make mistakes in the ‘harder’ parts?
– Are social skills necessary in this game?
– Does the game come in different languages?
– Can the content be seen as traumatising?

Physical impairment: 
– Can the controls be freely remapped?
– Can the sensitivity of the controls be chosen?
– Do you use the same buttons while navigate the menu and playing the game?
– Do you use many buttons and strange combinations or combo’s of button presses?
– On a touch screen, are the buttons large and not to close together?
– Can you play this game with just one arm?
– Can you play this game with just one button?
– Is there button mashing?
– Can the game be played through different mediums that might be easier to control (like touch screens on i-Pads)?

Visual impairment:
– Can you play this game if you can’t see colours?
– Is the font easily readable? And does the text have a high enough contrast?
– Can you play this game without vision at all? With just sound and text? (Blind gamers can still read some text with text to speech software called “screenreaders”)
– Are important things like enemies and powerups large and well visible?
– Are some things deliberately hidden and hard to see (camouflage for instance)?

Hearing impairment:
– Are there subtitles during cutscene’s and actual gameplay?
– Are the subtitles easy to read while playing the game?
– Are there text or visuals that show essential information that you would otherwise only be able to hear? (enemy footsteps or gun noise for example?)
– What about multiplayer? Do most people communicate by speech or can you use chat?

Speech impairment:
– Does the game itself recognize voice commands and could you play the game without these voice commands?
– Is speech needed in multiplayer? Are there multiplayer servers for people that don’t use microphones for example? Or is speech communication not really essential for multiplayer?

Most people say it helps to keep this list handy while writing your review and if you want to learn more about what a game needs to be accessible you can read the game accessibility guidelines over here:
About the fun rating

Try to be a little realistic about this 😉 Sure, we get that you want to give your favourite games full marks across the board but if everyone gives the game they review a 10 that kind of defeats the point of having the rating to compare games in the first place. Try to think how good the game really is for its genre and maybe check the internet for other reviews. 

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Calined

    heya!
    How does this article continue? =/

    thanks!

    Chris

    1. Erik Schotman

      Hi Chris,

      I have no idea how that article got cut off but thanks for mentioning! If you have trouble with the process or it’s hard to review, just send me an email at game@accessibility.nl and i’ll get back to you through there.

      Hope you’ll be able to review a game!

      Kind regards, Erik

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