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Old 10-02-12, 10:40 AM   #1
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Post Includification: Bringing video games to players with disabilities

Enlarge / An illustration of just one of the guidelines included in AbleGamers' new guide.
AbleGamers Foundation

There are plenty of reasons why people don't play certain video games. Some might find them too hard. Others simply find them too boring, or just not fun. But for millions of disabled people, playing games isn't a matter of wanting to, but being able to.

Stephanie Walker encountered this problem first-hand one Friday evening in 2004, when she found herself unable to log in for a regular gaming session with a long-time gaming partner, Mark Barlet. The multiple sclerosis that Walker had contracted in 2001 had finally cost her the use of her right hand, making mouse-and-keyboard gaming a physical impossibility. "I freaked out that this disability was going to take away something that we loved, so we started looking for resources," Barlet recalled in an interview with Ars Technica. "We did not find anything, so she and I took it on ourselves to create it."

Since then, the non-profit AbleGamers Foundation that Barlet and Walker set up has helped educate the public and the game industry about issues related to disabled gamers. The group has spread its message by attending conferences, hosting "accessibility arcades" where disabled gamers can try out games designed for them, and reviewing games specifically for their accessibility levels. But the recently published Includification: A Practical Guide to Game Accessibility might represent the group's most comprehensive and impactful tool in its continuing efforts to help the industry provide better support for the disabled community.

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