Accessibility in gaming is a hot topic right now, and rightly so. But what kinds of options are there, and what’s still missing? Today we’re going to break down exactly what can be found to help players who need more accessible ways of playing, whether that be due to disabilities. gaming prowess, or even mental health.

Mobility

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Some games also provide easier access for users with mobility issues, although they are few and far between, particularly if you need to play one-handed.

There is still a lot to be done in this field, especially for Playstation and Switch. I hope they take Microsoft’s cue and develop its own accessible controllers.

Visual

To think it used to be a regular thing, and that most TV’s allow for different colour modes. Why shouldn’t games with strong visuals (think beat sabre) always accommodate those who might struggle, or be impaired.

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Auditory

There are other impacts on auditory disabilities while gaming — where is that noise coming from? Or if you’re profoundly deaf — how I am supposed to know that was there? A minority of games have visual cues where they would typically expect you to rely on sound alone, but most don’t offer this yet.

Really games need to step up in terms of audio offerings from the very beginning. They need to ensure that if any of their games rely in any capacity on visuals, they offer visual alternatives.

Difficulty

Changing the difficulty level is also an excellent option for people with any disabilities — need to jump a little bit slower to make that platform? Maybe the more relaxed setting will give you more time.

This is of course a much more nuanced topic than the rest, as games like Dark Souls don’t offer difficulty choices on purpose. They want the player to quickly adapt to what they’re presenting. Of course this does means though that many players simply won’t be able to experience it. So the answer here might not be as simple as it appears.

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Mental Health

Games do come with warnings towards violence and drug use, but any and all physiological effects seem to be shoved under the rug. Would it be so hard for games that enter very difficult mental territory to let players know?

Charities like Safe in Our World deal with mental health in the industry, and Check Point offer resources to gamers and developers alike to help normalise and even find the good in some mental conditions. Son’t hesitate to check them out.

Playing Alone

There’s a raft of features, options, and tech out there to improve accessibility in gaming, but there are just as many gaps and overlooked groups. Accessibility in gaming has moved so far forward — but we aren’t finished yet.