Access Tech: Accessibility in Gaming

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe and I am back and will be taking a bit of a break from the Holiday Matsuri coverage, which I will get back to since we have to figure out what videos go up first since we have them recorded on Nerdy Shirts’ phone and camera and my phone with pics from the Runway Contest. Don’t worry, it will be up! Right now I am doing a post that my best friend Stellar Nan thought it would be interesting for me to do with my own take and that is…

Accessibility in Gaming

Disclaimer: This post is based on observations and opinions of the lead writer. Please respect her thoughts and thank you!

I am glad to talk about this topic since it has been a hot one all year especially since MegaCon Orlando this year when Troy Baker announced that he wants to see more accessibility in gaming and I did thank him for it which he did mention to me that he has seen articles of blind people popping up in the gaming world which is true.

The first article I had read before the con was done on a Japanese boy who is blind and beat a rhythm game series on the DS and he wrote to Nintendo to thank them for the series which the company did write back to him in a Braille letter and a printed one for his dad and said “Thank you for playing!” This was amazing to me because the kid did go onto playing the Taiko drums all thanks to playing these games which if you haven’t seen a Taiko show I highly recommend to go to one in your area or find videos on YouTube. Even before this article, Gondras did turn me onto one blind gamer that lives in Canada by the name of Steve Sailor who plays games despite having low vision. He has played many games such as Bio shock, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey and it is very entertaining to see how he roams around and plays the games and reacts to them. I will put a video link in here so you can see what he does.

When it comes to accessibility, it is where different things to be added in order to make playing games more fun for people with disabilities, especially ones with visual disabilities. It’s not easy to play a game for me since I can’t see the screen nor the buttons but I have been sighted before and remembered playing Sonic 2 the most and almost beating the game a couple of times. I even remembered playing Super Mario All Stars on the Super Nintendo and moved onto the Nintendo 64 and the Gameboy Color. Nowadays with my limited sight, I can only really play Pokémon even though I did help unlock people on Super Smash Brothers but it’s mostly Pokémon and I know how it feels to play it since another blind gamer by the name of James Rath goes through the audio cues like I do but sometimes the Pokémon can sound the same in my ears and do need the sighted help time to time. Plus, walking around can also be difficult since I do run into things a lot and need some directional guide. Trust me, playing Y with Lumios City was not an easy feat with how that city is a rotating 3D model when I look at it. Even navigating Mauville in Alpha Sapphire was confusing too with the different doors you go through. I bet you are wondering where I am getting at.

Screen Reader Tech! That’s right, screen reading tech should be developed for the Nintendo system since Sony has developed it to be on their PlayStation 4 for people with visual impairments to be able to play. I am hoping Gondras does get one soon because I want to see this for myself since I have co-opped with him a couple of times in Tales of Xilia 2!

For many years, I have been emailing Nintendo about this since it is not easy being able to see the text and the story is in that text based telling. Trust me, I try to ask Gondras to read the stuff out even during Pokémon Black and besides the story parts, also reading out signs on buildings since I was able to locate things on the maps in the strategy guides and can’t read them anymore. So, the screen reader would help in reading the maps, reading the tutorials too and even read the different menus on the home screen area when selecting the games you want to play, to putting in the text like with how Siri would do on the onscreen keyboard, and many other things, heck even see items ahead of you.

I did get an email from Nintendo once I read the article about the Japanese boy to reach out to them again and they did say they started including the ability to change the colors on the Nintendo Switch which James Rath talked about in a video I will also include about how a blind person would play the Switch. These settings pretty much change the gray scale and reverse the colors on the screen which sounds like something Zoom Text and Magic does where you can make the background different colors and your cursor a different color to help see while typing as an example. That is a really good start for Nintendo because it is now showing they are joining in on the Accessibility Arena due to how many people that are visually impaired want to enjoy their games. James mentioned how he and another blind friend were able to play together especially with Splatoon where they were able to switch the color blind settings to help with that.

It would be nice for Nintendo to expand on the settings to add the screen reader tech since we do live in the era of voiceover on Apple and Samsung’s tablets and phones, heck even Zoom Text has added speech to be like Magic in its own way. I did bring the question about this to Jennifer Hale and Ally Hillis during the Mass Effect panel during Mega since it would be interesting for their take and they said, “Of course! Since we live in the time of inclusion in tech that would be something that should be added.” You can watch those videos in our MegaCon Orlando coverage on here or go to our YouTube Channel for that. I do agree with their points because we do have the audio description and closed captions for the sight and hearing impaired audiences who love to come and see a movie with their family and friends so should have a talk with the companies that develop these devices or talk to Freedom Scientific, the creators of NVDA in Australia, or even Apple and Samsung for help in how to make something like this to work on the Switch and their DS systems since we do have the New DS too to think about. Plus, it will help Nintendo to keep up with Sony since they are getting into the Accessibility game a little more to include more gamers in their market and it would be the same with Nintendo if they keep going forward.

Well, that is my take on the accessibility in gaming since I am a JAWS user, it would be nice to play Pokémon with screen reading support. I did bring it up to someone I used to know and he thought this was a bad idea but now with more blind gamers and now voice actors wanting to see it more, I guess he will be thinking it more differently if he has been to the latest conventions where the actors have talked about it and plus more blind gamers are popping up in the mainstream media even on YouTube. I haven’t mentioned the points that Extra Credits mentioned in one video they did all thanks to someone who told her story but I will also include their video on Accessibility in gaming too. Now I will be crossing my fingers on all my paws to see if more accessible settings go forward. And I also want to thank Steve Sailor for letting me use one of his videos to show what he does and in a recent video he is starting to be a consultant to help game developers so hoping an expansion does happen. So, enjoy the videos and until next time! I will be doing a post that Mr. Brandon McInnis inspired me to do during Holiday Mature. Until next time!

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