Metacognition: Controllers for Everyone!

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

How important do you think accessibility is in gaming?

Short answer?

Pretty damn important.

Long answer?

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I waxed poetic in the above-linked article, but the idea is that making games accessible for people who have different physical abilities or limitations (for instance, vision or hearing problems, motor planning difficulties, loss of limbs, etc.), is not synonymous with “dumbing down” the product. The only thing making games accessible will do is enable people to be able to play games even if they might want or need the game to be presented or playable in a way that is not typical.

I find it somewhat interesting to think that a hobby, full of people who stereotypically wear glasses, might not want games to be accessible to people.

Imagine, for a moment:

“I’m sorry,” said the person with 20/20 vision. “But we’re not going to give you corrective lenses so you can read or watch television or live independently, because you having corrective lenses will make me and my accomplishments less special.”

Ridiculous, right? It’s just as ridiculous to gatekeep against people who are different than you are because they want to play games, just like you do.

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I was tempered in my last article, so in this one, I say, At what point does making games accessible harm your experience? Don’t select those options if you think they would make your in-game achievements less meaningful to you or whoever you’re trying to impress.

Folks who need curb cuts exist. People who are colorblind or hard of hearing exist. People with different physical needs, either ones they were born with or ones they acquired, exist. Their existence, and the things we have put in place to help them navigate through the world, don’t “dumb down” life for you, do they?

Again I say, Don’t be a gatekeeper. Embrace games being made for everyone!

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I’m sorry if this seems soapboxy, but…. actually, no, I’m not sorry at all. I work with individuals with various disabilities, and I don’t think it’s too far out of the realm of possibilities for them to be treated with a little consideration. And that little consideration, for all you business people out there, could lead to some pretty big sales.

So it’s a win-win for everyone. Yes, games should be accessible, and yes, I finally found one of these Metacognition questions that I answered in a straightforward manner and have a strong opinion about!

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What do you think? Is accessibility something to strive for, or do you think it’s not “cost effective”? Will games suffer if we accept more people into the community? Do you think that accessibility in games will somehow make your gaming achievements mean less? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~Athena

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8 comments

  1. Accessibility is absolutely important.It’s one of those things that, as a kid gaming, never crossed my mind. It’s when you open up and start seeing others trying to enjoy the same things but with individual requirements to do so that you start to realsie how important it is. Honestly, I’ve not seen anyone argue against it myself, but I think that’s possibly more to down to the sort of people i’m around the most than anything. I can’t fathom why anyone would want to argue against accessibility though. Gaming is something that can unite people, so why make it divisive?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely. And I agree; it’s something that I haven’t personally come across, but I know I have, with my job, come across some pretty unaccepting people… so I know they must be out there :/ I think some people just don’t understand – they associate accessibility with “dumbing it down” and any sort of special need or disability with “stupid/scary/should be invisible.” But gaming can be such a great equalizer, really… what an opportunity to highlight how we’re all really the same in the most important ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is something I’ve been talking about in terms of difficulty levels for some time. Why lock people out because they lack some ability (in whatever sense that is meant) when you can provide them with accessibility options?

    I’m always happy to see things like colourblind modes in games. In fact, I liked what the developers of Unravel 2 were saying at E3 that they changed the colour scheme to reduce the issues red/green colourblind people might have.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. People who don’t think this is important either don’t have a disability or don’t think about the accessibility they have for it. The eyeglasses example is perfect. I couldn’t drive without mine. Anything more than six inches (give or take) from my face is blurry without corrective lenses, and I’ve been like this since age five. People don’t even see nearsightedness as a disability anymore because there’s so much acceptance and accessibility for it. Anything that makes things more available to a larger population is a good thing to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely. Usually the people who don’t see the reason for something is because they’ve never needed it.

      I’m similarly blind without my glasses, but it still strikes me that people don’t usually see it as a “disability” just because it’s so prevalent. But yes, more inclusive societies are always better, in my book!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s because it’s so common and so taken care of with corrective lenses that it’s a non-issue. It’s covered by insurance because vision is such an important aspect of our lives, but it trikes me as odd that other things aren’t seen that way. Like mobility is SO important, yet wheelchairs are often not covered or not fully covered. Granted a wheelchair costs more than a pair of glasses, but that doesn’t change the fact that people need a way to get around. There’s also the convenience factor. Me wearing glasses doesn’t inconvenience anyone else, but curb cuts could be seen as “useless” and “wasteful” by able bodied people, and they don’t want to pay for something they have no use for *rolls eyes* The way we look at disability as a whole really needs to change, because inclusion makes like better for everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

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