So I like video games. I really like them. Probably too much. Okay far too much.
Luckily I’m not the only one. In the past decade casual games that everyone can dip into emerged in force on platforms such as the Internet and the Nintendo Wii bringing gaming out of the basements of unpopular teenagers and into the mainstream. The average age of a gamer, is now 37. The video games industry now takes in more in sales yearly than each of the box office, dvds, and the music industries coming in at somewhere between $30 and $40 billion in 2008.
A thoroughly worthwhile and fascinating array of solutions towards the inclusion of gamers with disabilities have been created. People with visual impairment can play audio games – games that have no visuals where the player reacts to sound to play the game. For example classic text adventure games like Zork and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy can be transcribed and played by visually impaired gamers. Special adaptions within game code can made to enable more people to play such as automatically controlling some aspects of your character for people with reduced motor control. Special controls for people with physical impairments have been made that use motion control (the Wii), motion detection (the Kinect) or special designs such as a one handed controllers and mouth controllers to get people with disabilities in on the fun.
It doesn’t even stop there. Games have even gone so far as to help teach and enable people with disabilities. For example the BrainTalk Communities have been experimenting with the virtual world Second Life. Second Life is a 3d environment where residents can explore the world meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another. Brigadoon is an experiment to stimulate people with high-functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome to learn how to socialize and interact better with other people. University of Kansas professor and Special Education authority Eva Horn used video games to train children with multiple handicaps (e.g., severely limited vocal speech acquisition) to make scan and selection responses. Skills learned in the video game were later transferred to a communication device. Other researchers have used video games to help
learning disabled children in their development of spatial abilities, problem-solving exercises and mathematical ability.
The ongoing sophistication of hardware and software we’re guaranteed to see in the coming decade promises more and more both in terms of gamer inclusion and innovative learning opportunities for everyone, and fun is at the top of the agenda!
To learn more about disability and games visit:
For a list of games appropriate for people with disabiltiies and a shop for increased accessibility controls visit: