When you hear the phrase “can I play that?”, you might imagine a toddler asking to borrow your phone to play games, or maybe you remember being a preteen and asking your parents or siblings if they could let you play an M-rated video game. Most of us have never seen a game and asked ourselves “can I play that?” in the literal sense of being able to play it; of course, we can play it. Why wouldn’t we be able to play it?
The thought of being literally unable to play a game might have never occurred to most of us because it’s one of the many “normal” or “common” activities that we take for granted as able-bodied people. It also doesn’t help that games media rarely if ever shows persons with disabilities being involved in video games. Game developers, streamers, content creators, and even game journalists are all presented or assumed to be without disabilities.
This is why it’s so important that a site like Can I Play That? exists. The website, which serves as a “destination for gamers and developers alike for all forms of accessibility information,” was launched in 2018, but it recently received an upsurge in viewership due to its accessibility reviews of The Last of Us Part II.
The website features reviews on games’ accessibility features, news on developments in video game accessibility, as well as guides for developers to refer to when creating accessibility features for their games. In case you haven’t noticed, the operative word here is “accessibility.” There’s also a tab which allows users to submit their own reviews, so any member of the gamers with disabilities community can contribute.
Accessibility in video games is a relatively new aspect of video game development, with the International Game Developers’ Association having started their Game Accessibility Special Interest Group just in 2003. Since then, we’ve seen a slew of accessibility options appear in some of our favorite games, and accessibility controllers also became popular options for the motion-impaired. That said, there are still plenty of games out there with half-baked implementations of accessibility options. While disabled gamers might be able to play them with special controllers, these games need to meet their players halfway with proper accessibility features.
It’s important that we support content created by our fellow gamers who need some extra options to be able to play, because the more that their voices are heard, the closer we get to having full-fledged accessibility features be the norm in video games. Video games are made to inspire and delight us, and no one should be made to miss out on the action just because they’ve got a disability.
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Data Protection Officer
TV5 Network Inc.
Reliance corner Sheridan Streets
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