Video Games Are More Accessible Than Ever

Video games are made to offer people joy. People with disabilities deserve to experience that joy, too.


From vision and hearing to invisible and physical, disabilities are part of humanity. To continue the trend of touching upon disadvantaged gamers with my blogs about online toxicity and women in gaming, it’s only appropriate to shine the spotlight now on how video games are accessible to those with disabilities. Celeste Ryan, Coastline's Special Programs and Services Coordinator, looks forward to accessibility in video games, saying, "technology has done so much to improve the quality of life for those living with disability. Gaming can serve as a platform for bringing people together in the spirit of innovation and competition". From inspiring players to game development, I personally learned a lot from my research on this topic, so I hope you can come away with more knowledge in order to defend and increase awareness for disabled gaming.


The Accessibility

Video games are becoming more accessible than ever. As communities of disabled players have reached out and worked first hand with game developers, newer games’ options are becoming more and more accessible for people with various disabilities.


For starters, what game options are needed to accommodate disabled people? While definitely a daunting task, since there is such a wide range of disabilities, game developers have and are working with disabled communities like AbleGamers in order to incorporate the right changes so everybody can play their games.

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Some of the key settings options for video games that are becoming more and more standard are color-blind options, closed captioning, remappable buttons (meaning if a game was designed to have X be jump and O be crouch, you may remap those actions to any button you wish), and sensitivity options for the speed of moving the camera. Games that are pushing advanced accessibility (to be discussed further down the page) are including motion sickness options by toggling character sway and having an immovable dot in the middle of the screen to focus on, story difficulty settings for those looking to just enjoy the story of a game, and stark visual aids for important in-game characters and items. Game developers want as many people as they can to enjoy their games, and with these expansive settings, the majority of games moving forward will be accessible to all.



Along with revolutionary options, a wide variety of controllers and controller modifications are becoming available for those that need them. Microsoft, the gaming giant behind Xbox, has created the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which has been received incredibly well by the disabled community. The Xbox Adaptive Controller allows players to plug in their own buttons, analog sticks, and triggers to create their own customizable controller perfect for them. AbleGamers constantly offers innovative controllers and controller modifications like the TrackIR and the Axis Pro Controller that can help any gamer comfortably play their favorite games. There’s also a computer mouse to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome created by Quadraclicks to help PC gamers. The envelop of people who can physically play video games is being pushed beyond imaginable boundaries, which is excellent news for not only disabled players, but the gaming world at large.


The Games

For games to be accessible to everyone, the games themselves need to be accommodating. With Sony, the parent of PlayStation, Microsoft, and other third-party developers becoming more aware of the need for accessibility, the games they create are including more diverse options.

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Games and Studios

Starting with Sony, Naughty Dog, one of Sony’s best game developing organizations, created not only one of the most successful and popular games of all time (winning 260 Game of the Year awards and having a 44.5 million player count as of November 2020), but also one of the most accessible games of all time (and it's also one of my all-time favorite games). Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part 2 goes beyond accessibility, offering minute details for in-game difficulties, vision settings, hints and tutorials, HUD options (displayed information overlayed on a screen like health and ammo), auto pick-ups, unlimited ammo; literally, the options are nearly limitless.


Even I, whose worst disabilities are motion sickness and ADHD, turned on the speech compass to help me know exactly where the person talking was in relation to my character. The Last of Us Part 2 shook the gaming industry to include accessibility measures in all games going forward. Other extremely popular games from various developers like Overwatch, Celeste, and Gears 5 are all adding accessibility options so that video games remain a place for all gamers to be equal.


The Players

Games are nothing without players. Thanks to a surge of game options and controllers, people who have disabilities are able to enjoy the impactful video game worlds that continue to inspire millions.

Blind Players

The hardest demographic of disabled players to accommodate to are blind players. Since video games, similar to tv and movies, are mainly a visual experience, how to grant blind people amazing video game experiences can be tricky. The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled presents a baffling number of resources for blind gamers all about video game accessibility for blind players. From there, I discovered, which has an archive of the best video games for blind gamers.


A Hero’s Call is an excellent example of a video game made for blind gamers. A Hero’s Call is a game with no visuals whatsoever, but it does have fully realized RPG elements like six different character classes, an expansive story, and a believable fantasy world with combat, just like an Elder Scrolls or Diablo game would. While mainstream games are not quite accessible to all blind players yet, the existence of blind focused games and the formulation of blind accessibility measures are all definitely welcomed additions to the fight for accessibility in gaming.

Mike Begum, “Brolylegs”

One of the many inspirational disabled players that I came across researching for this blog is Mike Begum, or “Brolylegs”. Mike Begum has arthrogryposis which means that his muscles didn’t grow completely, disabling Begum from walking, grabbing, or lifting things. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the world’s best competitors at Street Fighter. Begum has traveled all over the United States to play competitive Street Fighter esports against non-disabled players, eventually being crowned the “Best Chun-Li Player in the World”. Begum believes the gaming community could do better to accommodate different disabilities, but that they are doing a “decent job” now and that it “will be (improved) throughout the upcoming years”.


Although accessibility in gaming isn’t quite accessible for everyone quite yet, the current progress and trajectory the gaming industry is taking is reassuring. From gaming behemoths like Naughty Dog making massive strides in accessibility leading the way towards the future to players like Mike Begum shaping what the disabled gaming community needs, accessibility in video gaming has never been better.

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