The symbols above are a small part of the new SpecialEffect backed Game Accessibility Rating System. We have five main hopes for it:
1. That this system will make it easier for people to find games that suit their particular abilities.
2. That it will help developers improve the accessibility of their games, focussing upon reasonably practicable steps, explained as clearly as possible.
3. That if accessibility information is found to be lacking, we will be able to work with developers, gamers and other game accessibility experts to remedy this.
4. That others will adopt this system.
5. That we'll see more accessible mainstream and indie games in the future.
Read on for more information on each symbols meaning, and some more thoughts at this early stage...
Content Unlikely To Offend
The teddy-bear icon will be awarded to games SpecialEffect deem unlikely to cause offence. For those wishing to avoid adult themes, violence and general rudery this symbol should give peace of mind. This should be of especial use for gauging the many accessible indie and on-line games that do not have an official age and content rating.
Massive thanks to Atari for granting us permission to use their lovely teddy-bear graphic in this way.
The Four Divisions of Game Accessibility
Sight, Cognitive, Input and Hearing related Accessibility will each be rated out of ten against a wish-list for accessibility features. It is important to make clear from the start that the scoring system will be a little like the Michelin Star system. High-marks will be rare, but any marks will be a very good thing.
Alongside the rating of each category, there will be a brief sentence or two to further explain the nature of the accessibility. This might be to explain if a game has reconfigurable controls or subtitles, and to what standard.
So what's next on the to do list?
A. The SpecialEffect wish-list of accessibility features.
B. A SpecialEffect reviewers guide to rating games.
C. More supporting information to better assist game developers.
D. Start reviewing games with the new system!
E. Thank those who do, and promote that they do.
To discuss this further, please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Symbols produced by the highly talented Etherbrian.