Access needed in motion-sensor gamingSep 14 04:54
Move one way, and your character moves. Swing your arm this way, and your character shoots their gun. This is the basis of motion-sensor gaming and it’s growing in popularity every day. The Nintendo Wii started the trend and was then-touted as a great option for gamers with disabilities since it provided one helluva workout. But as technology advances, new systems debut and games get better, there’s a continued glaring trend that’s producing several unsatisfied disabled customers: Accessible features are being omitted.
Other than the Nintendo Wii, the Microsoft Kinect and the Sony Playstation Move controller are the latest motion-sensor systems to become available. With every new game released for these systems, you’ll find the game designers are making sure to involve every part of the body in playing the game, from the legs, feet, to your fingers. While this is great for able-bodied people, its causing terrible frustrations for gamers with disabilities, especially if video games are a pastime shared between families and friends.
To be left out because an advanced technology didn’t care enough to take you into consideration is a huge problem in the video game world. That is why modified gaming systems have been sold by quad-owned Broadened Horizons for several years now. Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony might not understand the importance of building accessible features into their systems, but being that the technology to make them accessible exists, its actually very simple. All they’d to do is add a few extra lines of code and bam, accessible games and no more unhappy disabled customers.
When the Kinect was first released, they received a ton of complaints about the inaccessibility and released the following statement: “The initial wave of Kinect games were designed to be very active to take advantage of the sensor’s ability to track full-body motion, and as a result, may be difficult or simply not possible to play in a seated position. We’re working to improve Kinect’s skeletal tracking technology in ways that will help developers create games that incorporate seated play.”
Sure, we can still play the simple yet fun motion-sensor games like WeSki and Wii Sports Boxing; both are games I can play with zero limitations. But why should we feel left out when the more advanced games come around? What these systems need to do is provide an accessible menu that’s included with each game, allowing gamers to modify the controls as they see fit. It’d be a simple fix, yet as it stands, is still a pipe dream.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.