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Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD): New Accessibility Tools Aid Video Game Discovery

To support this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day on Thursday 20th May, the Family Video Game Database is launching new video game accessibility tools with the support of its accessibility partner the VSC Rating Board.

The database documents over 1200 games with all the information parents need to make an informed choice. Over the last 12 months the database team has worked with Playability Initiative, Ukie, accessibility organizations, accessibility experts and hundreds of players to record over 7,500 connections to video games across a broad and detailed range of accessibility and inclusive design features. The VSC’s additional support will enable the expansion of this effort so that today 500 games on the database now have accessibility data. 

Ian Rice, Director General of the VSC Rating Board said, “our mission is to make sure that parents have all the information they need to make informed decisions about the video games their families play. The age ratings and content information we issue are an important piece of that, but we also know they are only part of the picture. The accessibility information provided on the Family Video Games Database will allow users to find games based not only on PEGI age suitability but also according to their accessibility requirements. The VSC is proud to support this initiative as the Accessibility Partner, ensuring that video games continue to make a positive contribution to children’s and families’ lives across the UK.”

The Accessibility Search and Accessibility Review help players discover games that suit their needs, as well as find alternatives to games that don’t yet have the required design or accessibility setting. Ian Hamilton, co-director of GAconf and coordinator of Game Accessibility Guidelines said, "Information to make informed purchase decisions remains a continual and significant barrier for disabled people. It has been wonderful to see Family Video Game Database’s understanding of how this issue fits with their mission, and their ongoing commitment to find ways to break this barrier down."

Progress with Accessibility Data on Family Video Game Database 
Progress with Accessibility Data on Family Video Game Database 

Andy Robertson, co-founder of the Family Video Game Database said, “It’s been a privilege to work with some amazing people to offer accessibility search on the database. The new Accessibility Review page is the next step in leveraging this data to help people find amazing games to play. We’re a small team, and learning about this as we go, but with 5000 people visiting the site every day, the response to the Accessibility tools on the database has been humbling and exciting.”

The Accessibility Search tool uses this data to find for games that meet specific accessibility requirements. Players simply enter their bespoke search criteria to find the matching games. This can be combined with PEGI, system, genre and other search criteria to offer a highly tailored game search:

  1. PEGI 12 Switch Games With Low Pressure Features
  2. PEGI 7 Xbox Games With Large Clear Subtitles
  3. PEGI 3 PlayStation Games With Audio Cues for Visual Events

The Accessibility Review tool provides analysis of the 1200 games on the database. It aims to detail Difficulty, Reading, Control, Navigation, Image, Audio and Communication accessibility features. This not only makes it easier to assess whether a game is a good fit before purchase, but where a game has limited accessibility in a particular area the page offers similar games with stronger accessibility as an alternative purchase.

George Osborn, Head of Communications at Ukie, said “as supporters of the Family Video Game Database from its inception, we are excited to see the addition of these important accessibility tools. Video games are for everyone and we’re pleased to see the Family Video Game Database play its part in opening up the medium to all.”

Dr Amy Kavanagh, visually impaired video gamer, activist and campaigner, said, “The Family Video Game Database makes finding accessible games so much easier. Whether you need subtitles, re-mappable controls or larger icons, the search filters mean you quickly get a list of accessible games with a helpful review! I often have to wait so long to get a game, digging around for information on the accessibility features before I make a purchase, thanks to this database I now have a huge backlog of accessible games to catch up on."

Antonio I. Martinez, accessibility expert and owner of Game Accessibility Nexus added that, “the database game suggestions are really helpful when someone wants to find games that have a similar or better level of accessibility in those fields. If a game doesn’t work for someone, they can find others that might.”

Avatar for Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.