A World of Inclusive Gaming – The Best Options for Visually Impaired Players

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Crafting games, whether in the form of board games or video games, often prioritizes individuals with unimpaired vision. This often leads to challenges for people with visual impairments, such as small text, inadequate color choices for those with limited color vision, or insufficient contrast. Consequently, many individuals with visual impairments miss out on the diverse range of recreational activities that are readily available to individuals with perfect, uncorrected vision.

In order to enhance the inclusivity of gaming, the experts at lenstore conducted an extensive study. Their goal was to identify the top-rated games that offer comprehensive support for individuals with visual impairments. This comprehensive investigation involved collecting data from the highest-rated games listed on Metacritic, with a specific focus on games that provide tailored support for players with color deficiencies. The study delved deep into the various features that these games offer, ensuring they provide maximum accessibility for gamers. Furthermore, the study extended to assessing the most popular games of 2020, aiming to gauge their level of support for disabled players and underscore any deficiencies in accessibility.

The range of features examined was broad and included options designed for color-deficient players, the ability to resize the user interface, and customizable control schemes. These features were meticulously evaluated, with the ultimate goal of accommodating diverse needs and guaranteeing an all-encompassing gaming experience.

Accessible Games: A Comprehensive Overview

The table presented below provides a comprehensive overview of the most accessible games available. Each game is evaluated based on the range of options it offers to players, ensuring inclusivity and an enjoyable gaming experience for all.

TOP 10 Accessible Games

Below, we delve into a comprehensive evaluation of games that prioritize accessibility, providing players with a range of options for a more inclusive and enjoyable gaming experience:

  • Adjustable Font Size: This feature empowers players to customize the in-game text size to their preference.
  • HUD Scaling: Examining whether the user interface can be resized to accommodate different preferences.
  • Contrast Setting: An evaluation of the game’s ability to control visual contrast, allowing adjustments between dark and light colors.

It’s hardly surprising that “The Last of Us Part II” from 2020 takes the top spot for accessibility. Developed by Naughty Dog, the game was intentionally designed to be accessible to as many players as possible. In addition to vision accessibility options, the game offers an extensive array of features for hearing and motor accessibility. Going above and beyond, this game is one of the very few in the industry with native support for Text-to-Speech. Moreover, it includes specific gameplay features intended to assist visually-impaired players, such as puzzle skipping, fall prevention, and enemy evasion.

For color deficiency support, “The Last of Us Part II” provides filters for Protanopia, Deuteranopia, and Tritanopia, alongside customizable HUD coloration. However, it’s important to note that “The Last of Us Part II” is exclusively available on PlayStation 4. The next game on our accessibility list, “World of Warcraft,” caters to PC players and has been a stalwart in the gaming world since its 2004 release.

Featuring a resizable interface and customizable controls, “WoW” is an excellent choice for those with limited vision. What sets it apart is that it doesn’t demand precise aiming or intense focus on the field of view, making it inherently accessible.

For Nintendo Switch users, “Into the Breach” offers a strategic gaming experience with a slower pace and user-friendly interfaces. While it’s most highly rated on PC, it’s also available on the compact, portable Nintendo console. For Xbox One players, “Microsoft Flight Simulator” takes the lead as the most accessible game. While its PC version is rated higher due to complex control requirements, the Xbox One version offers the ability to adjust the field of view and provides filters for Protanopia, Deuteranopia, and Tritanopia.

In the ever-evolving world of gaming, these titles stand out for their commitment to inclusivity, offering a richer gaming experience for all players.

Enhancing Accessibility in Game Development

The landscape of game development is in a perpetual state of evolution. The remarkable array of accessibility options found in mainstream games like “The Last of Us Part II” underscores the industry’s capacity to create products that cater to all gamers.

Certain features, such as the ability to modify text size and heads-up display elements, should become standard fare across all games. Developers who incorporate Text-to-Speech support will invariably find themselves embraced by a grateful player community.

Here are some potential adjustments that can make games more accessible:

  • Lock-on Aim: For games that require precise shooting or weapon targeting, implementing a lock-on aim can greatly assist players.
  • Audio Cues: Providing audio cues for movement and combat can be immensely beneficial for players with visual impairments.
  • Skipping Sections: Allowing players to skip particularly challenging sections can make games more inclusive for those with impairments.
  • Contrast Control: Offering adjustable contrast levels beyond the platform’s settings can be a game-changer for players.
  • Customizable Difficulty Levels: Empowering players to choose their preferred level of challenge through customizable difficulty settings enhances accessibility.

While some of the greatest accessibility strides have been made in top-rated games, this doesn’t necessarily signify a widespread trend in the gaming industry. To truly promote inclusivity, game developers across the board must adopt these principles and work collectively to ensure that all players can enjoy the immersive worlds they create.

Although the most highly regarded games of all time demonstrate exceptional accessibility features, this doesn’t necessarily indicate a pervasive trend in the gaming industry. In 2020, several games received top ratings, and their commitment to supporting players with vision impairments has been assessed as follows:

TOP 10 Accessible Games 2020

The gaming industry, despite its progress in accessibility, still presents disparities in accommodating players with color deficiency. While some games, such as “The Last of Us Part II” and “Microsoft Flight Simulator,” prominently feature tailored modes for users with vision impairments, others like “F1 2020: Spelunky” provide no customizable settings, relying on console-specific adjustments.

Interestingly, “Half-Life: Alyx,” a virtual reality title necessitating a headset, offers limited but noteworthy accessibility features not listed here. These include single-controller play and options to reduce lighting effects, catering to players with motor impairments or light sensitivity issues. While “Cyberpunk 2077” didn’t attain the highest ratings (the PC version scored 85/100 on Metacritic), it secured the record for the largest digital game launch. Despite its well-documented issues, the game incorporates several accessibility elements. These encompass multiple aim assist choices, including an enhanced “snap to target” function, the ability to eliminate weapon sway, and adjustable text sizes. Additionally, the game provides filters for protanopia, deuteranopia, and tritanopia, expanding its inclusivity.

While video games have made strides in accessibility, board games too can offer inclusive experiences for individuals with visual impairments. As the pandemic encourages more people to seek alternative forms of entertainment, the popularity of board games is soaring. Here are the top ten board games, as ranked by BoardGameGeek (BBG), that are either inherently inclusive or can be easily adapted for players with vision impairments.

Accessible Board Games for the Visually-Impaired

The Best Board Games

Chess, a universally recognized game, is almost entirely accessible due to its distinctive pieces and the consistent layout of the board. The only necessary adaptation is a tactile method for distinguishing between white and black pieces, which can often be found in specially designed sets. Cribbage, primarily a card game with a tactile scoring system, can be made inclusive by incorporating Braille cards alongside a traditional board and slightly modifying the rules to announce the rank of each card played, in addition to its value.

Liar’s Dice, a game centered around dice rolling and bluffing, is easily adaptable for players with visual impairments by using tactile dice, readily available for purchase. Quarto, a game involving a compact board and shaped pieces, requires minor tactile adjustments to differentiate between white and black pieces. “Bumpons,” adhesive tactile markers, can be applied to the game. The objective is to align four pieces based on height, shape, color, or design, with your opponent determining the piece you must play.

Quoridor can be played with two players by adding Velcro to secure the pieces to the board. The goal is to guide your pawn to the opposite side, requiring minimal adaptation of a standard set.

While recent games, such as The Last of Us Part II, demonstrate that game developers are increasingly considering visually-impaired players, the absence of customizable accessibility options in the top-rated games of 2020 underscores the need for improvement. Neglecting basic settings like font size, contrast adjustments, and user interface scaling, which can greatly benefit visually-impaired gamers, can be the crucial difference between an enjoyable and a frustrating gaming experience.