The awards named Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn the most accessible mainstream game of the year. The game allows gamers with physical and sensory disabilities to play online in a fully-accessible format. Producer of the game, Square Enix, confirmed that player feedback and continual updates are important parts of ensuring that the game is accessible.
The game scored an overall 9.1 out of 10 and was noted for the ability to customise the user interface, which includes ways to accommodate different disabilities. A notable feature is the ability to assign all of the menu requirements controlling interaction and movement to a keyboard, allowing the user to set it up in a way that works best for them. The captioning, text manipulation and colour adjustments also help people with hearing and vision disabilities.
Independent game studio Galactic Café was also recognised for producing the accessible Stanley’s Parable with a limited budget and a small team.
In addition to the game categories, the Accessible Game Awards also cover areas such as new accessible devices and peripherals. The category winner was StinkyBoard which is a device designed to allow gamers to use their feet to add additional flexibility in the control schemes of any video game. It particularly helps those with physical impairments such as the loss of the use of one arm or limited upper body movement.
The AbleGamers Charity notes that, despite the award winners, 2013 was a disappointing year for gamers with disability. In the lead-up to Christmas, the organisation published a warning to its readers not to buy the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles due to their accessibility going backwards.
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