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Accessibility & Inclusivity In Games Or, “How Not To Be An Asshole”

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Presentation on theme: "Accessibility & Inclusivity In Games Or, “How Not To Be An Asshole”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Accessibility & Inclusivity In Games Or, “How Not To Be An Asshole”

2 What to take away You probably know all this stuff already. But, think:  Can you make your games more inclusive?  Can you make your games more accessible?  Are you making assumptions about your player base? You probably know all this stuff already. But, think:  Can you make your games more inclusive?  Can you make your games more accessible?  Are you making assumptions about your player base?

3 Who Plays Games? Teens, Games And Civics Report [1] : 99% boys, 94% girls play games. 73% play on PC, no gender divide. ESA Essential Facts about the Games Industry [2] : 58% of Americans play games. Average age: 30 BBC Survey 100% of British teenagers play games. Teens, Games And Civics Report [1] : 99% boys, 94% girls play games. 73% play on PC, no gender divide. ESA Essential Facts about the Games Industry [2] : 58% of Americans play games. Average age: 30 BBC Survey 100% of British teenagers play games. [1] [2]

4 Who Plays Games? EVERYONE

5 So, what’s the problem?  Industry games target white, able-bodied, cis-gendered heterosexual male demographic.  Many other groups play games while feeling they are not the intended audience.  Games frequently fail to address needs of people with disabilities.  Industry games target white, able-bodied, cis-gendered heterosexual male demographic.  Many other groups play games while feeling they are not the intended audience.  Games frequently fail to address needs of people with disabilities.

6 Accessibility Because games are for everyone

7 The best definition of game accessibility, that I have come up with, is giving as many players as possible the best opportunity of completely experiencing a game. Josh Straub what-it-is-and-why-it-matters.aspx Josh Straub what-it-is-and-why-it-matters.aspx People with disabilities will play your game regardless of the difficulty. Make it easy for them.

8 Spot the Problem

9 Colour-Deficient Vision DeficiencyMalesFemales Red-Green10%1% Yellow-Blue<1% Monochromacy1/ Deuteranopia ProtanopiaTritanopia  Default to Orange and Purple  Avoid Cyan, avoid Red vs Blue  Allow players to choose (e.g. team) colours  Display game information symbolically  Default to Orange and Purple  Avoid Cyan, avoid Red vs Blue  Allow players to choose (e.g. team) colours  Display game information symbolically

10 Colour-Deficient Vision: Tools and Tests  ColorOracle (Java)[ ]http://colororacle.org/  Sim-daltonism (OS X)[ ]http://michelf.ca/projects/sim-daltonism/  Can you play your game in black and white?  ColorOracle (Java)[ ]http://colororacle.org/  Sim-daltonism (OS X)[ ]http://michelf.ca/projects/sim-daltonism/  Can you play your game in black and white?

11 Colour-Deficient Vision: GIMP

12 Other Vision Impairments  Add audible cues to game/UI events  Resizable UI text  High contrast option  Text to Speech (TTS) option Blindness  Very hard to cater to in most games  Games based around music or sound might work  Can you cater to blindness without compromising your game?  Add audible cues to game/UI events  Resizable UI text  High contrast option  Text to Speech (TTS) option Blindness  Very hard to cater to in most games  Games based around music or sound might work  Can you cater to blindness without compromising your game?

13 Hearing Impairments  Don’t rely on sound alone to convey information  Add closed caption option for voiced dialogue  Don’t rely on sound alone to convey information  Add closed caption option for voiced dialogue

14 Motor and Cognitive Impairments  UI Simplicity  Limited number of controls  Control-map settings  Avoid controls which require two hands  Avoid elements which require fast reaction times  UI Simplicity  Limited number of controls  Control-map settings  Avoid controls which require two hands  Avoid elements which require fast reaction times  Avoid requiring simultaneous key-presses  Avoid repetitive button presses (such as quick-time events)  Give "tap or hold" option  Have a "speed" setting to allow people to slow down your game to something comfortable for them Doesn't mean making the game easy

15 Accessibility Resources One Switch Games   One Switch Games   Accessibility Guidelines   accessibility.com/index.php?pagefile=papers accessibility.com/index.php?pagefile=papers

16 Trigger Warnings A trigger warning should be placed on games containing  Rape  Domestic abuse/Partner Violence  Phobic attacks  Anorexia/Eating Disorders A content note is suitable for discussions of those and other topics Better safe than sorry A trigger warning should be placed on games containing  Rape  Domestic abuse/Partner Violence  Phobic attacks  Anorexia/Eating Disorders A content note is suitable for discussions of those and other topics Better safe than sorry

17 Inclusivity

18  Forget realism  Don't have white, able-bodied, cis-gendered heterosexual male main characters  We have enough of those already  Forget realism  Don't have white, able-bodied, cis-gendered heterosexual male main characters  We have enough of those already

19 Copping Out  Games don’t need characters.  Characters in games don’t need to be anthropomorphic. However, most games will have anthropomorphic characters. What if you can’t cop out? Three options:  Fixed main character  Character selection  Character customization  User-generated content is always good  Games don’t need characters.  Characters in games don’t need to be anthropomorphic. However, most games will have anthropomorphic characters. What if you can’t cop out? Three options:  Fixed main character  Character selection  Character customization  User-generated content is always good

20 Spot the Problem

21 $158,922 says this is a problem

22 Sexism: The Bechdel Test

23 Sexism: The Mako Mori Test [1] A complement the Bechdel Test:  At least one female character  Who gets her own narrative arc  That is not about supporting a man’s story. A complement the Bechdel Test:  At least one female character  Who gets her own narrative arc  That is not about supporting a man’s story. [1]

24 Sexism: Damaging Tropes Sexist tropes pervade pop-culture:  Damsel in Distress  Fridging  “Men With Boobs”* And many more…  Feminist Frequency [1]  Geek Feminism Wiki [2] Sexist tropes pervade pop-culture:  Damsel in Distress  Fridging  “Men With Boobs”* And many more…  Feminist Frequency [1]  Geek Feminism Wiki [2] [1] [2] * Verbal presentation comments on transphobia of this term

25 Spot the Problem

26 Sexualisation Sexualisation of female characters alone is awful. Sexualisation in general is not appropriate for inclusive games. Why?  Limits age range of game to adults  Excludes players uncomfortable with sexuality  Limits where you can play and with whom Sexualisation of female characters alone is awful. Sexualisation in general is not appropriate for inclusive games. Why?  Limits age range of game to adults  Excludes players uncomfortable with sexuality  Limits where you can play and with whom

27 Race/Ethnicity POC - People/Person of Colour  Don't have a whitewashed cast. A totally even mix is totally cool.  At least cover White, Black, South and East Asian in any respectable character selection  If you have a specific setting, research ethnic minorities/indigenous people  Avoid stereotypes like the plague POC - People/Person of Colour  Don't have a whitewashed cast. A totally even mix is totally cool.  At least cover White, Black, South and East Asian in any respectable character selection  If you have a specific setting, research ethnic minorities/indigenous people  Avoid stereotypes like the plague

28 Stereotypes Racial stereotypes are most normalised  Regressive, not progressive.  White characters get to be interesting – why not people of colour? When including marginalised groups, a stereotype does more harm than good. Racial stereotypes are most normalised  Regressive, not progressive.  White characters get to be interesting – why not people of colour? When including marginalised groups, a stereotype does more harm than good. m/2008/04/08/black- professionals-in-games-tomb- raider-producer-morgan-gray- on-diversity-resident-evil-5- and-the-problem-with-cole- train/

29 Memes  Stereotypes are a type of meme  Memes denote a lack of originality  Inexcusable in any creative medium  Comic/Internet memes are, by nature, exclusive  Supplant wit with memory and reference  Limit the shelf-life of your game  Stereotypes are a type of meme  Memes denote a lack of originality  Inexcusable in any creative medium  Comic/Internet memes are, by nature, exclusive  Supplant wit with memory and reference  Limit the shelf-life of your game

30 What’s Right With This Picture? Three guesses

31 Heteronormativity Why should all represented relationships be straight? Other options: Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Poly/Omni/Pansexual Asexual Two techniques: Don’t make a fuss Make it a surprise

32 Spot the Problem

33 Trans* 101 Terms  Sex your anatomical arrangement  Gender Binary masculinity/femininity  Gender Identity a person’s self-definition within or without gender binary  Gender Expression a person’s expression of gender  Transsexual a person who opts for sex-reassignment surgery ( not generally applicable ) Terms  Sex your anatomical arrangement  Gender Binary masculinity/femininity  Gender Identity a person’s self-definition within or without gender binary  Gender Expression a person’s expression of gender  Transsexual a person who opts for sex-reassignment surgery ( not generally applicable )

34 Trans* 101 Includes  TransgenderGI does not align with sex  Cross Dresser*GE does not align with sex and/or GI  GenderqueerGI does not fall within Gender Binary  Gender Fluidity  Genderless  And more Doesn’t include  Cis-Gendered a person whose sex aligns with their gender Includes  TransgenderGI does not align with sex  Cross Dresser*GE does not align with sex and/or GI  GenderqueerGI does not fall within Gender Binary  Gender Fluidity  Genderless  And more Doesn’t include  Cis-Gendered a person whose sex aligns with their gender * This was originally labelled “Transvestite”, but changed to reflect that this is not the preferred term, and considered inherently derogatory by some. See also:

35 Trans* Inclusion  Don’t ask for sex/gender unnecessarily  If you do, give a text-field, not a radio button  Don’t separate customisable clothing by character sex  Include androgynous characters  Include trans* characters in general  DON’T JOKE (Yahtzee, Gabe, etc.)  Don’t ask for sex/gender unnecessarily  If you do, give a text-field, not a radio button  Don’t separate customisable clothing by character sex  Include androgynous characters  Include trans* characters in general  DON’T JOKE (Yahtzee, Gabe, etc.)

36 Gendered Pronouns Avoid the generic “he” at all costs  Excludes 51% of all people (proven by science)  “He/she” is better, but clumsy  Excludes people outside gender binary (Genderqueer, Genderless, Intersex) Generic “they” is grammatically correct and excludes nobody  If you want to argue with me about grammar, I WILL FIGHT YOU  Even if it weren't, what's worse: being wrong, or excluding and marginalising people? Avoid the generic “he” at all costs  Excludes 51% of all people (proven by science)  “He/she” is better, but clumsy  Excludes people outside gender binary (Genderqueer, Genderless, Intersex) Generic “they” is grammatically correct and excludes nobody  If you want to argue with me about grammar, I WILL FIGHT YOU  Even if it weren't, what's worse: being wrong, or excluding and marginalising people?

37 Gendered Pronouns Ze and Hir  Genderless alternatives to he/she and him/her  Respect individuals’ wishes. If your game includes third person pronouns referring to the player, ask them to input their preferred pronouns at the beginning of the game, or put it in the options screen Ze and Hir  Genderless alternatives to he/she and him/her  Respect individuals’ wishes. If your game includes third person pronouns referring to the player, ask them to input their preferred pronouns at the beginning of the game, or put it in the options screen

38 Religion  Avoid organising events on the Sabbath (such as weekend game jams – whoops)  Be mindful of religions that prohibit certain things  e.g. If you include simulated or actual gambling (dice or cards) in your game, Muslims may not feel comfortable playing it.  On the other hand, don't allow religious teachings to restrict inclusivity in other ways  Avoid organising events on the Sabbath (such as weekend game jams – whoops)  Be mindful of religions that prohibit certain things  e.g. If you include simulated or actual gambling (dice or cards) in your game, Muslims may not feel comfortable playing it.  On the other hand, don't allow religious teachings to restrict inclusivity in other ways

39 Accountability You will make mistakes

40 I write about the things I can't not write about. If I wrote about all the examples of sexism I see every day, I'd never sleep. Melissa McEwan, Melissa McEwan,

41 How not to react to offense DO NOT  Ignore it  Get defensive  Explain/lecture on the reasons not to be offended  If your intentions were good, your communication wasn’t DO NOT  Ignore it  Get defensive  Explain/lecture on the reasons not to be offended  If your intentions were good, your communication wasn’t

42 How to react to offense  Apologise  If unclear, ask how you have caused offense  Ask how you can fix it  Learn  Apologise  If unclear, ask how you have caused offense  Ask how you can fix it  Learn

43 How to avoid offense ASK

44 People Who Talk At People About Things  Mattie Brice [ ]http://www.mattiebrice.com/  Gabriella T. Richard [ ]http://gabrielarichard.com/  Anne Anthropy [ ]http://auntiepixelante.com  Julie Pagano [ ]http://juliepagano.com/about/  Paolo Perdecini [ ]http://www.molleindustria.org/blog/  Inclusive Podcast[ ]http://inclusivepodcast.com/  Mattie Brice [ ]http://www.mattiebrice.com/  Gabriella T. Richard [ ]http://gabrielarichard.com/  Anne Anthropy [ ]http://auntiepixelante.com  Julie Pagano [ ]http://juliepagano.com/about/  Paolo Perdecini [ ]http://www.molleindustria.org/blog/  Inclusive Podcast[ ]http://inclusivepodcast.com/

45 Contact / Questions


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