The AbleGamers Charity has announced the winners of its Accessibility Awards for 2013. The awards recognize the greatest accessibility achievements in the gaming industry across multiple categories. This year, 7 awards are given out to those who have made a real difference to the realm of accessibility and gaming. AbleGamers hopes to help raise awareness for the good deeds these individuals are doing by giving each award recipient a small token displaying the appreciation from the gamers with disabilities community. Here are this year’s awards.
AbleGamers Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
With the very first accessibility award for Square-Enix, FFXIV scored 9.1 in AbleGamers accessibility review scoring system including 10 for hearing and 9.5 for visual elements. FFXIV covers almost every area of accessibility with high standards and practical application. The mobility area of the game was nearly perfect except for the inability to use only the mouse to play the game. In upcoming patches, Square-Enix has the ability to achieve a perfect 10 with some very minor fixes.
In the meantime, with the year full of accessibility disappointments from many major mainstream games, FFXIV was the most requested review of the year from the AbleGamers community, and the mainstream title that fulfilled almost all of the requirements to be fully accessible to gamers with disabilities.
“We are very honored to receive AbleGamers’ Mainstream Game of the Year Award,” said Naoki Yoshida, producer and director of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn. “In terms of the visual aspect, especially how color is displayed, we took in the players’ feedback and continuously performed updates so that any player from around the world can enjoy the game, and are firmly committed to this moving forward. I would like to formally express my gratitude to AbleGamers for recognizing our efforts.”
Other Industry Awards:
Includification Award: Paradox Interactive. Paradox Interactive continues to publish strategy games that demonstrate crucial accessibility standards as defined by the practical set of the game accessibility guidelines. Paradox also continues to work closely with AbleGamers to bring seamless accessibility to all games without interfering with any gameplay mechanics.
Best Media Champion: Paul Nyheart, HDFilms. Paul’s work to include gamers with disabilities and advocate for the works of those with physical challenges on both the Jace Hall Show and the 1337 Lounge continue to advance the awareness of gamers with disabilities.
Best Innovator: SpecialEffect. SpecialEffect has made many advancements for children with disabilities in the UK. With a full-time staff dedicated to helping those with disabilities, AbleGamers is proud to consider SpecialEffect an important resource for European gamers with disabilities.
Best New Device or Peripheral: StinkyBoard. StinkyBoard is a game changing device designed to allow gamers to use the abilities and their feet to add additional flexibility in the control schemes of any video game. Combined with the right software and macro systems, StinkyBoard gives an amazing amount of flexibility to those with physical impairments such as the loss of the use of one arm or limited upper body movement.
Best Accessible Indie Game of the Year: The Stanley Parable. The Stanley Parable exemplifies the extreme accessibility indie developers can display while leaving the exciting gameplay of traditional video games completely intact. Despite limited manpower and funding, indie developers continue to push the boundaries of accessibility. AbleGamers recognizes Galactic Café’s Stanley Parable as the best of the best in indie game development.
“It was a largely disappointing year for video games,” said Mark Barlet, Founder and Executive Director of the AbleGamers Charity. “We experienced many games that were overhyped and then found very inaccessible this year. Fortunately, Square-Enix delivered a very enjoyable game that is accessible to a large portion of the disabled gaming community. We look forward to them continuing to improve the experience of FFXIV to include the disabled gamers who are still waiting to enjoy such a spectacular accomplishment in mainstream accessible gaming.”
Please visit www.ablegamers.com for more information on AbleGamers and the charitable work continuing to help those with disabilities enjoy the wonderful world of gaming. Visit www.includification.com to see the best practical set of game accessibility guidelines found anywhere in the world. And www.ablegamers.com/donate to find more information about tax-deductible donations.