This is a short guide for the accessibility checklist that appears at the end of every video game review on New Game+. This page will go over each feature, explain its purpose and show examples.
Accessibility features provide aid to anyone with a disability to help them play a game they otherwise would be unable to. These can be categorised (but are not limited to) as:
- Deaf & Hard of Hearing
- Vision/Blind & Hard of Sight
- Colour Blindness
While there will always be room for improvement in providing accessibility features to those who need them, there are many games that have shown how to do it correctly.
If you’re interested in knowing more, please go check out Can I Play That?’s comprehensive guide to accessibility features and how games can improve in such areas.
Audio Description / Closed Captions
Text appears on the screen describing sound effects that occur during play. This helps deaf/hard of hearing players know what’s occurring when it would normally be introduced with an audio cue.
Text appears on screen for the ability to read dialogue as it occurs in-game. It helps deaf/hard of hearing players to understand what characters are saying, but is also useful for games where audio levels aren’t perfect and dialogue can sometimes be drowned out by other sounds.
Note: games where all dialogue is delivered only by text will be classed as “N/A”.
Adjustable Subtitle Size
Subtitle text can sometimes be too small for players to read comfortably. An option to be able to adjust the size of subtitles helps players with impaired vision.
Note: if the game lacks subtitles in accordance to the previous guideline, this will be marked with an “N/A”.
Adjustable UI Size
As with the ability to change the size of subtitles, this will allow players to increase or decrease the size of the user interface so it is easier to read.
Colour Blind Options
The use of colour in games can sometimes cause problems for people with colour blindness. Information could be unreadable, friendly players could look like enemies, or game elements may be invisible. Games can include options to change these colours so they’re more distinguishable.
The ability to edit a button on the keyboard, mouse or gamepad so it corresponds to a different action. You may want crouch to be bound to SHIFT or on the mouse. Maybe you want to sprint using the left bumper rather than on the analog stick. This is especially useful for players with limited mobility. In order to qualify for this, ALL keys need to be remappable.
Toggling Visual Effects
Being able to disable post-processing effects such as ambient occlusion, bloom, chromatic aberration, motion blur and HDR (this is not an extensive list but merely a few examples). Such effects may trigger epilepsy or motion sickness.
Keywords in written text being highlighted allows players to see the most important information and use the visual cue for important concepts or actions.
Being able to make the game easier or harder across the board. This helps to reduce the difficulty players may have with certain levels or battles requiring a lot of physical effort.
Sometimes these difficulty modes even have their own adjustable parameters, and it’s ideal that these settings can be changed at any time during play.
Alternative Assist Mode
This one is arbitrary, since it links heavily with ‘Difficulty Modes’. In this case, an alternative assist mode is classified as an option to alter the game’s rules and behaviours to aid players who may struggle with some of its mechanics, acknowledging it as an helpful alternative to the standard difficulty levels rather than an ‘easy mode’.
Toggling HUD Options
Being able to change what information appears on the HUD, so that certain prompts stay on screen at all times, or disabling it so new information is less intrusive.
Left-handed / Inverted Axis Options
Being able to change control schemes for players who are left-handed or specific controller setups that require inversion.
Alternatives to Quick-Time Events
An option to skip or simplify the button mashing and precise timing required in quick-time events. For example: being able to hold or toggle a button-press as opposed to repeatedly tapping it.