Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deaf Gamers: Leveling the Playing Field

I'm a gamer. Have been since I was what, 3, playing with my Atari 2600. A huge fear of mine is as technology improves we're going to see more games using sound and becoming less accessible. The Apple App Store is destroying my fears! Every time there is a game without captioning, I contact the game designers through the app store.

Perfect example - Lunar Silver Star Story. This was a Playstation game released a while ago and is extremely old school (hey, so am I.) When they redesigned it for the iPad, I was disappointed. The game was famous for using anime cut scenes between events, and unfortunately the cut scenes had no captions. I contacted the game producers through the App Store, and a week or so ago they updated the app. Guess what? CAPTIONS!

What's cool is this seems to be extending beyond just the App Store. While the App Store lets us contact developers directly, the idea that 1) players contact developers and 2) games should have captions are spreading. reports that they contacted The Game Kitchen, who produced the browser-based game The Last Door, about the same issue. The Game Kitchen is a small game development group in Spain. And guess what? Before too long - The Last Door was updated with CAPTIONS!

My fears are still there for platform games. I think it's a lot harder to contact Square Enix or any of the big companies and inform them they don't have captions as part of their console games. What's cool about the App Store and the smaller game companies we're seeing is just how much more responsive they are.

Now the big problem. I have a cool game. It has captions. When will I have time to play it? Back to work....

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