June marked what I personally see as the start of convention season, at least here in the United States. Amongst the many events going on, E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo took place in Los Angeles, California for almost a week. This was my second year getting to attend for AbleGamers, and it was fun and interesting to get to speak with dozens of game and hardware developers and teach them about our mission. I loved seeing people’s passion for getting their games to as many people as possible. It broke my heart when people made it clear that they didn’t care as much.
For my review of this year, I’ve decided to tell you all about some of my top 5 favorite accessible games to look forward to. Keep in mind that I didn’t get to play everything, so this is just based on my own experience for what I did get to touch, I’m sure there were many amazing games there that won’t get touched on.
A Case of Distrust
What caught my eye was the Vertigo-inspired poster they had hanging next to their booth. The game is very simplistic in style, with high-contrast art being featured. However, that does not take away from the story and mystery behind the game itself. It’s a point-and-click, which immediately makes it highly accessible, and there is no spoken dialogue, only written text. The developer made me smile when he said “I plan to add extra font options that will be dyslexia-friendly, because it’s so easy and I want people to be able to enjoy the story.” I hope more developers think like him!
Total War: Warhammer 2
I’ll be honest, this was my first time touching a Warhammer game, so I was extremely confused right off the bat because there were no instructions on how to play. However, once I figured it out, I realized this game is a fun strategy-oriented game that only uses a mouse function or a keyboard function depending on what you prefer. Because the game mostly takes care of itself once you set your armies in motion, all you as the player have to do is decide the best course of action and watch it unfold. And the dialogue identified the speaker, which was a nice touch. There wasn’t an options menu available to look at, but hopefully there will be a colorblind mode available. The symbols help, but taking that extra step to make it more comfortable would be amazing.
Burly Men at Sea
The indie games were here to impress this year. This game was fun and simplistic, but full of witty humor and loveable characters. You play three bearded men going on an adventure. There are no quick time events, and the game is told entirely through written text and fun visuals. The text is nicely contrasted with the background, and the controls allow for someone to play it with one hand easily. I will say it’s almost too minimalist in the beginning, as it doesn’t tell you how to get started, and it’s not how you think you’d start a game, so it took me a bit to actually get sailing.
This game was found in the college developers corner, and it was a fun treat to discover. The game involves playing with three friends, and you’re all cats stranded on another planet. You can either work together, or sabotage everyone else in order to escape. We definitely went with the sabotage option. It got ugly. The cool part about this game is that it was developed by a colorblind person, so the accessibility is already there in that aspect. He did say that they were working to make it even more visually accessible, because they believe that games are for everyone. The game is HOH accessible, and there aren’t any required quicktime events. You play your own way, just watch out for team mates that only want to hunt you down and turn you into a ghost! I’m excited to see what extra options they include after our discussion, this is a game to keep an eye on.
Harvest Moon Light
I’ll be honest, Harvest Moon was the first video game I ever really played, so I was happy to see that they were taking steps towards becoming more accessible. The game is already one that is extremely at-your-own-pace as you go around town, make friends, take care of your farm, and maybe even find love. There’s no quick time events needed, and all dialogue is through text which identifies the speaker. For this new game they’ve even removed the need for as many buttons, making it more efficient, and more accessible, for players to tend to their farms. I will say the big hit they take is their lack of colorblind options. If they added those in this game would be amazingly accessible across the board.