How Blind Gamers Changed Madden [Gaming Accessibility] – Did You Know Gaming? extra Feat. Dazz

How Blind Gamers Changed Madden [Gaming Accessibility] – Did You Know Gaming? extra Feat. Dazz


Hello, and welcome to Did You Know Gaming extra. In today’s episode, we are looking at accessibility in gaming. Video games are one of the largest industries in the entertainment world. Many other entertainment markets, such as books and movies, try to include those who wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy them. Audio books, Braille, Audio Descriptions and Subtitles (Hey, you’re reading the subtitles for this video right now!) all help people with an impairment join in on the fun. When it comes to gaming, however, the efforts to expand the market to disadvantaged people is often overlooked. In 2016, Electronic Arts set up a division called “EA Accessibility”. Run only by software engineer, Karen Stevens. In 2017, after the most recent Madden had been released, a blind player got in touch with the company complaining that the Kick Meter had been changed, making it difficult for him to gauge. Until this complaint came through, the company was unaware that they have a large number of players with extremely poor vision, or are even completely blind. This lead to Karen implementing design choices that would improve the Madden experience for blind players. She did this by getting in touch through the AudioGames.net forum, a community for people with varying degrees of blindness, to discuss their experiences with video games. Karen was better able to determine a player’s needs by exploring what genre they play, and how they play them. For example, what cues a player uses in a game to determine what’s happening. Through this, she found it was common for blind players to play sports titles. Games like Madden already had features that make the experience more accessible, such as the Play-by-Play narration. The intrinsic nature of American Football (or just Football if you’re from the ‘States) requires the player to head upfield in order to score, making the basic gameplay pretty simple. Additionally, the game’s AI takes control of a player’s team, so they only need to focus on their current athlete while the game places other teammates into tactical positions. Other games, like Need for Speed, are also accessible. The game will always put the player back en route if they stray too far off course, and blind players can rely on the sounds of nearby vehicles to know when to turn, and after a while will have, hopefully, memorized the track layout. Karen added different rumble cues to the games to make understanding the gameplay easier. For example, in Madden, a short rumble will indicate the player is being passed to, while a long rumble is a long play, and a double rumble means there Kick Meter. The reason for these cues being made through rumble rather than sound is because Karen is, in fact, partially deaf. With Karen being the only person implementing these cues, she needs to be able to test the accurately. She has raised awareness in EA by having the development team try to recreate the experience of their impaired players, such as testing games blindfolded. As a result of this, they have since implemented a “Fail Forward” feature to the story mode of Madden. Meaning that, if a blind player fails a certain amount of times, they are still able to progress. She also gets continuous feedback from blind testers. By making a selection of optional settings, Karen was able to help those with visual impairments by adding larger fonts and icons, as well as the ability to alter brightness, color shift and contrast. After these were added she began receiving complaints by those who had grown accustomed to their perceived lack of colors. During a GDC 17 talk, Karen claimed: “We got to the point where, originally, only about one third of people could somewhat tell colors, to EVERYBODY could tell exactly how many colors there were. And then I got feedback of, ‘Oh my God, why are there so many colors, what did they do, I thought I knew how to play this game, I’ve been on Madden for years and I have no idea what I’m doing.’ So that’s a good problem to have!
Ha! I still have work to do, but that’s, like, the best possible outcome.” EA added a barely visible watermark to the game if any of the features are used in order to instantly be able to understand why the game looks different on streaming services, if anybody questions it or makes a complaint. EA isn’t the only company to have gone out of their way to make their games more accessible. The Seattle Children’s hospital worked with Nintendo to create the Hands-Free for the NES, a controller compatible with all retail NES releases, excluding lightgun titles. According to the Nintendo Fun Club, the idea was conceived after a girl lost all the use in her hands, after being involved in a car crash in the Mid-West, and asked Nintendo if there was a way she could still play video games. Nintendo then worked with Todd Stablefeldt, and various other patients of the hospital to create the Hands-Free, a device that straps around the body like a vest. The user blows into the tube for A, and sips for B, while using a joystick that has been fitted to a chinstrap. It also strengthens the neck muscles, making for a more fun physical therapy session. It was released in 1989, and was only through Nintendo’s customer service. With different physical abilities comes different challenges when it comes to helping people continue to play video games. As such, one unit will not suit all impairments. This is where the company Special Effect, founded by Doctor Mick Donegan, come into play. They’re a UK based charity that works with therapists and technologists to create custom controllers to help the needs of those with physical impairments. Some examples of their work includes: making it possible to control games with a user’s voice, or even simple eye movements. They have also made adjustments to button placements to make them more easily accessible as well as modify controllers so that they are lighter for children who aren’t able to hold them. The charity doesn’t charge anything for one to one support, nor do they sell any equipment, so they must rely on donations. The link is on screen and is also in the description if you would like to donate. And now it’s time for this episode’s random piece of trivia. This time, we are taking a look at Uncharted 4 for the PlayStation 4. In Chapter 11 of the game, “Hidden in Plain Sight”, if the player remains stationary for thirty seconds following the introductory cutscene, the Trophy, “Stage Fright”, will be unlocked. This is a reference to the Sony Press Conference at E3 in 2015, when during the live demonstration of the game, a bug made it so Nathan was unable to move. Thanks for watching! Did You Know Gaming? extra is supported by some lovely folks over on Patreon. If you would like to help support the show, check out the link in the description below. I’m pretty sure you don’t need captions for this part. and as always, Don’t forget to pop us a like, and if you haven’t yet, why not Subscribe. And Hey, one more thing! If you have subscribed, don’t forget to hit the little bell so that you actually see our videos as they come out. Bloody… YouTube… ₐₗₗ ₜₕₐₜ…

79 thoughts on “How Blind Gamers Changed Madden [Gaming Accessibility] – Did You Know Gaming? extra Feat. Dazz

  1. I have arthrogryposis and it's difficult to even impossible for me to play first person shooters. I wish games were more accessible to people like me because I love video games

  2. Somewhere out there on the internet, someone is furious to learn that game developers are spending development time adding in features that aren't intended for them.

  3. honestly i dont know why more developers dont implement more accessibility. im sure that at least im most games you could at add a color blind mode but a lot of games dont add it. the only thing that may be difficult is accessibility in to i lot of FPS basted games cod, Destiny.etc due to it being visually basted and auditory as well to a degree

  4. I once met a blind kid who loved playing Rhythm Heaven. Since he told me his story, I've been playing Rhythm Heaven without looking at the screen or blindfolded, just to know how he played. At first it was really hard, but after a while it became a really fun experience! Since the game solely relies on musical cues and not visual ones to tell you what's happening, it's really accesible (if you tell the person what buttons to press with which cue).

  5. EA is really leading the charge! I'm colorblind, and and many games, especially competitive games, have always been a pain in the ass for me. I have a hard time playing older, and retro games, because low pixel density games look like blurs to me. They have a company wide policy of including colorblind options, and not just a yes no option, like some devs, but a full list of every type.

    The worst colorblind option I've ever seen was a Korean MMO I was dragged into playing. Turning on colorblind mode inverted the colors.

  6. Why do these companies kowtow towards disabled people? You can't make a game that is fit for all deformities… any attempts to do so is a fool's errand.

  7. An actually decent service run by decent people at EA? Madness.

    But seriously, that's pretty great. Shit may be shit, but at least it can fertilize fields.

  8. Yo, where's broly legs? A competitive street fighter player with no hands. I don't remember his exact disability, but baisicly other than his head, his body was under developed. He plays by using options to change the buttons, and uses his tongue to hit them, while he uses his cheek to hit the d pad. There is also a blind mortal kombat player, but I can't remember much about him right now.

  9. Fun Fact related to the video: BrolyLegs is a pro player who is disabled and uses his mouth and face to play street fighter. He's a beast and used to be the #1 Chun-li player IN THE WORLD. Props to him and you guys for the video.

  10. There is also a US based charity, AbleGamers, that helps provide accessibility for gamers. http://www.ablegamers.org/

  11. Madden is trash , just like anything associated with American "football". Fifa/PES & anything assocaited with actually football is much better & more entertaining. Mo salah is a fucking legend rn 👋🏽

  12. What people say on the internet:EA i hate them, worst company ever they scam us with lootboxes.

    What your wallet says:Stop pretending you hate EA when your money clearly shows that you love EA products.

    In all seriousness people act like they hate EA but lets be honest as games we don't hate EA , we actually love them. That's why we buy fifa & battlefield every year plus whenever a new dragon age or mass effect , burnout comes out we buy it too , we also bought star wars battlefront & we'll probably buy anthem when it comes out too.

  13. As an indie developer this makes me really mad. We often receive reports from people with disability who have trouble with a certain aspect of the game. Unfortunately budget and time is required to research those issues because if you don't have it, it is very hard to understand and find ways to alleviate them. You can find many research on the web for all kinds of issues but it becomes a case by case for every game.

  14. Hype at the Madden 13 music in the background. Sheesh. Throwback, even if Madden 13 was CHEESE AS HELL! DBs were BALLHAWKS lol.

  15. as I clicked this video, I was reminded of Special Effect (I've helped moderate charity streams benefiting them) and LO AND BEHOLD. Super heartening to see them mentioned here, they do wonderful, amazing work

  16. No comments on ablegamers. I mean they do the same thing that the charity mentioned does but are US based.

  17. I'm still recovering from GBS for over 3 years now. It left my hands pretty messed up, I've only just recently gotten to the point that I am trying to do some simple gaming again via emulators and an Arcade joystick.

    I'm a huge Kingdom Hearts fan and I am holding out hope that I will be able to play 3 when it comes out but who knows.

  18. My eyes tear up when I play games with fast movements. It’s not a disability or anything but I’m sure that’s the only reason I like RPGs over Action games

  19. It's one of my dreams to work with Hideo Kojima on making entire games specifically for various categories of disabled people. He has always been about giving players unique experiences and making them as accessible as possible. Hey, after the personal fortune he makes off of Death Stranding, he'll probably have enough money to just make an entire console specifically for dialysis patients or something. 😀

  20. Interesting to see the comments so supportive of this when every time I've seen a game include accessibility features I've seen tons of people decrying it as "unnecessary" or "too casual" or bs like that all over the web. Remember MK8's auto steering or SF0's invincibility mode, or even shit like xbox adding wheelchairs as options for avatars? People hated it for some god awful reason.

  21. You'd have to be blind to keep buying Madden every year. I wonder how much EA paid to have this video made.

  22. Good on EA for doing something decent. And another thing that Nintendo did first, I'm actually not surprised. Let the haters hate. I hate EA but I give em props for this.

  23. a blind person named terry garrett was able to beat oddworld abes exoddus using only the sound of the game. and everyone whos played the first 2 oddworld games knows theyre hard as hell. so thats a testament to the sound design of those games as well as the skill of the player

  24. Was expecting a bunch of people posting anti-blindness (as in just generally ignorant) and so far so good, but being careful.
    Anyway, not blind (but have eye issues including nystagmus) but it's nice to see this

  25. I am a legally blind gamer, and I play shooters, racers, puzzles, and rpg's (not easily…)
    Destiny 2 is a pain in the ass… lol

  26. I have gone blind since I was about 3 years old, I have played video games with warying success over the years, the announcement about the Madden 18 accessibility features made me actually hop around in joy because it would be the first madden I could ever play fully, and hey, at leased the Lions got a super bowl trophy home finally xD. In adition, other games are accessible as well, mostly fighting games souch as Mortal kombat, Street Fighter, Tekken, Blaz blue, killer instinct and so on. Also, the old NHL 2004 with the modern modification is surprisingly playable, not perfect, but screw it, I have a NHL game that I can play. My latest aquisition is Forza 7 which is also playable, sure, with assistance systemes tourned on. Some might argue that playing with the assistance system isn‘t really racing anymore, but well, what should I do? I will not leave out on a game because people tell me it‘s not real gaming anymore, I am happy that I can play a Forza title finally.

  27. I saw a ps1 controller back in the day that was designed to be used one handed. It didn't have both joysticks I think. But it was interresting

  28. One time when I was at a boy scout summer camp, I met a kid with no fingers.

    We had a quite interesting conversation about videogames, despite that fact he had never played.

    He was able to use his disabled hand to operate a DS with a stylus, and could play without problem.

    It was very interesting to see how he worked around his disabilities, and used the hardware.

    I promised him I would bring my other system so we could play mariokart together, but alas I didn't have the time to meet up again.
    I still regret that to this day…
    ; – ;

  29. Thank you very much for this, my little brother lost his left arm and all movement in his left leg, I've been trying to find some way to help him join me in games again. That Special Effect charity hopefully will help him 🙂

  30. There was a game created by Kenji Eno for the Sega Saturn called 'Real Sound: Kaze No Regret' which was created specifically for blind players. The game is an interactive audio drama with no on-screen graphics whatsoever, all the information needed to play the game is expressed through sound. Eno was inspired to create the game after visiting a hospital and being surprised to see blind people playing video games, and he decided he wanted to create something especially for them. He gave Sega the exclusive rights to the game on the condition that they would donate 1,000 Sega Saturn consoles to blind players, along with copies of the game.

  31. Reading other comments it is difficult because whilst the challenge is part of the fun and my personal pleasure is unlocking difficult things. I don't like the idea of people being unable to progress due to a disability.

  32. I only have 1, problem when I play Maddon but it is a very big problem. How can a text to speech program read main News and can and game system settings but will not not read a simple text in the form of a play book. The companys like EA is not keeping up with game systems, I really wish Apple Will eventually make a game system so gameing Community would improve for all people with a disability

  33. It's pretty cool how some companies go out of their way to make their games more accessible to more audiences.

  34. As a passionate gamer myself, seeing that people are trying to make games more accessible for the less fortunate makes me really happy as I'd like everyone to play the amazing games that have been made over the years.

  35. it's good to hear that ea is doing something GOOD for gamers, it's pretty fucked up that one of my favorite childhood developer always seesaws between neutral and garbage when it comes to users

    hats of to you karen stevens!

  36. I hope developers start making accessibility settings for games outside Sports genres. I myself am completely blind and play Call of Duty, Resident Evil, look p and Diablo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *