Dragon Age Wins "Accessible Game of the Year" Award

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Dragon Age Wins "Accessible Game of the Year" Award

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AbleGamers has announced that BioWare has won the 2009 Mainstream Accessibility Award for Dragon Age: Origins, a game that offers "some of the most astounding accessibility options seen in any game this year."

It's a fact of life that some games have better control schemes that others. For most people, that's as far as it goes; crappy controls are an inconvenience but rarely an actual impediment to playing a game. For disabled gamers, however, it's a different matter entirely and as gaming has grown into a mainstream entertainment medium, concerns about accessibility are becoming increasingly common. Like everything else, some are better than others and for 2009, AbleGamers has decided that the best of the bunch is none other than BioWare's hit RPG Dragon Age: Origins.

The game earned kudos for its multiple levels of subtitles, "extreme mobility options" that allow gamers to effectively play with either the keyboard or the mouse, fonts that help compensate for color impairment and more. It also received praise for being "cognitive friendly," which AbleGamers said is relatively uncommon in most major releases.

"Perhaps the most underrepresented disability in mainstream games, cognitive impaired gamers can pause the action quickly and as often as necessary in the heat of the battle," AbleGamers said. "Orders can be issued during the pause, allowing anyone to keep up with the game no matter the level of cognitive impairment."

"What makes this title so exceptional is the level of options given to the gamer to choose their level of accessibility," it added. "Options are the key component to adding accessibility without harming the overall gameplay of any title. As long as developers like Bioware continue to add accessibility in layers of options that enhance their gaming titles, disabled gamers will continue to be able to play great titles such as Dragon Age: Origins."

"The Dragon Age team is honored to win this award," said Dragon Age: Origins Executive Producer Mark Darrah. "We try to appeal to as broad of an audience as we can and accessibility is certainly part of this effort. It makes me proud to have the game this well received by this community."

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For some reason this article made the bottom of the page go wierd, dont know why.

I think they where right with this. It is very easy to play, but to play well, it takes skill.

I consider myself an intermediate skilled player - and I found this game extremely difficult on normal.

Then again - I only really controlled my Rogue and Healer and left the rest of the party on Custom tactics.

Hooray, it won something!

Congrats Bioware. Equal Opportunities Fivez!!

I mean how many games even make the effort? I know very few websites do. What efforts does the Escapist make to make it accessible to those with a disability?

thenumberthirteen:
Congrats Bioware. Equal Opportunities Fivez!!

I mean how many games even make the effort? I know very few websites do. What efforts does the Escapist make to make it accessible to those with a disability?

Do websites really need to make an effort? Isn't that more the browser's responsibility? There's really not much a website can do.

This is great; I, for one, had never put much thought into how people with different disabilities can/can't enjoy certain games. Definitely something to think about, and something that every gamer should promote because...we want as many people as possible to enjoy great games, don't we?

AC Medina:
This is great; I, for one, had never put much thought into how people with different disabilities can/can't enjoy certain games. Definitely something to think about, and something that every gamer should promote because...we want as many people as possible to enjoy great games, don't we?

You mean like... like mac gamers?

I coulda sworn that the most accessible game of this year was Forza 3, with its one button racing gameplay. The game will actually automatically break for turns.

Cool, I guess... I actually thought they were kinda difficult to get used to, but whatever.

Onyx Oblivion:
I coulda sworn that the most accessible game of this year was Forza 3, with its one button racing gameplay. The game will actually automatically break for turns.

Thats accessible to people who are not racing fans (like me) and those who don't play games at all. But Dragon Age is accessible to people who don't play games much, as well as those who have disabilities, even people who have learning difficulties or mental issues.

At least thats what the award is for, the console version of Dragon Age to my knowlage doesn't have an option to change the font or things such as that, but I've never really thought about it much.

You know, that alone makes this award worth more than any Gametraliers or Destructoid game of the year award. It taught me something, how many awards do that?

TheNamlessGuy:
Hooray, it won something!

Indeed! Now it needs to win Game of the Year! lol

Nimbus:

thenumberthirteen:
Congrats Bioware. Equal Opportunities Fivez!!

I mean how many games even make the effort? I know very few websites do. What efforts does the Escapist make to make it accessible to those with a disability?

Do websites really need to make an effort? Isn't that more the browser's responsibility? There's really not much a website can do.

Oh boy are you wrong. I have been researching things like this for my final year project in by BSc Degree. There are sets of guidelines and rules to follow to make your website as accesable as possible. Here's a useful link. Unfortunately it's a topic frequently overlooked in web design.

That's nice. Kind of glad they didn't go the obvious route and choose MW2 with it's Nom4d scheme thingy, nice though that gesture may have been.

Mirror's Edge could have used some kind of visual tweaking for colour-blind people...All that red..

At first I was actually going to mock some shitty worthless award, however after reading it I have to say I am quite pleased about this sort of thing. There is no reason to not make games accessible to the handicapped.
However... The battle system is a absolute pain in the ass and the tactics system needs a complete overhaul as it does not give you enough parameters so forces you to micro manage everything. Fortunately the fan community has fixed most of these issues (thank the gods for "Ally Status Dead" so I can auto revive) but even so a little more tweaking is required.
I do not know if they already have it or not but the Bioware/Dragon Age site should have a section dedicated to its most useful mods.

I love it because I think of it as essentially really gory chess - you can stop and think for five minutes about what spell to use next and then... Where did the week go??

Nimbus:
Do websites really need to make an effort? Isn't that more the browser's responsibility? There's really not much a website can do.

Specialized browsers (or browser plug-ins) can alter how information is displayed, but it's up to the content creator to mark up the data correctly.

Disabled users benefited greatly from the widespread adoption of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), which, when used correctly, separate content from presentation. (See CSS Zen Garden for an above-and-beyond demonstration.)

Other web technologies hamper disabled users. At the peak of Flash's popularity, many sites were using it for their basic interface rather than just specialized applets, cutting off access for users of screen readers and users who relied on their browsers to up-size the text. (Some shopping sites also shot themselves in the foot with this kind of interface -- making your entire site a single Flash thingy also meant there was no way for users to bookmark or link to specific products. Oh, how dumb people were a decade ago!) One of the huge downsides of the more recent streaming video boom is that almost none of the goddamn videos have text captions; captioning is pretty easy but accessibility has kinda fallen by the wayside on YouTube.

Furthermore, designing for true ease of use requires doing more than just ensuring access. Screen readers naturally present information in a very sequential fashion, for example, so a lot of hierarchical content (all the tabs and menus and little link boxes that many modern websites tend to use) can lead to an annoying information overload.

-- Alex

It's also good to see a game like Dragon Age win this award because of how popular the game is. Maybe more games will start adopting more options to make games easier to access for disabled gamers.

Cool beans. I'm not disabled but it adds to my enjoyment when a game uses subtitles. It can be a big factor in my purchasing decision.

It doesn't matter what issues you may or may not have, you need to pause Dragon Age to think about what's going on, there's normally a lot of people/creatures/monsters/undead attacking you.

The main observation to be made here is that most of the features AbleGamers is touting aren't really super-special additions designed just for disabled players. Simply including multiple interface options to cater to different tastes will go a long way towards serving the needs of players with physical disabilities as well.

-- Alex

hmmm, reading it at first I thought it was some sort of joke, maybe all the shops stored it at eye level and put ladders nearby for midgets or that perhaps it featured an unusually reasonable price.

(sorry to any short people)

I know Bioware will probably get a lot of flak for having the "most disable-friendly game," but I say congratulations that they were able to not only make a game that's accessible to everyone, but make it extremely well.

Accountfailed:

AC Medina:
This is great; I, for one, had never put much thought into how people with different disabilities can/can't enjoy certain games. Definitely something to think about, and something that every gamer should promote because...we want as many people as possible to enjoy great games, don't we?

You mean like... like mac gamers?

That's a disability you just can't account for. Besides, three people isn't really worth the extra time and effort it'd take...

Andy Chalk:
Dragon Age Wins "Accessible Game of the Year" Award

"Options are the key component to adding accessibility

You hear that Google? Where is the option to turn that fading crap off?!

Obviously this award was given to the PC version, while I found the controls in the Console Version to be acceptable, I would never call them "good" or "accessible".

I think it's kinda cool that BioWare put all that effort into making those accessibility options available. Now all they need to do is make it compatible with Ben Heck's one-handed controller, and allow amputees better accessibility too.

TheNamlessGuy:
Hooray, it won something!

It also won pc game of the year from gamespot......

Punisher A.J.:
It also won pc game of the year from gamespot......

Who cares about Gamespot?

TheNamlessGuy:

Punisher A.J.:
It also won pc game of the year from gamespot......

Who cares about Gamespot?

NOBODY wuahahaha!

Andy Chalk:
The game earned kudos for its multiple levels of subtitles, "extreme mobility options" that allow gamers to effectively play with either the keyboard or the mouse, fonts that help compensate for color impairment and more. It also received praise for being "cognitive friendly," which AbleGamers said is relatively uncommon in most major releases.

"Perhaps the most underrepresented disability in mainstream games, cognitive impaired gamers can pause the action quickly and as often as necessary in the heat of the battle," AbleGamers said. "Orders can be issued during the pause, allowing anyone to keep up with the game no matter the level of cognitive impairment."

So they basically get an award for doing exactly the same as 90% of all pc rtses which are constantly labeled as "hard to control"? I smell a pile of bribes from EA.

Accountfailed:

AC Medina:
This is great; I, for one, had never put much thought into how people with different disabilities can/can't enjoy certain games. Definitely something to think about, and something that every gamer should promote because...we want as many people as possible to enjoy great games, don't we?

You mean like... like mac gamers?

I would like to award you my "Quote of the Day" award. Here's a cookie.

i feel ashamed at not having a ninja computer to play the game in its HD glory, im stuck with the 360 version.

Good for them, everyone should be able to enjoy this amazing rpg.

Also I notice a lot of people bashing the 360 version of Dragonage but I'm enjoying it fine. I don't really have a problem with anything.

you know, i found this sort of inversely entertaining because i found the combat of the game to be some of the most difficult i ever played. i'm not sure bioware was thinking about disability accessability when they added the constant pause function, more like, "if we don't, people won't make it through Ostogar, it'd be too hard." but you know what, good for them, they deserved an award, considering it seems everything was won by either Modern Warfare 2 or Uncharted 2, two games i consider severly over hyped and, while good, not necessarily worthy of every video game award in existence that they seem to be winning.

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