Video games have become part of our culture and 21st century life style. Not only for entertainment, a field where video games are already the largest industry in terms of annual revenue (according to data extracted from www.theesa.com and http://www.the-numbers.com the income generated by video game sales in the U.S. rose in 2010 up to $15,9 billion versus $10,47 billion of the movie market), but also in other areas like education, where video games are increasingly being used to improve the learning processes. Video games have spanned through platforms like smartphones, which are actually considered as one of the most important gaming environments, with numbers in the range of game consoles, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
But the growth of the video game industry has not taken into account the needs of people with disabilities, who usually face unavoidable barriers in games. The number of accessible games in the market is still low, especially in mobile platforms, which are not natural environments for people with disabilities yet.
The low accessibility level of video games may be attributed to a number of factors. One of the most important is the difficulty of developing games that could be enjoyed by people with or without disabilities, both in terms of design and implementation costs. It seems to be necessary to improve game designing techniques and methodologies that help increasing their accessibility, along with solutions that cut down the costs of accessibility, especially in those platforms that are less familiar for users with disabilities (e.g. smartphones).
The project serves a double purpose:
The main outcome of the project is the BFG Toolkit, a set of reusable components that facilitate the development of accessible games for blind users in Android. The BFG Toolkit is being developed following an agile, iterative and incremental methodology, building on the analysis of accessibility requirements of different games.
At the moment 3 games have been developed using the BFG Toolkit: Accesible Minesweeper, Accessible Golf and Zarodnik. All three games are freely available for download from Google Play. Each of these apps is further described on different sections of this website.
The games share some interesting features that enhance accessibility:
We need a little help here to improve the accessibility of our games. If you have ten minutes to spare, please download the games and give them a try. There's a short evaluation form that you can use to leave some feedback for us (please do so, we need it!). It can be accessed from the games' main menu, but also on this URL. Comments and suggestions from blind people or experts in accessibility is especially appreciated!
Should you get in trouble accessing the evaluation form, please download the offline version (Word 2007) and send it fulfilled to jtorrente a t fdi.ucm.es.
Thanks so much for your help!