Gaming is one of the most accessible hobbies in the world. When you buy a game, depending on the console you use, you can play it wherever you like. You can also play it in your own time, thanks to the save and load system that comes prepackaged in every video game ever made. Those are two big points in the accessibility column!
And the main goal of playing a video game? Having fun! You don’t need to get better at what you do unless you want to, and no one can expect otherwise when you load up your favorite game. Any skill you gain is just a bonus! Not to mention just how easy it is to bond with someone over the love of a video game, or even the console it came packaged with.
However, does this accessibility go deep enough? Video games go the extra mile to bring media to new players, but is this good enough? For some people, the answer is no. Here’s why.
Dive into the SettingsThis is always going to be the first place to go when you want to make a game more accessible. Modern games have a wealth of accessibility settings packaged into the game, including settings for colorblind players, as well as support for deaf and blind players, and plenty of ease of use settings that are good for those who have trouble using their hands.
Check out the settings, play around with them, and see how they change the game for you. You can always go back in and turn something off if you don’t like it!
Simplify Your Gaming ExperienceIf you find newer games overwhelming and/or too stressful to play, it’s a good idea to simplify your gaming experience. Older games or indie games outside of the AAA industry are good fits for people with these needs.
Alternatively, if the game is too loud or bright, be sure to turn the volume and the brightness or gamma down first - if that doesn't fix anything, think about trying something else and then building up to it. A game like pinball could be a good starting game, but anything works here, as long as it’s calmer and quieter when you need it to be.
Use a Different ControllerAccessibility controllers are a big thing these days. The Adaptive Controller from Xbox and the Access Controller for the PS5 are leading the march here, and many other companies are following suit. You can also use these controllers with consoles other than the console they were originally designed for, ensuring these bits of tech are part of the cross platform revolution as well.
Think about investing in these if you want to try out new ways of playing games - these controllers are able to change and adapt, as it were, to your ideal playing style and specific gaming needs.
Always Play the TutorialThe tutorial tells you what to do - too many people skip over this and try to work things out for themselves! If you want the game to feel accessible, and not just in a mechanical way, pay attention to this portion of the game before doing anything else.
Working out how to play doesn’t have to be hard, even when you’re tackling a traditionally difficult game such as Dark Souls. Play through the tutorial level, practice your playstyle, and pick up the on screen tips.
Don’t Be Ashamed of Playing on a Lower Difficulty LevelThe lower the difficulty, the more fun you’re likely to have; what’s the problem with that? It doesn’t mean a thing to complete a game on a higher challenge, other than a simple personal achievement that isn’t going to be hung on a wall. You can be proud of beating the game on high, but you’re really just trying to have fun here!
And if you’re concerned about what people might say when you talk about your playthrough with friends, remember that it’s literally just a game! Even when you’re playing on easy, you’re still playing.
If gaming still isn’t accessible enough for you, use these tips and tricks to turn it into a fun hobby. The easier it is to play, the more involved you can get, and that means you can actually have fun as the developers truly intended. Plus, if you ever become differently abled over the course of your lifetime, this will ensure gaming is still a hobby you can keep up with.