A Spec Special – Jim Dodge (@dodgethistweet) & Specious Coda-Bishop

Jim & Spec

We talk about research and the need for it in video gaming. How a lot of varing different aspects and conditions go into researching one small thing.

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Accessibility Criteria for Video Games – Introducing the DVCM.


The idea behind this document is to get a wider conversation happening about what we consider to be accessibility friendly or not in terms of video game accessibility. At time of writing, there is no guideline or regulatory body that says what a game should be labeled to inform buyers it is for a certain level of accessibility. This document is in an effort to make a dent into that space with people from all levels of accessibility and experiences coming together to organize the accessibility space better within gaming. 

Supporting its petition and sharing it around your network means that we can begin to sow the seeds of something bigger than ourselves in gaming. I believe that there should be a recognizable accessibility standard that developers should be adhering to and I want to be part of the discussion to make that possible. 

If you would like to have a chat with me about it you’ll find me in the comments and @ThisIsSpecious on Twitter.

This project is currently named DVCM.

D.V.C.M is named after the four main criteria of an accessibility review

D for Deaf & Hard of Hearing

V for Vision & Blindness and Hard of Sight

C for Cognition

M for Mobility.

The scoring system will be on a DVCM 0 – 5. 0 being the worst score and 5 being the highest. 

In order for a game to get a DVCM score, it must be able to have 1 point in each of the four categories. Ideally, these would be tiered to make a certain amount of logical sense. For example,  the next tier for subtitles [0] would be for the look and size to be changed [1]. 

Deaf & Hard of Hearing

  • Audio Descriptions / Closed Captioning [0]
  • Subtitles [0]
    • Speaker labels for subtitles [1]
      • Changing look and size of subtitles [2]
  • Enemy location / proximity. [0]
    • Controller Vibration indicators [1]
  • Stealth/Hidden/Other indicators [0]
    • Controller Vibration indicators [1]

Vision, Blindness & Hard of Sight

  • Increase subtitle size
  • Increase UI size
    • Increase UI contrast
  • Colour blindness settings
  • Add screen readers
  • Add descriptions to your cutscences
  • Toggle visual effects on or off
  • Add options for adding additional contrast


  • Highlighted words
  • Repeatable Tutorials
  • Clear Navigation markers
  • Toggling off/on motion blur
  • Allow for people to read at their own pace
  • Independent sliders for music, sound, dialogue


  • Key remapping
    • Full key and button remapping for keyboard, mouse and gamepad
  • Toggle switch support
    • Toggles for all actions
  • Alternatives for QTEs
  • Difficulty modes
  • Inverting axis
  • Left handed option
  • No hardcoded keys
  • Sensitivity settings for all the controls and devices, be it mouse or gamepad
  • Allow both gamepad and mouse cursor controlled menus 
  • Adjustable hold times for actions
    • Or change to a single tap
  • Autorun function with toggle / hold options

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Game Accessibility Standard – A Review Visual

Example of visual checklist for accessibility reviews

As per my last post, I wanted to upload an example image of how reviewers can cover key points within a game that doesn’t necessarily require experience with the disabilities in question.

Try to remember that all of this is to aid the reader to see if there is even the first instance of accessibility tools being present in a game to begin with.

As you’re review or first preview might be the first window that a player has into seeing if the tool they require to play the game is present. These information drops will never be substitute for if these tools are any “good” but it is a way forward for us to normalise the process of this information being available.

There will always be space, scope, and voices for the people who will experience these features on the day to day and should then talk about it. Indeed, these people should be given priority. However, this is an exercise in knowledge transfer and normalisation. That doesn’t need to be any specific voice or a format.

We need to start trying to go with the purpose of getting the information out there rather than focusing on it being 100% right. Because by in large your audiences are gonna help you to dictate what information is important for them to have. Some may prefer long form round ups like Courtney Craven’s over at VG247, or a slightly more streamlined approach such as OllyWrites (tba! You’ll see soon).

It’s not going to be down to any one person to make this happen, but it is going to be down to every single person to normalise the information being shared.



A Spec Special – Ryan Brown & Specious Coda-Bishop

Ryan Brown (@Toadsanime) & Specious Coda-Bishop (@ThisIsSpecious)

A Game Talk Radio segment interviewing the wonder Ryan Brown from NumbSkull PR / Games about the realities of the PR life.

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Game Accessibility Standard

Commitment from Gaming Journalism Outlets to cover Accessibility in Games.

As we move towards a world that becomes more increasingly aware of the trials and tribulations of people with accessibility needs. Publications need to move forward in terms of their review criteria for gamers with different needs and requirements. The normalization of accessibility discussion is the key indicator to promote and encouraging change within our industry. It’s through the voices of other people’s experiences that we’ll hear of stories that would otherwise go adrift. 

I’ve heard stories of people with accessibility needs who do not know if a game will work for them on launch day because the reviewers from major outlets do not provide a review of any sort as to the ability to remap keys or increase the text size. 

We all have a passion for this industry, and could you imagine if your favorite franchise came out with a new entry into the series and they left you until months down the line for any coverage whether spend your hard-earned cash on something you don’t know if you’d even be able to play?

This is why it is imperative for major publications who are doing a public service by reviewing and critiquing games to incorporate the needs of other players into their review criteria.


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Yoshi’s Wooly World

Without a Doubt Too Excited for this

This is going to be a game journal to tell you what I’ve been playing and how i’m getting on with it. What I like about the game play, design and what I don’t. I won’t be giving any scores or anything like that, this will just be a running update of my thoughts while playing the game and to see if it was worth the €59 I spent with the amiibo plushy! (Which is super cute, although I am sad I didn’t manage to get a blue one!)
Full coverage will probably start tomorrow so keep an eye on the blog!
Update 4pm on the 7th:


I have come to the conclusion that if you don’t like Yoshi’s Woolly World you don’t have a soul. 
In all seriousness, the game is beautifully crafted and stunning to play. The only gripe I’d have about it is the fact that I didn’t expect the amount of loading screens. While these aren’t very long, they are enough to take you out of the world in which they are trying to create for you. 
Otherwise, the level design I find challenges both the little ones who this product is aimed towards and veteran platformers. It reminds me of the old Kirby games from the SNES how there are multiple ways of progressing through a level and the more skills you master the different ways become available to get to things and explore the levels.
 I feel right now after playing up to 1-5 the pacing of the levels are well done. I don’t feel like they’re too long or too short and I don’t feel at the minute that the levels are too repetitive. That may change however, as the case with Super Mario World 3D, it became difficult late game to keep things fresh. I get bored easily.