Skip to main content

The Access-Ability Summer Showcase was a vital addition to the Summer Game Fest season

"Ultimately gaming brings me joy."

Yesterday afternoon saw the broadcast of the inaugural Access-Ability Summer Showcase. Coming it at just under an hour, the showcase focused on new games "made by disabled developers and featuring accessibility settings designed to ensure more disabled gamers are able to play."

As the host, the writer and accessibility consultant Laura Kate Dale, put it, the aim was to ensure that "disabled gamers could be confident that if a game trailer seemed interesting to them they would know up-front if a game was likely to be playable by them or not when it releases.

"Basically," she continued, "I want this to be a space where disabled gamers can get in on the excitement of finding out about new and upcoming videogames with less risk of finding out later that a cool looking game you've seen today isn't something you can play when it actually releases."

The Access-Ability Summer Showcase.Watch on YouTube

The showcase, which was sponsored by I Need Diverse Games, and was available with English audio description as well as BSL and ASL interpretation, highlighted fifteen games, and also included stories from disabled developers and disabled gamers, ranging from the Twitch Ambassador and accessibility advocate Radderss, to the consultant, speaker and Eurogamer writer Vivek Gohil.

Highlights for me included the sheer range of thinking about accessibility found in a game like Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island, which scales from button remapping and sound effect captions to include a kind of haptic radar for locating puzzle elements. Elsewhere, Bossgame: The Final Boss is my Heart is a "lesbian romance boss rush" with a granularity of settings that really allows a player to tailor the experience to exactly what they're after.

Solace State stood out for its arresting visual creativity, while Himig made an impact for its creative range of movement options. Space Boat, meanwhile, is an investigative narrative game set on an intergalactic cruise ship. Luis Alonso, the founder of Space Boat's Recombobulator games, said that, alongside adding various audio and colourblind options, "I made sure that the game could be played comfortably with a controller and without the need for multiple button combinations for successful game progression. As someone who has beaten every Soulsborne game in existence but cannot play Metroid Dread, I can tell you this is paramount for people with physical disabilities."

"The hope is that we can make the Access-Ability Summer Showcase an annual event going forward," Dale said when closing out the show, but Gohil perhaps had the last word on a fantastic showcase. "Accessibility options unlock my potential," he said, "showcasing my abilities instead of highlighting my limitations."

The full list of games showcased is:

  • Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island
  • Skye Tales
  • Bossgame: The Final Boss is my Heart
  • Space Boat
  • Sniper Elite 5
  • A Knight in the Attic
  • Upheaval
  • Princess Farmer
  • Botany Manor
  • Brok the InvestiGator
  • Himig
  • Solace State
  • Pine Hearts
  • Blinnk and the Vacuum of Space
  • Stories of Blossom

Read this next