Video game accessibility is on the rise with more and more video games implementing accessible features to help disabled players enjoy a larger range of titles. But what if you’re a developer who’s worried about messing up a feature that would help a player experience your game? That’s where AccessJam 2020 comes in and will be taking place next week.
AccessJam2020 is a worldwide game jam run by Accessibility Unlocked and aims to encourage developers to make their video games more accessible. This game jam takes place starting next week on May 21 —which is also when Global Accessibility Awareness Day takes place— and will run for a month until June 21.
The theme for this game jam is “Growth” but those who wish to take part in it can feel free to explore the themes of accessibility in ways that work for them. It’ll be taking place on itch.io with the creations being featured across Accessibility Unlocked’s social media channels with no ranking to take place.
AccessJam 2020 hopes to encourage more developers to try something new in regards to the video game sector. Developers could create a game about their experience with disability, or maybe just a game that has an accessible mechanic or option included. Alternatively, developers can create a tool specifically to help other developers include accessible options. For example, we’ve previously seen the Yellow Subs Machine, a third-party tool designed to make adding customizable subtitles an easier process.
“Stories that are explicitly about disability are rare within games.” says Cameron Hopkinson, co-founder of Accessibility Unlocked. “Even though there are significant efforts to help disabled people partake in this medium, disability itself often feels like a taboo subject.
“This is unfortunate as for many of us, games are our primary way of interacting with others and our culture. To not see ourselves included in the games we play can feel quite alienating. It is my hope that this jam can help normalize depictions of disability in our medium.” they state.
Meredith Hall, co-founder of Accessibility Unlocked explains how they are keeping the game jam inclusive, “you can dream as big or as small as you like, implement a small feature, or record a video of you talking about your experience.”
If you’re participating in AccessJam 2020, Accessibility Unlocked suggests that you check out AbleGamers and Game Accessibility Guidelines for any inspiration. You can also check out our Can I Play That? reference guides here.
If you want to find out more information about AccessJam 2020 you can check out the official page. There’s even a fancy counter to countdown the days and hours! That page will also allow you to join the event by clicking the “Join Jam” button. Additionally, a FAQ is available if you want to know even more specific details.