CIPT—Two Years On

When Susan (co-founder of CIPT and my partner) died, I was ready to throw in the towel on this site and the a11y community as a whole. I’d never felt particularly connected to the community and I knew that continuing to work on what we’d built together would only compound my grief. We’d launched CIPT only four months before her death and I didn’t believe I had enough of a grasp on what her vision for it was, nor did I believe I could do it on my own. After all, in the years we’d been doing a11y work before CIPT, I’d been solely behind the scenes. I had no desire to take on the public-facing role that she filled so well. I didn’t like Twitter and I was not great at community building.

Screenshot of Ian Hamilton's memorial bit for Susan at GAConf 2019, showing Ian at the podium, an interpreter beside him, and Susan's photo on the presentation screen.

You can imagine my surprise then when Twitter grew to be the place I went to for comfort and friendship as I navigated my grief and I naturally fell into the role of the EIC of Can I Play That. Even more surprising was that the compliment paid to Susan by so very many in this community after her death—that she was “a fucking force” for good and change in the games industry—became something CIPT embodied.

Scores roundup press image for Gears 5 featuring CIPT's score in the lower right corner.

I am so proud of what our site and its staff have accomplished in the two years since our launch. Not only is our work a force for change in video games, but we are also a respected learning source for countless developers and a trusted source for many gamers. Our reviews have influenced improved accessibility in games from studios around the world and we’ve even gotten the attention of the heads of both Xbox and Playstation. Quite a feat for a domain I had purchased for Susan as a joke.

It hasn’t been a smooth or comfortable road by any means, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to throw in the towel quite often. But when Grant Stoner joined me in September 2019, that was when I began to see the undeniable staying power of CIPT. Together, we made the site something we could both be proud of. While we don’t agree on everything, working alongside him brought a balance to both the site and my goals. And that feeling has been reiterated with the joining of every new staff member. Every one of them is invaluable to CIPT. Without their unique experiences and expertise, we would lack what makes CIPT so special; our deep-dive, singularly focused, experience-based reviews.

Susan's tweet announcing the launch of CIPT.

The fact that we’ve gone from a launch announcement tweet that got six whole likes to averaging 20,000 viewers per month speaks not to our original vision for the site but the talent of the CIPT staff and all of our writers. We are working on tremendous things for the coming months. We can’t wait to share what we have in store with you. As always, we are grateful for our community’s continued support and so thankful that you have allowed us to become your source for all things game accessibility.

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Courtney Craven

Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com

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