The following are four distinct approaches that are possible to investigate in a short amount of time, each exploring a different but equally important take on how disability relates to games.
They are all equally applicable to any kind of impairment – hearing, vision, motor, or cognitive.
If thought about early enough, a great deal can be done very quickly and easily. Develop a game that is enjoyable by as many different audience types as possible, by using a combination of several simple design decisions and features, such as colorblind friendliness, simple controls, and timer-free text.
Pushing the envelope
Existing mechanics are often easier to adapt than they first appear. Start with a well-known conventional mechanic and adapt it to a completely different audience – such as a platform game that is blind-accessible, a fighting game that only requires two buttons, or a shooter that requires no precise timing.
Tackling a different kind of problem can be inspirational, giving you ideas that you would not otherwise have had. Use a specific profound impairment as a starting point for a game mechanic, such as not being able to see, or not being able to operate a controller.
Universally accessible game design
‘Universally accessible game design’ is a principle based on exposing as many existing variables as possible, to allow gamers to finely tailor the experience according to their needs. Develop a game that allows players to customise variables such as size, speed, and colours, allowing a wide a range of people as possible to play.
If you’d like to chat any more about accessibility in jams, feel free to drop me a line.