Introducing the Family Video Game Database!

September 3, 2020 By Amy Green

Finding Accessible Video Games To Meet Your Needs

Last week we introduced you to Jack Freedman, our friend with SMA who plays video games using an eye tracking system. This week we are introducing Andy Robertson, who is working with us to support gamers like Jack.

In our early conversations with Jack’s dad, he told us that he and Jack took countless trips to Game Stop as Jack was growing up. They’d pick games up off the shelf and study them, making their best guess at which games Jack might be able to play. More often than not, they’d get their selections home, open them up, and discover that the games weren’t accessible enough for Jack to play and back they’d go to try to buy different games. The whole process was incredibly frustrating for Jack and his dad, but trial and error was their only option at the time.

I’m happy to report that times have changed. The internet has allowed people to share information and recommendations much more easily, STEAM and other digital stores offer free returns. A little of the guess work has been removed from the process of finding great games for players with unique needs. However, we think more can be done.

The Playability Initiative is partnering with the Family Video Game Database to create searchable, curated lists of video games. The Family Video Game Database was already offering lists of games for parents on topics like “hope through play, games that encourage reading, games you can play that commit no violence, games that help you be a good neighbor, and the lists of games you can search for is constantly expanding based on user requests.

A selection of games from the Family Video Games Database

The Playability Initiative is now sponsoring the database to add even more lists of games that offer great accessibility features. So now you can also search for games “designed to be easier to see, designed with deaf and hard of hearing functions, and games designed for reduced motor function.”

We’re excited to introduce you to Andy Robertson, a family video game journalist who created this database because he loves helping families find new ways to play games together. He will be sharing blogs with us all about the database, and how he’s curating new lists of games, as well as what he’s learning about accessibility in games during this process.  

He would love to hear from you in the comments on our blog or through the Playability Intiatiive facebook group to find out what kind of parameters you want to be able to search for on his database.

“Having only scratched the surface on helping people find games with great accessibility features, it’s exciting to be able to now make accessibility data an integral aspect of the Family Video Game Database,” says Andy Robertson, our partner in this endeavor.  “Whether you want to find games where you don’t have to hold down buttons, have resizable subtitles, visual prompts for audio cues or with customisable difficulty, the database will soon support these features and more.”

“Video games are now a normal part of childhood and growing up. It’s therefore crucially important that we minimise the barriers to play so that as many people can enjoy and benefit from these imaginative worlds, competitions, collaborations and communities as possible.”