This is not a recent video (at least it was more than a year ago), but I was very fascinated to watch someone with vision impairment (as the result of cancer) playing a fighting game by listening to the sound effects. Actually, his name is Sven but probably better known as Blind Warrior Sven by his followers on social media.

If you are interested you can watch the relevant parts of the interview of Sven (but you should watch how he plays against a very accomplished opponent first) where he explains how he learnt to play from sound.

He explains that the most difficult part of learning how to play is when there are certain moves that the opponent makes where the sound is indistinguishable, which means that he is required to make a guess (hopefully an educated one) about what the opponent is doing and responding to it.

This has made me to think about accessibility issues when designing for games, and whether these elements are taken into account to ensure that people with specific 'disabilities' or physical impairments are still able to play and enjoy the game if they choose to do so.

Some of the points I have considered include:

  • Making events perceivable in visual, audio and tactile forms
  • Making response or input speed to events equal in visual, audio or tactile
  • Creating distinct or unique signatures in visual, audio and tactile events

What other examples have you seen and applied in PC, console and mobile games?

UPDATE #1: Microsoft has developed and shared some guidelines that help improve accessibility in game design

UPDATE #2: An article from focusing specifically on accessibility in game design for the web, and looks to be from the same people as the A11y accessibility group.

  • 1
    This is a really good video on the subject youtu.be/4NGe4dzlukc
    – bace1000
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 9:43
  • @bace1000 why not summarize and provide an answer for the question?
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 14:16
  • 1
    Relevant tag on Game Development SE: accessibility
    – unor
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 13:18
  • @unor are you also interested in providing an answer? I can't claim the bounty for my own question, so it might as well go to someone else...
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 14:28
  • @MichaelLai: No, currently not :) Just leaving the link for people interested in this topic / or for others to use for their answers. (By the way, I don’t see a bounty on this question.)
    – unor
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


I found a useful reference for game designers and developers at Game accessibility and will summarize the key categories here:

According to the website, there are three levels of accessibility that can be achieved:

  • Basic - Easy to implement, wide reaching and apply to almost all game mechanics
  • Intermediate - Require some planning and effort but often just good general game design
  • Advanced - Complex adaptations for profound impairments and specific niche mechanics

And the categories that you can achieve these in are:

  • Motor (Control / mobility)
  • Cognitive (Thought / memory / processing information)
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Speech
  • General (relating to game design)

For example, this is one of the guidelines listed for Basic Motor accessibility, which is to Allow controls to be remapped / reconfigured

Standard for PC games but rare on consoles, remappable controls are one of the best value accessibility features. Many people with motor impairments, whether permanent (eg. stroke), temporary (eg. broken arm) or situational (talking on a phone while playing) benefit greatly from being able to move essential controls into positions that they are able to reach more easily, for example with a single hand, or resting on a table-top using only the top buttons.

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