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SWTOR named AbleGamers’ 2011 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year

Saturday, 21st January 2012 16:04 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

AbleGamers has given Star Wars: The Old Republic its 2011 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year award due to its strong performance when put through a string of accessibility tests for the disabled.

According to the site, SWTOR won out over the others due to being able to maintain said accessibility while “maintaining a fun environment for those who enjoy solo or group play.”

One of the “most unintentionally” accessible features was the game’s addition of companions, and the MMO was lauded for including “full subtitles, queueable actions, multiple action bars, area looting, auto looting, and built-in mouse sensitivity.”

Built-in features such as auto-facing enemies, maps being colorblind friendly, and having subtitles, were other features highlighted as providing more accessibility to the disabled.

“The developers do have room for improvement by adding features such as click to move, close captioning, and the inclusion of mods to allow things like UI movement, text size changes, and small changes deemed necessary by the player base,” said the site.

“However, with Star Wars enabling the ability to use on-screen keyboards, voice activation software, and mouse sensitivity settings, the game can be forgiven for a few shortcomings while hitting the major targets.”

This isn’t the first time a Bioware game has been acknowledged by the site, as Dragon Age: Origins on PC was awarded as Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year in 2009.

Thanks, Shack.

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7 Comments

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  1. The_Red

    Glad to see VG posted this. Mainstream gaming press should pay more attention to gamers with disabilities and the games that try to make enjoying the games easier for them.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. GrimRita

    Was this awarded before the shocking changes they made to the cool downs? Because there are ALOT of people on the forums complaining at how difficult it is now to see if abilities have indeed, cooldown.

    Stupid change based on no feedback from the community at all.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    @2

    Thats already going to be patched in the next patch. Man, even with you not subbing you still continue with this rant. Move on and go play a game you enjoy.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. TheWulf

    What. A. Joke.

    If you’re talking about accessibility then SWTOR most certainly is not. As a disabled person, I was appalled to learn that it doesn’t even have UI scaling. And moreover, the UI options are incredibly basic. Other MMORPGs (like Cryptic’s games) have gone out of their way to be friendly to people with disabilities, but not SWTOR.

    I’m sorry, but if you’re talking about accessibility in regards to something that allows disabled people to easily play, then no. The vast majority of console games are more accessible due to their large UIs and easy to understand screen prompts. That’s why I still like PC console ports. Not to mention that SWTOR still doesn’t have a colourblind mode.

    My favourite example of accessibility is Valve’s games: Fully and properly done closed captions, visual and audio indications of low health, clear popups for visually disabled people (who may otherwise miss buttons/items), and so on. Think of the character glow in Left 4 Dead 2, too, which allows you to find your friends if you happen to have a lousy sense of direction. So yeah, Valve’s games are accessible.

    SWTOR may be a lot of things, but accessible isn’t one of them. Frankly, I personally find it offensive with it being named as such.

    And if you want to have a go at me for this, TOR fans, feel free. But remember that you’ll be taking a crack at someone who has to struggle with numerous disabilities (all caused by one core problem, which is unfixable) on a daily basis. I cannot help not being perfect, but I know which games help me by being accessible.

    TOR is definitely not one of them.

    In fact, here’s another great example of accessibility: L.A. Noire. When you approach a clue you get an indicator via a pad rumble, a visual flash, and a sound jingle. This covers every sense that a game can cover. Things like that are of great use to disabled people, because it means that if you can’t see the clues, which I often couldn’t, then you can rely on the jingles and the pad rumbles.

    Another great example is Rochard, where everything is laid out clearly in very easy to understand symbols and shapes, they don’t obfuscate anything. And Shadow Era allows for zooming in on cards so that you can read the card’s text. Both of these are again great examples of accessibility.

    I really am very annoyed to hear something like this. You may not understand this, but to a disabled person, to see a game that laughs at ideas like accessibility and doesn’t bother with them… to see a game like that get an award for accessibility is so damned offensive.

    What a joke.

    In case anyone is confused: The ideas AbleGamers describe as ‘accessibility’ are standard features that almost all MMORPGs have. Every Cryptic game has them, for example. However, accessibility features that I need – like being able to scale and move individual UI elements, or having better visual updates as to the state of health of myself or friends, the game is lacking.

    So, essentially, if a game does exactly what WoW did almost a decade ago, that’s ‘accessibility.’ Despite teh game lacking accessibility features that visually disabled people desperately need. You really can’t understand how offended I am by this.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. GrimRita

    @3 – Well I just wanted to know if this was before or after yet another bioware UI design team screw up. So they are patching something that they changed, which didnt need changing in the first place? LOLOL

    UI Design award next

    #5 2 years ago
  6. silkvg247

    Sounds like money has changed hands here. Even as a fully abled (and grateful for it) person I find the game’s various nuances a nightmare. From the completely non customizable UI, to the fact that by level 30-odd you need a trillion hotbar slots for the OTT amount of abilities – depending on your class, all of which are useful therefore needed.

    Let’s also not forget:

    The fact you can’t buy multiple items from a shop.
    The fact you have to perform some bizarre combination of left and right clicks to trash an item.

    However: I still like the game hence just paid a month’s sub.

    But saying it’s accessible? Yea… no.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. swtorvv

    Glad to determine VG posted this. Mainstream gaming press should really spend much more thing to consider to gamers with disabilities as well as the complement titles that make an effort to create enjoying the complement titles much less difficult for them.

    #7 2 years ago