The Community News Review: Jan 24th-28th-Update: We're good to go for next week. - Demon Ragnarok Blog -
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The Community News Review: Jan 24th-28th-Update: We're good to go for next week.

Update: I've got all five contributors now. Thank you to everyone who requested to be a part of this next week's blog. Check out my blogs over the next week for the selection for the following week's Community News Review.

Note: I am trying to stick with a 2 week mandatory downtime for all contributors, so as to allow more people to be involved. However, this will not happen if I can't get enough people interested. This is a fun experience for anyone who wants their voice to be heard on some of the biggest news stories of the week.

Welcome everyone again to the Community News Review. This week I am excited to have TOGNick, GameBeast23456, Koob24, Fever Ray, and Cody Gilley contributing. This week we will be covering MLB 11: The Show's inclusion of a control scheme for disabled players, video games honing skills to save lives through quick reactions, Nintendo's claims that the worst of their piracy issues are behind them, the possible price point for the NGP and the potential problems they could see because of it, and finally the lackluster launch of Mass Effect 3 on the Playstation 3. So sit back, relax, and enjoy what other members of the community think about some of the top news stories of the week. At the end will be the selection question for this upcoming week.

Question #1- TOGNick

Monday January 24th, 2011

On Monday, Gamasutra reported that MLB 11: The Show would feature a new control scheme for disabled gamers that would allow for the game to be played with only one button. So my question to TOGNick was this:

Given that accommodating controls for disabled gamers has become an increasingly big topic as gaming has gained popularity, what other genres of games could you see taking advantage of a single button play method? Could you see a game be altered to a different genre to accommodate for disabled gamers (i.e. a mode for a FPS game where the game is played as a rail shooter of sorts to allow disabled gamers to have interaction and experience the story)?

When I read the article, my first impressions were that this is a great way to allow those with disabilities to play games.  The question also reminded me of an issue that had arisen over those gamers who are color blind, and their ability to effectively play first person shooters.  The most obvious games for the one button play mechanic are sports games.  You could effectively translate that into the racing genre as well. 

The issue that I see though, lies in the overall experience.  While the disabled gamer may in fact be able to experience the story, the overall experience of completing a game is nearly leveled.  Part of gaming lies definitely in the story, but to truly experience and enjoy a game, in my opinion, is to experience the challenge of overcoming the given obstacles in a game.  That is not to say that accommodations should not be made. 

I would greatly appreciate developers opening the way for disabled gamers to enjoy games, whether it’s adding different colors to represent other players in an FPS for those who are color blind, or if it’s adding mechanics and the ability to play with just one hand.  I think though that a better system would be to find some way to allow voice commands to work in a game.  You can already with Kinect command your 360 to turn on and off.  Adding voice commands to games to accommodate physical disabilities seems to be a great way to address the issue of interactivity.

I could see some games being translated to accommodate disabilities.  There are some issues to address.  Your example for FPS, is a prime target for these issues.  It wouldn’t require too much effort to translate an FPS into a rail shooter, and we can even assume that there is some ability to move a hand for targeting.  But if all you can get is a button press, then is a game even being played?  If all the movement that is possible is a single button press, than the disabled gamer is only watching a partially interactive movie, and not playing a game.

RPG’s could also experience a great boost in this area.  Switch a game like Fallout to a turn based game, and similar to FF XIII with the more linear approach to storytelling, and allow the gamer to make decisions that would affect the outcome of the game.  It may require some more fine tuned development, however opening the door to more gamers provides more income.

I think to handle the translation for disabled gamers the best solution would be to do a separate patch, available at launch, that would give the control scheme for those disabilities.  A separate team can work on the patch and at no charge you can open many doors for disabled gamers.

(Demon: I agree on most all points except about it being released as a patch. To put this in would require a bit of development cost and I think it would need to be incorporated at launch (as well as advertised) in order to see a return on the investment. A great feature can go unnoticed if not properly advertised/hyped, and disabled gamers have no reason to buy the game if they don't know about the inclusion of these features.

On a side note, I think this is one of the best stories I've read in a while. Sony's San Diego Studio has developed a relationship with Hans Smith, who came up with the idea. Apparently, a few years ago they received a letter from Hans in which he wrote about the challenges of being disabled (Cerebral Palsy), and his love for baseball. From there they kept in touch and the studio put him into their 2010 game.

Smith said this mode will allow for disabled gamers that will never be able to play real baseball, to live out their baseball stardom dreams virtually.)

Question #2- GameBeast23456

Tuesday January 25th, 2011

On Tuesday, Game Informer posted an article about a man who credited his ability to avoid a potentially fatal accident, to video games. My question to GameBeast was:

Has there ever been a moment in your life when you needed to react quickly (either mentally or physically), that you thought video games prepared you for?

Yes, it was one of those times when paying attention could have gotten me hurt.

I was helping this guy move some stuff around in his attic (which is always a bad start for a story, I'd say) and his attic had a main section and above and to the left of it was a smaller space. We were moving his stuff around from one floor to the other the dumbest way we could have- dropping it down.

Anyway, without any warning- the guy drops down a ten or fifteen pound box off the top part, and I had no idea what was happening- but I instinctively grabbed the box before it landed on my foot.

Even with it in my hand, the box almost fell out of my grip, and I was really lucky. I think my days of doing random button presses insanely fast paid off.

(Demon: If this guy credits video games with saving his life, than it's fairly safe to assume he doesn't play NASCAR games (thankfully). As far as video games helping me in a moment where I needed quick mental or physical reaction, the closest I can come up with was once when I was playing baseball with some friends back when I was 13. I was pitching to my friend's brother and he lined the ball back at my face. I one quick movement I ducked down, put my glove up, and managed to catch the ball right where my face had been at the time of the pitch. I don't necessarily know if I would credit it to video games, but I'm sure they didn't hurt.)