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Game accessibility advocate running for GDC ambassador award

I subscribe to the IGDA's Game Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) mailing list, and found this e-mail from SIG chair (and one of Edge Magazine's 100 most influential women in the gaming industry) D. Michelle Hinn, who advocates for diversity in the gaming industry:

I am writing you today because one of the (if not the biggest) Game Developers Conferences is reducing diversity programming at an alarming level. So Diversity topics have REALLY been cheated out of GDC this year I feel. I got one tiny and VERY basic talk accepted but we nearly got knocked out completely -- this after getting our best talk scores and feedback ever last year. I've heard similar stories from others in other area of game diversity programming.

I've decided that I'm "running" for a GDC ambassador award [Ed: the ambassador award is at the bottom of the page] because GDC is really squashing out most disability (and diversity programming in general -- Chris Bateman, Noah Falstein, Ernest Adams and I have been frothing at the mouth about this...as I am sure you are as well!). For years I've been trying to get a "game accessibility" award in the Annual Game Developers Choice Awards...and we almost had it. Then things shifted with CMP (now ThinkServices, Jamil left CMP and went to EA, etc. And this year we only had one small proposal on the most basic accessibility information accepted, which I can already read the session feedback now..."Why don't you do the Accessibility Arcade or the more advanced/applied sessions anymore?" There is still need for the basics but if GDC wants to really present "the best of/state of the art" talks then some content control has to be given back to those of us who know what people are currently asking from us. But I digress...

This is definitely not an ego trip thing -- I feel quite humble asking you for your support on this! Because this is not a Gamasutra Reader "voter" award and is instead chosen by an advisory board I am campaigning so every bit of support will help. I just am getting mad at how little attention (and it's dwindling) we (those of us in all areas of gaming diversity) get and I want accessibility to be recognized! And this is the only way I can think of to have an opportunity, if I happen to win, to say on record "next stop? Game accessibility award for GDC awards!" and give props to those who have always been supportive of the accessibility and diversity message.

I, along with members of the IGDA Game Accessibility SIG that I chair, give our blood sweat and tears to keep game accessibility (making sure games are playable by the disabled, the elderly, etc) in the minds of both academia and industry...and we don't get paid for it -- we do it because we believe so strongly in the topic. I've been involved in it for nearly ten years now (before I help start the SIG 7 years ago I did my own independent work on the topic). I've given talks the past 5 GDCs, SXSW, Develop, Montreal, Games for Health and many more industry conferences. Now that I'm finished with my Chapter for Chris Bateman's book I can get back to the SIG book on game accessibility! :)

[cut]

Michelle Hinn, Chair
Game Accessibility Special Interest Group
International Game Developers Association
Entertainment Consumers Association

The Horror Geek presents: Resident Evil 5 prequel to appear in comic form

Resident Evil 5 Prequel

There are two things I wish I covered more of here at the site: videogames and comic books. I try to cover games as much as I can, but comics are just stretching myself too thin (despite the fact that I love comics enough to have actually spent a good chunk of 2007 working in a comic shop…)

Despite that, occasionally something comic-related comes along and I’ve got to post about it despite my lack of comic coverage. This news from Wildstorm about a Resident Evil 5 prequel falls squarely into that category.

The guys over at STYD uncovered news that Wildstorm will be releasing a six issue Resident Evil 5 prequel that looks at what brings lead character Chris Redfield to Africa and what “dark burden” haunts him. Rick Sanchez will handle the writing duties with Kevin Sharpe and Jim Clark providing the artwork.

You’ll find Resident Evil 5 at your local comic shop come March 11th. The game hits stores on March 13th.

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Ok, we're a little late, but technically you can wish someone a happy New Year until March of that year. So on behalf of GameCritics.com, have a Happy New Year. Hopefully, 2009 will be an improvement on 2008!

The issue of credibility and Joystiq

Every so often, you hear the word "credibility" come up on a website. For whatever reason, people seem to forget what it means, and when it's called into question, people get awfully uppity about it. The problem is, credibility is subjective. And how to defend credibility is up to the speaker.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 7

This week's topics include:

  • Reader mailbag
  • Impressions/reviews of the Rise of the Argonauts and Far Cry 2

Download: Right click here and select "Save Target As..."
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Please send mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Aibicom, a tool for creating a one-switch interface

Komodo OpenLab's Aibicom, or Asynchronous Interpreter of Binary Commands is a development library for making "binary control applications" that use a single button or switch. Aibicom can control two separate domains at once; thus, Michael Dzura could use Aibicom to play a game of Neverball using only one key:

A paper on Aibicom was published in the October 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

Take that, fog!

A cell-shaded Link, with blond hair and his green suit and cap, smiles and punches his fist into the air. Above his head, text reads: PWN! in big blue letters

I've been playing The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for forever—well, sort of. I got stuck and put the game down for a while, maybe a couple of months. But when I picked Phantom Hourglass back up again, I couldn't get unstuck. And I didn't even know why I was stuck in the first place.

What is the best Christmas game?

Christmas NiGHTS

For the past couple days, I've been pretty much snowed in here in Seattle. And looking at all this white stuff has got me thinking about all the different incarnations of snow-themed levels that have been appearing in games for basically forever. The slippery snow levels in the original Mario on the NES. The icy dungeons in Zelda. The ice-themed levels in almost every RPG ever created. So are there any games that stand out as being particularly Christmassy or winter holiday appropriate?

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 6

This week's topics include:

  • Impressions/reviews of the Left 4 Dead and Street Fighter 2 HD Remix
  • The future of games distribution: Physical vs. Digital

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Please send mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

The Horror Geek Presents: Dante's Inferno Teaser Trailer

Awhile back I posted some stories about a Hollywood bidding war that broke out for the movie rights to an unannounced videogame from Electronic Arts based on Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Well, at the SpikeTV Videogame Awards show the other night, EA finally confirmed that the game is indeed coming (it’ll be titled Dante’s Inferno) and they unveiled a teaser promo for the game as well.

There’s not much gameplay on display in the trailer (or really any for that matter…) but it’s still nice to see the game officially confirmed. No release date has been set yet, but it appears that the game is tentatively scheduled for release in 2009.

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