AbleGamers, a non-profit organisation that aims to “help gamers with disabilities”, has announced their 2012 “Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year” as FIFA 13.
EA’s FIFA 13 received AbleGamers’ award for several accessibility features included within the game. Of particular note was the game being the first AAA sports game to be controllable solely with a mouse. This allows players with “Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and even one-handed gamers” to engage with a complicated sports game using only simple controls.
The key reason FIFA 13 was chosen, however, was due to the ability to control the speed of the AI and PC. This allows “those with cognitive disorders and motor impairments, the ability to set the game to an acceptable rate of speed enables those with even the most severe of disabilities” by slowing down the rate at which the game plays and allowing the player to adapt the game to their wishes. AbleGamers singled out this feature, noting it as “perhaps the most powerful feature seen in any game to date.”
FIFA 13 also shipped with many other accessibility features, “including remappable keys, customizable color options, high contrast and intuitive menus, visual cues for all audio input and high socializing replayability.”
AbleGamers has highlighted 2012 as a particularly good year for game accessibility, due to the the number of big studios “adopting the game accessibility guidelines of Includification… creating some of the most disability-friendly video games to date.”
A very narrow second on the list was XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which included options to remap keys, play with either the keyboard or mouse only, assist with colourblindness, and “impeccable” subtitles. XCOM: Enemy Unknown apparently only lost out to FIFA 13 by just 0.1 on AbleGamers’ accessibility rating.
Also of note was the indie game Colour Bind by Finn Morgan, which is the first indie game to ever make the final round of selection for the AbleGamers award.
Other games that received a mention were Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Dishonored, which both did their best to allow accessibility despite the difficulties inherent in the mechanics of their genre.
It has not all been positive, however, as AbleGamers identified Forza Horizons as a step back from its previous entry’s accessibility features.
AbleGamers has been advocating for greater accessibility in video games for the disabled community since 2004.