Defining Accessibility (Properly)

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    Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:39 am

    While there is a thread here called "The meaning Behind Accessibility", which is focused around an online article, I think that we should take some time to actually determine if we are understanding this word properly, because, apparently, some developer's past misuses of the term has caused the gaming community to attach a negative stigma to it.

    Taking one line in a dictionary and not doing a broader
    study of the word to see how it is traditionally applied will likely lead to a
    very limited understanding of the word. I suggest you take a couple of seconds look at businesses like
    Google or Apple for instance and see why they think its important. For example, many options in video games, as well
    as certain types of controller designs are meant to make games much more
    accessible for people that may not be the audience that is directly targeted,
    such as people with disabilities. Accessibility is the exact business term that
    is used in that regard. If you don’t believe me, please take a look at this
    article on game informer: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/08/03/game-accessibility-what-it-is-and-why-it-matters.aspx

    None of those options are meant to change the core
    experience of the product, just make it possible for those who don’t possess
    the necessary abilities/faculties to “access” that experience along with
    everyone else. If you design a product to be accessible, you are simply adding
    features that help those outside of your core consumer base to “access” that
    experience. It is not mean to effect the experience of the core consumer base,
    just allow others to find a different way in, one which accommodates to their
    weaknesses.


    If Shibuya knows what he is talking about, and is using the
    word properly, he doesn’t mean that he is going to eliminate all of the
    mysteries in the game, tell you everything up front, and get rid of the difficulty
    (they’ve already said more than once that this game will be difficult). What he is supposed to mean (and we will find
    out if this is the case) is that he is taking a look at gamers that don’t
    possess the naturally intuitive skills that most hardcore gamers like you and I
    have, and giving them a courteous and helpful nudge in the correct direction.


    Here’s what some of you need to understand: Most of the fans of Dark Souls have been
    playing games since before we could remember. We’ve played every genre, and
    have beaten most of them, inside and outside. We don’t need to be told much or
    explained much, because we have developed a skill which allows us to quickly
    and intuitively pick up on most game mechanics without getting frustrated and
    giving up. That is not the norm. Despite the fact that instruction manuals (the
    hard copies that usually come with your video game) are starting to get
    smaller, and will eventually phase out, in game tutorials are getting more
    detailed. Tutorials won’t go anywhere, and that is because the gaming community
    is continually expanding. Be mad about it, or learn to accept it.


    The goal is not to screw with our experience. If
    accessibility is done right, our experience will be left alone and intact. The
    goal is to lower the barrier for other people that are having trouble “getting
    in”, or “accessing”, if you will. In other words, accessibility is not about
    you. If you don’t like accessible features in a product, accept that they weren’t
    meant for you in the first place


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:55 am

    The point of DKS, a huge part of the experience, is intentionally ignoring that barrier players and demanding they figure it out themselves.

    As I said, if you listned to me, its not necessarily bad in games like saints row, but in games like dks and early RE games, they add to the atmosphere that defines the experience. Its SUPPOSED to be hostile. If you take that away, the experience of the series is gone, and so is the core of the series. Beyond the mechanics, the very feel of the game that defined the previous games is gone. Anyone can do mechanics, but a good atmosphere takes genius and I've no wish to see it made any less hostile. I'd prefer they redo the mechanics entirely before dropping the information barrier.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:00 am

    Forum Pirate wrote:The point of DKS, a huge part of the experience, is intentionally ignoring that barrier players and demanding they figure it out themselves.

    As I said, if you listned to me, its not necessarily bad in games like saints row, but in games like dks and early RE games, they add to the atmosphere that defines the experience. Its SUPPOSED to be hostile. If you take that away, the experience of the series is gone, and so is the core of the series. Beyond the mechanics, the very feel of the game that defined the previous games is gone. Anyone can do mechanics, but a good atmosphere takes genius and I've no wish to see it made any less hostile. I'd prefer they redo the mechanics entirely before dropping the information barrier.

    If you "listened to me", then you'd realize that not all attempts at accessibility destroy the experience of the core user base, but allow users who lack the required abilities to experience it too. I, as a traditional gamer, possess a set of skills that make me the core target consumer for this series. That doesn't mean that there are not ways to help other people, who don't possess those skills, develop those skills so that they can join me. If you can't handle that, then I'm not sure what else to tell you, because its a standard thing in every business.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:02 am

    Basically, what you are complaining about is akin to someone complaining about developers making your product easier for a handicapped person to use. Yes, really.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ViralEnsign_ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:10 am

    I love how you described that quality of being able to pick up game mechanics, plots, etc.

    Its true. I know gamers who couldnt ever transition from shooter to RPG to Puzzle to Strategy and back again like I have simply because they struggle to adapt to different mechanics and controls.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:11 am

    Again. If DKS was intended for people who didn't have the ability to play it normally, it would have a difficulty slider. The point, what nearly every aspect of gameplay oozes is "step up or step off." The game doesn't care wether or not you know what you need to know to advance. Thats part of its charm. Like life, even the most hardened player is not always prepared for what it throws at you, and the younglings flounder helplessly. overcoming Thats an awesome experience. And guess what, handicapped people rarily play in the big leagues. They generally don't belong there and including the isn't fair to either party.

    Is it so wrong to prefer the non-standard experience? to be frustrated that one of the few modern games that gives it threatens to eliminate it in the sequel?


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Acarnatia on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:32 am

    I just say it's too early to tell; we have almost no absolute knowledge regarding the game yet, so wait until we actually know what's going to happen. While these terms may indicate exactly what you and I are concerned may become of the series, it very well may not; neither you nor I know yet. So let's just wait until we do.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:46 am

    We weren't arguing the state of the game, merely our thoughts on "accessibility" and its impact on the industry and potential impact on the game. Its a mix of personal opinions, industry trends and hypotheticals.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Grey-Ronin on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:58 am

    Two examples that indicate that Dark Souls is not a very easily accessible game are the Graveyard/Catacombs and New Londo ruins. These areas can be visited almost right from the beginning of the game. I've payed RPGs for almost 30 years, but I still had no idea that I needed a holy weapon to kill skeletons (makes sense when I look back) or a transient curse or cursed weapon to kill the ghosts when I first died in these areas. These regions gave initial confusion and subsequent death. Not very newbie friendly, but it gave such amazing atmosphere and a sense of adventure in a very deadly environment. I loved it. Others may not.

    However, how would you make these examples more accessible? Tell us directly that we need a holy weapon to kill skeletons? This would ruin the overall feel of these environments and is what I'm afraid of with the general talk of accessibility. I have so much experience with RPGs, D&D and am a Demon's and Dark Vet that of course I don't need any help with accessibility, but if they go too far with accessibility, with game mechanics, difficulty and lore, it will greatly diminishes some of the core reasons why I love this series.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping to conclusions about how DS 2 will be (we still don't know much) and am still very hopeful that it will be a fantastic game just like the previous two. I think a lot of people are getting very vocal about this topic is because there are plenty of games for casual players, but Dark Souls seems like the last bastion of hope for seriously dedicated players (don't want to say Hardcore, but you know what I mean). Us fans made the series financially viable so don't abandon us now From Software.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ComaPrison on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:04 am

    Grey-Ronin wrote:there are plenty of games for casual players, but Dark Souls seems like the last bastion of hope for seriously dedicated players (don't want to say Hardcore, but you know what I mean). Us fans made the series financially viable so don't abandon us now From Software.

    Exactly this. Those dirty f-ing casuals have plenty of casual games for them to casually play. If they take my toy and casualize it, I will be angry.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:14 am

    Understandible (though misdirected) anger asside, that is essentialy the problem. Mostly because of money, companies cater to the largest possible groups (frequently known as casuals) where we, who made their games possible in the first place, are left in the cold, our opinions ignored in favor of sales numbers. Being angered by this, and when we believe we see this happening, is entirely justified. The word accessibility frequently indicates such changes.

    If we arn't extraordinarily vocal (being in the minority) the slim chance for preservation of what we value dies entirely.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by mugenis4real on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:17 am

    Keep fighting the good fight Forum Pirate. Hurrah
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ComaPrison on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:22 am

    Forum Pirate wrote:Understandible (though misdirected) anger asside, that is essentialy the problem. Mostly because of money, companies cater to the largest possible groups (frequently known as casuals) where we, who made their games possible in the first place, are left in the cold, our opinions ignored in favor of sales numbers. Being angered by this, and when we believe we see this happening, is entirely justified. The word accessibility frequently indicates such changes.

    If we arn't extraordinarily vocal (being in the minority) the slim chance for preservation of what we value dies entirely.

    I blame the dirty rotten casuals. If they would run off and die in a ditch somewhere, there wouldn't be so much temptation for companies to appeal to that enormous segment of the market.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:25 am

    Its The companies decision. Thats like blaming the cake after you eat it.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ComaPrison on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:26 am

    Forum Pirate wrote:Its The companies decision. Thats like blaming the cake after you eat it.

    Actually it's more like eating a slice of cake from a bakery, and then coming back for more. Only to find that they have discontinued that kind of cake in order to focus on a cake that more people would like to eat, at the expense of the features of the previous cake that you liked most.
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:57 am

    I’m going to try to be as straight forward as possible:

    1. As with any type of product, making something
    more accessible for those who are not the intended core consumer base does NOT
    necessarily entail screwing with the experience of those who ARE the intended
    core consumer base

    2. If, in the attempt to make something accessible
    for those who are not the intended core consumer base, the designer harms the
    experience of the originally targeted consumer base, then that is the fault of
    bad design, not the principle of accessibility.

    3. Making a product more accessible does NOT
    only consist of “dumbing it down” or “adding an easy mode”. There are many ways
    that you can make a product more accessible for those outside of the target
    consumer base without messing with originally targeted user’s experience.

    4. Just because someone doesn’t have the
    prerequisite skills necessary to enjoy a product as much as the intended core
    consumer base, it may still be possible to add features that help them develop
    those skills, thus allowing them to enjoy that experience alongside the core
    user. Again, this can all be done without harming the original experience of
    the user.

    I’m not saying that I know whether or not this series is
    ruined. I’m just saying that people’s perceptions of the word “accessibility”
    are inaccurate, and if executed well, accessibility is actually a good thing for
    the series.

    The game can still be hard, mysterious, vague, and deep
    while still adding features that the core intended user base can ignore.

    Here’s an experiment: Look up the “accessibility” settings
    on your Windows Control Panel (if you are using Windows). See those settings?
    Do you use those? If you don’t, it’s because they weren’t designed for you.
    Does the existence of those features harm your experience of the product? No?
    Exactly, because if it did, it would be because of bad design, not because of “accessibility”. Those who need to use those features are outside of the core intended user base. What type of person would I be if I complained about those settings being
    there, saying that they are harming my
    experience of the product?


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Grey-Ronin on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:21 am

    I understand where you are coming from MasterofShadows and I think there are possible ways to moderately help with accessibility without destroying the core feel of Dark Souls.

    However, I think I gave two examples from Dark Souls that restrict accessibility in my previous post. How would you go about changing those situations to be more accessible without losing the essence of Dark Souls?
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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:33 am

    Grey-Ronin wrote:I understand where you are coming from MasterofShadows and I think there are possible ways to moderately help with accessibility without destroying the core feel of Dark Souls.

    The idea is to prepare players, so that when they are unleashed upon the open world, with the freedom to go anywhere, they know what they need to succeed. You and I have probably played games (old school) that allow you to pretty much go anywhere and get pwned by ridiculously overpowered creatures. We know that there is nothing wrong with the game, and we actually appreciate it, because it allows us to come back and beat it later once we've leveled up. Or we know that we can still try our hands at it at our current level, and still beat it. We appreciate that.

    Something that can be done, which is very simple, and requires few resources, is to have a message, either somewhere in game, or during as loading screen, that hints at the idea that "you are free to go where you want to go, but don't be surprised if some areas are tougher than others." Okay, so they know what to expect without totally giving things away. If they get there, and have too much difficulty, they can either stay and try to tough it out, or just try another area, and come back later.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:40 am

    I never said always, I said frequently. Accessibility itself isn't necessarily bad, I also cited an example in saints row I can add need for speed and final fantasy and fire emblem and cod and plants VS zombies as further examples of good accessibility if you like.

    In a series like the soul series or resident evil series however whose purpose was to be inaccessible, accessibility is bad. Its not a hostile atmosphere when there's an in game tool waiting for you to get frustrated and ask for help. The point is that they DON'T know what they need to succeed, they're expected to guess and approach everything except the most basic things as trial and error. To leave them unprepared, to flounder and slog and scrape for ever little victory so that each victory is immensely satisfying and each failure a learning opportunity.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Forum Pirate on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:40 am

    Thats the point. If its subverted, why bother?

    I also specifically mentioned that its not the meaning of the word thats the issue but that in the industry, outside internal dev stuff it (again, frequently) indicates an impending alienation of the core fan base. That its a key word indicating what quite frequently happes, regardless of its definition.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ComaPrison on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:45 am

    Forum Pirate wrote:Thats the point. If its subverted, why bother?

    I also specifically mentioned that its not the meaning of the word thats the issue but that in the industry, outside internal dev stuff it (again, frequently) indicates an impending alienation of the core fan base. That its a key word indicating what quite frequently happes, regardless of its definition.

    Indeed. It's why I'm so up in arms. As soon as I saw those quotes from the interviews, I knew in my gut right away that it foreshadowed the alienation of people who loved the previous games.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:46 am

    Forum Pirate wrote:I never said always, I said frequently. Accessibility itself isn't necessarily bad, I also cited an example in saints row I can add need for speed and final fantasy and fire emblem and cod and plants VS zombies as further examples of good accessibility if you like.

    In a series like the soul series or resident evil series however whose purpose was to be inaccessible, accessibility is bad. Its not a hostile atmosphere when there's an in game tool waiting for you to get frustrated and ask for help. The point is that they DON'T know what they need to succeed, they're expected to guess and approach everything except the most basic things as trial and error. To leave them unprepared, to flounder and slog and scrape for ever little victory so that each victory is immensely satisfying and each failure a learning opportunity.

    There is a difference between earning a victory through hardship and struggle, and looking up a wiki to get clarification on something that may be annoyingly vague, which is what more than 90 percent of the Souls community does. Or perhaps it was some ENB video?


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by MasterofShadows on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:48 am

    Forum Pirate wrote:Thats the point. If its subverted, why bother?

    I also specifically mentioned that its not the meaning of the word thats the issue but that in the industry, outside internal dev stuff it (again, frequently) indicates an impending alienation of the core fan base. That its a key word indicating what quite frequently happes, regardless of its definition.

    Sure, you never got an argument from me against that. I'm just saying that you don't know for sure until we actually have some facts, like perhaps gameplay mechanics, or a gameplay video. This thread is about people misusing the term, and saying things like "accessibility means dumbed down, or easy-mode". No, it doesn't.


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by ComaPrison on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:50 am

    MasterofShadows wrote:
    Forum Pirate wrote:Thats the point. If its subverted, why bother?

    I also specifically mentioned that its not the meaning of the word thats the issue but that in the industry, outside internal dev stuff it (again, frequently) indicates an impending alienation of the core fan base. That its a key word indicating what quite frequently happes, regardless of its definition.

    Sure, you never got an argument from me against that. I'm just saying that you don't know for sure until we actually have some facts, like perhaps gameplay mechanics, or a gameplay video. This thread is about people misusing the term, and saying things like "accessibility means dumbed down, or easy-mode". No, it doesn't.

    Sure, the dictionary definition of "accessibility" doesn't mean dumbed down or easy-mode. The problem is that, as used by marketing departments, accessibility has a record of meaning a drastically shorter learning curve (along with a generally lower difficulty).


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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by carlucio on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:57 am

    MasterofShadows wrote:
    Forum Pirate wrote:I never said always, I said frequently. Accessibility itself isn't necessarily bad, I also cited an example in saints row I can add need for speed and final fantasy and fire emblem and cod and plants VS zombies as further examples of good accessibility if you like.

    In a series like the soul series or resident evil series however whose purpose was to be inaccessible, accessibility is bad. Its not a hostile atmosphere when there's an in game tool waiting for you to get frustrated and ask for help. The point is that they DON'T know what they need to succeed, they're expected to guess and approach everything except the most basic things as trial and error. To leave them unprepared, to flounder and slog and scrape for ever little victory so that each victory is immensely satisfying and each failure a learning opportunity.

    There is a difference between earning a victory through hardship and struggle, and looking up a wiki to get clarification on something that may be annoyingly vague, which is what more than 90 percent of the Souls community does. Or perhaps it was some ENB video?
    That's not bad at all, the community of Dark souls was built around people helping each other, the Wiki was just a intrument of that, if they start teaching new players ingame the community would be damaged.

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    Re: Defining Accessibility (Properly)

    Post by Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:20 am