Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spontaneous Ponderings: Accessible Gaming Convention

I have not put much thought into this idea. It's not even an hour old in my head at the time of this writing. But I can already tell it falls dangerously close to the category of Awesome, but Impractical. Mostly, I was trying to think of something awesome I could do in the horrible down time between now and August.

I would probably go to an accessible gaming convention, provided not horribly inconvenient/pathetic/etc. The problem that comes to mind immediately is this: would anyone else? And the answer strikes me as a resounding "Meh, probably not".

The community is not that large

There are plenty of gamers and would-be gamers out there who have needs or interests that tie in to accessibility issues, but that's when you consider it world-wide. has a very international community, with every continent save Antarctica represented (heck, for all I know, Tierra Del Fuego or Ross Island have some members that I didn't notice). That's a great quality for an online community, but it doesn't translate well into meetspace (or meatspace, I never have checked the spelling of that term).

And, well, my focus is the accessibility for the blind element. Most people interested in that are already hanging out at, or Game-Accessibility, or Audyssey, etc. What fraction of those people would be willing, interested, and able to attend an in-person event like this? Keep in mind that most of them are legally blind, and pretty spread out, even inside single countries. The only conventions I know about that successfully gather blind people on mass are those held by the National Federation of the Blind, and community opinions on the NFB are quite mixed.

What about Corporate Participants?

Something like this certainly could get the attention of related companies: game publishers in the most optimistic case, narrower companies like Freedom Scientific, Senseg, or maybe even Disney. But they need a promise of an audience. While involvement from companies like these would be quite the boost, what incentives can someone like me provide to get some manner of commitment from such comparative giants?

What about bringing in New people?

I do like the idea of using this to get the attention of people who had no idea that blind people playing games was a thing. The more awareness, the stronger the market can become. At the same time, what I'm imagining is running an ad on the local radio station, and maybe five people coming in for the novelty, and that being the end of that.

It's not horribly hopeless, though; there are lots of aspiring game developers out there, and I imagine a decent minority of those people in the general area might find themselves interested enough to make the trip. Still, when you run the numbers, it'll take more marketing skill than I have to pull off something like this.

Reverse Conjunctive Fallacy! You can't just multiply the probabilities of each category and declare the idea doomed! Marketing doesn't work that way!

Exactly why I'm writing this instead of tossing it onto my pile of "kinda cool ideas to get to eventually". Besides, if push comes to shove, I could sit around with the two people that showed up playing Mortal Kombat 9 all weekend.

I might have reason to wind up in the vacinity of the NFB national convention this year, too, which makes for one heck of an advertising opportunity. Sure, I don't have a booth or anything, there (note to self: add "inquire about getting a booth at the NFB National Convention" to today's todo list).

But mostly, the real problem comes down to the fact that I'm thinking about me doing this. The biggest project I've managed to announce and finish with any degree of quality is the JF IM Adventure, which manages to confuse everyone but me, and like one fellow from Indonesia, to whom I gave many tips, especially regarding the early puzzles. While this would be one fish of a victory (... don't stare at the fish!), does it really sound the least bit realistic for someone whose mutant power is to spread confusion wherever he goes?

Now, if the idea sounds worthwhile, independent of the fact that the loser behind this blog is involved, then that means you might could contribute. And that suddenly boosts the potential success of such an endeavor by an order of magnitude.


So, when it comes down to it, there's potential in a new game accessibility convention. Companies, gamers with disabilities, and random people who thought it sounded kinda neat could conceivably carry it to fruition. The more important question is: can I, should I, and what enormous steps must I take beforehand?


  1. Hi ear ninja.
    I have read your post as it was just posted to
    Right now there are a few big herdals one of these I can see is getting everyone to where the convention is at.
    I'd really like to go to one, but air tickets etc are not the cheapist, and then who to go with, etc.
    A physical convention would rock ofcause, but your best bet is to get this thing online.
    Even then you have an issue of timezones and the like.
    I know quite a lot of gamers are in the us, quite a few are in europe.
    Some in japan.
    But to be honest there are probably vary few anywhere else.
    I am from new zealand and its at the end of the earth prity much.
    Now I could see it working if everyone was able to get to nz or australia in my case.
    But I doubt I'd go any further.
    We would need sponsors, firstly for travel and other things I have rarely ttraveled by myself outside my own country and when that did happen it was for a camp in australia.
    Most of my travels are with family and friends.
    Have you any idea how much it would cost?
    More than us blinks could afford.
    I actually have little in a way of a job.
    I am at home mostly and bar a few research projects and system fixup and service jobs I really don't have any payed work as such.
    It wouldn't even be enough to keep me fead for a week or even 2.
    I am sure there are a lot with simular situations.
    You would need venus, travel, carers not to mention the food, and speakers and the like.
    Have you actually thought this through?
    Now you have the companies.
    You do realise that we sometimes hit copywrited issues with some games from time to time.
    I doubt anything would happen but fallout from any issue or miss issue would be something to concider.
    not to mention if something were to go wrong.
    There are several conventions already, csun a few gaming and access conferences, etc.
    So suppose this goes foreward.
    The first people would have to be targeted are the blindness orgs.
    Most of these are probably supported with donations.
    Never the less depending on what things are, at least for the first and maybe more depending on things, you could at least get a space, a time, a day or days and maybe food, carers and maybe other things.
    Have you conciddered regections to a physical convention.
    And for those that want online access and maybe archives of the sessions etc that also needs to be done.
    nvaccess just had a conference on nvda last week.
    It was done online and it was good from what I heard from archives.
    I think online will be the best bet for you.
    Its not going to be a physical convention with the activitys etc.
    And it may only attract blind people or whatever b but its a start.
    Teamtalk seems a good platform.
    The blind can speak, the deaf can type text.
    And others can probably type to.
    I am asuming you are in the us but a dot com address never gives you info these days.
    email me at sm dot everiss at g mail dot com
    and we can discuss things in more detail.
    you can also add shaun_everiss to your skype account. to my msn or aim and ms accounts.
    I am interested in this being that I actually do do some free work for a couple small time blind game startups

  2. IIRC, flights between NZ and the US are ~$1000US (I've checked a few times for previously unrelated reasons). Which is, in fact, way more than I could currently afford. Something like this, with so much of its target audience on fixed income, would definitely want a way to shoulder some of the travel expenses. To really pull off something impressive, it'd probably cost no less than $50000US. (The bare minimum to make it possible would probably be around $15000, just for a location/catering/basic promotional stuff/etc.)