Accessibility Week

(Image credit: Future)

This feature is part of PC Gamer’s Accessibility Week, running from August 16, where we’re exploring accessible games, hardware, mods and more. 

Amid the countless mods that thrust Thomas the Tank Engine into unrelated games or change a character’s appearance—I’ll never be able to unsee Resident Evil 2’s Mr. X in a thong—are crucial tools that mean the difference between enjoying a game and hardly being able to play it at all. Though more and more developers are considering the needs of disabled gamers, and accessibility more broadly, there are still plenty of instances where even studios with vast resources drop the ball. That’s where the modders come in. 

While PCs can be complicated bits of kit, there are lots of accessibility benefits inherent in the platform. “PC is the golden standard for what right now can be considered accessible,” Steven Spohn tells me. Spohn is a major accessibility advocate and COO of AbleGamers, a charity that seeks to improve the lives of people with disabilities through gaming. He adds that it’s through the adaptations it can offer that it has an edge over consoles, and that includes its potential for modding. 

For every game that dedicates a whole menu to accessibility options, there are a multitude that don’t even have the basics. One of the most common issues is text size, with far too many games expecting you to have a magnifying glass on hand before doing a spot of reading. It becomes even more of an issue if you try to play a PC game using a TV. Being able to change the UI or text scale is crucial, but the feature is often overlooked.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

UI and text tweak mods are extremely common as a result, with modders picking up the slack. They’re often among the most popular mods, too, as they correct an issue that affects a broad set of players. Field of view mods are similarly common, as even some modern first-person games omit the option. This is further complicated by developers choosing to have a restrictive FOV for aesthetic reasons, or to maintain a claustrophobic atmosphere.   

“PC is the golden standard for what right now can be considered accessible.”

Steven Spohn, AbleGamers

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