Six Board Game Accessibility Fails, and How to Hack Them: Part Two

Board Game Accessibility Fails and How to Hack Them: Part Two, background is a close up of wood tokens and dice

In part one of this series, I covered the inaccessibility of hidden information, dexterity mechanics, and real-time games. Below are three more game mechanics and styles that prohibit me (and other disabled folks) from enjoying board games to their fullest. As always, please share your thoughts in the comments, or send a tweet to @geekygimp!

Component Heavy with picture of trains in ticket to rideComponent Heavy

The Problem: While component-heavy games could be appealing, especially when it comes to miniatures, they present an access barrier. Some games require different tokens to track a plethora of stats, points, and movements; add in multiple card decks and 20 robot miniatures, and you’re inundated with cardboard and plastic. I have trouble extending my arms, and my table space is limited, making it hard to keep all the components separate and organized. For someone with shaky hands, stackable tokens and exact component placement render many component-heavy games difficult or entirely inaccessible. … Read more…

Six Board Game Accessibility Fails, and How to Hack Them: Part One

Six Board Game Accessibility Fails, and How To Hack Them: Part One

I’ve always needed help playing board games, as I don’t have the range-of-motion, strength, or dexterity to do it on my own. There are actions I can do, like roll dice or pick up a card, and others I can’t, like shuffling or reaching to move pieces across the board. Gaming has always been an act of interdependence, much like all my activities of daily living, and something I’ve adapted to over the years with personal hacks.

House rules and small-scale solutions can work, but what if these adjustments were baked into the game? Thoughtful and inclusive design doesn’t just mean more disabled people can play, but it can improve the quality of the game for everyone.

In this two-part series, I point out six access barriers I’ve encountered in tabletop gaming and offer potential solutions that can work right out of the box. These access issues are from my perspective as a physically disabled individual, and the hacks below may not apply or work for everyone, but I hope my words can be a resource and starting point for designers and players alike. … Read more…

The Geeky Gimp’s Best of 2016

The Geeky Gimp's Best of 2016. Image of Erin overlayed with fireworks.

While 2016 has been a difficult year for many, I want to reflect on my favorite things that helped me get through the hardest days. Our joy and entertainment, our binge-watching Netflix or slipping away for a few hours with a good book, will aid us now and in the coming years. I hope you enjoy my Best of 2016 list – in the comments below, let me know what you think of my choices, and what’s on your best-of list!

Best Video Game: Stardew Valley

Best video game: Stardew Valley by Chucklefish

By far my most-played game this year, clocking in at 129 hours and counting. You leave a dull office job and travel to Stardew Valley, a small, struggling community with a farm you’ve just inherited from your grandfather. By growing, harvesting, and selling crops, as well as caring for livestock, you earn enough money to expand your farm and help rebuild the derelict community center. You can also go fishing and mining to level up your character. The game never punishes you too much, and there are no time limits for the overall goals; this eliminates the boring grind of most farming sims. Despite all the hours put in, I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. Pick this up if you liked Harvest MoonAvailable on Steam. … Read more…

October 8th Live Stream for The @AbleGamers Charity, #SoEveryoneCanGame

AbleGAMers logo is orange with a black joystick

Join me October 8th for a live-stream gaming event benefiting The AbleGamers Charity! Starting at 5pm EST and lasting until 10pm, I’ll play some of my favorite video games over on The Geeky Gimp twitch.tv channel. Watch along, chat, and donate if you can! I’m also going to tweet using #SoEveryoneCanGame, so follow me there for more gaming goodness. My goal is $400, and I can only reach that with your help!

Anyone that tunes in and donates has a chance to win cool, nerdy prizes like a Han Solo pop figurine, Star Wars socks, DC Comics merch, and other surprises. Can’t make it October 8th? No worries – if you contribute funds before the event, you’re automatically entered to snag a prize. Winners will be announced during and after the event as needed. As always, contact me with any questions or concerns.

More on AbleGamers from their website:

Game joystick cartoonThe AbleGamers Charity has served the more than 100 million gamers with disabilities in the disabled community since 2004 as thought leaders, accessibility experts, and assistive technology creators. Over the last decade, AbleGamers has helped hundreds of thousands of gamers with disabilities through the various services and programs offered to the disability community. Providing free, customized solutions, expansive resources, thorough consultations and advocating for gamers with disabilities are the top priorities for the AbleGamers Foundation.

Until then, happy gaming!

Recap of #CripTrek

#CripTrek Twitter Chat Recap over a starry background

Hey Trekkers/Trekkies! If you missed the live #CripTrek Twitter chat, you can read the recap below.

We need to keep the conversation going, so please continue using the #CripTrek hashtag to talk about disability representation in Star Trek! You can also share the recap on your own page – don’t hesitate to link to it or tweet about it.

Here is a link to the recap on Storify, or view it in the slideshow below. Thank you to everyone involved! Until then, live long and prosper.

#ShitAbledPeopleSay: Why We Need This Hashtag

blue or teal background with #ShitAbledPeopleSay in black and white text alternating between the words

What does it mean to be disabled and exist in a society that purposely excludes you? What are some comments or micro-aggressions disabled people encounter in their daily lives? #ShitAbledPeopleSay (pardon my French) is a hashtag that answers these questions with honesty, bluntness, care, empathy, and humor. It was a tweetstorm of epic proportions.

We need this hashtag because it exposes our truths; it gives us space to communicate and empathize with each other. We need it because it’s time folks know how pervasive ableism affects our sense of self-worth, self-love, mental health, and position in society.

You can check out the Storify below, which contains a sample of the important and much-needed discussions happening around this hashtag. I encourage everyone to read, reflect, and share. If you have something to contribute, please do – the conversation is still going strong.

Edited to add: If the slideshow below is not accessible, try visiting the Storify’s permanent link.

Pokemon Go: Developers Drop the Pokeball on Accessibility

Three shelves filled with plush Pikachu at a store

I was excited for a new, free Pokémon game – until I realized it wasn’t accessible.

I don’t begrudge anyone their fun with Pokémon Go. It’s a good way to get folks out and around in their community if they have the ability to do so. Seeing strangers bond over a shared interest is fantastic. Some have said it helps with their mental and emotional well-being. But developers are ignoring a significant portion of gamers – disabled people. Inaccessible games are nothing new (listen to me talk about it), but we can’t accept the status quo when it increasingly and continually marginalizes us.

So, what makes Pokémon Go not accessible for me and other disabled users?Read more…

The Geeky Gimp Riots: Video Game Accessibility

screenshot of Geek Girl Riot website with headline number seventeen, the geeky gimp riots, video game accessibility with a screenshot below of access options in Uncharted 4

You knew I couldn’t stop podcasting, right?

I’m proud to share that I am now part of Geek Girl Riot, where awesome gals record short clips on everything nerdy. My segment, The Geeky Gimp Riots, focuses on disability in geekdom (surprise!).

The first one is on video game accessibility.

Transcript is available on their website. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and suggest future topics you’d like covered!

Until next time, keep rioting 😉

Richard Marx and Fair-weather Friends

Red, tiny robot made out of paper, a black tear from his right eye, holding a paper heart that's been torn in half

By guest blogger Noemi Martinez, a poet-curandera and writer with Mexican and Caribbean roots living in South Texas. Her poem and photo collection South Texas Experience: Love Letters can be purchased on Hermana Resist Press’ website. You can also read her previous guest blog on selfie sticks.

When was the first time a friend broke up with you?

Lyrics for Endless Summer Nights-Richard Marx:

https://medium.com/@hermanaresist/lyrics-for-endless-summer-nights-eb3b995f004e#.t6a9do7zo

For me, it was the last day of school in the fifth grade. Before the end of the day, my best friend told me when we came back in the fall for the beginning of our 6th grade year, she wouldn’t be my best friend anymore. She brought a cookbook from home that day to give me, and I spent the summer learning how to make peanut-butter blondies and petit fours.

She knew I loved to bake, but I guess didn’t understand how heart broken I’d be coming into the sixth grade – an awkward tall girl who sneezed too much and was too much for their ex-best friend. … Read more…