New award for making disability-friendly computer games

THE Game Developers' Association of Australia (GDAA) has included an inaugural Accessibility Award for this year's Australian Game Developers Awards.

The new award seeks to reward games that make an effort to avoid excluding people with motor, cognitive, hearing, speech or vision impairment.

The move follows changes to Film Victoria and Screen Australia's criteria for awarding grant money to development projects.

"Accessibility was one of the key issues raised by the industry during the consultation process for Screen Australia's new Games Fund," said Screen Australia's Investment Manager, Justin Halliday.

The International Game Developers' Association (IGDA) Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) Chairperson, Michelle Hinn, welcomed the award's inclusion in the Australian Game Developer Awards, to be held in Melbourne on 22 October.

"The Accessibility SIG has been lobbying the Game Developers Conference about awards for at least 8 years now."

"There have been so many 'almost ... but thanks but no thanks' roads we have been down and I am just simply over the moon that you guys are picking up on an award for this!"

Another Accessibility advocate and expert, Ian Hamilton from the UK, who visited Australia late last year, also pledged his support for these latest initiatives.

"From Team Bondi to The Voxel Agents, Global Game Jam to the Film Victoria and Screen Australia funding programmes, Australia has often been at the forefront of accessibility in the games industry.

"The government and industry support and guidance through the funding programmes in particular has resulted in a local industry with an unsurpassed level of knowledge and understanding about the barriers people can face and how to open up access to as wide an audience as possible."

The Australian Game Development Awards include the categories of:

  • Game of the Year,
  • Studio of the Year,
  • Excellence in Art,
  • Excellence in Design,
  • Excellence in Audio,
  • Technical Excellence,
  • Innovation Award,
  • and the Accessibility Award. 

The awards night will be held on Tuesday 22 October in conjunction with 2013 Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) conference at the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre 21-23 October.

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