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Accessible gaming tips from Natalie Doig!

I don’t know about you but sometimes being visually impaired feels like an extremely dull, real-life version of a computer game like Fall Guys. Just walking down the street is an obstacle course as you attempt to avoid parked cars on pavements, e-scooters and wheelie bins. Don’t go down that side quest navigating shared space; you’re doomed to get lost or nearly run over.

Thankfully video games actually bring me some much-needed escapism from the puzzle that is trying to be an independent visually impaired person in the 21st Century.

Getting into gaming or learning how to play anew with a visual impairment can seem daunting. It’s worth the effort though, in my experience. I find that playing computer games helps me to relax, take on new challenges and make new friends. During the last two years of the pandemic gaming has been a lifeline that has helped me feel less isolated.

I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks along the way, that have helped me get the most out of gaming and I’m going to share a few with you. I would also love to hear any tips you have in the comments.

Some hints and tips for making gaming more accessible

Find the right set up for you

I personally prefer playing on the Nintendo Switch because of the versatility of swapping between a handheld console and using a big screen. The Switch also has a neat zoom feature which is great for when I need to see some extra detail. Handheld is generally more accessible for me. Though PC gaming is another great option because I can sit close to the screen.

The new generation big consoles, like PlayStation and Xbox have some great access features like voice over for menus. I’ve linked below to their accessibility web pages.

Xbox accessibility information

PlayStation 4 and 5 accessibility information

Do your research

Not all games are created equal however, the Can I Play that? website is a great resource for reading accessibility reviews for games. It is written by disabled people for disabled people and you can search games and reviews by impairment.

Watch others play and become part of the community

Another tip is to watch other gamers stream games you are interested in. Whether it’s on Twitch or YouTube there are some great streamers some of whom are visually impaired. I have linked to some below including my own streaming channel. There are some great communities that have built up around streamers and gaming organisations.  You can’t go wrong checking out Eurogamer’s website, their YouTube channel or Outside Xbox and Outside Xtra

Game with someone else

My final top tip is to play with someone else if you’re able to. It’s how I started gaming and it helped me develop confidence. I really got into gaming after playing Pokémon Go on my phone with my husband and a group of friends.

Some games I’ve enjoyed playing and others with reportedly good accessibility

Some of my favourite games are:

Pokémon Go

Animal Crossing

Life is Strange series

Zelda Breath of the Wild

Some games that reportedly have good access for visually impaired people

The Last of Us 2

Forza Horizon 5

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Spider-Man Miles Morales

Visually impaired streamers to look out for:

Blind Gamer with Steve Salyor on YouTube

Sightless Kombat on Twitch

And then there’s little old me on Twitch N­at­_Doig

By Natalie Doig

 

Want more useful tips for everyday activities? Check out the Managing Sight Loss resources page. 

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