So gameaccessibilityguidelines.com gives game developers a simple, understandable checklist of ways to improve the accessibility of their games, ranging from easy to hard. This is awesome particularly for disabled gamers, but implementing many of the guidelines will benefit everybody. I’d like to take a quick look at a few of my favorite guidelines that I wish more games had just for the sake of usability. Continue reading →
By all accounts Brutal Legend was a game that wanted to be noticed. Unfortunately it wasn’t always for the right reasons.
One thing that was universally acclaimed about the game was how it was absolutely dripping with personality. This was clear by the main menu, which was built to mimic an old vinyl record. The game’s intro video claims “it’s not just going to blow your mind…it’s going to blow your soul”. By strict usability measures the menu isn’t perfect, but I’ll take having my soul blown over Jakob Nielsen’s approval any day of the week!
World maps are a standard-issue feature in games of all kinds of genres, and have been for a long time. In many games the map is a critical feature, and gamers are constantly flipping to it in order to avoid getting lost. For PC gamers, this is usually straightforward – there are a lot of keyboard keys available to enable direct access to the map.
Gamers playing on a console don’t have it quite as easy. In fact, sometimes it’s downright hard to figure out where you’re going. Let’s talk about three different patterns console games have used for getting players to the map screen:
Directly access the map
Use a status menu
Use the pause menu
Of course, not that we needed to ask for directions…
As previouslymentioned, NHL 12 has some usability issues. For a game of its scope, maybe that’s not unexpected. There are a lot of menus to sift through for sim-heavy parts of the game like the Be a GM mode. But being able to change what players are on what line shouldn’t be that hard. It’s been in every hockey game since the beginning of time (probably). Unfortunately, NHL 12 manages to be terrible in a lot of ways on this one screen. Continue reading →