At the Montreal International Games Summit (MIGS) I had the privilege to meet and interact with so many professionals in diverse fields. The of the conference’s industry focus allowed me to meet folks thatI would normally not get a chance to interact with. One of these was the fascinating Adriane Kuzminski of Team Audio and Smash Clay Audio. Adriane is uniquely focussed on trying to bring accessibility to games for visually impaired gamers.
I sat down with Adriane and talked to her about her background and experiences and what it means to add accessibility to video games for the visually challenged. It was a subject I knew very little about and it was fascinating to learn more details on this aspect of accessibility in games.
As we chatted I learned that Adriane has a very interesting background. At a young age she enlisted in the military and began her college education as she was serving. Once she left active duty Adriane completed her degree in Visual and Media Arts. At the time game audio design degrees were not as prevalent as they are today so she was learning as the programs were developing.
She always had a passion for audio – but once she stumbled on the Able Gamers booth at PAX East she was struck by how complex accessible gaming implementation could be. She also noticed that there were a lot of emerging options for physically challenged gamers, but few for visually challenged gamers. This stuck with her and became a guiding focus for her audio design methodologies.
Digging into this realm Adriane discovered that there were many games for the visually challenged, but generally only in specific spheres like adventure games, board games like chess, and audiobook-style games. She was hoping to advocate for and connect resources to add accessibility to more mainstream games for people with these challenges.
To this end she has developed a great number of relationships and inroads and gained a reputation as an advocate and partner enablement resource to get better accessibility into games. She hosted a talk at MIGS that focussed on these points. The talk covered a wide range of details on how games can add accessibility and on resources to assist in the functionality.
As the talk wound down I was surprised to hear how far the industry has come – the latest Madden games actually have haptic feedback options to help visually impaired players enjoy the games. Studios like Turn 10 have roles for Audio Presentation in an effort to add better accessibility for the visually impaired.
It is a fascinating subject and one that has many layers and complexities. Please take a listen to the full interview above with the talented and passionate Adriane Kuzminski – her perspective and work is incredibly important and I am glad I was able to learn more about Adriane and her work through our chat.