When it comes to the world of gaming charities, it’s hard to miss the massive impact of the AbleGamers Charity – a 501(C)(3) nonprofit that aims to improve the overall quality of life for those with disabilities through the power of video games. But don’t just take my word for it – check out this brief introduction to the organization from AbleGamers COO Steven Spohn and Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds:
Supported by leading gaming companies like Rockstar Games, PAX, EA, and Humble Bundle, the AbleGamers Charity is all about improving accessibility in the video game space – through industry outreach efforts, online accessibility resources, and equipping gamers with the assistive technology tools they need to game! But that’s merely a start – today, we’re exploring some of the many AbleGamers initiatives that aim to empower gamers with disabilities using the power of play.
To start, AbleGamers offers a plethora of online resources designed to answer the most common questions folks have about assistive technology. Their site features tons of in-depth articles on topics like gaming with a visual impairment, tips for gamers with neuromuscular disabilities, how to get the most out of using the Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller, and so much more. And beyond their many detailed support articles, AbleGamers also offers individualized consultations for gamers in need of additional support – folks can submit questions directly to the organization, or request a full assessment from their team of game accessibility experts.
Not only does AbleGamers help equip gamers with disabilities with the knowledge they need to get started gaming – the organization also helps provide customized accessible gaming setups to players in need. Through the AbleGamers Grant Program, folks in need of financial assistance are able to apply for funding towards custom gaming setups tailored towards their specific needs, enabling them to enjoy gaming with their friends and families. Currently, grant applications are paused due to extremely high demand – but if you or someone you know could benefit from such a program, we’d highly recommend keeping an eye on the website for updates!
Player Panels Program
Next up, a unique opportunity for gamers with disabilities to help shape the games of tomorrow – AbleGamers Player Panels is a community of players who volunteer their time to test games and participate in accessibility-focused R&D efforts in collaboration with real game studios. Open to participants all around the world, registrants are asked to fill out a brief screening questionnaire, before being connected with top publishers, AAA, and indie game developers in need of playtesters. If you or someone you know is interested, you can sign up here – just note that AbleGamers has temporarily paused sign ups due to COVID-19.
In addition to supporting individuals with disabilities through online resources and controller grants, AbleGamers also helps support the community at large through their Expansion Pack program. Partnering with sponsors, the organization helps build accessible game rooms in activity centers at hospitals like Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana – donating assistive technologies, custom controllers, specialized training sessions, and of course…video games! And better yet, if you’d like to suggest a site for a future Expansion Pack, AbleGamers is open to site recommendations – if you’ve got a location in mind, be sure to let the organization know.
Rounding out our list today is another amazing initiative powered by the AbleGamers Charity – Accessible.Games. Designed to help bridge the gap between video game developers (like us!) and the estimated 33 million gamers with disabilities in the U.S. alone, Accessible.Games offers a set of resources and services to help game creators ensure their games are accessible to as many gamers as possible. From the in-depth (and 100% free!) Accessible Player Experiences (APX) guide, to a fully-fledged certification course that trains developers to become a Certified APX Practitioner, Accessible.Games is a fantastic resource for devs like us who wish to make our games as inclusive as possible – as well as everyday folks seeking a better understanding of how games can be made to be more accessible.
We’ve touched on many of the amazing ways that AbleGamers helps improve the lives of gamers with disabilities – but we didn’t cover everything! For more on the organization, their other initiatives, and how you can help support their mission, visit their website and follow AbleGamers on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.