Interactive Fiction and Accessibility

A large issue within the video game medium is the question of accessibility. Questions frequently asked often involve people wondering, “Who can play games?”. However in light of more recent technological developments, we are starting to ask “Who can make them?”. It’s no secret that if we look at who creates highly commercial, AAA titles for the masses, we see the dominant trend [and somewhat cliche] image of the white guy in his 30’s, able to afford the education that his parents bought for him. Where a lot of people find issue with this image is it creates several key assumptions that keep people out of the game industry:

  1. You need to have a formal education in order to create games.
  2. You need to work for a major video game company to create games.
  3. You need to know how to code.
  4. You need to have money.
  5. You need to have graphics.

While a number of years ago these ideas may have been true, I use the term “assumption” to mean exactly that: an idea that is accepted to be true, but does not necessarily possess the proof in order to cross the realm into the real world.

In Creation Under Capitalism, Porpentine breaks down these assumptions by making note of the many ways people are creating games that go against the dominant model by creating works of interactive fiction. The beauty of the interactive fiction model is that it is highly accessible, easy to learn, does not require a supercomputer, and won’t break the bank if you try to create one. All an author of these types of games needs is a little imagination, and some patience to create their work. If you can write, have access to a computer, and an internet connection, you can create a game that fits within the realm of interactive fiction. Voila — you can become a part of the gaming industry.

An important part in the distribution and creation of media is allowing for a diverse selection to challenge the status quo, and allow for more accessibility. We need a type of ethical dualism in media in order to keep our priorities straight, and challenge traditional uses that may not work within our best interests. For every newspaper article that states a government’s justification for bombing a foreign country, there is a blog belonging to someone in that country, explaining the effects those bombs had on them. It’s a means of removing the blindfold and creating an empowered audience, creating content for themselves, by themselves. The dawn of the internet brought seemingly limitless potential for access to knowledge, and allowed the voices of the masses to be cranked louder than the more institutionalized shouts that have been heard for a very long time. If this has been viewed as a change for the better, then it’s about time the same thing to happen to the realm of gaming – maybe interactive fiction iz the answer.

 


By Alexandrina Wilkinson-Mitropoulos

References:

Porpentine. “Creation Under Capitalism and the Twine Revolution.” Nightmare Mode. November 25, 2012.http://nightmaremode.thegamerstrust.com/2012/11/25/creation-under-capitalism/

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