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  • Chris G

GA Conf Europe 2021

This year's Games Accessibility Conference Europe took place virtually on April 5th & 6th with talks and panels by people ranging from Xbox & PlayStation to indie developers and independent experts.

A 4x4 grid of the panellists with a BSL interpreter on the right.
Devs & Disabilities Panel from GA Conf 2021

Day 1

Kicking off the GA Conf is the update from the world of accessibility, a delve into the new consoles, adaptable controllers, new events and resources available. Talks included accessibility insights from PlayStation, a post-mortem on indie game, ScourgeBringer and a history piece on MAVIS.

Many Cats were present for the first panel of the conference, chatting to a variety of developers from around the world about their roles and their experiences as someone with a disabilities in the industry. Speakers included Felicia Prehn, Laura Francis and Brian Marquez who chatted about the current climate with remote working and how teams could be supportive or inclusive if we start to return to the office.

Closing Day 1 was an amazing talk on a personal journey of game accessibility by Rory Steel, assisted by his two kids. Having developed his own accessible tech with his daughter so she could play more games she loves. It had an important message of designing from the ground an accessible approach.

Day 2

I was representing Many Cats again for the second panel of conference which deep dived into what it means to be deaf / hard of hearing in gaming. The panel had some great speakers in Anni Pekie, a writer and avid gamer, Nickie Harper-Williams, a content creator and Ben Bayliss, a games journalist.

Not only a great panel there were some great talks too on the second day. CapGame talked about how they have grown as an accessibility community in France. Vivek Gohil gave a great talk and insight into the world of dystrophy gaming. Again, closing with another amazing talk by Becky Tyler, a gamer that uses eye tracking to play games. She has been involved with EyeMine, a Minecraft interface for eye gaze users as well as designing her own solutions to play the games she wants.

I was so happy to be a part of the GA conference for the first time this year and encourage parents, gamers and developers to catch all the videos on YouTube (fully captioned). The Discord channel for the conference had an amazing sense of community, uplifting and supporting each other during the talks. Hopefully, Many Cats will be working with a few of the speakers in the near future.

- Chris

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