To me, accessibility is one of the most important discussions occurring within the gaming industry and in gaming communities. I strongly believe that gaming is for everybody, regardless of skill, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc. However, when there are conversations around accessibility, particularly around skill or ability, there seems to be a lot of gatekeeping. I’m primarily talking about the “Git gud” crowd.
Before I get into it, I also want to specify that I’m mostly talking about single-player games.
In my opinion, “Git gud” is a toxic sentiment that discourages those who may otherwise enjoy a game or the community built around a game. I totally understand that some games – Dark Souls or Sekiro for example – are meant to be difficult. They are hard and that is the experience intended by the developers. But these games are also beautiful, deep experiences with incredible, hand-crafted worlds. While not necessarily my cup of tea, I can absolutely understand why someone who may not have the skill or ability to make it through these games would still want to play them.
Just because someone doesn't have the time or energy to sit down and play for hours upon hours to acquire the skill to beat these games, doesn’t mean they should be locked out. What if someone is working 70 or 80 hours a week? What if they have to take care of their children? What if they have to run errands and take care of other tasks most days? I can keep coming up with examples, but should these people be prevented from enjoying the world, or the story, or the atmosphere of a game? I understand that playing a difficult game in the way it is meant to be played offers the full experience and beating it is an accomplishment that any gamer should be proud of. However, difficulty options that allow players to tailor their experience so that they can actually play the game should be standard.
So far I’ve only talked about people who may not have the time or energy to acquire the skill needed to play a difficult game at the difficulty it is meant to be played. But what about the ability aspect of this topic? What about people who may have a disability that makes it impossible for them to reach the skill level required to beat difficult games? I think the industry has been making great progress in offering accessibility options, but there is still a lot of room for improvement and many gaming communities still need to be more accepting of the availability of such options.
I also want to end by highlighting some comments from those who I view as gatekeepers to help give you an idea of who I’m talking about.
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