Visual Impairment and LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens


By Nicola J Ogston (@nicolajogston)
Visual impairment and gaming aren’t phrases that you’d normally link together, but myself and other visually impaired nerds enjoy gaming from time to time. My game of choice is the LEGO games – I’ve played almost all of them apart from Lego Dimensions.
The latest one I played was the LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens on PS4. Because I’m not a serious gamer – I normally work my way through these games haphazardly by taking my time. I don’t personally see the point in rushing my way through a game! I try and savor all the little moments/easter eggs throughout.
In case you live on planet Hoth and have never heard of the LEGO Star Wars franchise, it’s something of an incredible wonder that exists in the multitude of Star Wars properties. Each of the games are set in an action packed adventure that mirror the big budget movies – including tasks and puzzles to solve in each level. Other editions to the LEGO multiverse include Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings and the previous Star Wars saga.
The Force Awakens game starts off on Endor with the final battle at the end of Return of the Jedi existing as the tutorial aspect of the game. After completing this level, the game jumps thirty years into the future and the real fun begins.
The levels aren’t overly difficult and are aptly designed to follow the film’s storylines. The characters are introduced beginning with Poe Dameron and BB-8 on Jakku – then moving on Rey, Han, Chewy, etc. Each character has their own special skill that can be used to complete specific tasks or challenges.
As far as the accessibility aspect, it is lacking somewhat. There are no options to accommodate visual impairment of any kind. The writing that pops up on screen for the hints and tips is quite small and should have been designed slightly bigger and bolder, as it tends to fade away into the background. I have to either sit right in front of my TV to play so I can read the screen – or get someone to read the tips for me which, isn’t practical (hence why it takes me so long to complete games).
I’m sure I speak for other visual impaired folks when I say that I encourage game developers to start taking visually impaired and other disabled accessibility into consideration when creating games.

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