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 Final Fantasy XIV  wins AbleGamers' Mainstream Accessibility award
Final Fantasy XIV wins AbleGamers' Mainstream Accessibility award
January 28, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

January 28, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Indie, Design

The AbleGamers Charity announced the winners of its annual accessibility awards for 2013 today, highlighting games like The Stanley Parable and Final Fantasy XIV alongside developers like Paradox Interactive and technology like the Stinkyboard.

This is the first time that AbleGamers has acknowledged more than just the most accessible "mainstream" game of the year. For example, the charity recognized Paradox Interactive with an "Includification Award" for the studio's work -- with the help of AbleGamers -- to make its games accessible to all players.

This year the charity's top honor, Most Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year, has been split into two categories: indie and mainstream.

AbleGamers named The Stanley Parable the Most Accessible Indie Game of 2013, citing it as "the best of the best in indie game development" in terms of player accessibility.

Square-Enix's cross-platform MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was named AbleGamers' Most Accessible Mainstream Game of 2013, due in large part to its remarkably high 9.1 score on the AbleGamers accessibility scoring system. Square-Enix earned praise for developing a highly customizable game that could be enjoyed by players with a wide range of accessibility needs.

"We are very honored to receive AbleGamers’ Mainstream Game of the Year Award,” said Naoki Yoshida, producer and director of the game, in a quote published on the AbleGamers website. “In terms of the visual aspect, especially how color is displayed, we took in the players’ feedback and continuously performed updates so that any player from around the world can enjoy the game, and are firmly committed to this moving forward."

Here's the full list of Accessibility Award winners for 2013:

Includification Award: Paradox Interactive
Best Media Champion: Paul Nyheart, HDFilms
Best Innovator: SpecialEffect
Best New Device/Peripheral: StinkyBoard
Best Accessible Indie Game of the Year: The Stanley Parable
Best Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

The last time we checked in on AbleGamers, it had just opened the free AbleGamers Lab in the foundation's Washington, D.C. headquarters in order to better consult with players to help them figure out their unique accessibility needs.

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Simon Ludgate
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I recall one fight in the game where players had to identify one of two targets by a red beam and a green beam. Square Enix worked rapidly to make the game more accessible to red-green colourblind gamers by altering the encounter to have one dashed line and one solid line. I think this recognition is well deserved and should be a success all developers look to emulate.