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The Theory of Parallel Game Universes: A Paradigm Shift in Multiplayer Gaming and Game Accessibility
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The Theory of Parallel Game Universes: A Paradigm Shift in Multiplayer Gaming and Game Accessibility

August 17, 2006 Article Start Page 1 of 8 Next


Is there a way to set up a chess game where a 6-year old can match up a grand master? Can a blind quadriplegic compete in a massive multiplayer game against sighted, non-motor-disabled, gamers? Can two people cooperatively share a role playing game, when one of them is using a mobile phone and the other a next generation game console? These represent just a few examples of the type of questions that the Theory of Parallel Game Universes aims to address.

At this point, it should be clarified that in the context of this article, the term “accessibility”, is not associated only to people with physical, sensory or mental disabilities (which is typically the case), but it also refers to all those gamers that may not be able to fully experience - or even play - a game due to:

  1. the environment they operate in, e.g., a person in a noisy environment is situationally deaf, someone using a screen in bright sunlight is situationally blind, and so on;
  2. the hardware and software they use, e.g., a mobile device with a small screen, an older browser, a different operating system, etc.;
  3. their gaming skills and preferences, e.g., a person who does not like or, experiences difficulty in using 10 different keys in order to kick the ball in a football game.

As a means to achieve game accessibility that is coupled with high interaction quality, the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory of ICS-FORTH1 has introduced the notion of Universally Accessible Games2,3 (UA-Games), as games that:

  1. follow the principles of Design for All4, being proactively designed to optimally fit and adapt to different individual gamer characteristics without the need of further adjustments or developments;
  2. can be concurrently played among people with different abilities, ideally also when sharing the same computer;
  3. can be played through alternative technological platforms and in alternative contexts of use, using a large variety of devices, including assistive technology add-ons.

Article Start Page 1 of 8 Next

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