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Highland gamers urged to back sight loss charity RNIB bid to increase access ahead of world awareness day


By Hector MacKenzie

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Conor Joseph: 'Gaming as a whole is very important to me and a big part of my life and I can't imagine what it would be like if I lost more of my sight'.
Conor Joseph: 'Gaming as a whole is very important to me and a big part of my life and I can't imagine what it would be like if I lost more of my sight'.

Online video gamers are being encouraged to fundraise for sight loss charity RNIB in May while they play as part of a drive to highlight the need for more inclusion in gaming.

This will tie in with Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 20, a day which focuses on digital access and inclusion for people with disability and impairment.

The charity is inviting supporters who enjoy online gaming to host 'Gaming for RNIB' fundraising livestreams on or around this date.

Gamers with sight who wish to experience how games might look to those with different sight loss conditions can be provided with helpful materials, including overlays and simulation glasses.

RNIB's community giving manager Becca McRow-Brewer said: “Games rely largely on visuals. But blind and partially sighted people are also active gamers, they just need the help of accessibility features. .

“We are encouraging gamers from across the UK to support RNIB by hosting a fundraising stream around Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Every pound raised will help create a world without barriers for people with sight loss.”

RNIB currently supports gaming groups for blind and partially sighted players across the UK that were set up at the beginning of the year, with a group in Scotland among the first.

Members meet weekly on an online telephone call and share their experiences of the games they've found most accessible. They're also challenging software developers to consider blind and partially sighted people when designing new games.

Conor Joseph (24) who lives in Livingston is visually impaired with a rare genetic condition called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.

"I lost my sight around the age of eight," he said. "For the most part I am able to get around and live independently. I love all forms of media from gaming to movies and music and even graduated with a degree in film and media. I’ve loved gaming my whole life and have an interest in a range of genres with first-person shooters and open world games being among my favourites.

"While I have been fortunate in having a lot of useful sight left, becoming visually impaired forced me to make adjustments in most aspects of my life which included gaming. I frequently avoid games heavy in text and dialogue as sitting close in to read everything can become extremely tedious and tiring.

"Joining RNIB Scotland's gaming group has allowed me to chat to other visually impaired gamers, many of whom have similar experiences to me. I would definitely urge other disabled gamers to become part of the community and talk to others with similar experiences.

"Accessibility in gaming is extremely important and the industry has already seen a great shift towards being accessible within the last few years. Creating focus groups and directly working with disabled gamers in order to discover what user experience settings are most effective. In a general sense, I would say giving people as many options as possible is the best thing a developer could do.

"Gaming as a whole is very important to me and a big part of my life and I can't imagine what it would be like if I lost more of my sight. Playing games is a great stress reliever, both as a solo gamer and a fun social activity when playing with friends. All games are created to let the player have fun, and all disabled people should have the chance to have fun just like anyone else."

For more information or to register to host a fundraising gaming stream for RNIB visit rnib.org.uk/gaming-for-rnib


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