Long-time friend of the site Andy Robertson is working on a new project which seeks to benefit families and those seeking accessibility options within games, and you can help.
There are many ways to find out about video games online. Some of these aim to provide vital information to help you make informed decisions about purchase and discover new games to play. Working with families for the last 15 years or so via Family Gamer TV, I realised that sites like IGDB and MobyGames don’t offer the information that parents and carers need. Equally, with age ratings often only listed on digital storefronts rather than rating bodies website, it can be hard to know where to search.
That’s why I created the Family Video Game Database. I was at the end of writing a book, Taming Gaming, and wanted to create an online searchable list of the games I’d included. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the book publishing was delayed, but with some funding from Ukie, I was able to accelerate the database.
So here we are 6 months later, with a large searchable resource of around 650 games that you can search by age rating, system, number of players, duration, online, offline and even whether the game has loot boxes, season passes or other in-game purchases.
Each game has a single page on the database with all the information in one place. This includes about 10 games at the bottom that are similar to the current game. It means that if a parent or carer has looked up Return of the Obra Dinn for Switch, not only can they check out the details of the PEGI 16 rating, but find loads of similar games with a younger rating.
Finally, in making the database I realised a big issue for parents and carers is discovering games they want to play together. So the database offers loads of hand made lists of games. These aren’t the usual “Top 10 Co-Op Games”, “Best RPGs” or “Must Play Platformers. Instead, our lists offer themes and unusual groupings:
- Attempt the Impossible
- Games about Ageing
- Face Tough Decisions
- Bend Time To Your Advantage
- Games for Kids Not Ready for PEGI 16 Games
- Games That Get Children Reading
It’s this part of the database that has really ignited the gaming community. All I have to do is share a list idea on Twitter and I get loads of suggestions. Within a few hours, we have a new brilliant list – like the recent list of games where you have to Survive the Night.
The next step for the database is adding detailed accessibility data. We already have a bunch of games that we have specific accessibility information for, but we will be adding specific fields so if people need to play a game with just the mouse, or need to disable screen shake, or turn off the need to hold down buttons, they can search and find something for their needs. With the help of the Playability Initiative, that is becoming a reality.
This is where I need your help. If you know about any Nintendo games with amazing accessibility settings, let me know and I can add those details to the search. Equally, perhaps the database is missing important Nintendo games that work well for players with accessibility requirements – let me know about those as well.
For example, I’ve recently been looking for games that let you slow down the speed of play in the settings. Are there any Nintendo games that do this I may have missed? I’ve also been looking for games with customizable difficulty and in particular those with great assist modes. Perhaps there are Nintendo games that offer that too? Let me know.
My hope is that the database is a tool for parents and carers, but also somewhere that gamers can suggest games to add or new lists to create. It exists in the wonderful form it does today because it represents the knowledge and passion of so many gamers.