The AbleGamers Foundation today announced that EA Sports' soccer simulator FIFA 13 is the recipient of the charity's Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year award. The foundation praised FIFA 13 for how it allows players to control the entire game with only a mouse, among other features.
AbleGamers editor-in-chief Steve Spohn specifically praised FIFA 13's remappable keys, customizable color options, high-contrast and "intuitive" menus, visual cues, and "high socializing replayability," which all helped the soccer sim take home the award.
"For disabled gamers with Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and even one-handed gamers, the ability to play such a sophisticated sports game with simple controls that can be handled by a trackball or mouse mean gamers who may not have been able to enjoy iconic sporting activities like baseball, football, hockey or soccer can now take part in the fun," Spohn said.
The top reason FIFA 13 was awarded the Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year accolade, however, was the game's AI and PC settings, which allow disabled players to tweak to the game to their needs. Spohn pointed out that FIFA 13 can be slowed down. This, he said, allows gamers with cognitive disorders and motor impairments to set an appropriate rate of speed.
2K Games' XCOM: Enemy Unknown was called out as an honorable mention for the top award based on its remappable keys, the ability to play with the keyboard or only the mouse, its subtitles, and colorblind mode. Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Dishonored were also called out as games making strides toward accessibility in 2012.
Overall, Spohn said 2012 was a "very encouraging year" for game accessibility, with some of the most disability-friendly titles to date releasing during the year. Though the year was generally positive, some games moved backwards, Spohn said, including Forza Horizon. This entry, released in October, removed "many of the most crucial accessibility features" that were present in 2010 award-winner Forza MotorSport 3, Spohn said.
Last year's Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year award was given to Star Wars: The Old Republic for incorporating accessibility features like colorblind options, full subtitles, and control options.
The AbleGamers Foundation is a public charity with a stated mission of promoting accessibility in games with a goal to "ensure that all people, regardless of their disability, can use gaming as a tool to have enriched social experiences with friends, family, and the world at large." More information is available at the group's official website.