“I believe that there is nothing more powerful for people with disabilities than the freedom that only videogames can provide. It is an art form that allows us to all run, jump, and be whatever we want to be.”
Mark Barlet, Founder of AbleGames Charity.
What is Able Gamers Charity?
The AbleGamers is a nonprofit foundation created in 2004 by Mark Barlet and Stephanie Walker to bring a visible improvement of life to those with disabilities, using video games as the main power to make them experience situations that may be difficult or limited in the real world.
AbleGamers also uses Social Networking opportunities to maintain mental and emotional health, and participate in one of the world’s largest pastimes.
The AbleGamers Foundation has presented well over a two dozen panels at PAX East, PAX Prime, and PAX South over the last 7 years on various topics, from diversity in the video game industry, to strategies to support people with disabilities in guilds and clans. Mark Barlet received the 2012 American Association of People with Disabilities Hearne Leadership Award for his work at AbleGamers.
The Foundation advocates to developers and video game publishers on the best practices to make games as accessible as possible. AbleGamers developed a 50-page living document to assist developers in the process called Includification.
On their site you can even find a dedicated shop with well designed shirts and merchandise.
Not only this is a very important topic, but it also makes me realize how much video games count in our everyday life despite all the external criticism coming from people who still consider them dangerous for our sanity, clearly unaware of what they actually bring to us.
I could feel the happiness emerging from a few simple comments written by players with health issues or disabilities, I’ve seen how grateful they are to have something which allows them to destroy all their boundaries and do what they will never be able to do in real life.