(screenshot url http://globalgamejam.org/
The same combination of simulation followed by colour shifts is something that has just been used to great effect on Sim City (http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/
A number of other audience-widening features were present, including simple controls, single button start, objectives available during gameplay, and high contrast text.
Runner up 2 – Samurai XX
(screenshot url http://i46.tinypic.com/
Impaired hearing is something that’s actually fairly widely catered for in games, but only in a basic way – subtitles for key speech, when sound often adds a great deal more than that to a game, from atmosphere to essential gameplay cues.
Samurai XX not only seamlessly integrates this information visually, the mechanic is actually based on around a visualisation of what your environment sounds like, due to the protagonist being blind.
There are some very nice touches, such as the ascending ‘tap tap tap’ text used to show that you’re walking up a flight of stairs. In all the game is a great example of how thinking about impairments can lead to inspiration and innovative ideas that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Again lots of nice considerations to widen the audience further, such as contextual tips and flexible controls.
Melbourne winner – Wrongbot
(screenshot url http://i50.tinypic.com/
What takes it to the next level though is the decision to publish as HTML.
This also gives complete player control over text formatting, both size and colours, but most importantly it means that Wrongbot is fully compatible with screenreaders. This is the software that people with little or no vision use to navigate their computer through synthesized speech. The game can be played to completion with no visuals, using only speech and keyboard short-cuts.
If you’re interested in how to make your games blind-accessible in a similar way to how Michael has with Wrongbot the easiest candidates for it are fixed-layout puzzle or narrative games on iOS. All that’s really needed for VoiceOver (iOS’ built in screenreader) compatibility is some correct labelling, which is a fairly trivial task. The blind community is relatively small, but they are always crying out for games and are extremely vocal advocates of developers who cater for them.