Semaphore Hosts the First AbleGamers Game Accessibility Arcade for Gamers with Disabilities in Canada

By Amy Ratelle on Mar 28th, 2014

As announced during the critically acclaimed SXSW speech by AbleGamers Founder, Mark Barlet, the Semaphore Research Cluster will permanently host the first Canadian location for AbleGamers famous Accessibility Arcades.

The arcade itself will include the most up-to-date technology and controllers designed to enable gamers with disabilities access to today’s most popular video games. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with AbleGamers and help share some of their fantastic work with the rest of Toronto,” said Dr. Sara Grimes, assistant professor at the Faculty of Information and Associate Director of Semaphore. “The Accessibility Arcade is a wonderful way to promote and facilitate accessible access to gaming, fun and inclusive play.”

“There are nearly 100 million gamers with disabilities in the United States, but there are hundreds of millions worldwide. Game accessibility is a global problem that must be conquered on the global scale. We hope to continue spreading worldwide awareness that cutting-edge technological solutions exist to enable everyone to play video games no matter their disabilities,” said Barlet, Founder and Executive Director of the AbleGamers Charity.

The AbleGamers Accessibility Arcade opens Saturday, April 26, 2014. The event will be held at the University of Toronto’s Semaphore Research Cluster space in Robarts Library beginning at 11:30 am for the public, 11 am for members of the media.

We are pleased to announce that the Opening Address will be presented by Tanya Lewis. Dr. Lewis is the Director of Academic Success and Accessibility Services, and has been at U of T for almost five years. She held a similar position at Ryerson for eight years. She has a PhD from OISE/UT and has extensive experience working in non profit community organizations in disability-related issues. The permanent installation will be open by appointment, but the 100% hands-on demonstration will be staffed on opening day by accessibility experts, including the Founder of AbleGamers, Mark Barlet.

(FREE! Register early, spaces are limited)

SPECIAL EVENT: Master Class with Mark Barlet, 2pm-4pm: As part of the launch of the first Canadian Game Accessibility Arcade at the University of Toronto’s Semaphore Lab, we would like to invite applications to participate in or observe a master class on digital games and accessibility. Participation is open to all undergraduate and graduate students interested in the subject area. Members of the public are welcome to observe the class. Please send an email to Amy Ratelle, Research Coordinator, with a short abstract (250 words) detailing your work in progress, its relevance to the AbleGamers Foundation, and items you’d like to discuss with AbleGamers founder Mark Barlet and researchers Sara Grimes and Alison Harvey. Observation is open to any member of the public. The master class will be held on Saturday, April 26 from 2-4 after the launch of the arcade.  

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