Videogames' Slow Move Toward Accessibility

For people with disabilities, many videogames have long been off-limits. Times are changing, though. "The continuing existence of unfair and...

For people with disabilities, many videogames have long been off-limits. Times are changing, though."The continuing existence of unfair and unnecessary discrimination and prejudice denies people with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis and to pursue those opportunities for which our free society is justifiably famous." -American with Disabilities Act, 1990When Stevie Wonder took the stage at last year's Spike Video Game Awards, the evening took an interesting turn. In a plea to the industry, Wonder challenged videogame developers to create more games for the disabled. Praising rhythm games for their wider appeal, he asked the crowd to follow that example and create games that can be played by everyone.He had a strong case. Back in 1990, President Bush signed the American with Disabilities Act to protect those with disabilities from workplace discrimination. Since then, public spaces have become increasingly accessible, and many other forms of entertainment and media have found ways to include those with handicaps. Television shows have closed captioning and movie theaters are accessible by wheelchair. Even professional sports have their spinoffs.But videogames rarely offer such accessibility. Controllers come in a single size, many games are sound-dependent (such as first-person shooters), and even more are useless unless you can see. In December, a petition was started by those with red-green color blindness to change Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which uses the problematic colors to distinguish teammates from enemies during multi-player play. Ben Gilbert, a writer for game website Joystiq who has said color blindness, notes that "I can think of about 20 other games that need a solution for this before MW2. How about every puzzle game ever made that depends on color matching-I'm looking at you especially, Super Puzzle Fighter, you heart breaker." (A community manager for Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward has noted to issue and promised to bring it up with the team.)There are some signs of change afoot, mostly from the community of people with disabilities who love videogames. Mark Barlet founded AbleGamers after watching a friend with multiple sclerosis become frustrated with modern videogames. Barlet himself is disabled with a spinal cord injury. The site has since spun-off into a foundation and an industry outreach arm to show game developers how they can make their games more open for everyone.These are small steps, but it's steps like these that create movement.

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Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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