The AbleGamers Foundation

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AbleGamers Foundation
Founded 2004
Founders Mark Barlet and Stephanie Walker
Type Public Charity
Focus Gamers with Disabilities
  • Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Area served
Founder and Executive Director
Mark C. Barlet
Key people
Mark Barlet, Steve Spohn, Craig Kaufman (OK Guy)[1]
~$495,000 in 2015
Slogan AbleGamers charity wields the power of gaming to break down the barriers of economic and social isolation for people with disabilities.

The AbleGamers Foundation (also known as The AbleGamers Charity) is a leading nonprofit organization and foundation dedicated to bringing greater accessibility in the video game space[2] so people with disabilities can gain a greater quality of life through developing a rich social life that gaming can bring.[3] The AbleGamers Foundation promotes open dialog, education, research and funding grants[4] in the area of accessibility. is a website run by the AbleGamers Foundation that specifically caters to the game accessibility community.

In 2012, The AbleGamers Foundation opened "The AbleGamers Center on Game Accessibility and Inclusive Play" in Harpers Ferry, WV. The center offers a place for people with disabilities to come and experience cutting-edge accessible technology. It also has a makers space for custom controller design, and prototyping. The AbleGamers Songbird Studo, named after the lifesize Songbird from BioShock Infinite donated to the charity by Irrational Games in 2014.[5]

January 2016 the charity announced that it was extending its mission to include a new program entitled "Expansion Packs". Partnering with sponsors, AbleGamers is building accessible game rooms for activity centers that support people with disabilities, the first being at the Pediatric Specialty Care in Hopewell PA[6]

The AbleGamers Foundation is working with Evil Controllers to design accessible peripherals for disabled gamers.[7]

The AbleGamers Foundation was granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity status in 2009.

Public appearances[edit]

  • 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.
  • In 2011 AbleGamers was invited to present at the Microsoft Pacific-Asian Development Group in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While there, AbleGamers also presented a hands on display of accessible game equipment, called Game Accessibility Arcade. at this demonstration it was the first time a Microsoft Kinect was on public display in the country.
  • In March, 2014, AbleGamers presented "Includification: a Practical Guide to Game Accessibility" at SXSW Gaming
  • Oct 5, 2015, Founder Mark Barlet was the Opening Keynote at the ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHIPLAY) in London England
  • March 2016, A panel at SXSWedu "We Need to Talk: Building Inclusive Communities"[8]
  • March 2016, A solo talk at Game Developers Conference tilted "Includification: How to Make Your Game(s) More Inclusive to Millions"[9]
  • March 2016, A solo talk by Jessie Hall at CSUN Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference titled "How Video Game A11y Helps You Reach 100M Gamers and Defeat that Final Boss"[10]


Mark Barlet, president AbleGamers received the 2012 American Association of People with Disabilities Hearne Leadership Award for his work at AbleGamers.[11]

In 2013, AbleGamers won an MS Society Da Vinci Award for the "Includification: A Practical Guide to Game Accessibility",[12] the first time the award had been given to a document and concept, not a product. AbleGamers also won the LEO Award, the "People's Choice".


  1. ^
  2. ^ Schuster, Shawn (2009-04-09). "Do Developers Consider Disabled Gamers Enough". Massively by Joystiq. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Adams, Paul (2011-07-14). "Gamers With Disabilities Battle Indifferent Industry". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "The AbleGamers Veterans AT Grants 2011". The AbleGamers Foundation. 2011-01-01. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "Songbird has Landed". AbleGamers. January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ablegamers... So Everyone can Game!". Pediatric Specialty Care. December 19, 2015. 
  7. ^ Fletcher, JC (2011-06-24). "'Adroit' controller line to make games more accessible". Massively by Joystiq. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "We Need to Talk: Building Inclusive Communities". SXSWedu. March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Includification: How to Make Your Game(s) More Inclusive to Millions". GDC. February 2016. 
  10. ^ "How Video Game A11y Helps You Reach 100M Gamers and Defeat that Final Boss". Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge. 
  11. ^ "Meet the 2012 Hearne Leadership Award Winners". AAPD. March 2012. 
  12. ^ "da Vinci Award Winners announced at gala April 11, 2013". National MS Society. April 2013. 

External links[edit]