AbleGamers Community Feature: Brian Marquez

This month, AbleGamers again hands the mic to our community — this time to Brian Marquez, a long time AbleGamers supporter and forward-thinking accessibility advocate. Brian has some strong feelings about the current state of accessible gaming and plans on changing things up as a game developer.

Hi, I’m Brian. And I’m obsessed with video games…oh yeah, and I live with a prosthetic arm.

As someone who has been obsessed with games and has had a disability almost his entire life, I’ve known of AbleGamers for years. In high school, I led a project that involved me finding an organization that supports a cause I’m passionate about. My research thankfully led me to AbleGamers!

So, a little about me — my favorite video game is Kingdom Hearts. I have a tattoo of it on my right forearm. The game came out in a crucial developmental period in my life where I was starting to get bullied for my prosthetic arm. The series’ theme of “My Friends are my Power!” really resonated with me and reminded me that even if there are bullies, I still have friends by my side for everything. Because of these games and what they did for me, I decided to get into the gaming industry myself!

Kingdom Hearts was the series that got me through a lot of hardships as a kid. I joined the industry to make content that resonates with people. Everyone has that thing that gets them through their toughest times. I just want to be a part of that for someone even if it’s in a small capacity. I want to create someone else’s’ Kingdom Hearts — and I want it to be accessible if it’s needed.

I’m happy with the path that game accessibility has been taking. When we had the rise of motion controls, about a decade ago, I was frustrated nearly to the point of giving up gaming completely! I wasn’t able to play any of my favorite games because they required me to hold two separate controllers and move my arms in various motions. I’m so glad that recently studios have made it a priority to add accessibility options — whether it’s a colorblind mode, button mapping, hold instead of multi-press for QTEs, or larger subtitles — but it’s still not something utilized everywhere. My hope is that it becomes a thing that all game studios consider a necessity. We have gamers of all different types and we all deserve the chance to play.

For me, personally, I want to become a massive advocate for accessibility in games while also making game content that people love. For others, I want you all to be able to play games without feeling like YOU have to adapt to the game’s play style. Hopefully, soon, more games will adapt to you! Until that happens, we’ll just need to keep letting our voices be heard.

I’ve spent my whole life being discouraged by others who didn’t think I’d amount to much of anything in the games industry. “How is he going make games when he can barely play them?” I’m sure others trying to get into the industry have dealt with the same. To all of you, I say don’t give up! Yeah, it’s cliché, but it’s true. Prove everyone that tries to tear you down wrong. Their harsh words should be like fuel to your fire, and once you create that amazing game or land that job at your dream studio, thank them. The drive to prove all those people wrong helped get you to where you were and that’s such a sweet feeling. Another thing I’d say is to be patient. The games industry is incredibly competitive, and if you keep working hard you’ll make it. While you wait, just make sure to continue to show your worth!

I have two things I hope to do in my time as a game developer. For one, I want to completely revolutionize the requirements for accessibility in games. I’d love the community to know me as the guy constantly fighting for those of us who need unique ways to play amazing content. Additionally, I’d love to be recognizable in the same vein as Bryan Intihar, Cory Barlog, Tetsuya Nomura, etc. I want to make content that makes people emotional in the best way possible. I would never want to make content just for the money — everyone, disabled or not, needs to be able to play it.