AbleGamers Founder

Mark Barlet

A royal blue roundish blob background small orange circles on top and on top of that a photo of a little boy laughing in a red t-shirt playing a video game using an adaptive controller while his little brother looks on
Mark Barlet, middle aged white male, brown hair and beard. Sitting at the head of a table with other AbleGamers team members. They are listening to Mark

 Our founder and Executive Director, Mark Barlet is a visionary advocate and leader in the realm of accessible gaming, renowned for his tireless work at AbleGamers, a nonprofit organization dedicated combatting social isolation to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities through the power of video games. With a career spanning nearly three decades, Mark has become a pivotal figure in the gaming industry, and beyond, championing the cause of inclusivity and accessibility for all.

Mark’s journey began in 2004 when his best friend was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a life-changing event that opened his eyes to the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in accessing and enjoying video games. Determined to make a difference, he founded AbleGamers with a mission to ensure that everyone, regardless of their disability, could experience the joy and rich social benefits of gaming.

A Service-Disabled Air Force veteran, Mark’s commitment to service and advocacy is deeply rooted in his own experiences, including his journey to finding his new normal after an injury that changed the trajectory of his life. His time in the military instilled in him a sense of duty and resilience, qualities that have driven his efforts to break down barriers and create a more inclusive world for gamers with disabilities.

Under Mark’s leadership, AbleGamers has grown into a leading authority on accessibility in the gaming world. The organization provides direct peer counseling to people with disabilities. That’s one-on-one support, adaptive equipment, and encouragement that empowers those AbleGamers help with the opportunity to connect with their fellow players, make friends, and improve their wellbeing. Additionally, AbleGamers collaborates with game developers and companies to advocate for inclusive game design, ensuring that new titles and platforms are built with accessibility in mind from the ground up.

Mark’s influence extends beyond the nonprofit sector. He has become a sought-after speaker and consultant, sharing his expertise at major industry conferences worldwide, including the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), and DevCom. His work has been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of accessibility in gaming, inspiring countless developers to prioritize inclusive design in their projects.

In recognition of his contributions, Mark has received numerous accolades and awards, including the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD) Paul G. Hearn Award in Leadership. His dedication to creating a more inclusive gaming community has earned him respect and admiration from peers, gamers, and industry leaders alike. Through his unwavering commitment, Mark Barlet continues to break down barriers and open doors, making the world of gaming a more welcoming place for everyone.

Mark’s story is one of compassion, innovation, and relentless advocacy. As the heart and soul of AbleGamers, he has transformed the landscape of gaming, proving that with the right tools and support, everyone can play, connect, and thrive in the virtual worlds they love.