Hello, I'm an accessibility volunteer at EA, and am currently a Madden developer. I'm the one behind the twitter https://twitter.com/ea_accessible

I had several suggest I create an account here, for feedback purposes.

I know several of you have played Madden at some point, and I'm aware that it isn't as blind friendly as it could be. I'm interested in any feedback or suggestions of what works, what doesn't work, and how the game can potentially be improved.

I was asked to provide additional information on the game, to make it easier to provide feedback.  Since only one link is allowed per message, I'll post the links in new messages.

To be clear, I'm gathering information so the team is aware of the issues. I'm only a volunteer and accessibility advocate, so I have no specific power to enforce change - but I can at least find out information in the effort to make detailed business cases.

Thank you all for your time and interest.

- Karen Stevens

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Gameplay ball carrier moves https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/new … cial-moves

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Gap play defense moves https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/new … ssignments

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Zone coverage defense moves https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/new … e-coverage

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Special teams mechanics https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/new … provements

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Additional gameplay mechanics information - specific details about earlier linked articles.

Bullet Pass = Hold Receiver Icon
Lob Pass = Tap Receiver Icon
Medium Pass = Double Tap Receiver Icon
•    All the above throw speeds can be combined with High (LB/L1) and Low (LT/L2) trajectory
•    Users can ‘lead’ passes by holding the L Analog in any direction

Pocket locomotion – Move the L Analog in any direction
Rollout locomotion – Tap RT/R2 + L Analog
Scramble locomotion – Hold RT/R2 + L Analog

Target Passing – LT/L2
•    L Analog to aim
•    To switch which receiver it defaults to (RT/R2 + Receiver Icon in pre-play)
•    Switching receiver mid-play (RT/R2 + LT/L2 + Receiver Icon)
Playmaker – R Analog in any direction
Running Back/Ball Carrier
Steering = L Analog
Acceleration = RT/R2
Pitch = LB/L1
Cover Ball = RB/R1

Wide Receiver (Off the Line)
Aggressive Release – A/X
Conservative Release – X/Square
Timed Release – RT/R2

Wide Receiver (Before ball is in air)
Call for ball – A/X
Cut Moves – RB/R1 + R Analog in any direction
•    Can also use RB/R1 + L Analog

Wide Receiver (While ball is in air)
Aggressive Catch = Y/Triangle
RAC Catch = X/Square
Possession Catch =  A/X

Defensive Line
Jump the Snap = RT/R2
Finesse Move (Pass) = A/X
Power Move (Pass) = X/Square
Block Shed (Run) = A/X
Disengage = L Analog (Up)

Defensive Backs (Before ball is in the air)
Press = R Analog (Left/Right)
Strafe = LT/L2 (Hold)

Defensive Backs (Ball in Air)
Swat = X/Square
Play Receiver = A/X
Play Ball = Y/Triangle

General Defense
Hit Stick = R Analog
Aggressive Tackle = X/Square
Conservative Tackle = A/X
View Run Fits = R Analog (Left/Right)
Special Teams
Kicking = A/X to start and stop the meter
•    Sky Kick – Y/Triangle
•    Backspin – LB/L1

Blocking Kicks = Jump the Snap (RT/R2) using a player who has the ‘B’ icon overhead. Then, use X/Square to Dive, or Y/Triangle to jump

Fair Catch = Y/Triangle

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7 (edited by ea_accessible 2017-03-13 21:13:16)

Here is information as to what type of in-game icons there are, and what they are used for.

Player Ring – The ring that surrounds a player that is being controlled by a user. The color of the inner circle within the ring is dictated by which controller is being used for that player.
    Controller 1 = Blue
    Controller 2 = Red
    Controller 3 = Green
    Controller 4 = Yellow

Stamina Meter – Located on the bottom half of the Player Ring, this indicator shows a user how much stamina they have left for the current play. This is depleted at various rates through moving, sprinting, or performing open field moves with a player. As stamina decreases, the ring will begin turning red from right to left, signifying how much energy the player has left for that play. When stamina is completely gone, the meter will pulse.

Offense Indicators/Art

Pre-Play Motion Icon – If an offensive player selects a player other than the quarterback during pre-play, the direction(s) that highlighted player can be motioned will appear on either side of the player as an arrow.

Receiver Icons – Icons above any player that a user is able to throw the ball to. The icon will be a button on the controller that represents what a user has to press when throwing to that player. Also, the icon will appear unfilled until the receiver is ready to catch the pass.

Intended Receiver Ring – Green ring that appears under a receiver that the user has selected to throw the ball to. The ring will shrink as the ball gets closer to the receiver.

Catch Type– When a user or the AI chooses a specific type of catch, the name of the mechanic, along with the button associated with it, will appear above the player.

Catch Point Icon – When a pass is thrown to a receiver, the landing spot of the ball at its current trajectory is shown as an orange crosshair on the field. The icon shrinks as the ball approaches the spot on the field.

Block and Release Read Key – When a receiver is in a block and release route, the defender who is the deciding factor for whether the receiver goes on his route or stays in the backfield to block will have a diamond shaped icon with the letter “C” above them.

Block and Release Play-Art – When a receiver is in a block and release route, his route will appear in purple in the Play Call Screen and Coach Cam.

Ball Carrier Move Icons – When the auto-moves are turned on for user controlled ball carriers, the name of the move performed and the button or analog input tied to the move will appear above the player

Ball Carrier Path Feedback – Light blue path in front of the ball carrier that show what direction the user is currently running.

Rollout Play-Art – For any play where the QB will enter rollout locomotion automatically, a green arrow will appear behind the QB in the direction he’ll turn at the snap.

Receiver Play-Art – Any time a receiver is running a standard route, his assignment will show in yellow in the Play Call Screen and Coach Cam.

Primary Receiver Indicator – Any receiver running a route that is considered the primary option on a given pass play will have his route shown in red at the Play Call Screen and in Coach Cam.

Auto-Motion indicator – Receivers with an assignment to motion automatically before the snap will be shown in light blue at the Play Call Screen and in Coach Cam.

Blocking Play-Art – For players in a blocking assignment, a grey line with a rectangle on the end will show in the Play Call Screen and in Coach Cam. This art will be going up on run plays, and backwards on pass plays.

Run Play Art – Run plays will include the running back’s intended path shown as a red arrow. Receivers will have their standard yellow line showing their path but will have the rectangle as the end indicating a block assignment.

Defensive Indicators/Art

Run Fit Icons – Seen when a user views their defensive run fits on a given play by holding the R analog left or right. The force and cutback player will have a diamond shaped icon overhead, with an F or C in the middle, respectively.

Run Fit Play-Art – A user can hold L or R on the right analog during pre-play to show their run fits for that play. The art will have a line going to the gap that player is responsible for with a rectangle on the end.
Force Player = Brown
Cutback = Light Red
Standard Blitzing defenders = Red
Defenders who aren’t blitzing but have a gap assignment = Orange

Kick Block Icons – Any defensive player during a field goal or punt scenario that is designated as able to block the kick. The icon is diamond shaped with a B in the middle and is hung above the player.

Read Key Icons – Shown whenever the user calls an option style play on offense. The defensive player serving as the read key for handing the ball off or keeping the ball with the QB will have a diamond shaped icon with the letter “R” above them. For option plays that involve possibly pitching the ball, the defensive read key will have a diamond shaped icon with the letter “P” overhead.

Defensive Block Shed Prompt – If a defensive user is engaged in a block during a running play, this prompt appear above the user to press A/X to attempt a move to get around the offensive blocker.

Pass Rush Prompt – If a defensive user is engaged in a block during a passing play, this prompt will appear above them to attempt a finesse (A/X) or power (X/Square) to get around the offensive blocker.

Pass Rush Feedback – When a defensive user on the defensive line is rushing the QB on a pass play and attempts a pass rush move, whether the move is successful or not is reflected with a green or red ripple through the Player Ring.

Jump the Snap Prompt – If a defensive user playing as a defensive linemen attempts to rush the QB without trying to anticipate when the ball will be snapped, an RT/R2 callout will appear above the user.

Jump the Snap Feedback – When a defensive user playing as a defensive linemen “Jumps the Snap”, the accuracy of their timing will be shown through a green or yellow ripple in the Player Ring, and text reading “perfect” or “late”.

Zone Play-Art – Any play where there are zone assignments, the type of zone will be shown at Play Call and in Coach Cam with a line of what direction they will be running to get to their spot on the field. The oval at the end of this art represents the area on the field they will be guarding. There is text in the middle of Curl to Flat, Hook Zone, and Flat Zone Art specifying what kind of that zone specifically the player is in. IE: A 3 Receiver Hook Zone will have “3 Rec Hook Zone” as the text in the middle of the art.
Curl to Flat = Purple
Hook Zones = Yellow
Flat Zones = Light Blue
Deep Zones = Dark Blue

Blitz Play-Art – Any defender with a blitz assignment will be indicated by a red arrow at the Play Call Screen and Coach Cam.

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[wow], welcome to the forum and thank you very much for all the information!

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Thanks. I apologize if the information is overwhelming. I'm very interested in learning more about how people would prefer to interact with the game. I know there is high interest in screen reading, but it's not always obvious on how to support all features.

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On the box1, Microsoft did open the text to speech api to developers, so screen reading support is doable. I'd start with that and work your way up from there.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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Yes, I am aware of screen reading, but many features may not be best suited to it. The kick meter, for example, I would assume would be best with indicator tones of when to press the button. I'm not sure if tones are appropriate for the stamina bar, or if there's a preferred type of sound. I have no idea how to better communicate the locations of all players on the field, and if a player is in danger of being tackled, or should try to tackle - more tones, somehow?

I'd like to put together some business cases that would really help game play, and I'd prefer not to assume what I think people might need -- odds are I wouldn't get it quite right, even with my best attempt.

Suggestions are very welcome.

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12 (edited by musicman 2017-03-14 02:28:39)

Hey Karen,
Thanks for registering on the forums! I mentioned this on Twitter, but it's worth mentioning here as well. THis is a huge thing you're doing for us. Gathering feedback and passing it on to the right people. We all appreciate this! I'd love to give you some suggestions, but unfortunately I'm not a Madden player, not because I wouldn't want to be, but because since it's never been all that accessible I'm a bit put off by it. Madden experts feel free to leave your thoughts here! I will mention a couple things though:
Anything that requires some sorta bar, like kick out bar, etc, could probably be made accessible in several ways. 1: A rising tone. This will help a lot in determining when exactly we should press the button. Here's another idea: vibration patterns that speed up or change in frequency. Also keep in mind, audio positioning is extremely important for us. Be it stereo, surround sound, or 3d audio. 3D would be best of course, as this could be used to pinpoint just about anything in a game. I've played, or should I say, tried to play, Uncharted 4 using the new Sony platinum headset, and it is rather an incredible experience. I can't really play it, because there's so much of the soundscape that's lacking, but the 3D audio itself is quite incredible. So to summarize: audio tones, either rising/falling in pitch, or a pattern of sorts, and vibration. oh! can't forget console specific features. like the Dualshock 4's speaker. You could always have particular audio cues going through that as well. picking your roster is a great example. I own both consoles so I'm totally psyched whichever way this goes. Feel free to throw more ideas Karen's way guys! Let's make this happen!

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Hi there!

Karen, it's a pleasure to see you on this forum. i had the honour of meeting you at the Game Accessibility conference, and I was so happy to see how interested you were in this topic. Now for what few suggestions I have.

First, real quick, to get this out of the way, a place you want to make sure text to speech is present: the play selection menu. Furthermore, I was thinking there should be an additional place, maybe in the main menu though I'm not sure exactly where, where people like me, who have never been Football fans before, can go to learn what each play actually was, through description and perhaps, after some other features were implemented to identify different field positions, an audio demonstration of a play. I understand this would be a massive undertaking, but I keep thinking that, if you're going to choose a play, you should know what that play involves.

Second, do you happen to know what determines which button must be pressed to throw to which receiver? Is it their relative position to you? Their position on the field? I ask because I think all you would need, if I'm right about this, would be a tone that plays, (a different-sounding tone depending on which button would need to be pressed), letting you know when that receiver is open. I don't want to turn a feature like that into a cheat of any kind, though, so how about this. That tone is also affected by the stats of the player you're controlling. So for example, if you have poor, uh, we'll say playmaking ability, (I know nothing about Madden remember), then maybe you're more likely to hear that sound at the incorrect time. Perhaps too early, or too late. Blind gamers who become more experienced might figure out ways to use the game's natural audio, making it possible that they will know better and either ignore the tone when controlling a player with a low stat, or throw earlier than the tone plays and succeed. I won't count that out as a possibility because, again, never played Madden. Haha.

Just thinking out loud, as it were, but I imagine Madden's version of Franchise mode would be a blast just with the implementation of text to speech. After all, focus there is on management, and I think you can choose to play the games, but I also think, (i could be wrong), that you can choose to just watch them too. I could see that making blind people feel like they were really on the sidelines, yelling at their team when they screw up, which as i understand it is kind of the point of that mode.

Anyway, these are just a few little ideas. Trying to offer a kind of baseline here given my lack of experience with this game, and hoping I have done an OK job. I may contribute more if i think of anything else, but thank you again, and best of luck. Here's hoping the rest of EA gets psyched about this too.

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I for one am pretty stoked that accessibility is being considered for the most popular EA Sports titles.

While I'm also interested in Fifa getting some accessibility love, we've come a long way since I played Madden, and really tried to figure it out, back in the Madden 07 days.

I think the rising tone is a great idea for the kick meter. There are also other meters as well, such as when making passes. For this, a directional stereo tone could indicate the proper direction to throw the ball--so hold the stick in that direction, and a mono tone in the center field that rises in pitch could be the throw meter, and when at a very high pitch the player will go all out and throw the ball as hard and far as possible, which will obviously use a lot of stamina. That's the easy part, at least from a concept perspective.

The hard part is actually knowing not just the direction my intended pass is to go to, but where the player is on the field related to me. I don't think a bunch of beeps/tones representing surrounding players would be helpful, and might be more of a distraction with about 20 beeps all around me at once. Unfortunately, that's the easiest method I can come up with. How else can indevidual players be represented by sound?
Unlike NFL2K5--sorry for mentioning that series haha, in Madden there are no player sounds itself. It's from the point of view of a TV broadcast, as far as the audio is concerned. That means you won't even hear players around you running or whatever.
Text to Speech would be helpful as well when we're the ball carrier and have to perform those special moves. Even if, with the default settings, the AI performs the moves while I make my player run, TTS would help us learn what we're supposed to do, I'd think.

It's worth mentioning that currently, I'm not a huge fan of online play. I'll do it, but when I pick up this type of game, I'd like an accessible and playable Career, story, etc mode.

If you want to make the first ever business case for a blind friendly, Tripple A sports game title, the first order of business is menu accessibility. Without that, we can't make selections without help. Even if I can only manage a team via a menu-based system instead of play one, this would be a huge step and I'd buy, support and stream the game.
Don't get me wrong though, if gameplay accessibility is implemented I'll be playing most franchise games and even attempt online play. Fighting games are great, but it's time for a huge, groundbreaking change in the video games industry.


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Hi Karen,
I just added you on twitter, my name is Ryan Conroy.
[wow], this is awesome! If you could get EA interested in making the game accessible, it would truly be amazing. I can play a lot of games, but I've always wanted a football game to play. This would truly be a gift.
Games are getting so difficult to play, I actually sold my playstation 3, and I'm debating on getting a PS4 or a XBOX1. I see developers are really putting an effert into making the games accessible now, well, at least with the narrator feature.
I love football, but I was never able to play the Madden games obviously. I always listen to my brother and brother in-law playing it, and wish I could play with them.
I can't really comment on what to do and what not to do, but the tone meter for the kick sounds like a great idea. The more sounds the better, and the more the announcers say is also good.
If you have any questions at all, please let me know. I'd be happy to talk with you on twitter, or on here also. I'

"I've learned that this life's not just a game, just a line, between the pleasures and the pain." - Aaron Lewis

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Another thing I just thought of, I know they make gaming headsets now with the microphones and all that for the PS4/XBOX1. Maybe when you're having the quarterback pass the ball you can make the players you can pass to make an audible sound, or  have them call for the ball, or something, and you'd be able to hear it from a certain direction with the headset?
Just a thought.

"I've learned that this life's not just a game, just a line, between the pleasures and the pain." - Aaron Lewis

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Hi everyone. I'll post more detail tomorrow, but a few quick things.

Icons are used to determine who to pass to, you do not need to press any directional button. The icons indicate what button to press to toss to a particular player, with up to 5 buttons available. Button icons per catcher only show up after the catcher is open for the first time. There's no guarantee they will stay unblocked by defense.

The biggest plus for blind gaming on Madden is that the camera seldom moves, so the goal is always to move forward to the end zone. The game also auto-steers characters unless a gamer intervenes and has an AI for all characters not directly controlled. Commentary gives a bit of an idea of what's going on during game play, but it isn't perfect.

There will be a different post requesting FIFA feedback soon. Someone on FIFA is currently helping me gather information, similar to the earlier information posted on Madden. Madden was simply easier for me to use as the starting point, as I've been working on the game for the last 4 years, and have worked with blind gamers who have played Madden, so know it is already minimally (painfully) playable.

Thank you for all your feedback. Understanding the problem is the first step to working out how to solve it. I'm sure it's possible to make more games blind accessible, but I need to plan possible solutions to convince others.

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I remember NCAA had the one button mode, but does Madden still have that mode in or was it removed again? EA has a nice history of cutting out modes and features and then bringing them back a few years later as a new feature...

It's not Madden but the original Had Coach and IIRC Head Coach 09 on PS3 had voice controls in the games themselves. How it worked was you had a category name


[Blue] First and Ten

Then you'd have a list, so to call the XZ Slants you'd say Blue 4 Go and that'd send in the play call.

Could something similar be looked into for the playbook system?

I came back to Madden with M17, franchise mode is good but I wouldn't mind accessible menus and the draft/scouting/depth charts are a pain in the ass to sift through.

Also, given we won't see another NCAA game....I'd take the features from that game, the coach mode for instance, I didn' find if that was already in or not.

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Fired up NCAA 14 to see how well I remember the playbooks. Pretty good as it turns out, I set my ganeplay up with coach mode so I just pick the plays.

So, if that was improved in Madden...yes, yes please. That being said I'd prefer, in a fantasy world, an NCAA football game as it's constantly new players and challenges.

Still....if Madden is made more accessible...yes, I'd try the EA Access version at least.

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Hi Karen,
Welcome to the forums. Hopefully all the feedback you get is helpful in making future EA titles accessible.

For this particular example, I can be of no help at all.  Not because I don't have ideas of how to make things accessible given enough information/an idea of how the game works, but because I am totally and utterly unfamiliar with American Football.

To partially work with a point that was made above, I'd be open to playing the game if it was able to be played by a person who had never heard, seen, or been involved with any part of the NFL/American Football culture.

Other than that, it's good to see work on a big franchise already being undertaken. Hopefully a Mass Effect accessibility feedback topic comes soon.  That, I could potentially help with.

I wish you luck in your endeavours and hope that more moneymaking franchises become accessible to drive the industry to actually work with accessibility from the ground up instead of having to retrofit options in.

Sightless Kombat.
***If you wish to refer to me in @replies, use Sightless***

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So, having gone through an entire game in NFL Head Coach and 09...

Outside of the voice control, the rest of the game is menu driven with...zero audible support.

GG, EA. GG. You had one nice idea...

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ea_accessible wrote:

There will be a different post requesting FIFA feedback soon. Someone on FIFA is currently helping me gather information, similar to the earlier information posted on Madden. Madden was simply easier for me to use as the starting point, as I've been working on the game for the last 4 years, and have worked with blind gamers who have played Madden, so know it is already minimally (painfully) playable.

Thank you for all your feedback. Understanding the problem is the first step to working out how to solve it. I'm sure it's possible to make more games blind accessible, but I need to plan possible solutions to convince others.

Oh god this is unbelievable. I hope that you guys can  figure out some good solutions, So  we could have an near accessible Fifa in the future. I can't wait for that, I love Fifa! I will happily invest into buying the newest version and trying out things if It comes to that.

Sorry for providing no feedback on Madden. But your work is admirable. keep up the good work.

John Petrucci Fan all the time.
twitter: @hadirezae3
skype ID: hadi.gsf7

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[wow], this is just to awesome. I played madden 2007 on the ps2 some years ago, but failed miserably xD.
I would be happy to invest in a accessible madden game in the future, I am a huge american football fan for some years now, even though socker is farther spread out here in germany.
fifa would be awesome too, but hey, root for madden pepeeps.
Greetings Moritz.

Hömma, willze watt von mir oder wie, weil wenn nich, dann lass dir mal sagen, laber mir kein Kottlett anne Wange und hömma, wo wir gerade dabei sind, dann iss hier hängen im Schacht, sonns klapp ich dir hier die Fingernägel auf links, datt kannze mir mal glaubn.

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Hi Karen.
Thank you, so much for registering here on the forum, and for your willing of discussing the accessibility of the Madden games and properly other games in the future. Thanks for listening to my suggestion, I was one of the people who suggested you to create an account here on the forum.
I know close to nothing about american football, but listening to some Madden matches is really awesome. The fact that those games might be more accessible to blind people in the future makes me so much interested to learn more about those games and what it's all about. It would be fantastic if we could play Fifa as well. I tried a few years ago and got excited about the awesome audio in those games. But that's an other topic...
Thanks for all the feedback about the Madden games. So, if I understand it correctly, the controls switches between the players based on how the match goes. I think some speech announcing what player you're controlling is important, so you know who you are controlling. Then, how do you know where to run? It's quite difficult to give some generel feedback on the gameplay since I haven't tried it. Does the game have any kind of tutorial?
I've read about some settings, which does things automatically. This might take some fun out of the game, but it might be a great start to turn on all the automatic things regarding the gameplay.
Vibration would be awesome. For example if someone throws the ball to you, the vibration could be short and heavy like when you catch a ball.
If the character you're controlling say something, this could be played out of the controllers speaker on the ps4, and maybe in the headset if you are wearing this.
Throwing the ball to someone could come from the direction the player is standing, but would that work, if multiple players are standing close to each other?
I've watched some of the gameplay from some of the games. There is often a menu which pups up where you need to make choices. I don't know what this menu is and how important it is, but if this menu is huge, I think text to speech is the only solution in this menu.
Maybe a review mode could be added where the game pauses and you could arrow through th area to get an idea on where each player are standing? This might be helpful for other people as well who for whatever reason need some time to see where the players are. I'm not sure if this is important though. If the only important thing is the current player you are controlling, then a review mode might not be important.
Is it important to know where you are standing or running? Then I don't have any ideas on how this can be made accessible. Maybe by some audio.
Is there any Youtube video available with a described match played in Madden to get a better idea on how all this works? I've found some great videos about the accessibility in Madden 2017 where a blind guy is playing, but it's difficult to hear the audio from the game. So if there is any great videos available with some great commentaries or explanations on how all this works, I would be glad to hear about it.
Again, Karen, thanks so much for taking accessibility serious, and thanks for listening to all our suggestions. Lets make Madden and properly more games more accessible in the future. This would be unbelievable fantastic. This will make so many blind gamers dream become true world wide.

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... big_smile

Hi Karen and all,

I'm not sure how to contact this person regarding this post, but he demonstrates how he plays Madden. He made a few videos  for Madden engineers, although in the last two months he hasn't gotten very much views and 0 subs.

I'm not sure which kicking systems he's comparing, but perhaps it may provide some inspirational feedback. He doesn't really suggest things of his own from what I've  heard thus far.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ePlH … F-NjRCQOdg


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