Monday, April 23, 2018

Small Font Size is a Problem in Today's Games

I enjoy the Monster Hunter series. But I have difficulty being able to play the recent release (Monster Hunter: World) due to a reason that shouldn't be an issue to begin with: the text is too small to read. While the gaming industry has made great strides in creating content that accommodates gamers with disabilities, the text size has been an ongoing problem - particularly with the latest generation of games. And we all know it's not as simple as moving up the font size slider in a program. Adjusting the font size comes with it's own host of technical issues and altering the UI to accommodate the space used.

But today's games have a real problem with font sizes, and they are all too small for the average gamer to read. If I have to sit within a few inches of my 22 inch television screen to be able to read a menu, your font is too small. Not all of us can afford a 4K 50 inch - nor do we have the space for it.

For those who think this is a silly point to be concerned about, you're allowed to have that opinion. But for those who are hearing impaired and rely on subtitles to play a game, having the tiny text makes it extra difficult. And for big games like The Elder Scrolls that are chock full of lore, those instances are rarely to never voiced out. You have to read the lore. Imagine having to open a book in a game where the font is a size 6-8 in Alegreya Sans SC. Try reading that from your chair or couch while playing on your 50 inch TV. You'd have to stand up, walk as close to the screen as possible, and then read. And then repeat this 100 more times as you find more lore.

This is messing up our already jacked up eyes.

Thankfully last week a near 2 gig patch was released for Monster Hunter: World that includes increasing the font size on the busy interface of a screen. Hopefully it will help me so I can play the game as intended; not with my face pressed against the screen to read.

The new God of War game has the same problem, and their patch doesn't resolve the issue as Kotaku points out. While yes, you can use the zoom in feature on the PS4 but do you really want to do that every few minutes in every game you play when upping the font size can fix the whole situation?

This isn't about being picky. This is about accessibility. We can't continue to play games with tiny fonts and expect people to adapt. We're missing out on huge chunks of the worlds being built, and people with disabilities are being excluded from the experience, because of improper font sizing. If we can make games that focus on accessibility for sound and game play, than readable font sizes need to be part of the conversation.

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