Host: Steve Saylor
Steve Saylor is a Toronto-based podcaster, radio host, YouTube Gamer, Graphic Designer, College Professor all while being blind! Starting in 2015, his entertaining YouTube series "Blind Gamer" fuses humour with his passion for playing video games while being very bad at it. In just a few short years he is considered a thought leader on accessibility in gaming and an advocate for developers to push video game accessibility forward. Steve is the top Blind Gamer in Canada and thinks you're awesome.
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Cherry Thompson is a games accessibility specialist/developer with a keen focus in systems design and user experience. They’ve worked on projects of various sizes from small indies like Gambrinous (Cardpocalypse), GlitchMN (HyperDot) to AAA such as Guerrilla Games (Horizon Zero Dawn), Media Molecule (Dreams), Crystal Dynamics (Marvel’s Avengers), Ubisoft and more.
Cherry is also autistic, so to their complete surprise, they’ve been a successful public speaker at conferences like GDC, Full Indie, PAX, and internal to many studios. This was all thanks to a gentle push from their favourite Games Accessibility Conf. They have a passion for making both games and the industry inclusive of everyone. Their hobbies consist of cake eating, bird watching and adventuring with their one eyed cat, Odin.
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Ian has a 10 year background in game accessibility, initially across a wide range of products at the BBC, including making games accessible for preschool children with profound motor and cognitive impairment. He now works independently throughout the wider industry, collaborating with developers, publishers, manufacturers, academia and industry bodies. Pursuing avenues to raise the profile and understanding of accessibility across the industry, such as consulting directly on individual games and features, speaking, teaching, training, organising awareness raising events, leading work on internal and industry best practices, and advising on strategy and and government funding processes.
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My name is Jennifer Stienstra and I'm a writer and narrative designer. My most recent work was on a metroidvania called Glö Phlox. In the past, I've created a variety of narrative-driven games and visual novels.
I also have dived into game accessibility, learning all I can about how to make better experiences for disabled gamers and sharing what I know with other developers. In June 2019 I had the opportunity to do a talk to organize and talk at a Game Accessibility Mini-Summit hosted by Dames Making Games and Gamma Space about subtitles and I've also recently written a thesis on the topic, and how our industry can change in the future.Prior to entering the field of game development, I received a diploma in Print Journalism, gaining experience with different kinds of writing including articles, press releases, scripts, and short stories. I also have a Bachelor's Degree in Game Design that I earned with Honours, where I learned how to make games and create narratives with mechanics and gameplay in mind.
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Bryce Johnson has been designing accessible experiences and technology for over 15 years. As a member of Team Xbox he was part of the core team that started the inclusive design and accessibility practice. Bryce worked across Microsoft teams to launch the assistive technologies on the Xbox One, including Copilot. Bryce initiated and designed the first Inclusive Tech Lab at Microsoft, which has now hosted over six thousand visitors; it is a facility where people can explore how people with disabilities interact with Microsoft games, services, and devices. Bryce is one of the inventors of the Xbox Adaptive Controller ever since he was a lead on its project at the 2016 Microsoft One Week Hackathon. Bryce is now the Inclusive Lead for Microsoft Devices where he is devoted to ensuring Microsoft products are accessible.
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Earl Cousins is a Digital Accessibility Specialist at Scotiabank’s Digital Factory in Toronto, Canada. A former front-end developer and occasional dabbler in art and design, Earl brings his passion for well-formed, semantic code and intuitive user interfaces to his consultations with designers and developers, inspiring them to create inclusive products. Earl has been a gamer since the days before arcade games had screens and is both appreciative and enthusiastic that the industry is striving to become more inclusive and enabling.
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Shell Little is an Accessibility Specialist at Wells Fargo DS4B, on their Accessible User Experience (AUx) team, where she is the Mobile and Inclusive Design Lead. She has a BA in UX, with a focus in Accessibility, and is passionate about disability rights and game accessibility. Outside the office, Shell is a proud animal parent to a large menagerie, hobbyist streamer, and overall Neurodivergent dork.
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Stewart Russell is the Central Region Organizer for Neil Squire Society's Makers Making Change initiative. Stewart is an engineer and maker with many years experience in renewable energy projects. Before that, he was a games journalist in the 8/16-bit days. When he’s not telling the world about open source assistive technology, he develops Raspberry Pi projects and maintains some very old computers.
Favourite games: Deathchase (ZX Spectrum, 1983), Chuckie Egg (Amstrad CPC, 1984), Silkworm (Amiga, 1989)
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Holly is the marketing lead at GLITCH, an independent video game label home to the off-beat and experimental. GLITCH's next title is HyperDot, an action arcade game that balances fast-paced challenge with accessibility.
Before joining the games industry, Holly worked in the nonprofit sector—she held communications roles at Planned Parenthood and Goodwill and served as senior editor for Paper Darts magazine. When she's not playing or making or tweeting about games, Holly volunteers with political campaigns and manages a terrible cat named Comet.
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Douglas Gregory is a game designer at Ubisoft Toronto with twelve years of experience across AAA and indie game development, including designing for accessibility in Splinter Cell Blacklist and Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Douglas also teaches game mechanics & game economies at Sheridan College, and serves as a community moderator on GameDev.StackExchange.
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