A Look At The Winners Of the GAconf Awards 2022

Last year’s edition of the GAconf awards continued the gaming industry’s recent initiative to recognize the efforts of game developers and other parties in promoting accessibility. An expert panel shortlisted 18 categories, with winners chosen based on a jury and public vote. Below, we review the finalists and winners of the GAconf Awards 2022.

The Winners Of the GAconf Awards

AAA and Indie Excellence

The event kicked off with the AAA Excellence award, which recognizes notable accessibility in big-budget titles. God of War Ragnarok beat out Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us Part 1 for its wide variety of accessibility adjustment options to the gameplay. In the same category for small-budget games (Indies), Return to Monkey Island won for its re-imagination of the point-and-click genre.

Best Deaf/HoH Accessibility

Next, God of War Ragnarok received – once again – the Best Deaf/HoH Accessibility award. This award recognizes the game with the best accessibility example for deaf and hard-of-hearing gamers. Other contenders for this category were The Quarry and LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

Best Physical/Mobility Accessibility

Rocksmith+ was celebrated for exemplifying accessibility for players with motor impairment, winning against The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe and As Dusk Falls.

Best Blind / Low Vision Accessibility

Meanwhile, The Last of Us Part 1’s took home the Best Blind / Low Vision Accessibility award for impressive blind accessibility levels thanks to – in part – its usage of audio descriptions in cutscenes.

Best Cognitive Accessibility

In a category designed to honor the game with the best accessibility for intellectual/learning disability, mental health, and neurodiversity, The Quarry won against Rocksmith+ and Return to Monkey Island.

Best Representation

While the representation of disabled characters seems to be gaining less mainstream attention than accessibility, it was not lacking in last year’s contestants. Just Dance 2023 won the Best Representation award for depicting a wheelchair-using character.

Best Journalism, Best Academic Research, Best Resource

In the next three categories, the hosts honored journalists, academics, and developers who are furthering the accessibility cause through written work. Grant Stoner won Best Journalism for his article explaining how disabled players can better interact with Elden Ring. Arthur Thiel, Lea Buchweitz, et al. won Best Academic Research for their Understanding The Perceptions And Experiences Of The Deafblind Community paper, while Microsoft’s Gaming Accessibility Fundamentals training won Best Resource.

MVP Award for Most Dedicated Developer

Mila Pavlin of Santa Monica Studio received the MVP Award for Most Dedicated Developer award. GAncof organizers recognized Pavlin for her continued dedication to progressing accessibility internally and making gaming more enjoyable for disabled players. In a similar move, the Global Poker Awards, an award program that recognizes the contributions of poker players, poker providers like Ignition Poker ––, content creators, and industry personalities to the growth of game, honored Vanessa Brill with the Charitable Initiative Award. In 2020, Brill organized a fundraising campaign to help Range Trainer Pro co-founder KL Cleetion make it to the 2021 WSOP competition in Las Vegas. Cleeton, who uses a wheelchair, suffers from a severe form of spinal muscular atrophy. Brill arranged to help him get a special van to travel with across the US.

Most Accessible Gaming Event

The GAconf team also celebrated Ubisoft Forward for hosting an accessible event with the widest audience. According to statistics, Ubisoft Forward draws massive crowds yearly, including over 2 million viewers in its 2020 event. The panel agreed that this large following was crucial to the accessibility cause as it drew more gamers and developers to the conversation.

Hardware Innovation

For its adaptive accessories, Microsoft was awarded the Hardware Innovation award. This award recognizes new accessible technologies.

Most Improved

Continuing in that vein, The Last of Us Part 1 won the Most Improved Award for the game with the most accessibility options and improvements over the years.

Biggest Accessibility Surprise

Receiving its second award of the night, Microsoft’s Gaming Accessibility Fundamentals training won Biggest Accessibility Surprise for impactful efforts no one saw coming.

Most Dedicated Publisher, Studio

Sony Interactive Entertainment won Most Dedicated Publisher for the most consistent and significant efforts toward accessibility. One of its studios, Naughty Dog, won the Most Dedicated Studio award.

The Advocacy Award

The last of the award, The Advocacy Award, went to Grant Stoner for his consistent efforts to make accessibility in media a mainstream conversation.


2022 was the first time these awards were hosted under the GAconf title. However, they continue the gaming industry’s consistent efforts to improve accessibility. With the show being delivered complete with captioning, ASL, BSL, and audio description, the 2022 GAconf awards put accessibility front and center of the mainstream gaming conversation.

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About the author

Reena Bansal

Reena Bansal has done Bachelor in Computer Science from University of Delhi. She is a technology lover, plays chess, music lover, innovative, likes to express her views via blog and is a fitness freak. She has been contributed a number of great articles to the internet.