Another Nod for all us blind gamers out there!

Ladies and gents, a new article has been written by a gentlemen named Richard Moss, (@MossRC for all those who will surely desire to shower him with adoration following this post), regarding gaming as a blind person, both accessible games and audio games. Basically every aspect of gaming and being blind. This article was written for Polygon, a mainstream media outlet, and let me tell you, it’s awesome! I urge you with all the power my urger can muster to check it out. Like it, comment on it, spread it around! It features both Liam Erven and myself, as well as several others who have made contributions to the blind gaming community. And now, a link.
http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/8/6/4550490/blind-games-rock-vibe
Again, spread that around everywhere you can. We’ve gotta make sure as many people as possible see it. Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Another Nod for all us blind gamers out there!

  1. I found that Polygon article linked on Twitter, and found it very well done. I was amazed at the amount of thought and effort put into the piece. I also loved that it wasn’t just about how some people were making audio games just for the blind. Instead blind and visually impaired gamers are just like everyone else, and want to play and enjoy the same games as everyone else.

    I am legally blind, or illegally sighted, myself and have been an avid gamer forever, since the Atari 2600 days. Over the past several years, I have really been interested in finding a visually impaired gaming community, and love to see the work others have already done. I’m always looking to meet other visually impaired gamers, and find a way to bring this topic to the mainstream gaming developers, publishers, and media.

    Thanks to the Polygon article, I found your site, and will be following it from here on. Send me a private message via my YouTube channel if you would like to connect.

    • That’s fantastic! Really glad to hear both that you found the article, and of course that it lead you here. If you browse through some of the craziness in the gaming section, you might be surprised at some of the things that are playable without sight.

  2. Finally, somebody has managed to put into words what I’ve been thinking for a while. I dug down into your site and explored a bit. I am really inspired by what you’ve put together. I am a game developer and I am very interested in your thoughts. As a gamer, what kinds of things do you like to have in a game? Like, what makes it more fun to play, easier to explore? What kinds of sounds and music should I look for to accompany the gameplay?

    I have been working on web games for years in PHP with MySQL databases. Simple stuff — no graphics, no real story, just multiplayer virtual warfare. Make an army, recruit soldiers, then use those soldiers to go wreak havoc on your enemies, take their money to make yourself stronger, that sort of thing. In a nutshell, the actions you can take within the game end up blossoming entire miniature civilizations around the game. People come together in alliances to fight common causes and help each other out. They fight all-out wars against other alliances. They lobby for change in the same way that a group might lobby for a new law in the government. It has been a big part of my life for a while. But my games aren’t particularly accessible, unfortunately. The biggest obstacle to making them accessible is the CAPTCHA. Due to the rampant cheating that would otherwise go on, I’ve had to put in a CAPTCHA that must be answered for every game action. I’m not sure how to make an audio version of it that wouldn’t be easily cracked. That’s something I’ve always been bothered about, as even people who can see perfectly fine sometimes have a hard time deciphering what the image tells them to push.

    Given the nature of my games, I don’t see any way of getting rid of those CAPTCHAs on the web site; there are just too many folks proficient in Greasemonkey and other types of scripting that would turn it into a battle of tools and not a battle of wits. With the onslaught of mobile devices these days, I do believe there is a way to make it where it is both accessible and pretty hard to cheat. I’ve always been impressed by the accessibility provided in the iPhone, and I thought, this is the way that I’ll finally get my game into more hands than ever before. I have been slowly working toward overhauling one of my games to support mobile apps that I am also developing. I have always had it in my mind that I would make it accessible from the ground up. Many of my friends don’t see blind people wanting to play this kind of game, but I know in my heart this would be perfect.

    If you have any tips to share with me, or a link where you’ve already posted something that might help, that would be very much appreciated. I’ve already looked and found stuff that has to do with video games (consoles and PC), but I haven’t seen much in the way of web game stuff. I checked out Kingdom of Loathing, but had to stop, as I’m the kind of guy who’ll get addicted to that sort of thing.

    By the way, some of the links on the Gaming page are 404.

    • I guarantee you there would be interest in your game if it were made accessible. There may not be truckloads of us blind gamers, but we are a diverse group, and we look for all sorts of things.

      In terms of playable games, there are a few things we look for. The more audio cues, the better, but of course it’s best to try not to play them all at the same time and, if it’s a looping sound effect, not all in the same rhythm. Little things that help us figure out where we are, or where objects and items are. Part of the playability of Final Fantasy XIII for us was the fact that chests and savepoints both have ambient noises, allowing us to actually locate them. And yes, the other part was that it was basically coridors the game, but that brings me to navigation.

      The primary reason blind folks like myself were able to play Resident Evil 6 is because of an accidentally helpful design choice on their part. When you bring up your PDA in the game, you get an arrow pointing toward your next objective. Well, the game also makes the camera point in the direction of your objective, and the characters always move toward the camera, so all we had to do to move through the game is hold the PDA button, and forward. Shooting was easy enough because of both the quickshot, and Resident Evil 6’s great use of stereo panning, allowing us to center on our targets. Also, the navigation in an accessible game doesn’t exactly have to be the way I described, but we do need some way of finding our objective, even if we hit a button, and hear a sound in the direction of our goal.

      As for music, you can basically go nuts with that so long as it doesn’t overpower the other sound. We love video game music as much as some sighted people do.

      Regarding web games, you chose well in Kingdom of Loathing, but I would also recommend checking out a game like Sryth, which is at http://www.sryth.com. That game has always been pretty accessible, but the developer has, over time, added a few things in just for us blind people, such as text descriptions of your location on a dungeon map. Pretty neat stuff.

      I hope you’ve found these answers helpful and informative. Feel free to ask all the questions in the world, because I will answer them. The more accessible games we have floating around, the better for us, so I’ll definitely do whatever I can to help that along.

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