Friday, 31 October 2014

Amazing, Accessible games for blind users!

Having a vision impairment can be an impediment to gaming, many of my students who use their vision to game have come up with lots of modifications and strategies to game effectively. But this post is not for that. This post is to compile the best games that my students are playing that either utilise only audio or have graphics that are not essential to the gameplay. In other words, games that are not designed to be seen, but rather to be heard.

It's a better age then ever before for a Blind gamer- there are technologies such as binaural processing which allow a true-3d audio experience with headphones and clever gamemakers can utilise these technologies to make truly Awesome Game experiences, screenreading technology has also play a factor in making old text-based games from the 70's and 80's accessible experiences for the blind. These older style of games traditionally relied upon superior writing and text-based adventure principles which makes them ideal for blind-gaming! So Onto the games!

Papa Sangre 1 & 2


price: $2.49

The Papa Sangre games are out on the itunes app store for IOS devices. If you've never heard of them, you should go and buy one of them right now, as in my experience these games are at the pinnacle of incorporating binaural sound engineering and clever game-making.  These games are scary and contain supernatural themes- but the content is not mature and my adolescent students love these sound-based scary interactive adventures!

King of Dragon Pass

All the elements in this screenshot are navigable by braille or speech! WOW!
(price:6.99) (Itunes Link)
edit: Available now for android and other platforms! Here is the game's homepage!

I love this game. As a child, this game helped me develop my literacy as a text-based adventure many moons ago and i love introducing it to my students now because it's extremely deep and engaging fantasy and provides amazing educational opportunities that are totally hidden in the game.

 I can trick my students into developing their braille literacy by linking it to a braille display, I can enhance my students screenreader navigation skills as the game is full of sliders, nobs and spreadsheets- so you have to learn how to navigate these to play the game effectively, and the game is full of strange fantasy words as well as real ones that my students have to explore by character to learn which helps develop their phonemic awareness too. |

Despite the games complexity however, it plays like a turn-based choose your own adventure- with you passing the time and being presented with options- a lot of the depth of the game can be unlocked as you play rather then being needed to be mastered immediately.

 It's principally a civilization or tribe management game with deep strategy and customization. You are essentially a war chieftain (male or female) in a deep and engaging fantasy world with a compelling metanarrative that also allows you to roleplay your chieftan to represent the character you want to be. You must allocate resources, decide which Gods to worship, which other clans to ally with and which to war with. There are countless hours in this game and all the while you will be exposed to moral questions, economy management and must deal with the consequences of your decision in short and long term events.

It was fantastic to see this old favourite revived in the modern age and it's still as useful as every for reluctant learners to sink their teeth into and engage in a deep fantasy experience.

Audio Defence Zombie Arena

Price: $4.99
Itunes Link:

Amazing Amazing. Who would have thought you could have a playable, action packed and entertaining shoot-em-up game without visuals? This is as close as you get to a sound-based FPS, it's brand new and based on the very latest binaural sound engineering. Just a brilliant tech demonstration, a fun and frantic game and something i can get my butt well and truly kicked by my blind students with. I'm trying not to sound like a corporate shill as this is by the same company that makes Papa Sangre- i promise i'm not- Just buy this and you'll see that it is objectively astounding technology and damn fun.

Not sure it's very educational though- there is some math involved if you want to effectively smack-talk other players about their score I suppose!

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