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Blind gaming — the ultimate difficulty setting

- January 24th, 2013

 

benbreen

A visually impaired gamer is calling on the industry to make games more accessible.

Not that his disability has stopped Ben Breen, 19, who says he can consistently beat his sighted friends at Rock Band.

But how does a guy blind from birth — he was born four months premature — even play?

Well, he was introduced to an audio game called Grizzly Gulch Western Extravaganza.

It’s described by Bavisoft — a company that makes games especially for those who can’t see –  as a “virtual world set in the Old West created purely from sound imagery.”

It uses a simple, four-button interface, but you can do tasks as complex — and fun — as shooting bottles at a target range.

From there, Breen (no relation) started to use screen-reading technology to hear text, and could play Wii Tennis, and later discovered he could play lots of games using concentration and muscle memory.

Here’s his explanation of how he plays Mortal Kombat for PlayStation 3.

The lack of visual might give you an idea of what it’s like to play from Breen’s perspective.

So what makes a video game accessible to those who can’t see? Here’s Ben’s list, as told to the Daily Mail.

  • High contrast graphics — they can help the partially sighted grasp what’s going on
  • A dedicated accessibility mode
  • Spoken tutorials

He also has an idea for a glove — no, not the useless yet charming Nintendo novelty you’re thinking of — that vibrates to indicate, for example, hovering over an option.

Ben is one of a number of blind gamers with serious chops. Recall this guy, who finished The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, without seeing a thing.

(Also, isn’t it cute when the CNN guy explains what a speedrun is?)

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