By Jamie Pauls, AccessWorld Author
In 2003, I was in a motorcycle accident with my dad and found myself instantly going from a really busy summer schedule to having absolutely nothing on my agenda at all. While the COVID-19 quarantine isn’t exactly the same, I do see some similarities. While watching the news is important, I find that I need to limit my exposure so as not to become overwhelmed with too much unpleasant information. There are many things one can do to combat the stress and boredom of self isolation, and one of them is playing games. Sighted people have thousands of games to choose from, but the options for blind people are a bit limited. In the next few paragraphs, I will give some suggestions that may help get you on the right track.
There are a number of games that were designed for the sighted population but which have been made accessible to blind people using screen reading technology. One of the most notable is DiceWorld which is playable on Apple and Android mobile devices. I play the game on my iPhone and can confirm that it is accessible. The great thing about this game is that my wife and I can spend hours playing Farkle and Yahtzee together. There are other games available from within the app, but those two are my favorites.
Another game that has given me many hours of pleasure is iAssociate 2. In this word association game, you must figure out what words are associated with a given topic. In the breakfast category, you might identify words such as coffee and eggs. Eggs, however, might be associated with chicken, which might be associated with a number of dishes. You can unlock dozens of puzzles as you play. While this game isn’t played against another player, I have found that asking my wife for help adds an element of social interaction to the game that it might not otherwise have. This game is also played on my iPhone.
In this month’s issue of AccessWorld, I reviewed Super Egg Hunt Plus a PC game developed by Liam Erven who is a talented blind programmer. In this game, you move around a grid collecting as many eggs as possible while trying to avoid being pecked by Mr. McChicken. There’s a bit more to this $15 game that makes it quite addictive, but I’ll let you read my review to learn more.
If you own an Amazon Echo, this CNET article suggests 25 games you can play on that device. By its very nature, the Amazon Echo presents games in an accessible format for people with vision loss. You can play trivia games, text adventure games, or takeoffs from games such as “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Sadly, a few very popular games including Words with Friends aren’t as accessible to blind people as they might be. The developers of these titles should be encouraged by as many people as possible to make their games playable by everyone regardless of whether or not they have vision loss.
If you crave social interaction, sites like RS Games and QuentinC’s Playroom allow you to text and even voice chat with other players. These sites offer a number of card games as well as the aforementioned Farkle and Yahtzee.
Over the years, we have also reviewed several different games in AFB's AccessWorld magazine. Below, I have listed several of these reviews:
- Game Review: Titles from Spoonbill Software
- Game Review: Release Your Inner Child with The Great Toy Robbery
- Thaumistry: A Study in Text Adventure Gaming
- Game Review: Less Is More with Mine Racer from 2MB Solutions
- FEER: The Game of Running Blind: A Game Review
- A Review of A Hero's Call, an Accessible Role Playing Game from Out of Sight Games
- A Review of Manamon, an Audio-Based Role-Playing Game by VGStorm
- Game Review: Timecrest: The Door by Sneaky Crab, Incorporated
- AudioWizards from MyTrueSound: A Sound Investment for Blind Gamers
If you are looking for even more games, remember that the website Applevis has a listing of games with accessibility ratings in their iOS app database. In addition, the website Audiogames.net has a database of over 700 accessible games on various platforms. If that seems daunting, you can narrow the list here.
Social distancing doesn’t have to lead to social isolation, and gaming is a great way to reduce stress, occupy your time, and perhaps even sharpen your brain. What games are you finding enjoyable right now?