Archives for posts with tag: blindfold games

A few years ago I skirmished with Lumosity about the inaccessibility of their brain training games. They ended the subject by telling me they had no plans to make them accessible.  I thought “nuts to you” and kept doing all the other things recommended to slow the slide into mindlessness: exercising, eating a balanced diet, socializing, playing cards, volunteering, reading, etc.

Sure, there are some accessible word and trivia game apps and some designed just for blind people like the Blindfold games.  With my recent acquisition of an Echo Dot 2 (for $20) I’m pleased to report that brain games by ear have gone mainstream!  Trivia games from Holy Bible trivia to Harry Potter trivia, vocabulary building games like difficult word quiz and SAT word of the day, twenty questions, and television games like Jeopardy and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. My personal favorite today (could discover a new one tomorrow) is Train Your Brain’s Odd One Out.  I haven’t found a good math-related puzzle or game, so let me know if you know one. Tyler Treese (another blogger about accessible games) says: “Products like Alexa have been great for the visually impaired. One of the best games on the system is the interactive radio drama Codename Cygnus. In it, players get to use their voice to be a secret agent trying to take down an evil organization called Trident.”

The games are not without their hiccups. For example “flour” was clearly the right answer in a word game, but when I said it, Alexa said “wrong” and I lost a life. So I said it again and got the same result. Then I tried spelling it and Alexa said “great job.” Apparently she had been translating my spoken “flour” into “flower”.  Good brain training to try to outthink her before I lost all my lives!

When mainstream tech provides something accessible to the blind, there are so many more choices than when we have to build it ourselves. Go mainstream!

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Blind people like to game too, but most mainstream games like Tetris and words with friends are inaccessible. Four years ago a developer Marty Schultz started developing Blindfold Games and now has over 80 games at the Apple store. www.blindfoldgames.org 8,000 copies of Blindfold Bowling have been downloaded, for example.

This week he was told by the Apple store he couldn’t market these games anymore but must crunch them down into a few apps. This would take a lot of work for very little profit. Blind people would lose the fun of gaming like their sighted peers enjoy and teachers of the blind would lose a fun way to teach their students how to use their iPads and iPhones.

As the developer’s blog made the blindness community aware of this horrible situation, advocacy efforts sprouted like mushrooms. Many posted their dismay on social media. An unknown number emailed or called Apple’s accessibility line. I contacted several reporters on the tech beat hoping to get the story out to the sighted world, but none responded.

But somewhere, somehow, something got to Apple and they changed their minds! In addition to celebrating the win by playing a few rounds of blindfold bowling, I’m wondering how to get Apple to give this developer an award. There are many more lucrative venues he could be marketing to, but I think he should be publicly thanked for making sure blind people can enjoy the fun of gaming too. If you have ideas, please let me know.