iOS Gaming: Have Blind Gamers Ever Had it so Good?

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The number of iOS games which are playable by VoiceOver users seems to grow daily, with developers either releasing new titles that are accessible out of the box (such as The Inquisitor Audiogame Adventure and Clever Clues) or joining the VoiceOver party by making existing games accessible.

No matter what your gaming preferences are, there should be something to suit your tastes - whether you simply want to roll a dice, play card or word games against sighted friends, care for virtual pets, immerse yourself in roleplay, or go on a zombie killing rampage.

Quite simply, blind gamers have never had it so good! Or have they? It's certainly true that only a very small fraction of the games available from the App Store are actually playable by the blind, whilst the developers of many extremely high-profile and popular games show no interest in making them accessible. And no, we're not talking about highly visual games such as Angry Birds, which with the best will in the world are never going to be playable with VoiceOver. We're talking about classic games such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Uno, all of which have a form of gameplay that means they could be made accessible ... the only barrier seems to be no interest from developers in making it happen.

With such a small choice in a very large market, there is certainly a strong argument that blind gamers are being seriously short-changed.

So, whatever your views, we would love to hear what you think about gaming on the iOS platform. Has it opened up gaming to the blind? Has it turned you from a non-gamer into a casual gamer? Or an occasional gamer into a hard-core gamer? Or does the whole experience of gaming on iOS still leave you underwhelmed?

Let us know your thoughts on iOS gaming by posting a reply below, perhaps also letting us know more about your personal favorites.

As an added incentive, we have a few promo codes to give away. First up is Robo-E, a newly-released game that has the title character in charge of cleaning up the galaxy from toxic waste. The developer has already given away some promo codes to our community, but we also have some up for grabs and will be giving these away to people who take part in this discussion. We'll simply be picking names out of our virtual hat, so be sure to share your thoughts on the state of iOS gaming to make sure that your name goes into that hat!

Update: In addition to the promo codes for Robo-E, I'm really pleased to announce that we're now also able to give away a couple of promo codes for The Inquisitor Audiogame Adventure. As mentioned above, this is a new release on iOS which has already gained much praise from blind gamers.

With this game costing $13.99, you game lovers out there should definitely want to make sure that your names are in the hat when we choose the lucky winners! We'll be doing this tomorrow at 12 noon GMT, so don't hang around!

A big thank you to the developers of both games for their commitment to making accessible games and for letting us have these promo codes to share with our community.

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62 Comments

#51 IOS Gaming

I've been playing various games on IOS since I got my iPhone last year. Before that playing games on phone was something that I never really took part in. IOS gaming changed a lot of things for me, now I play lots of games daily. My current favourite is Celtic Tribes, it's a great game and one of not many of this kind that are actually accessible. Another few favourite games I play: Football Chairman, great game, Proteus and much, much more. IOS gamers had plenty great games released this year, and although big money app developers aren't too kean to make their games accessible. There are upcoming developers that actually do take time to ask for feedback on sites like this. It's these developers that could make playing games on IOS even better.

#52 Sports games for blind IOS device users

Hi,

If you enjoy sports games, I'd personally recommend Audio Archery because it's very cool!
Take care,
André

#53 It's much better, but still a long way to go!

I know this is a little late to be adding this thread, but I've only just seen this topic, and it has prompted me to register, which has to be a move in the right direction...I think? Anyway, on to the question in hand...

I guess it depends on your gaming experience and expectations. I have crossed the great divide, slowly and painfully. I was a hard core sighted gamer, and did everything in my power to hang on to the gaming world, even thought my sight was failing. Bigger monitor, magnifying glass (a real live bit of glass and plastic, not a virtual one), tweaking contrast and brightness on the monitor and game, and so on...

I say all that because I want to get across the point that I know how imersive games can be, and the types of games that are truly addictive, and I'm not talking about relatively simple card and word games. There have been great strides to come up with a concept that compares to what sighted gamers know as 'first person shooters'. The Papasangra series typifies this. Having said that, there's still a way to go to make them as varied and imersive as sighted equivalents. I recognise that budgets play a part in how much physical time and resources can go into a $5 - $15 game, with limited appeal, so I'll move to other untapped fields.

One area, as far I know, that has not been explored in relation to visual impairments, is world building. There have been many successful franchises on the PC and other platforms, for sighted people, as these are hugely addictive, and you can spend hours, ir not days playing them. They are immersive in their game play and levels of detail. They range from city building games like Sim City, to empire building games such as Age of Empires. There's variations on these that overlap into another untapped area, such as Command & Conquer (modern warfare) and even World of Warcraft, or perhaps the older Warcraft games. These latter games merge empire building with strategy and war gaming. Games like Risk and Diplomacy, are all addictive but immersive, and a long long way away from card, word, and dice games.

They are all graphically pretty, and all contain the use of some kind of map...but here's the thing, and the reason why I think IOS has huge potential, and we're no where near reaching that potential...yet...maps on the IOS, with touch screens, are potentially accessible. I'm not saying that a retail version of one of the games above could be rendered accessible, but, if a developer were to revamp the games, maybe using the original code, maybe by placing a grid over the map, then there's definitely possibilities. Where you have difficulty settings such as beginner, advanced, and expert, bring in a visual impairment level, that takes into consideration the extra time a visually impair person might need to familiarise themselves with the map.

There's other untapped types of games too, that with a little thought could be adapted. Role playing fantasy games, role playing any theme games, could all enhance this gaming world. Kings of Dragon Pass is good, but there could be others, with perhaps more emphasis on action rather than stats. Role playing needs to be less linear and more choices than games like Lords Knight etc...

In short, yes, we're better off than we were 5 years ago, but we've got a long long way to go to catch up with sighted games from 20 years ago. Developers just need to get a little more adventurous, and build accessibility into games that sighted people can play too! Developers in the blind gaming world also need to get a little more adventurous and get away from Cards, dice, words, and the Papasangra 'follow the sounds' games. Follow the sound games are okay, but if we have too many of them, they'll start to feel a little patronising...you ,know, with all that bumping into walls and stuff!

#54 My thoughts on IOS gaming for blind people and Question about St

Hi everyone,

My name is André Filipe Silva and I was born in the USA. However, I come from a Portuguese background.
In my opinion, IOS gaming is becomming increasingly better! I'm a huge fan of Stem Stumper!
Speaking of Stem Stumper, I would like to ask you some questions. How can you obtain three curious carrots on the Seed Slinger Garden, level 7? How can you obtain three curious carrots on the Feeding Frenzy Garden, levels 5 to 10? Any tips would be appreciated!
Take care,
André Filipe Silva

#55 My opinion regarding gamming

Hi all. Allot of games like games from saga can be accesible. I would like to play candy crash or pet rescue. About my experience, I had a great time when I tryed to play audiogames on my ios device. It is something new, something that gives you the experience as equal as a sighted people playing with your touch screen.

#56 More Free Zombie Shooting Audio Games

For me, I'm really into action audiogames, like shooting zombies or slicing. I would say the same thing, there are less accessible games in the app Store when it has hundreds and hundreds of games. But audio fighting games?
There are some of these, like
SixthSense
,
Audio Defence
,
A Blind Legend
and
Papa SG (1/2)
, but some of them cost money. There're many paid audio fighting games, but not free ones. I think there needs to be more in the fighting category/action category.

#57 My favorite iOS games for blind iOS device users

Hi everyone,

My favorite blind-accessible games are SpellStack and Stem Stumper. Are there any other word-building games for blind iOS device users or not?
Best,
André

#58 Gaming Apps have been good but we need more

I feel like we are lucky in the number and quality of games we have. However I see room for lots of Improvement. I want to see accessible Harry Potter games, Sim games, and so on. I may be dreaming but it is the hope that I see these games become accessible some day. I think that it's sad that games that should be accessible such as EA Game's Life or the Apples to Apples game from Mattel is not accessible and there is no reason it shouldn't be. We need to continue to push app developers to make their games accessible. I am very glad that I have found so many great games for IOS and the freaquency that we get new games is awesome! However we should keep pushing for more not to be ungreatful but because the majority of games on the app store aren't accessible and many of them could be.

#59 games

OK. some of the games are OK but still a pain that we can not play football, baseball or any other sport game or war game such the one from GMA games.

#60 Agreeing with Jeff

Hey,
I agree with Jeff here. Only about 30% of the games in the App Store that are accessible. And sometimes when I hear a sighted person playing their game, take Candy Crush for instance, I get jealous because I want to play, but I cent because it is visual.

#61 I love games but

For me, games must have a story. I don't mind if it is text or audio, as long as it is a story with a proper beginning and a proper ending. Cards, dice, word and puzzle games just don't cut it for me. I respect the fact that many other blindies prefer them in stead. However, i just feel that there are so many going around for us, that it is starting to look and feel like it's the only games we blindies play. Oh well. Just another thought out there.

#62 Stories are OK, but they don

Stories are OK, but they don't have replay value.

Once you finish it, you may as well delete the game, especially the game with short stories.

Now if it's like final fantasy, where the stories are so lengthy it takes you days, if not weeks, then it'll be worth it, but the games we have now, with really short stories you can finish in like 6 hours, forget it.

If I'm going to pay for a game that will take me 6 hours to finish, I'd rather spend it on something worth it.

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