When will all of the Sega, Nintendo and the Atari/Tetris games be made accessible for the blind?

iOS & iPadOS Gaming

How long do I have to wait until the games are made fully accessible so I can play too? When will we finally be heard!!!



Submitted by Joseph on Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Most likely, it'll happen when those companies think they'll be able to profit from doing so. Until then, the unfortunate reality is that when it comes to those systems, we're out of luck. It sucks, but it's a thing.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Thursday, November 21, 2019

I'm sorry to say but we are a bit at fault for this as well. we just except simplistic junk from the app store like card stuff and dice games. we could have a better gaming experience if we would just stop excepting simplistic stuff and advicate for main stream accessibility in mobile gaming.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, November 21, 2019

Needs to be worth while for the developers, whether it is financially or gaining value in brand image, or, alternatively, to avoid loss of face.

I also agree, there are some super sub standard games on the App Store. Even the choice of games sort of thing is pretty tame. We had the heyday with the something else games.

I'm not sure how good most of the Sega and Nintendo games would actually be even if you could convert them into a format for us. It's a bit of a backwards demand, you want games that don't yet existt as, by the time they are converted into an audio format they will not really look anything like the original.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Thursday, November 21, 2019

the trouble sadly in these situations is that accessibility is never thought of since the beginning and thus when it becomes implemented in games like these, the game would change so much that it would be differnt from the origional version. Furthermore, the way these companies work, it making a game accessible in 95 percent of cases the company will see all that money and effort wasted because disabled people are far less than sighted people. I know, its messed up, but that's how these companies think; as long as they keep making money; its fine; screw everyone else

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, November 21, 2019

And if and when we write to developers about this, they don't really comment. It's mostly the smaller devs like crafting kingdoms and king of dragon pass that do care because they are so small and they do not want to lose money.

Submitted by Remy on Thursday, November 21, 2019

I'm afraid it's more than utterly unlikely, mainly for the reasons already stated above, but also just because games from that era pretty much run on nostalgia. Ironically, most of those games are pretty simplistic too. Not saying they aren't fun, but a whole bunch of factors make it very unlikely. I'm not even sure how one would make something like Tetris accessible in the first place. That isn't to say it wouldn't be nice to have accessibility built into games from the modern era. There are tons of games which one would find very difficult to make accessible, but there are definetly some games which lend themselves quite well to accessibility.

Submitted by Scott Duck on Friday, November 22, 2019

I am all for accessible games being created for blind people and some games created for sighted people having accessibility added in, where possible. However, it simply is not realistic to expect that all games will be accessible. There are some games that, by their nature, are very visual and simply cannot be made accessible to the blind, not in any meaningful way. That isn't because of corporate greed or app developers not caring about the blindness community. It's just because of the nature of the games themselves. This is true for some other apps as well. I may be in the minority here but, as far as I'm concerned, app developers do not owe it to us to make absolutely everything accessible. We are blind. Through technology and determination, we can do many things that one might not think possible but that does not mean that we can do absolutely everything that sighted people can do. There are just some things in this world that require good eyesight and that's just the way it is. That is no one's fault, not ours, not app developers, not anyone's, but it is a fact of life.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Friday, November 22, 2019

sorry to the last poster but i don't bye that games can't be made accessible argument. I've been gaming sense I was small going all the way back to the original NES system, and I've learned how to navigate and play games from that erra. I do think that we can if we wanted to work with devs make modern games accessible. look at madden as an example of this. I just don't like this argument of we're blind so we should just roll over and except a lesser gaming experience then our sited counterparts just because of the disability we have. it is absolutely obserd that most in here just want this kind of gaming experience.I've always hated the simplistic junk that gets cranked out of the app store, and quite frankly all of us should stop feeding into that narrative and buying that stuff. I think that if we want to get serious about gaming, then we need to work with main stream devs like EA and give them feedback on how to make their products accessible, instead of excepting this i'm blind so their fore we should have a lesser gaming experience. I just don't like the arguments that some of you seem to put up about this topic do to the fact your so use to simplistic stuff that you just come up with obserd arguments like comment number seven.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Friday, November 22, 2019

Heres the thing though. I agree that all games if we worked with devs could become accessible, however, in most cases, given that some of the games are very visual etc, the game would probably have to be rewritten from the ground up via means of audio / text, depending on the nature of said game, making said game a completely different version, unless devs could add an option to enable accessibility in the game, by which the audio mode or text mode would be engaged. It can be done, yes, but it would take a huge effort on both the blind comunitie's part, and mainstream devs, not to mention commitment, etc, etc. It could be done though. As far as devs not owing it to us making games accessible or apps... i get your point, though i disagree. Look at this from a sighted person's point of view. Apple releaces a new mac, iphone and watch, however, they only work with voiceover with screen turned on, and there is no way to turn voiceover off whatsoever. Same for microsoft / google, with their respective screen readers, and none of these companies tell you anything about this. Just the usual thing, new device, buy it, new features, etc. As a sighted person, that uses sight to interact with the world around you, and technology... what would you do. What i'm saying is, just as with sighted people sight is the main way they interact with Technology, so is, in our case, the use of screen readers to interact with technology. Bccessibility is a right. Why? Because it is how we interact with the world, and technology. In our case, the screen reader is our eyes, techonology wise. This was mainly in a apps kinda point of view, but same goes for games. Of course this would be the case in a perfect world; which this world is far from, so while it may happen to some extent, it won't be 100 percent sadly as it should be

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Friday, November 22, 2019

well, like i've said this argument of games can't be made accessible just won't work with me. you can't honestly expect me to believe that main stream devs can't do it because of a lack of money. look at companies like EA. how many billions of dollars do you think they make every year on their madden series? I believe that most of the devs like rockstar games can make accessibility but chose not to because once again, we as a small community are at fault for this. we except simplistic junk and put up arguments like comment number seven and devs of main stream games will bye into that argument. I would love to break that cycle and come up with something good.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Friday, November 22, 2019

In reply to by brandon armstrong

Theres a big difference between, can do it; and will / would do it. In the case of big companies, can they do it? Heck yes, given that money is not an issue. The key question is though; will, / would, they do it. As I said before, any game can be made accessible. The main problem with mainstream devs is that when the; would / will, you make this game accessible question comes up, at times the answer is no; other times its that they don't give a damn; and other times it is that they don't know how or wwhere to start; these are rare though; the ones that want to help but don't know how or where to begin. Then again, maybee a mainstream dev would say yes if a visualy blind person told him that they played his or their game. All of this though depends on a lot of factors, starting with if the dev is open to it. Take fortnight as an example. If a blind managed to play the game, and write to the devs of that game asking to make the game accessible〃 they may or may not do it. Another thing. Correct me if i'm wrong, but in some cases, mainstream devs say no because they never immagined a blind person playing their game? I mean, as mainstream games develope, the devs aren't thinking, what if a blind person manages to play this⋅ Most devs especially in mainstream are not aware of accessibility in most cases. That has been changing over the last couple of years though.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Friday, November 22, 2019

I agree that all games can be changed until they are accessible however, they will not be the same game. What you are actually asking for is for developers to create a new game based on the concept of the original. For example, a shooting game is based on sight... It could be converted into an accessible game based on hearing, tracking a stereo field for an object or opponent... But this is a different game because the PC you are playing, the playable character, isn't blind. There is a mismatch between what we as gamers can do and what the PC can do. Sometimes this can be used to great effect, for example being able to fly or pick up a car or whatever the game shows, but you are asking for an experience that is based on vision to be made into an experience that we can access the same way as someone who can see... That's what is impossible.

Now, saying that, I play this game called life and I've worked out ways of doing stuff like rambling about my house, throwing peanuts at passers by in the street and so on. What we really need is for games to be so damn immersive that we can work out how we can play them. Imagine an audio engine so perfect at mapping a 3d space that we can control a PC entirely by sound.

I understand that you hard core gamers have worked out ways of playing games which is awesome, but the question is, why do you want to play a game that is based on sight? It's like going to a vegan restaurant and demanding steak.

For my part, I don't want diet or Frankenstein games... Let's call them frakingames, where the purpose and playability of the game has been so twisted and stuffed into a new shape that it only shows a passing resemblance to the original.

I know what both sides are saying. Correct, we should not simply accept the sh*t that we are shovelled in the form of resource management games or card games, but we also need to be more eloquent in describing exactly what we do want rather than simply using the magic phrase 'make it accessible', a kissing cousin of 'make it good'.

If you were to ask a developer, let's say Sega to make sonic accessible, what would you want it to be? They don't know what you want aside from a game you enjoy, they don't know what we can do and not do.

Anyway, I've rambled on far too long here.

@OliverKennett if you want to shout at me on twitter.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Friday, November 22, 2019

As for the original question, it'll happen either when one of these big wigs at these big mainstream companies suddenly goes blind, or when hell freezes over. As with a lot in life, people don't start to look at things differently until they are directly affected.

I also don't think it's fair to look at one type of game, like Madden, and assume that every other game could be made accessible. Madden is American football, so it's a little bit slower paced, so I think it's a little easier to make accessible than something like EA's own NBA Live games. I think certain genres of games lend themselves more to being made fully accessible which means, yes, digital versions of card and board games.

I get the idea that many so called hard core gamers thumb their noses at mobile gaming in general because the games are dumbed down versions of popular series that are increasingly filled with micro transactions. We just have far fewer games to choose from.

I get the frustration. Gaming is becoming more social and when everyone else is playing and talking about the latest popular game and I can't play, I feel left out. I felt that during those couple weeks in 2016 when Pokemon Go was everywhere. I've never understood the whole Pokemon phenomenon, but it would have been nice to choose to participate or not based on whether or not I liked the game, not because it's not accessible. However, as others have said, some things are just visual, the same way other things are auditory. Should Apple Music, Spotify et al not exist because they're not accessible to the deaf?

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, November 22, 2019

Wish the Eamon games were around for iOS. There are, I believe, a limited number of titles available for the PC and the Mac, but I wish that could somehow port over to iOS. Also, the World Series Baseball game by Harry Hollingsworth. Both of these brought me a lot of enjoyment growing up.

Submitted by Chris on Friday, November 22, 2019

I absolutely agree with comment 13. My mom is absolutely right when she says people would change their tune real quick regarding accessibility if the individual or someone that individual knew suddenly became somehow disabled and couldn't play the game, use the product, etc. The simple truth is that anyone can become disabled at any time for any reason. I'd love to start conversations with mainstream developers, but it seems like they aren't willing to talk to anyone who isn't another corporation.

As for mobile games, I agree that most are very simplistic, particularly blind accessible games. This isn't meant to bash anyone who makes accessible games, it's just the truth. There are audio games for Windows that are more complex and provide a better experience.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, November 22, 2019

Agreed. Go to [my youtuber page](youtube.com/marrie125) and click on the sequence storm page. This is a rhythm game the devs added accessibility to, and it's cool!

Submitted by Remy on Friday, November 22, 2019

I agree with you Brandon about the simplicity of many audio games. As someone who has just enough vision to more or less play mainstream games still, I cringe at almost all the audio games which come out. Blindfold this, audio that, a blind this or that. If it doesn't have blind or audio in the title, it's like it's not a real audio game or something. But I don't think that's a result of the medium of audio games as much as it is restrictions of creativity, and budget. Good and robust audio games probably take a lot more resources to make. And the audio games market is hardly a lucrative one. Furthermore, it seems like most of the games I hear talk about ARE in fact the simplistic games. There are actual interesting audio games out there, even ones you can play today, right now, but nobody's talking about them. Code 7 is one such example I've mentioned several times. But I've not heard a single person talk about it. The Girl who SOld the World is likewise soemthing interesting, as are a few others.

You mention how something like a ROckstar game could be made accessiblew. Given that nearly all their games are vast open worlds - many of which contain robust driving and chase mechanics - how do you envision something like that playing? An honest question. If you could take a mainstream game like Grand Theft Auto, or Red Dead Redemption - or even for that matter L.A. Noire, what would such a game's accessibility look like. I do see how something like a sports game could be made accessible, and of course phiting games. Lots of Narrative driven adventure games likewise lend themselves very well to accessibility. But what about something like this? If the folks over at Apple Arcade came to this board right now and asked how to make a game like that accessible, what would you - or anyone else tell them?

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Friday, November 22, 2019

to the person who asked me about rockstar games and accessibility right now I'm not sure, but heres my point. we as a community could work with a dev like rockstar and explain how we can given that a game is made accessible play it and if they would want to work with us, we could beta test products and give them feedback on the accessib ility and how to improve it over each beta build. to the person who says we're asking for a different game from sited people you couldn't be more wrong. that is exactly not what we are asking for. all we want is an equal gaming experience along side our sited counterparts and not have to except this simplistic junk that sells more offen then not right now. like i've been saying and will continue to say we can change this narrative if we would just stop feeding into the oh we can't play such and such game because we are blind, their fore we have to except simplistc junk and have less of a gaming experience.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, November 22, 2019

If you guys go to my youtube as I said, look at sequence storm, click on that playlist. That is one way a game can be made accessible. I can't really explain it, nor do I want to as it is a bit OT and I don't want to get band from here, but hope that helps a bit.

Submitted by J.P. on Friday, November 22, 2019

I think one of the biggest obstacles is the blind community. There’s too much division.
It’s not enough to say Make it Accessible. Brandon is right though about not speaking up for ourselves. Some blind people are just not willing to push for their full potential. Willing to settle for the scraps they’re thrown. That’s honestly hard to stomach.
I won’t bash the simplistic games. They bring some people hours of joy. With that said. Developers and blind gamers are capable of so much more.
Welcome to our ableist society!!

Submitted by Scott Duck on Friday, November 22, 2019

I used to play NES games, back in the 1980s, when I could sit about 2 inches from the screen and use my 20/500 vision that I had in one eye. I didn't do all that great but I managed to do it and I enjoyed it. Being aware of how these games were played, now that I am completely blind, I can't imagine how they could possibly be made playable by someone who is totally blind, unless the mechanics of the game were changed so much that, as others have said, it would no longer really be the same game. I lost interest in gaming long ago, even when I still had some vision, but I would think that the increased visual complexity of games over the last 30 years would have only further complicated this task. Brandon, you say that it could be done and you appear to be very certain about this. However, you say that you aren't sure how to do it. If you don't know how then how are the game developers supposed to know how? Perhaps some blind people could work with them and work out a way to make some games accessible. In fact, I'm sure that could be done. However, I think it is not realistic to think that absolutely all games, which are naturally designed primarily for a sighted market, can all be made accessible. Some very immersive tactile and audio based games can no doubt be developed but the game developers are not doing this for their health. In order for them to undertake such development, they would need to believe that there is money to be made in doing it. Face it, the market for these types of games is perhaps a tenth of a percent of the size of the game market as a whole. In order to really make any money developing the types of games I'm talking about, they would probably have to charge much higher prices than most of us would be willing to pay. If there is no money in it for them but they want to do it anyway, that's fine, but I don't think we have a right to expect them to do it just because we want them to.

Submitted by Blind angel 444 on Friday, November 22, 2019

The Nintendo switch, play station 4 and the x box 1 all have accessibility built in nairarater or text to speech. So why not the apps? The only way I could get truly challenging audio games is to go to audio games.net. Not to knock apple’s App Store, I need more. The games are fun but they get boring after a while. I love windows and Apple. I wish they could come together and make something new for us!

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Friday, November 22, 2019

I'd like to point out something here to scott duck. as far as paying higher prices for a game that is absolutely not true. madden 20 is the same price for us as it would be for anyone else, and yes their is accessibility in this game. I just don't bye your argument of all games can't be made accessible. sorry to say like someone else simplistic isn't what i want. I'm tired of a lesser gaming experience just because I am blind. thoughs of us who have been around sense the NES have been able to play games, and play them very well. I'm just not going to bye this games can't be made acessible argument.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, November 23, 2019

And you don't have to, however it is the mechanics of the game as well. I agree with who ever said that. If you have a concept proof to show us, fine but give us a step by step, if you cannot show us it can be done don't' say it can be, and wait by the sidelines for people smarter than us to come up with a way. It I think is rhythm games that can be made more accessible and not 3d games. Some games such as gears 5 are too complex for all of it to be accessible and face of the franchise I heard in madden 20 is not all that plyable as well.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Saturday, November 23, 2019

seriously sarah? have you even played madden 20 or are you just going bye hearsay? why should i have to show you how a game can be made accessible, not everyone wants to do that. I'm just offering suggestions on how to make them accessible.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, November 23, 2019

I do play, every day in fact. I'm in 2 franchises, and had one of my own before I chucked it. I can say it's about 1000 percent accessible, except for the playbook which does not read, the trainign which does not read, and a few things that don't read. However EA will not fix the problems until next year or so it looks like. We have sent them feedback and it now has gone ignored. I can't really say anymore than that but yeah, I'm not pleased.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, November 23, 2019

Converting the game to be interacted with in a different way is a different gaming experience therefore a different game. The variation in a resource management game will be as subtle as the way we parse the information but in a 3d first person game the differences will be huge, therefore different game.

Submitted by Andy Lane on Saturday, November 23, 2019

Hi all, I’d like to offer an opinion which is based in a little knowledge of how large companies are structured and work. I think the way to get this done is to be well organised in your approach. Firstly set up a means of communication so all who would like to contribute can get together in one place. A google group would seem like a good place to start. Brainstorm ideas of how to make each genre of game accessible. These ideas have to be within certain guidelines e.g. must not affect how game is played for mainstream, must not give advantage or disadvantage over mainstream players. I don’t know exactly what requirements you would like to include but they must be written down and adhered to. Then I would work up a proof of concept, it would help if this had a visual component as like it or not the world works visually and if you want buy in from sighted people you need to go to where they are. I would get signatures of as many V.I. People as you can to demonstrate the market. I would try to get media buy in maybe have a journalist reporting on your progress in this venture. Ideally it would be a documentary but who knows if that is something anyone has an appetite for. Lastly I would approach the main game designers maybe pick 5 and target them. Set up face to face meetings where you would present evidence of the market, comments of users who would love to use their games, ideas of how to realistically make their games accessible, show them the proof of concept you have worked up. Take the documentary maker or journalist with you, people love getting their 5 minutes of fame especially when its such a laudable reason. Lastly once you have them bought in on this being possible, there being a market and ways it can be done. Work with them on getting features through their design hopper, beta tested and finally implemented into the final releases. There needs to be an understanding though that the chances of getting old titles revisited is slim as the dev cycle for those titles is long closed, even bugs are rarely dealt with quickly once the company has move on so expecting entire re-writes or even significant changes is just not realistic. I agree in an ideal world we would just request accessibility and it would be done for the right reasons but realistically thats not the world we live in. Someone needs to own this and be a trail blazer. Thats the way new stuff happens in the world and its possible shouting make your stuff accessible will eventually work but its far more likely they will do it if someone takes ownership and works within established structures understanding how all changes are made whether its adding accessibility or the stuff they already do like designing characters and worlds, adding support for different hardware or platforms etc. Go to where people are and things will change. Anyway, if someone is already working on this feel free to ignore my post but in my very humble opinion this is the way to get what you want.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, November 23, 2019

Very good advice. If you guys want such games enough sadly you'll have to put in this leg work, it's not fair but the world isn't fair it's a cruel cruel savage garden of pain and despair... OR is that just me?

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Saturday, November 23, 2019

I feel as if most of the people who put out arguments like games can't be made accessible and you want to make the game different aren't really willing to except the fact that we can make games accessible if we put in the work. and as far as someone claiming they play madden 20 every day i just don't believe that either.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, November 23, 2019

Oh hat ever brandon, look me up on youtube if you don';t believe me. I have started to ignore y8our snarky remarks. Madden is very much accessible, a lot better than 2017 to 19. And EA can only get better. Look at the audio games forum if you don't believe me, or don't. What ever, I don't care anymore.

Submitted by Andy Lane on Sunday, November 24, 2019

I’m really sorry everyone I seem to have shutdown discussion which was absolutely not my intention, I was trying to give practical advice but sadly that seems to have caused a Fight followed by everyone going away.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, November 25, 2019

sAdly it is what it is. He trolls on here a lot and tends to shut down discussions like this one. It was productive until he stepped in. Oh well, Back to playing madden and sequence storm tomorrow.

Submitted by Kevin Shaw on Monday, November 25, 2019

Atari, NES and Sega don't have the kind of games with code bases that will allow for accessibility. These games were often hard coded to chips inside cartridges and written in languages like Assembly. There are no accessibility APIs on those old systems. Back in the day, memory space was precious and only the needed bits were used.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Don't ever apologise for raising the issue, Andy. It is obviously a subject of interest to many people and it's important that people discuss it. It's a shame when it gets personal but such is the internet. Don't ever stop asking questions just because people get tetchy about it... In fact, these are the questions that should be asked, in my humble opinion.

Submitted by Kristen on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Madden is an ocean of different in regards to complexity in comparison to a RockStar game such as GTA. And I say this having had played GTA extensively when I could still see fully - yes, I went from being fully sighted to 0 vision, and I have experience in playing on both sides of the spectrum. I also have some inkling of an idea as to what sort of coding would be required - it's never as simple as "make it accsesible". You often hear funny stories from developers about how the people contracting them, who have 0 idea about coding/programming, tell them to do something like "add this <insert complex functionality> - how hard can that be? You can do it in a month, surely?" Yeah, no. It's never that simple as you seem to be expecting it to be.

You are essentially asking the developers to add 3D audio mapping on top of a 3D open world, which may not even be possible using whatever game engine they're using. In order to do something like this, there'd need to be tools to do so that the developers have access to, as well as the knowledge to use such tools. It would also have to be, ideally, tools that are not third party developed and are supported by the game engine software. Mainstream developers do not like to rely on third party "hacks" or plugins that may become obsolete/broken at the next game engine update.

Is it essentially possible? Yes, potentially, but the developers may have to essentially reinvent the wheel if there are no APIs they can readily use to achieve such things. Is it feasible to expect developers to do this, on top of an already demanding release schedule that sees games frequently kicked out the door with many bugs that need patching? No, probably not, but there are probably a lot more low hanging fruit than GTA as something that can easily be made accessible.

What /needs/ to happen is:
* Focus on game engine makers to ensure there are accessibility APIs that game developers can actually use.
If there are no tools/APIs that are official from the actual game engine, mainstream game devs will be hesitant to use them. For an example, see how much of an issue Unity's lack of accsesibility APIs is having on the game industry as a whole. Yes, Crafting Kingdom uses a third party plugin they developed to make the game acccessible in Unity ... but this is admittedly a "hack"/workaround.

Other game engines, such as Unreal Game Engine, are actually working on accessibility APIs to allow interfacing with screen readers, etc., but there needs to be more of a push wiht the game engines to ensure there are tools for game devs to use. Are there also 3D audio tools the game devs can use? What other tools might they need? Things need to be encouraged to ensure it is as easy as possible for a game developer to add accsesibility to their game. They should not have to code entire sections of game engine code to do what should be an official function of the game engine.

I still think not every single game concept will lend itself easily to accessibility. Rockstar Games/GTA, as well as open world RPGs such as Legend of Zelda, would be immensely difficult due to the sheer size of the world and needing to map audio to so much. And it's not as easy as just screaming into the void that they should "make it accessible". It just may not be feasible or, in the case of the APIs/tools, even possible at this point.

I honestly think an easy game to make more accessible would be something like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, as it would lend itself well to accessibility and is not a genre we've really had before. (I think some people have managed to sort of kind of play it with OCR, even?) As to mobile games, Pokemon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite would probably be easy to adapt, but I believe these 2 are mired in the whole "Unity" debacle of not having any official accsesibility APIs to draw on, so Niantic, the developer, is just holding their hands over their ears and humming loudly when asked about accessibility.

Submitted by Wayne Scott Jr on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

‘s not that we don't want to do the legwork. Some games are so action-packed that it would be impossible for a blind person to keep up. My opinion is that we do with what we have and if a game that becomes accessible is doable, then go for it. Some games would have to totally be rewritten. If there are blind game developers out there, theytry to develop something for the blind and sighted. We liv
sighted world.

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

As someone who grew up in the days of the super nintendo, NES N64, sony playstation systems, etc I can say a lot of games are playable if you can figure out what is happening, and what to do. I agree with people that there seems to be a lot of devision in the blindness groups/etc... The idea of making games blind friendly/whatever ya wanna call it... (read) "accessible" is a good one, but doomed to failure. Sega doesn't make games anymore... They stopped making games after their dreamcast console flopped in 2001 and are now software only. Look up the youtube channel "gaming historian" if ya don't believe this. Audio cues are important, and crusial in order to play games, I'm all for console games to be made blind friendly, but sorry guys, i just don't see this working. We are a very small minority group, and here again like everything else in the blindy community groups/etc/whatever, it just seems like a lot of these ideas will just get no where. It's a good one, but I'll say this it will flop. Some devs are willing to work with you, look at Mortal kombat, I think it's injustice, they have a menu system... But having the voice actor read everything, just won't work. Things constantly change. Menus are context sensative, and dubbing over everything in the game menus just isn't practical. Impliment some sort of TTS solution that works and I'm happy.

Submitted by Devin Prater on Monday, December 2, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

So, no one knows about emulation? Check out https://allinaccess.com/pca/

Really, it'll take a lot to make older games accessible. Plenty of fighting games, like my favorite, Dissidia Final Fantasy, have been made accessible even by an emulator and NVDA's OCR functions. And yes, I bought Dissidia from PSN so that I could play it in an emulator, which is legal, so none of this "oh my gosh you're breaking the law call the po po!" crap. If there's any way to make games accessible, I feel that it should be done. If companies won't give a crap about us, then I believe we shouldn't cry over lost nonexistent profits.

A big part of this is advocacy. Have any of you approached emulator developers asking for accessibility improvements? No? Why not? There's a huge one, the Retroarch project, which seeks to combine all emulators into one, united front-end. I've approached them, and work is actually being done, not only to make the inaccessible User Interface speak, but to also recognize text in games, which is also possible, which now brings accessible emulation to the Mac and Linux. Yes, this means I can play Dissidia Final Fantasy with the awesome effects of Boom 3D, 3D sound.

With all this comes the possibility that sighted developers could sort of mark up games with accessibility notes, where objects are, how much health player one still has, how far along my Ex-gauge is, when I can perform a finishing blow, where the castle in Super Mario 64 actually is, so much. But, this takes a lot of advocacy, and I for one am up for it. Who else will try with me? Who else wants to see just how accessible old games can be?

I'm not saying it'll get done in a day, or a week, or even a year. We may have to test games for months before it's even somewhat accessible. But gosh, emulation is such a great chance for accessibility, and I won't give up on it.

Submitted by Remy on Monday, December 2, 2019

To stay on topic of Apple accessibility, I'll say I really, really hope the MAC and by extention IOS will get an OCR feature which is comparable to Windows 10 OCR with NVDA. I think it would help us a whole lot in so many ways. Now back to games. NVDA is in many ways, a game changer, at least for me. Granted I can already play "sighted" games, though at a slower pace than the sighted. But Reading all that text, while doable, is slooooow. NVDA has, mostly, solved that problem. Depending on the font and background of the text, NVDA will read it quite well. Now this functionality can be extended to the PS4 using PS4 Remote play. Essentially it allows you to stream the display from your PS4 to your PC, which means NVDA can use its recognize text feature to recognize text in menus, documents and other in-game reading. Of course navigating to such text in menus will present its own challenges to the totally blind, but at least it's a start. And of course, this would work with emulators also, as long as the text is clearly defined, which in those days it usually was.

Submitted by Orinks on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Hello everyone,

I have been gaming in both audio games and the mainstream games for years, and these are my thoughts.

This talk about games, of whatever genre, or concepts being unable to be made accessible is exactly the kind of talk the hire-ups from these companies want to hear so that they can justify their actions of either delaying or just flat out not even attempting to implement it.

All and all, accessibility has been on the up for the industry. Narrated menus appear to be quickly becoming a standard in games. Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, the Division 2, Mortal Kombat 11, Madden 20. Not to mention upcoming games that will have it such as Ubisoft's Watchdogs: Legion.

Madden 20 is the first and, so far, best experience thus far when it comes to mainstream accessible games. It goes the most in-depth with user interface narration, including total accessibility with franchise, Ultimate Team, quickplay and Online Head to Head.

There are gameplay vibration feedback for passing plays, running plays, knowing when the ball is in the air, etc. This makes us able to play against every player and stand a chance.

That said, we could not play competitively at the moment. This is because competitive players use information unable to be obtained in an accessible way currently. Being able to 'user control' a player you are in control of on the field is the number one thing that competitive players do. However, I don't care very much that we're at a bit of a disadvantage currently. The fact that I can play singleplayer stuff, or attempt to play against someone online is a joy, whether you're a sports fan or not.

For open world games, here is my proposal.

Most open world games give you an objective to get to, or you can select one on a map, where the game will then guide you. Audio indicators can be used to indicate where the visual arrows are pointing, which tell you when/where to turn. It doesn't matter if you're driving, walking or running. We just don't want indicators just to our objective. These games have side content that lead into side activities everywhere and some may be on the way to your main objective. So, make a different audio indicator sound for that, where we can veer off the main path and do as we please, always keeping in mind that the main objective is waiting for us.

That's great. How can we handle selecting points on a graphical representation of a map? With a menu that is designed to do exactly that, but design it so that text to speech can handle it. Instead of a mess of places disorganized on the screen based on their location on the map, make a virticle menu, perhaps separated by location, where you can select a category, then a place. This would select your place and begin guiding you with audio and visual indicators, just as if a sighted person selected it on the map for you with a virtual cursor.

I can go on and on about how combat could be made more accessible in these types of games, but what it all boils down to is information. As long as we can get the information and are able to process the non-visual equivilent to the information as fast as the game is going, we can play the game. It's that simple.

Hope this helps and people can start being productive about how games like this could be made accessible, instead of just going on the audio in the games currently, how you personally can't keep up, so that means we just can't. That attitude will get us nowhere.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

ok I'm just going to put in my two cents here. this argument of we are a small minority excuse gets really really old. I'm tired of hearing that for everything, and quite honestly I think it is just a way for some on here to take an easy way out and say oh jee, we're blind, so theirfore, we shouldn't work to make main stream stuff accessible. we love simplistic junk like dice and cards all the time, and we don't want to change the status quoe. absolutely pathetic just pathetic. and as for sarah, if you don't like what I have to say about main stream gaming verses simplistic junk go look up real game critics. sorry to inform you, but a real and true game critic won't just suck up to a game dev and say nice things about them if their game isn't up to standard.

Submitted by Ian Hamilton on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

You have legally protected rights. Developers are now required by law to consider blind accessibility. That's why the list of games that orinks posted above exists.

The legal obligations only apply to chat functionality and any interface or information needed to navigate to or operate it. But that means that the color of blind accessibility is squarely on the table in company companies where it had never even been imagined before, and also means that increasing numbers of studios have tech in place to handle menu accessibility at least.

And that's about to dramatically increase. The two biggest game engines (code frameworks that developers use to make games with), Unreal and Unity, are both currently working on screenreader accessibility.

Times are changing.

Submitted by Erion on Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Please allow me to add my two cents, both as a developer and accessibility advocate, and a mainstream gamer.

While equal access should exist out of the box, there are certain factors that we need to take into consideration.

First, and foremost: audio games are at least one and a half decades behind. This is quite harsh, but sadly, it is true. Considering what is achievable these days, 99 per cent of the audio games are very simple, and even more complex ones were possible in the '90s, if not earlier.

Without going into details, one relevant reason for our topic is game audio. 3d, or even binaural audio is quite sparse. Accessible tools to create such content is even more so, for example for Oculus. I am mentioning this specifically, because in order to recreate a faithful environment, this is absolutely necessary.

Imagine, for example, a simple tetris game. Visually, you have rising or falling blocks that you have to match. You can scan the entire screen, and focus on the relevant items, while in an audio-based interface, you are hearing everything. In its most simplistic form, this is a two-dimensional, stereo field. Can you handle three items? Five? How about 15 all at once? It gets very overwhelming very quickly, especially because up and down loses meaning, since you move left and right only.

If we have 3d audio, things are a bit different, a lot more can be conveyed, such as the position and the movement of an item. On top of that, however, there are a lot of other factors, such as the shape or the color of an item, maybe even its facing, if it is relevant, etc. If you come up with a design, for example to duck other sounds which are not relevant to you based on your cursor's position, if you have one, have a board scan feature that pauses the game so you can review the entire screen, etc, congratulations: you have blind accessibility figured out. You can go ahead and implement your slight modifications and it's all good. Except: what about people who can only use a switch device? If you figured this out, what if they have motor issues, so their reaction time is significantly slower, or, they are unable to let go of a switch/button as quickly?

These are all design problems that significantly change how a player interacts with a game, implementing each issue that I mentioned would require a different approach. Is it impossible? No, absolutely not. It would not and should not be a game changer to anyone, and while I don't agree with the fact that this would result in an entirely different game, I do agree that anything is possible, thus any game can be made accessible. But I would like to go back to my previous statement again: this is just a simple tetris game. Imagine anything more complex, such as a racing game, an FPS, a platformer, and things become incredibly complex.

But here we reach the first real problem. As you might know, people in today's world always want faster, better, more flashy and more exciting products. This is also true for the gaming industry. And while this is arguably good for new inventions, those inventions are expected to be released yesterday, or even a week ago. It is a tremendous task to keep up with all this, no wonder it is a nightmare for an indie dev studio, they are not equipped with the knowledge to also add accessibility for a game that is mainly developed for the majority of the world. I am not suggesting this as an excuse, just stating facts. Would it be possible to reach out and to come up with something? Certainly. But this is something that needs more research, testers, coordination between the sound designers and level editors (who are often working separately, while their leaders communicate if needed), and this needs resources and a lot of time that would delay game releases. And if someone else comes up with something quicker, there goes their funding and very likely their profit. Yet again, these are not excuses, I don't really have or meant to have solutions here, I am just stating facts.

This is probably not going to earn me points, but I even go as far as argue that the majority of just the blind community does not have the skills to handle the complexity of a mainstream game. This could be because of various reasons, one being that they grew up with audio games, their field of view is quite linear, they are very often overwhelmed by a lot of sound sources, etc. For instance, there was a published research and an article that discussed spatial awareness and object location in space, which suggests that locating objects without time cues is something that might be working differently. See here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180801115308.htm

Of course, take this with a grain of salt, but it might be a factor that is very important at design-time. But I digress.

In this regard, indie games are better, it is not a surprise that Skull Girls was probably the very first accessible mainstream fighting game, if not the very first fully accessible mainstream game.

So to answer the question of the OP, I am not sure when. If it becomes a reality, it is very likely not going to be an official accessibility patch.

Submitted by Wayne Scott Jr on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Even though I don't understand tech talk, I get the point and you put it very well.

Submitted by Erion on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thank you. I'm sorry about being too technical, I can get lost in there sometimes, even if I don't want to be. I guess it's fighting for dominance after a week of non-stop music composing :)

Submitted by Ian Hamilton on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Luckily that's not remotely true -




And on the UI side both Unity and Unreal are working on native cross platform screenreader support with fallback for platforms that don't support it.

You're also approaching accessibility of mainstream games from the wrong angle.

Blind gamers already play GTA5, Forza, Halo, Call of Duty, Diablo 3. The games aren't fully accessible, but they are accessible enough to make them worth playing. They already have a ton of unintended accessibility in them. Lots of information communicated in a blind accessible way without overwhelming or clashing.

So it really is not the case that it is exponentially more complex. Think about it the other way round, not in terms of how to communicate everything from scratch, but how to build upon what's already there.

Watch someone playing a mainstream AAA game, see what works and what doesn't work. What easy ways there may be to make the game more enjoyable and more independently playable. What would solve someone accidentally knocking their crosshair too low or high in an FPS? What would allow people to reduce the level of steering assist by an increment in a racing game? These are not unsolvable problems.

So in all -

1. Tools are proliferating, including for VR
2. Accessibility of mainstream AAA games is more achievable than you think
3. The experience still has value at less than 100% accessible

One last point, just to be sure you know this isn't merely opinion speaking - I cannot give any more detail without breaking NDAs, but there are fully blind accessible mainstream games due for release by multiple mainstream studios over the coming year or two.

Submitted by Kristen on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I totally agree with Erion and Ian's points. There are certain inevitabilities with the fast-paced nature of game development (not excuses, as Erion noted) that certainly make this difficult. However, as Ian said, tools for accessibility are proliferating, the visibility of blind gaming as a thing is increasing due to the legal obligation to make chat functionality accessible, etc.

I still think it's extremely disrespectful to call some of us "pathetic" for trying to put a spin of realism on the pie in the sky notions that all the triple A mainstream game developers are suddenly going to be able to implement high quality accessibility to open world games or concepts that are difficult to make fully accessible from the get go. Baby steps, as it were - the tools are just expanding. It's certainly not impossible, but it needs to be something developers can easily do/fit into their timelines and something they can grasp.

No, we shouldn't "roll over" and accept simplistic card/dice games from now on, but we shouldn't approach developers as entitled demanding players that scream at them to make their games accessible "or else". In the case of Unity/Unreal games, the tools may not be there yet and threatening them makes no difference. They simply may not have the time in their crunchtime developer schedule to code an accessible solution from scratch. And by the time something is released? It may be even more difficult to overlay accessibility on an already released product.

I'm for being patient. Things are moving in a great direction now and accessibility is moving more into mainstream. We do not need to be combative about it.

Submitted by stirlock on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

To add onto Ian's comment, I'm primarily a main stream gamer. Perfect example of a game that is incredibly playable is samurai warriors 4, part of the musou genre of games created by Koei Tekmo. The mechanic that makes this game stand out is that you go through the stages with an AI partner and can freely switch between them at any point. The character you're not controlling will automatically go towards the next objective on the stage, thus as a blind player, you can just focus on hacking and slashing the crap out of anything in your way, switching back and forth as needed. Combined with remote play on ps4 and OCR technology means I can customize my characters to my liking, read the subtitled story, and even partake in the ridiculously fun chronicle mode, which has you create a custom character, recruiting famous historical figures from the sengoku period along the way and have them join you.
Is it perfect? Of course not. The OCR can be spotty at times, and some things just do not read well at all. But is it fun? Absolutely. I feel like I'm most definitely getting my money's worth out of this game.