Playing mainstream xbox games with a little help from our Mac

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So, recently I've decided to vanish down the rabbit-hole of mainstream gaming. I know gaming is a hotly contested subject on here, My former self being rather negative about the possibility of being able to play as a gamer without sight, but it's feasible. Here is the setup I use:

  • Mac running Catalina
  • Xbox one S
  • The experimental VOCR application
  • The mac version of One-cast

I'm not going to go into the Ins and outs of actually playing specific titles, there are a big bunch of gamers out there who have far more of a clue such as Sightless Combat and Brandon Cole where you can find links to their articles and social media.

Firstly, xbox one has narrater on it which reads all menu elements, where it fails is in the games themselves however, that is getting better with games such as:

  • Forzo Horizons 4
  • Madden NFL 20
  • Halo Master Collection
  • Gears 5
  • Sea Of Thieves

Having spoken menus in game. They don't make the game completely accessible but they do make it so you can play some of it, such as hoard in gears 5.

Another game that is accessible with some learning, is Mortal Combat 11, which sounds amazing and requires the player to be dead on with their stereo positioning and again, though not voiced by narrater, there are some spoken menus.

Where OCR comes in on the mac is when I want to read text that isn't voiced in games that are not yet working towards accessibility. For this I was suggested the aforementioned VOCR which allows me to work out menu structures and work out just what I'm pressing on.

This is all very suck it and see, a lot of frustrations and it's unlikely that any of us could simply get into a game, but it is certainly not impossible.

This is just a very quick overview and there are people on here with far more knowledge than me but these are all things that I've found out in my brief experimentation with mainstream gaming. It's certainly possible despite what I've said before and there is a great community over on twitter of people happy to give advice. Just check out some of Sightless Combat and Brandon's youtube videos and you'll understand that game play is possible and, more than that, fun.

I've found it very inspiring that people are willing to put in so much effort to make things work. Maybe we've been spoiled by the simplicity of apple where very little is required from us.

Maybe those of you with experiences finding ways to play mainstream games could describe your experiences here. The more people that are playing, the more the industry will work to increase accessibility. Only last year 3 massive titles were given speech in menus, xbox created a way of sharing control of a single character with two controllers and I can only guess what will be done in the next decade.

Dons fire retardant suit... Let the flame wars begin...



Submitted by Remy on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

I admit I've never been a fan of any of the Xbox products - mainly due to the lack of appealing exclusives than anything else - but I admit what you're talking about here is pretty interesting. Sony's PS4 tried this too with their text to speech, and while they started strong, they quickly fizzled out to the point that there hasn't been a TTS update in years. That some games on the XBOX One even have spoken in-game menus gives me hope. I see just enough to play mainstream games without help, but even I find using OCR to read blocks of in-game text much more convenient. Especially all those in-game documents which still seem to be a huge part of game exposition. Who knew people kept so many diaries!
Anyway, I have always found the lengths totally blind gamers go to to play mainstream games very fascinating. I can't imagine ever doing that if I were to go totally blind - and I've been a gamer since I was six. That's dedication, and I think you all are some of the best advocates for the medium.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Yeah, the more I find out about Microsofts efforts in accessibility the more impressed I am.

As for the efforts, I think it's fairly simple as long as it is explained. The difficulty comes, in so many things, when trying to find the salient information. We are very lucky here on Applevis that there is such a great community and resource. It's a shame there isn't more of a centralised 'blind and partially sighted' hub of sorts, a place to find out about everything to do with our different use case scenarios.

Submitted by Orlando on Sunday, February 14, 2021

Hello everyone,
I am a totally blind gamer, my set up is the following:
Xbox one console using narrator
Game pass subscription
External HDD
iPad Air2
Supersense aI or Microsoft Seeing AI
Computer monitor

I am the iPad at the monitor to read any text that may show up in games. This method has been very useful in playing games like madden 20 or 21 in order to read the playbooks. This method is also very useful for navigating through different menu prompts. With a little experimentation and pressing left or right up or down and whatever button you may think work and hearing a different sound. This method is not ideal for navigating endgame and does not work for such.
I hope everybody is staying safe.
Gaming is for everyone!

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