Blind Gaming on iOS

Lately on weekends, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on around here. Well I guess last weekend was nice, with my cousin’s bachelor party that was mostly a laid-back affair of music listening, some consumption of adult beverages, and a late-night trip to the Waffle House.
It would have been more enjoyable for me if I’d had hearing aids that were fully functional, but fortunately my old aid that had been sent in for repairs has now been returned. Amazingly, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in battery life. Even if they put a new battery in on Tuesday as I received it, the aid should have run down by this point. It still hasn’t, but for safety reasons, I will probably go ahead and replace it tomorrow as I venture out and off to work again.
The most exciting thing that I’ve noticed with these aids now is that I can again hear in stereo sound without them wavering or scaling back so that things don’t come across as they should. This means I can engage in audio gameplay that often involves the use of headphones to help gauge where things are coming from. As such, I’ve recently more thoroughly ventured into the world of gaming on the iOS platform.
I’d attempted some non-audio games a few months ago, most notably iAssociate, a puzzle-type game where you try to solve words based on categories and enhanced by the solving of previous words. This game wasn’t so much my cup of tea, largely because I just couldn’t figure out enough of the words with the few hints I was given. I don’t know how good a puzzler I am anyway.
In the past couple of weeks though, I’ve become addicted to a simple, silly game called Audio Archery. In this one, you attempt to shoot at a “moving” target as it slides from the left to the right ear. You shoot by flicking your finger down, then releasing as you wish for the arrow to fire at the target. There are ten rounds of seven shots apiece, and as far as I can tell it, the target seems to gain speed with each successive round. You also have to score higher and higher in order to continue advancing.
This game is especially fun as I rattle down the highway on the bus heading into the plant. Although perhaps other passengers wonder what that occasional muttering is about when I misfire or a game ends prematurely. Ah well, most of them are probably barely awake for the majority of the ride.
Finally, because of a recent AppleVis Podcast Extra, I was inspired to try the Papa Sangre game. In this one, you walk through a castle attempting to save someone who is “in grave danger” by collecting musical notes, avoiding hogs, and overcoming all sorts of other amusing challenges.
On the podcast, the game developers said they wanted to create a game with enough complexity to rival those made with fancy graphics and video, but also playable by individuals who are blind. I would say that they have done this in many respects. I like the female character who speaks and tells me what I should do as I navigate through this world, apparently with a Spanish accent.
I wonder though if my iPhone 4? At least I think it’s still a 4, has enough juice to really handle this game though. Sometimes, it gets stuck as I am to transition between levels. I only just figured out that I need to re-enable VoiceOver in order to click the “Continue” button, or I might accidentally go back to the beginning of that level. Those are minor quirks though, and eventually I will work my way through them.
It continues to amaze me how much I’ve adapted to this iPhone over time. It is in many ways my entertainment platform now, with the trusty PC serving as my mechanism for writing when I choose to do so. Learning gaming is quickly enhancing my ability to navigate around the keyboard and to get even more out of this product. And it’s probably the first computing device on which regular game developers begin to grasp the concept of creating feature-rich audio games that are thus accessible to a greater percentage of the population. Take a look, and enjoy!

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