Help Fund An "Audio Adventure Game"

Help Fund An "Audio Adventure Game"

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Aaron Rasmussen and Michael Astolfi want to create a game with no visuals, and they want your help to do it.

In short, the duo's Kickstarter project (appropriately dubbed "BlindSide") hopes to fund a Mac and PC game that is equally accessible to visually impaired gamers and those of us who can see. Rasmussen had an accident during high school that left him temporarily blind, and the two friends were inspired by this event to craft an entirely new kind of gaming experience.

While I'm quite intrigued with the idea of a game lacking imagery, the real reason I'm giving this thing press is that the duo's stated motivation for creating the game really spoke to me. To wit:

Aaron was blind for a short period of time in high school following a serious chemistry accident. This provided much of the inspiration for BlindSide.

As long time gamers we were searching for a new gaming experience. Think of the most amazing gaming experiences you may have had:

- the first time you played a fighting game like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter
- the first time you played an FPS like Wolfenstein 3D
- the first time you played an online multiplayer game with your friends like CounterStrike or StarCraft

At the time, those were NEW experiences and they were amazing. We've had beautiful experiences from games like Limbo, Alice, Flower, and Braid, and we've had new adventures from games like LA Noir and Mass Effect, but we wanted to let players explore something new, and something from Aaron's past. To do that, we decided to take the "video" out of video games.

This is not a social game, this is not an MMO, this is not a game designed to make money. This is a game designed to be fun, to be hard, and to push the boundaries of what players expect video games to be. This is a game designed to challenge us the way Zork and Super Mario Brothers have. This is a game designed to reward those who persist and overcome it, the way you might have felt after completing The Dig or Half-Life. But most of all, this is a game designed to thrill its players in brand new ways.

Even forgetting the laudable goal of bringing games to those who could normally not enjoy them, I'm all for the idea of creating novel experiences, and that seems to be a point on which Astolfi and Rasmussen agree.

Also, the description of the game itself sounds pretty awesome:

Because of the significant role that discovery plays in the game, we don't want to give too much away, but here's what we can tell you: BlindSide is about a young couple, Case and Dawn, who wake up blind, and find that there are monsters outside in the darkness eating people. You control Case as he and Dawn try to escape danger, and uncover why they can no longer see, what's outside eating people, and what they are going to do about it.

The Kickstarter project page has so far pulled in $1,911 of its $7,000 goal. There's still 41 days left before the project ends though, so if you'd like to donate, you've got until December 1.

So go do that. I want to see this thing get made, and what else are you going to spend your money on? Bubblegum and penny dreadfuls, no doubt.

Source: Kickstarter, via BoingBoing
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Ironically enough I can't play this because I'm hard of hearing.

Rack:
Ironically enough I can't play this because I'm hard of hearing.

Maybe they'll give it sub-titles.

-|-:

Rack:
Ironically enough I can't play this because I'm hard of hearing.

Maybe they'll give it sub-titles.

It's based on surround sound or stereo headsets to create the same effect so that won't help. I might check out a lets play or similar though.

I really can't see how this would work.
Edit: Hey-oh!

Is it really a video-game without the use of video? While I see their goal to create equality in our medium, you can't change the very nature of something just because some people unfortunately can't partake.

ike42:
... you can't change the very nature of something just because some people unfortunately can't partake.

Are you going to defend that viewpoint or just leave it dangling it out there like a wet fish?

ike42:
Is it really a video-game without the use of video? While I see their goal to create equality in our medium, you can't change the very nature of something just because some people unfortunately can't partake.

Not really. It will have the same controls as a normal videogame I'd expect, the only difference being is that it will lack visual imagery with in depth audio designed for, again I assume, a first person perspective.

A lack of visual doesn't mean the very nature of the game has changed, it's just an added challenge and a fresh way of approaching game design.

Earnest Cavalli:

ike42:
... you can't change the very nature of something just because some people unfortunately can't partake.

Are you going to defend that viewpoint or just leave it dangling it out there like a wet fish?

Well he is right. It wouldn't be a 'Video' game. It would be an interactive experience of some kind, and I bet it'd be interesting. But it can't exactly be a video game with no visuals of any kind.

If anybody is interested in seeing a game that already does this, then look up Papa Sangre.

Earnest Cavalli:

ike42:
... you can't change the very nature of something just because some people unfortunately can't partake.

Are you going to defend that viewpoint or just leave it dangling it out there like a wet fish?

First of all are you too stupid to understand the argument? I thought it was self-evident: video-games are a visual medium. Taking video out of a video-game makes it cease to be a video-game. You can't simply change the definition. It's not like it won't still be a game, just something completely different. Trying to still call it a video-game without the video would be like taking the visual away from television and still calling it that. No sir, that is called radio.

And now I ask you, are you just going to sit there and say my argument isn't good enough, or are you going to make one yourself?

ike42:

Earnest Cavalli:

ike42:
... you can't change the very nature of something just because some people unfortunately can't partake.

Are you going to defend that viewpoint or just leave it dangling it out there like a wet fish?

First of all are you too stupid to understand the argument? I thought it was self-evident: video-games are a visual medium. Taking video out of a video-game makes it cease to be a video-game. You can't simply change the definition. It's not like it won't still be a game, just something completely different. Trying to still call it a video-game without the video would be like taking the visual away from television and still calling it that. No sir, that is called radio.

And now I ask you, are you just going to sit there and say my argument isn't good enough, or are you going to make one yourself?

Whoa, down boy. Rein in that tendency to insult the staff, just because you were called out on not offering any kind of explanation beyond the obvious semantics of the overarching term.

Yes, I understand your argument and to be totally honest, it's pedantic and hinges on the idea that everyone operates in a purely literalist world.

Beyond that, I have no intention of arguing the validity of your idea, mostly because I didn't care about the topic enough to respond beyond my glib "can you expand that?" comment from earlier, but then you had to go and attempt to question my intelligence. I realize the internet is a swirling miasma of misanthropy and juvenile rage, but why did that seem like a good idea?

Naw, forget it, I'm too racked with ennui and blatant laziness to engage this point, but in the future, please try to base your complaints on more than just basic reading comprehension and monochromatic idealism, and do your best to actually outline your talking points.

Oh, and you might want to avoid leaping immediately into childish personal attacks. That just looks crass.

ike42:

First of all are you too stupid to understand the argument? I thought it was self-evident: video-games are a visual medium. Taking video out of a video-game makes it cease to be a video-game. You can't simply change the definition. It's not like it won't still be a game, just something completely different. Trying to still call it a video-game without the video would be like taking the visual away from television and still calling it that. No sir, that is called radio.

And now I ask you, are you just going to sit there and say my argument isn't good enough, or are you going to make one yourself?

Bzzt, wrong. Video games are not a visual medium. In fact, I might say the word 'video games' is a misnomer: 'computer game' is more accurate, as the main differential of the medium is that it's an interactive experience with defined rules that are set and mantained by a computer. That's the difference between a 'video' game and a traditional board game, the computer. Nowadays most computers use video to communicate with the users so naturally computer games have evolved to become 'video' games, but that's not the underlying assumption that drives them.

How could a blind person play videogames? They already do.
Most interpreters for Infocom text adventures turn the output into plain text, so devices used by blind people to use computers can be used to play those games as well.
Kingdom of Loathing is one of many text-based online browser games in which pictures are only ancilliary. Many have none at all. These games can and are played by blind people.
Nethack and other roguelikes use ASCII text to represent creatures and terrain, so can and are read by interpreters for the blind. It'd probably take some time to recognize 'dot dot dot dot gee dot dot dot dot at dot dot dot close bracket dot' as a goblin attacking you near a cloak, but it is possible and already happens.

So unless you are willing to defend that the defining thing about video games is the visual engagement, which would mean it's a different thing entirely from computer games, I suggest you backpedal quickly and act a tad more maturely in the future.

This idea has been done before. It's not really a unique idea.

 

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