Games for the Blind
Games for Visually Impaired Players
It can be hard to find accessible games for the blind. It seems like most games are designed with only sighted people in mind. Video and electronic games are especially challenging. These tend to be so visual. If you cannot see the screen, it can be impossible to play the game.
Blind gamers have a big challenge to locate the few games that are truly accessible to people who are visually impaired.
My teenage daughter, Frischette, is blind and she likes to play games on her Nintendo DSi. Accessible DSi games are particularly difficult to locate. She has been trying this by buying pre-owned games at Game Stop, then returning the ones that do not work for her and getting something else.
My daughter wants to be like every other teenager, and do the things other people her age like to do. I am passionate about helping her follow her dreams and be all that she can be. To this end, I want to help her find video games that she can successful play and compete with her friends.
Sharing information within the blind gamer community can accelerate the trial and error process that visually impaired people have to go through now to find accessible products.
This lens reviews various games for their accessiblity for blind games, according to my daughter's experience. If you have found a way to make some of these games work, I hope you will leave a comment and let me know, so we can make this lens an increasingly valuable place to exchange information.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of accessible games, although it would be terribly helpful if something of the sort did exist. Maybe, by working together, we can create a good list of accessible games of various formats. Please let me know of any that you are aware of so I can add them here.
Blind Gamers - My Daughter & a Friend Playing Wii Games
My daughter and her friend are both totally blind. They enjoy getting together to play Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii.
Photo property of author. All rights reserved.
Accessible Games for the Blind
These are games that my blind daughter, Frischette, can play independently.
Luigi's Mansion is a game that is playable by a person who is totally blind.
Luigi's Mansion - An Accessible Game for Blind Gamers
Frischette is managing to advance through the levels of this game entirely independently. When she first started playing she needed a little orientation from a sighted person to figure out what all the sounds and vibrations in the handset meant. It also took her a while to figure out how to maneuver around the mansion.
She has mastered Level One, and has unlocked new parts of the mansion although she has not found Mario yet. The Gamecube version of Luigi's Mansion is a lot of fun for Frischette, and she has spent a lot of time playing this game this summer.
There is also a Wii version of Luigi's Mansion available.
This is an accessible DS game for the blind.
Rhythm Heaven - Available for the Nintendo DS
I bought Rhythm Heaven for my daughter after a lot of careful research. I thought it sounded like it might be accessible. While this game does have a visual component, it is possible to play it completely auditorially.
The game requires that you figure out sequences of rhythms which become more complex as the game progresses. The game gives you sound cues to prompt you to tap and flick the stylus in various rhythm patterns. Players advance through a number of levels, and can also choose to go back and play levels they have previously mastered.
Reviews mention this is fun for all ages, from older children to through adulthood.. It is definitely fun for either blind or sighted. I enjoyed playing it, but my daughter is better at it than I am.
Also available for the Wii
Rhythm Heaven is now available for the Nintendo Wii. My daughter has not yet tried playing this game on the Wii, and I don't know anyone else who has tried it either. If you have tried it, I hope you will leave a comment and let us know how accessible the game is.
The description of this game at Amazon sounds like it could definitely be accessible, but we have not tried it yet. It involves matching a rhythm that is played by the game.
Super Smash Brothers Melee - Games for the Blind
Frischette is able to beat sighted players at this game on the GameCube. We have not tried the Wii version, which is Super Smash Brothers Brawl. If we get a chance to test it out, I will report back here.
Fun game for blind and sighted people to play together. Up to four players can participate at a time.
Wii Sports - Accessible Games for the Blind
Wii Sports is a package that has several games which are playable by people who are blind. The students at our school are able to play bowling, tennis and golf in this package. Frischette will be getting this for Christmas, and I will update you from personal experience after I see how that goes. I know she has successfully played several of these games at a friend's house, and is asking Santa to bring her this game.
Several of these games are accessible to blind people.
This blind gamer explains how he plays Bit.Trip Runner through audible cues and memorization.
Accessible Games for the Wii
The VI Fit was designed to help increase the physical fitness of blind youngsters. All of the games are free and can be downloaded from their website.
Play the games with a Wii remote and a bluetooth computer. If your computer doesn't have bluetooth capability, you can purchase a dongle for about $15 to make it work.
Read the rest of the article and download the games here.
For more information on haptic gaming, or the VI Fit, click the link below!
- Video Games are All Greek to Eelke Folmer
A comprehensive article explaining haptic gaming in greater detail with photos of blind people using the VI Fit gaming system.
VI Fit in Action
Games That Have Not Been Accessible for Frischette
These are games that Frischette decided to return to the store or give away to a sighted friend, because she found it impossible to play them independently.
These games did not work for Frischette
Your mileage may vary, but be aware that these games have some features that make them largely inaccessible to blind gamers.
We had hope that this was going to be an accessible game, judging by the descriptions on the internet. However, it was a disappointment. The premise is presented in a text-based story. Points must be scored by hitting various colored dots that float by on the screen. Hitting the dots accurately results in the rhythm and allows the player to progress in the game. If someone can see the dots, they can play. We did not find a way to do it without vision.
This game is SO cool! We really wanted this one to work. You load the game and then take your game system along with you as you travel around. Whenever your DSi detects a wireless internet connection it will download a treasure. When we had this, a trip to the farmers market about two miles from our house netted around 150 treasures. Most treasures are musical notes produced by various instruments, including folk instruments from all over the world. Players can then arrange these notes to form their own musical compositions. It was very cool, and very frustrating to Frischette who says it is "too hard" for someone who cannot see. I am not sure she did not give up too soon. It might be possible for someone with a lot of patience and persistence. I'm not sure.
I hope you will answer my poll!
Do you think video games should be made accessible to blind people?
Frischette has enjoyed playing this game, but needs a sighted guide to do it. It is very visual, but the story and tasks are interesting, and it has kept Frischette's interest. Her usual sighted guide does not enjoy it as much as she does (Hannah collects a growing to-do list which she has to prioritize...the sighted guide finds this too much like real adult life to be any fun).
Elsewhere on the Web
A few websites have sought to address this issue. As I find them, I will add them to this list.
- G M A Games
Offers several computer games. Some are free and others may be purchased. I have no experience with these games and cannot provide a review at this time.
- VI Guide's Entertainment Page - Computer Games
This webpage is quite a bit dated (last update appears to have been in 2008), but it provides a very good overview of why blind children should play computer games (to become computer literate, which will facilitate their independence). There are a l
- KChess Elite
Sells an accessible chess game for Windows.
- P C S Games
A good list of links to accessible games.
- Ann Morris
Sells several video and computer games for the blind.
- Kitchens Inc
Offers a number of free speech-friendly computer games for the blind.
A blog about auditory video games which is very current.
- V I P Gamezone
Offers a number of links to accessible games for blind children and adults.
Offers a chance to try playing their accessible computer game, Entombed, for free before purchasing the full version.
- Top 25 Sites for Gamers Who Are Blind
May be the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of accessible computer games for the blind on the internet.
Sells accessible computer games for the blind on CD.
Additional Electronic Games - Fun for Blind People
The games on this list have been recommended to me by blind people or parents of blind children as being accessible and fun. While not video games per se, they are electronic games and appealing in a similar way.
I know a lot of my daughter's friends enjoy playing Bop It. Kids with a lot of processing challenges may find this hard to keep up with.
This game requires you to follow a sequence of audible commands. The game will say, "Twist it!" "Bop it!" "Pull it!" The player must keep up or start over.
There are many varieties of Bop It. If your youngster enjoys one, he may also like the other versions, each of which will offer a slightly different kind of challenge.
I am not familiar with this game, but it was recommended by a friend of mine, who has a blind son. It is a memory game, which requires players to match a sequence of flashing lights and sounds to stay in the game. It can be played by one or two players.
Please take a moment for my poll!
Are you a blind gamer?
These games can be played by blind children with little or no adaptation
This is a game for a group. I remember playing this when I was a child. It is a fun game where both blind and sighted children can play together.
The kids at my daughter's school play this. It has been a long time since I played Cootie. Roll the dice and put the bugs together.
Scrabble is one of my favorite games. It is a great way to help blind youngsters build their literacy skills. What Language Arts teacher doesn't like Scrabble?
Let me know you were here! If you know of any other accessible games for the blind, please share that information here so I can add it to this list. If you have a review of a game you would like to me include, please let me know and I may be able to add it also.