Well, it’s a lot easier than one thinks. The trick to acquiring anything in life is knowledge. You don’t need to have a large budget to procure a variety of fun and exciting games. I would even recommend buying used games online if you’re a casual gamer and want to try a variety of styles, but we’re talking free here people. FREE! A lot of game designers provide Print & Play games as a way to get the public to test games without the heavy manufacturing costs. It’s also a great way to generate feedback on game ideas you are working on. So without further ado, here are a few resources I found that provide Print & Play downloads for free.
How incredibly awesome is this to see? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not blown away by a blind person playing board games, but MTG of all things. There is so much textual detail and context in Magic that one would think it’s overwhelming even if you could see. The cards are beautiful and that is one major draw for this franchise, but I doubt players rarely care about fashion and look forward to function.
The game is crazy technical and was never exposed to Magic when I was a kid. Would I start now? Hellz no! Why? Because I have other deep interests and that pool is a bit daunting to me to be honest. I have no shame in saying it, but kudos to those that play the game religiously and double kudos to this dude and any other impaired players out there that are sticking to their guns and enjoying gaming as much (if not more) than the rest of us.
There are a lot of book and game stores that cater to the blind. Board gaming for the blind isn’t anything new, and as you can see there are always ways to make any game accessible to those visually impaired. Below is a short list of the more popular shops from around the web.
- MaxiAids – Owned and operated by individuals who are deaf, blind and autistic
- VisionAware – Helping adults who are losing their sight continue to live full and independent lives
- Braille Bookstore – family-owned business who manufacture and supply adapted items for the blind
- RehabMart – Founded by therapists with children who have special needs
It’s truly amazing and after doing a little research for this post I found that there are many, many more businesses and associations (such as the AFB and EBU) and community groups designed around the visually impaired. Now, I knew that for the most part, but the plethora of support groups and variety of everyday things they have access to is growing by the year. And the amount of games being adapted for these remarkable individuals closes that gap in accessibility and really levels the playing field.
Making gaming accessible
“Between 10% and 20% of the people in a country can be considered disabled.” — Published in Accessibility in Games: Motivations and Approaches (2004)
Another great site to visit is Game Accessibility – a collective of people working to bring the world of mobile, console and computer gaming to those with impairments. The site states “The game industry is expanding at a tremendous rate. Games have been growing in depth and complexity over the past years and have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment, with yearly sales exceeding 7.4 billion dollars. Many innovative developments in new media and ICT arise from the game industry. At the same time there is a huge increase in game-oriented studies at universities and academies.”
They go on to say, “Unfortunately, the vast majority of modern computer games does not meet the needs of gamers who function under limiting conditions. Limiting conditions can be functional limitations, or disabilities – such as blindness, deafness, or mobility limitations”.
A very fascinating read and the truth is it’s becoming harder and harder, even with today’s technology, to keep up with the fast paced growth of gaming entertainment. Give the site a read if you’re truly interested.