Video Games

A Hero’s Call – The First Accessible RPG For the Blind, is it a Step in the Right Direction?

As you can probably tell from the title of this blog, and other posts on it, I’m very heavily into the accessibility of technology for people with disabilities scene.  As I said in my post about visual and kinetic novels, I like to look up accessible gaming news from time to time to see if something new has popped up.  I found this piece of news weeks ago, and honestly just have been putting off writing this post due to procrastination, but this is the first thing I’ve found that is even in this vain of game developing, and I thought it was super cool and got really excited for it.  So without further delay, here’s a video demo of A Hero’s Call, the first fully accessible RPG for the blind!

 

 

Rewatching this demo makes me realize a few things I didn’t before.  At first, I thought that they were using a visual novel/choose your own adventure game format for walking around, but it seems like you’re actually walking around with the character!  They’re implementing something me and my brother always say would be really easy to implement in a game:  just tell you where you’re going/where you are and use sound design so you can hear where you are.  This demo uses that really well, and the Windows narrator voice talking when you need to make choices is also something that I’ve always said would be easy to do, but not done in RPGs.  I really  Like that there’s some sort of beeping in there, probably also for letting you know where you are.

 

 

As excited as I am to see this, it isn’t perfect.  As far as I can tell there aren’t any visuals in the game, and that’s probably a bit alienating to sighted players.  I’ve seen some early coverage of the game say that the screen reader voice is a bit jarring for sighted players as well, so I wonder if they’ll add some sort of turn off feature in there – though a part of me secretly says “We deal with it every day, so you deal with it too if you want to play this”.

 

The battle system is a classic turn based RPG, and from this demo is seems like it’s very much like old school Final Fantasy.  I lost my sight very early in life, so haven’t been able to play those sorts of games for years, so for me an RPG I can play that’s this immersive is amazing.  I’m anxiously awaiting its release!
Ingenuity like this is honestly what got me into wanting to learn how to make games as of late.  After seeing accessible visual novels, and this, I realize that accessible video games for everyone are so close, if only developers just take the time to research what can be done.  The Out of Sight Games team is composed of people just like me:  gamers who lost their sight, missed playing games, and did something about it, and we need more people out there who will take the initiative and make accessible gaming a reality, instead of a long lived fantasy.  A Hero’s Call is the first in what I hope will be the start of a new movement for accessible gaming for everyone, with games that both sighted and blind gamers can play.

 

A Hero’s Call is developed by Out of Sight Games.  You can find their YouTube with more game demos here, their twitter here, and a kickstarter for A Hero’s Call here.

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11 thoughts on “A Hero’s Call – The First Accessible RPG For the Blind, is it a Step in the Right Direction?

  1. It is a really interesting concept – I stumbled across another RPG in the same vain today and am really interested to see how it pans out, it seems like this may be a new mode of making games if this sort of innovation keeps up!

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  2. Man, you really should have played Swamp in it’s hayday, or did you…
    For a few months their, it was maxed at 80 players all the time, with people vying for server slots.
    Their weren’t really any sighted people I must admit, and it wasn’t even close to an original concept at that point, but it did have visuals and the team play brought the blind community together like nothing before.
    So many people made friends their, and people from different countries were brought together, even if they didn’t speak the same language.
    It would have probably also gotten you more used to this type of navigation, as this is extremely similar to Swamp from what I can tell.

    Survive the wild was also a vibrant community, still has a fare few players but, it’s basically a money grab and the dev is pretty terrible at managing things, though the mods are pretty good so I’ve heard.
    Either way it’s not mechanically realistic at all anyway, the point is that their are lots of people to interact with and plenty of engaging environments to explore, with high quality sounds.

    You should try some of the bigger audio games. 🙂

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    1. I haven’t played Swamp, or any of the more advanced audio games. I took a decent hiatus from gaming because I got a little frustrated with how limited things were at the time and recently came back to it, so seeing all of the newer advanced audio games is really interesting, but also overwhelming with all of the options out there! Nice to have them all as opposed to only having interactive fiction games to play, though those are rather nostalgic for me 😀

      I’ll give audio games a deeper look, thanks for the recommendations!

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  3. If you tell me what genres you like, multiplayer or single player preference, and maybe your preferred speed of progression, I’d be happy to suggest some, I’ve played loads.
    I don’t know as much about mobile games but I have played several and have friends that do.

    If you wana contact me privately so it’s easier to have a flowing conversation without potentially getting off topic, you can add me on Skype: “superfreq2”
    🙂

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    1. Thanks! I’ll add you on skype next time I get onto it 🙂 have been not super active on it lately but either way we can chat over there too haha. I like RPGs and fighting games and can’t think of the other genres I like to play right now but those are my top 2. Oh, love visual novels also!

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  4. For RPG’s I’d suggest Entombed, Manamon, Shadow Line, and Bokurano Daiboukenn 3.
    The last two are Japanese, and you’ll need some way to translate Shadow Line on the fly, but BK3 has translations you can buy for five bucks.
    Here’s an article about that.
    http://forum.audiogames.net/viewtopic.php?id=17938
    For entombed, you should get the version from the following link, not the one on the site because that one is slightly out of date.
    http://www.blind-games.com/newentombed/EntombedSetup.exe
    However to get it to run, you need to install this file first: just make extra sure to read the instructions.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/xesu8rux26quxq5/SSCERuntime.7z?dl=1

    For fighters, unfortunately we don’t have anything like those, but for other first person action games we have the blind swordsman, a blind legend, Screaming Strike, and good old woop ass.
    For side scrolling beatemups, which I think is what you were saying you liked too we have Kringle Crash, Super Liam, bloodshed, and Adventure at C:\.
    Here’s the link to woopass, which is an older game.
    https://www.agarchive.net/games/ESP/whoopass%20setup.exe
    Everything else can be found in the combo box on the front page of audiogames.net.

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