Thursday, June 20, 2013

BlindSide: An Audio-Only Serious Game

Serious Games offering an identical gameplay experience to both sighted and visually impaired players


BlindSide, developed by Epicycle, was the winner of the 2013 award for Most Innovative Game at the tenth edition of the Games For Change Festival, held this week in New York City. Founded in 2004, Games for Change facilitates the creation and distribution of Serious Games for social impact that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts.

BlindSide is a single-player,  3D audio-only adventure game for Mac, PC and iOS, inspired by co-creator Aaron Rasmussen's temporary blindness as a result of an explosion in high school chemistry.

BlindSide takes the video out of video games, and tosses players into a fully rendered 3D world that they'll never see. Players explore their environment guided only by what they hear in the world around them and their memories. In the environment, there are certain sounds that are constantly playing in order to act as a reference for the player. These can be the sounds of other people, a ticking clock, or sleeping monsters. As you explore, finding specific items trigger scenes that take control away from the player and progress the story.

You play as Case, an assistant professor who wakes up blind, and is quickly forced to deal not only with his inability to see, but with attacks from terrifying monsters. It's up to Case and his girlfriend Dawn to find out how to survive, why they are no longer able to see, and what's driving those creatures.

The player turns Case by rotating in real-life when playing on iOS (the game features a gyro control scheme that allows players to change the direction they're facing in the game just by rotating their bodies in the real world), or by using the keyboard when playing on a computer, and moves forward and backward using buttons. Using stereo headphones, the player can experience the full 3D effect andlocate himself/herself within the space.

Despite being audio-only, Blindside is able to create a fully immersive environment, offering an identical gameplay experience to both sighted and visually impaired players.  

This Kickstarter success story reached 200% of its funding goal that can be found here