Audio Game Jam 2
Games are often inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired because they rely on the player being able to see and interact with visuals, in order to play the game. However, games could be made accessible if sound elements could be made that play the same role as the visual elements.
Games that are playable through sound that runs alongside the visuals or games that do not have visuals are often known as audio games. James Kyle is running an event in October to bring games developers together to make audio games, called Audiogame Jam 2.
The idea behind Audiogame Jam, was to make games that are accessible to the visually impaired, raise awareness about accessible gaming and to raise money for sight loss charities. This is achieved, through participants producing a game throughout the period of the game jam, that is accessible solely using audio. This does not mean that the game cannot have visual elements, but it means that the game must be fully playable without being able to see the visual elements of the game. Additionally, participants are encouraged to get people to sponsor their games in order to raise money for sight loss charities. The primary charity being supported is RNIB, however participants are welcomed to raise money for other sight loss charities. Games must be made and submitted within the period of the jam which is from 6 to 15 October.
This seems to be a very positive event for raising awareness about audio gaming. Audiogame Jam have some interesting links to some accessible gaming related content on their site and have also had several sites report on the first game jam back in 2016, which will ultimately help to spread the word. Additionally, their first game jam has made an array of audio games, meaning they are contributing to the accessible gaming market. Furthermore, Audiogame Jam support people to come together to form teams for the jam, meaning they are bringing people together specifically to collaborate on accessible games, which hopefully will pave the way for further creative collaboration for a similar purpose in the future.
I’m unsure as to how full a game can be created in the space of 10 days, which is the jam period, which may result in simple games, which returns us to a point that has been made before about audiogames being too simple to be challenging. Alex who reviewed A Blind Legend back in July for The Aidis Trust made a point about the audio game not being that advanced. Similarly, Maya who has reviewed accessible games for The Aidis Trust in the past has made similar comments in her reviews. However, game jams do seem to be a feature of the game development community, I have seen games that are intended to be accessible for people with physical impairments on game jam sites while doing gaming research for other upcoming content for The Aidis Trust, so I may be being unjustly concerned about the lack of complexity of games.
You can find Audiogame Jam 2 at: https://www.audiogamejam.org/
What’s your experience of audiogames? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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