Hi Darren,

Darren Said:
How many people outside of this little community actually
know about audyssey and said games?

Tom Says:
Unfortunately, not many. First, in order to even find out about these games the blind individual has to have a screen reader, a computer, and a working internet connection. As shocking as this might sound I've encountered several legally blind people here in Ohio that didn't even know what a screen reader was let alone they could use a computer and play games. Second, statistically speaking, most of those in the USA and abroad with vision impairments are elderly. As a result like many elderly people they aren't turning to computers to do things the way a younger person might. Third, if people don't know that games are playable they don't look.

Darren Said:
I do my bit where I can and tell people about these games but the point
is, if people just aren't going to invest in advertising, then quite
honestly, they'll never sell.

Tom Says:
True, but the problem is where exactly to put those adds where they will do the most good, where it is cost effective to do so, and can I as a developer do it on my limited shoe-string budget. There are conferences such as Closing the Gap where someone like myself could go, set up a booth, and show off my products, but then again that takes a lot of time and money. I can't afford to do that so something else is required. There is triditional advertising, such as putting out news paper adds, but how effective is that really? I'm not sure since i haven't tried it, but on average to get it published in a paper that runs coast to coast is about $50 for one week I think. At any rate that's a bit of a long shot as you are hoping a friend or relative reads that add and then reads it to the potential blind customer.
Darren Said:
Why aren't people targeting the likes of the various blindness related
organizations around the world with these games? Offering free demo's
and the like?

tom Says:
Hmmm....Good question. I'm not sure. It ould be simply a matter of time, lack of interest, or simply haven't thought about it. I know with my full schedule it is difficult to find enough time to put in a very extensive add compaign as you describe. Add to that with Mysteries of the Ancients in beta and Raceway fairly far away from a release I'd like to see these two games completed before even going mass market.

Darren Said:
Another point here. How many game clones are there out here now that are
in affect, in breech of copy write. Shades of doom, pacman as well. So another reason why these
developers cannot advertise properly. Because half of the content isn't
even legal.
 And sorry I'm going to say it. People really should stop
hashing up games from the passed and instead look forward to the future.

Tom Says:
Ah, the evils of copyright infringement. Unfortunately, it is not quite that cut and dry. As a developer I tend to write games about something I am interested in. Problem is alot of the things I am interested in such as Star Trek, Star Wars, various super heroes, have big league copyrights attached to them. There are plenty of Star Wars games out there for sighted players but none for blind gamers, and I've already spoken to Lucas Arts about accessibility and they basically blew me off. So the catch 22 is if I want to play Star Wars games I either have to create one myself which is in violation of copyright law, or do without which I find personally unacceptable given my own programming skill. As far as recreating old games I agree and disagree. Some of us who had sight before really enjoyed some games like Packman, Jedi Knight, Tomb Raider, and was forced to give that up when we lost our vision. I'd still like to play those games, and I can't just stick my old version in the Atari, PC, whatever and expect to get full accessibility out of it, nor can I expect the companies who developed the game to go back and rewrite the game themselves with accessibility. So again it is either write it ourselves or do without. Some of us are willing to give up a game, and some of us aren't.

Darren Said:
Investigate the possibility of making said content legal. Try and
negotiate deals with the various companies and the like.

Tom Says:
I can't speak for my fellow developers, but I certainly am one who has tried that route. Unfortunately, it didn't work too well. I contacted Paramount about getting a Star Trek license and Lucas Film for a Star Wars license, and both were a bust. In both cases they wanted huge sums of money, which I couldn't afford on my income, and if I wasn't planning on selling several hundred thousand units of my game they didn't want to here from me. Big name companies want big league cash, and want big league sales. Plus there are exclusive licensing optioning which means if some game company is producing a certain toy, game, etc you can't get a license do t the fact they have a prier contract with the other company. Us small guys don't have a prayer when competing in mainstream markets. As far as obtaining rights to copy or modify an existing title I'd put that in the "fat chance" catagory. Most companies have very restrictive license agreements for a reason. Basically, to keep other companies from reproducing or cloning there work. They aren't likely to out source or license there game to a third-party developer just for accesibilities sake, and all of us combind don't have the cash to license it legally from my experience.
Darren Said:
Who's making people aware that there is:
1. a demand for these games.
2. proof that said games can be either coded or adapted such as audio

Tom Says:
Believe it or not there are some organizations doing this. The IGDA goes to several mainstream gaming conventions hoping to promote accessibility awareness as well as make said companies aware of where accessibility technology is today. I'm not real clear on the latest on that front, but Richard from audiogames.net can tell you more on what groups he is involved with that do this sort of thing.
Darren Said:
this pointless rehashing the passed really does have to stop. I haven't
bought a blind friendly game for ages because I look at half the titles
and I think, I've played that before or something very like it, some of
it I could even have in 1 form or other on my old mega drive so why
would I want to buy it again?

Tom Says:
On that point we both agree. As much as I like revisiting Packman, Space invaders, etc I also want to see some new and original content too. That is one major factor why I decided to take up game programming myself. Yeah, my first couple of games are kind of clones of something else, but I certainly don't plan to remain a cloner all my life. Eventually, i want to break out of the mold, so to speak, and really do something original. Something blind gamers haven't seen before, and perhaps not even mainstream gaming. Though, that has to wait until I get my current projects finished.

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