As a blind gamer and software developer myself I would love to be able
to convert all of my mainstream games into audio games, to make them
100% accessible, as much as the next blind gamer on this list. However,
no matter how much I would like to convert all of my mainstream games
into audio games the reality is it isn't as simple and straight forward
as you assume. There are several factors that prevents any accessible
game developer from just picking his/her favorite mainstream game and
creating an audio only version.
First, there are several legal issues involved in creating an accessible
clone of Mortal Kombat or any other mainstream game title. Unless the
accessible game developer obtains written permission from the copyright
holder it is illegal to create and sell games using any trade marks,
characters, sounds, music, etc from an existing game title. The only
exception to this rule is if you create it for yourself for personal
use, and not for public distribution.
Second, I've had personal experience dealing with some of these
mainstream companies about game accessibility, and they are simply not
receptive. Not only are they unwilling to make accessible versions of
their games for the blind they aren't willing to license it out to a
third-party blind game developer such as myself. So getting legal
permission from these companies is like a snowball's chance in hell.
Third, most of the audio game developers out here are one to three man
operations. As a result creating any game is a major commitment, takes
many hours of time, costs money for music/sounds, and so on. Some game
developers sell their games to offset the time and money spent on
creating the game. However, since it is illegal to do so without written
permission from the copyright holder it is not a good legal or financial
business decision to create games based on someone else's work.
Fourth, while there are some loop holes an accessible game developer
might use such as making the project free, open source, publish it as
fan fiction, etc they are all technically still consider copyright
infringement in the eyes of the law. The only difference with this
approach is that a copyright holder may choose to get a court cease and
desist order instead of suing the accessible game developer outright for
Fifth, while we all know it is inconvenient to play the mainstream
versions of games like Mortal Kombat they are still accessible enough
that many people here enjoy playing them as is. As a result most audio
game developers feel like this is reinventing the wheel with quite a bit
of legal and financial well being at stake. In other words the risk
is greater than the rewards for making a clone of game x.
Finally, I'm blind myself so I know how difficult it can be to play some
of these mainstream games. Especially, when you are alone.
Never-the-less once you memorize some of the menus, where things are,
etc it is possible to play some of the mainstream games on your own.
This obviously isn't for everyone, but enough people are able to do it
to make it a feasible solution.
I know as well as anyone the situation sucks. However, if you have an
idea how to improve the situation let's have it. We all could use new
If you are willing to learn programming and don't care about copyright
laws you could convert the games yourself. I think you'll discover it
isn't a clear cut or easy prospect you are suggesting here.
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