Nice one Yohandy! Good to read about some of the specifics so that it
doesn't just seem like magic. It came across really well.


On 2/10/11, Clement Chou <> wrote:
> Nice... well, just goes to show one of us has been doing some work!
> I've never done something like that yet... my gaming ability isn't
> something I try and advertise. lol. Nice job, Yohandi... way to
> spread the message! I wouldn't mind doing an interview like that,
> just haven't gotten the chance yet. lol.
> At 07:30 AM 10/02/2011, you wrote:
>>Hi Folks,
>>I searched for the article where the blind man beat the sighted on a
>>video game but couldn't fine it.
>>I did find this article from last year:
>>When a blind man rocks: Interview with Yohandy Rodriguez
>>April 20th, 2010
>>11:07 am ET
>>When you play Guitar Hero and Rock Band, you rely heavily on the
>>rhythm of the song and the overall flow, but if you turn on
>>performance mode, where the charts are hidden, you more times than
>>not, will fail within seconds.
>>Now imagine having to play performance mode every single time you
>>fired up the game. For Yohandy Rodriguez, that is no hypothetical;
>>that is his reality.
>>As someone who has been blind from birth, Rodriguez never learned to
>>rely on his vision as a way to navigate through life or games.
>>"I was actually born prematurely," said Rodriguez. "Due to the fact
>>my lungs hadn't developed properly, it was necessary to put me in an
>>incubator and pump oxygen into it to keep me alive. This was
>>obviously successful, but due to too much oxygen intake at such an
>>early age, I became blind. I was born in 1985, and I actually
>>remember gaming at a very early age. I don't really know how I got
>>started. All I know is everyone around me was playing video games,
>>and there was no reason why I shouldn't be as well. So that's
>>exactly what I did. I never considered my blindness as a barrier for
>>a second. I remember playing games like Super Mario 2 and Donkey
>>Kong Country quite clearly, and it was definitely a blast."
>>Rodriguez may have been able to play games like Mario and Donkey
>>Kong Country, but there are certain games that he is unable to play
>>due to his blindness.
>>According to a recent Rodriguez Tweet, Guitar Hero's menus can prove
>>problematic for blind gamers to navigate"Well, I was never able to
>>beat Super Mario or Donkey Kong [laughs], even though I did complete
>>a few levels through trial and error," said Rodriguez. "However, I
>>did come across fighting games, and suddenly things changed. I
>>recall playing Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 with my sighted cousin on a
>>SNES and man was it fun. All the attacks had distinctive sounds,
>>kicks and punches all sounded different and unique. It was such an
>>awesome experience I begged my parents to buy me a super Nintendo
>>immediately. So they did, and the first game I bought was a copy of
>>Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. I played that game all day long and I
>>eventually beat it on medium. then I beat it on the hardest
>>difficulty. Then after that I had to buy more fighting games so I
>>purchased Killer Instinct. I know I'm digressing a bit here so I'll
>>get back on track. I find games with 3D environments and shoot 'em
>>ups the hardest to play. It's quite easy to get lost in such large
>>playing fields, and often enough there's not enough audio to convey
>>everything happening on screen."
>>While it's not instantaneously known by Rodriguez whether or not
>>he'll be able to play a game when it first comes out, there are
>>various indicators that point him and other blind gamers in the
>>right direction.
>>"There's actually a few blind gamers out there, not just me," said
>>Rodriguez. "We already know that games like Mortal Kombat VS. DC
>>Universe and Super Street Fighter IV are accessible since we've been
>>buying fighting games for years, and of course games like Guitar
>>Hero and Rock Band, but we actually love to experiment with
>>different genres. One of my blind friends bought Final Fantasy XIII
>>when it came out and told everyone how playable it ended up being
>>for the blind, so another friend went and got the game and can't
>>shut up about it [laughs]. I'm eventually going to purchase it as
>>well and see what all the hype's about."
>>One of Yohandy Rodriguez's favorite types of games to play is the
>>music video game genre. Guitar Hero and Rock Band provide blind
>>gamers such as Rodriguez with a unique opportunity to actually learn
>>to master a game through listening to the subtle changes in the music
>> itself.
>>Rock Band 2's simplified menu system has proven very accessible to
>>blind gamers"First and foremost, for rhythm games, I think it's more
>>about the music, and less about the visual aspect," said Rodriguez.
>>"I don't have much experience with Guitar Hero since I've only
>>rented some of their games, but I have purchased Rock Band games so
>>I'll concentrate my efforts on that particular title. First thing I
>>like to do is listen to the song I'm attempting to learn. An easy
>>way of doing this is to go in practice mode and highlight the full
>>song for listening purposes. I do a lot of guitar so I listen to all
>>the various notes and chords to get an idea of how it all sounds.
>>What I usually do is if I play and the instrument is hard to hear, I
>>go into the sounds option and turn everything down except for the
>>instruments which I turn up all the way. Now whichever instrument I
>>play is isolated from the track. Even with these options, sometimes
>>there are notes that are still hard to hear, so as I practice a
>>section, I set the game to 90% speed. This completely eliminates the
>>track and just leaves the guitar stem and metronome. Problem solved.
>>As to how I actually learn the notes and chords. Well that's more
>>difficult to explain. There are rules for easier difficulties that
>>have to be followed. I don't know if you've checked the RBN
>>documentation, but it actually explains quite a few things about
>>this. Expert is like literally playing what the musician intended
>>you to play. Harmonix doesn't chart notes randomly, so for instance
>>if you hear a note and it corresponds to yellow, and then a higher
>>note plays immediately after, it'll either be blue or orange button.
>>It really helps that Harmonix is always consistent with their
>>charting, so you won't have a particular chord charted to green and
>>yellow, and later on in the song charted to red and orange."
>>Memorization and pattern recognition play a huge role in Rodriguez's
>>gameplay efforts. To the surprise of many, Rodriguez can actually
>>play titles such as Rock Band at a level higher than most gamers
>>with full vision.
>>"I can't do something like Yngwie Malmsteen's "Caprici Di Diablo"
>>since trying to figure all that out by ear only is nightmarish,
>>however I recently learned to play Chop Suey, and Down with the
>>Sickness on expert guitar," Rodriguez said. "I can't get 100%, but I
>>can at least play it and have fun doing it. I can do guitar, bass,
>>and vocals. Drums I'm hopeless at [laughs]. I've a blind friend who
>>can do drums just fine, but I never quite got the hang of it. I'll
>>keep trying though!"
>>Rodriguez claims that his admission to being a blind gamer often
>>draws a fair amount of shock from the internet community.
>>"Sometimes they're a bit shocked yeah," Rodriguez said. "I love
>>going online and telling people about my blindness at random just to
>>hear their reactions. Some think I'm lying, but there are always fun
>>people to play against that are understanding about it."
>>As mentioned earlier, Rodriguez certainly doesn't limit himself to
>>games that involve music. One of his favorite genres (and one that
>>is most accessible to blind gamers) is the fighting genre.
>>"I've been playing a bit of Street Fighter IV getting ready for
>>Super Street Fighter IV in a few weeks," said Rodriguez
>>"I've also been playing a bit of Heavy Rain."
>>If you'd like to learn more about blind gamers, or find out more
>>about what Yohandy Rodriguez is playing,
>>you can follow him on Twitter @musicman2004,
>>where he will often mention what companies develop games and
>>applications that are or are not
>>blind-user friendly.
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