Man I'd completely forgotten about that article! lol. and Clement, I think we should actually advertise the fact we're out there a lot more than we currently are. perhaps it'll make some difference in the longrun. Take the You don't Know Jack devs as an example. they replied to Orin and another blind person asking us how accessible the game was for us. reason this happened is cause blind people kept mentioning the you don't know jack twitter feed, so they eventually noticed. Perhaps, if YDKJ sequel is released, we'll have the jack attack accessible, and perhaps not. but at least they know we exist, and I think that's a great thing. this doesn't only apply to games, but to any other program. Whenever I download something and it doesn't work with screen readers, I always leave feedback to try and make it work. and you'd be surprised how often I get a reply back offering help. truth is, developers don't really take accessibility into consideration when they develop programs. if we don't make them aware of this, then who will?



From: "Clement Chou" <chou.clem...@gmail.com>
To: "Gamers Discussion list" <gamers@audyssey.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2011 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: [Audyssey] When a blind man rocks


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.

http://www.examiner.com/music-video-games-in-national/when-a-blind-man-rocks-interview-with-yohandy-rodriguez



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