Let me answer some of the questions raised here about the console system I'd
First off, the games that would be available (initially) are the demo games
that come with the system, modified of course to be compatible and playable by
the blind user.
There's a list of them, and I've not looked recently, so don't remember what
they all are, but based on their sources, it doesn't look too terribly
difficult to add audio cueues to the games to make them at least mostly
As to the question about programming, the console's cartridges are programmed
in either a form of assembly, or a basic-like language, both of which are used
liberally in the demos that come with the system, as well as an entire
programming book, in ascii form on the cd that ships with the development
system, so it's all accessible. The games themselves will need to be written
to the cartridges before distribution, and the cartridges can be given the
ability to allow writing by the console (for saved games and the like)
Understand, these games are not going to be up to the quality and standards
everyone is used to on the pc, it's an 8-bit (or 16-bit) processor, and can
multitask, but these capabilities aren't state-of-the-art (it uses a tv for
output for god's sake).
The basic consoles as sold to end users will have all the capabilities of the
developer ones, only they won't have blank cartridges, or the programming
languages, or the manuals describing the hardware and/or software used for
programming. The cartridges are rather small by today's standards (128K is the
default one, though I think there's a larger one available which has 512K of
memory on it) This would be truly a console system, and all limitations
thereof, this is not a pc, with gigibytes of ram, and terrabytes of storage.
On the other hand, it is cheaper than a pc ($200 for the entire system) and it
would allow a lot of visually impaired folks to experience the thrill of having
their own console system that needs no visual assistance, though the games
would be playable by sighted folks as well, since that's where it's being
targeted for now anyway.
I've personally not (yet) seen one of these systems, but I'm told they're
aproximately the size of a playstation 2 (the early models, not the compact
versions that came out later)
After having gone over the source code that comes with the demos, and read the
manuals for the programming languages (both assembly and basic-like languages)
it looks to me like it is perfectly adaptable to our usage. I just wasn't sure
there would be a call for such a console device in the current blindness
I honestly have no problem with anyone who decides this is too limiting, and
says no deal, that's fine, that's why I asked first.
I was probably going to get one anyhow, because my 9-year-old son would
absolutely love to have uch a gaming console, one that we can program
ourselves. I have no doubt he'll get his 200 bucks worth of enjoyment out of
If folks on list think this is worth persuing, then I'll definitely look into
what it would take to do the job. If it isn't, then I'll just leave it alone
until my son and I get around to working on it for our own use.
Me personally, I'd love to have a console game system of my own that I know I
can play, even if it doesn't have the latest and greatest
hardware/software/sound built-in to it, just because I had fun with our atari
2600 system, and I think allowing others to experience similar joy would be
well worth the time and energy to implement it, but that could be just me.
Anyway, thee it is, nothing special, just something to have a lot of fun with,
so again, if anyone thinks it's worth persuing, let me know, and I'll consider
it as a whole when sufficient replies have come in. :)
Hope this sparks some discussion, I'd be interested in the plus/minus debates
that arrise from it.
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