That's a very good question. I'm not really sure what the answer is,
but there are ways of getting the news out there if you think of ways
of getting maximum exposure and bypassing the RNIB. For instance, you
might be able to call up one of your popular news papers, one that is
well circulated, and ask them if they will do a story on games for the
blind. In there you could nicely put the screws to RNIB by letting
people know there are games out there such as Che's card room, All in
Play,Jim Kitchen's free games, etc and dropping the fact that the RNIB
only seems to support Azabat's games and not making people aware of
games such as the GMA titles which would be more appealing to a
younger audience. mentioning that Spoonbill offers a number of
similar games such as Chess, Uno, Solitaire, etc would most likely
get people to look at those websites and see how the RNIB is doing a
disservice to the blind over there in the U.K. As for long term
finding other organizations and asking them if they could help might
open the door to getting more games advertised over there.
As far as the entire issue of patronage goes we have some of that
going on over here as well. If you go through a state service such as
BSVI, BVR, or Devision of Blind Services to get a computer for
college, work, etc you are 99% likely to get an e-machine preloaded
with Jaws, Magic, and Openbook. The fact that their are other screen
reader developers like GW Micro and Dolphin doesn't seem to register
or matter to the state agencies at large. They just go for the most
expensive, most well known products developed by Freedom Scientific,
and to heck with anyone else. I've often thought that this practice
was rediculous as I've used Window-Eyes for a number of years and want
the state agencies to treat it as the equal of Jaws and give their
clients a choice. Yet they don't.
Now, of course, I've become so turned off with Windows that my wife
and I have switched to Linux which is rapidly becoming as accessible
as triditional Windows products for a lot less money. Want a good free
office sweit for Linux get Open Office 3.3. Want a good
e-mail/calendar program use Evolution. Want the world's number one
web browser get Firefox for Linux. Want to manage your bank accounts
and home finances use GNU Cash.Want a low cost screen reader use Orca.
Want a free OCR program for scanning/reading books use Simple Scan
OCR. All of this is free and accessible so the fact that the state
agencies are paying out $2,000 to $3,000 for access technology is a
bit extreme given the fact that other alternatives such as Linux
are quite litterally cutting the cost of access down to pennies on the
dollar. Yet the state isn't willing to look into it.
For instance, some time back I was meeting with my BSVI counselor on
some job related issues when I pointed out the fact I was now using
Linux 90% of the time for work. He was surprised, and didn't even know
that there was a screen reader, magnifier, and OCR package out there
for blind Linux users. So informed him by booting my laptop and
showing off Orca, using Eloquence for Linux, as well as a number of
flagship applications like Open Office, Evolution, Firefox, GNU Cash,
Pigin Instant Messenger, and so on. He was impressed, but not
interested in recommending it to his clients.
As he explained it when the state agencies purchase software like Jaws
they want all the trappings of commercial products such as technical
support by phone, skilled trainers to come out and personally train
clients, and of course audio tutorials and that kind of thing. Since
Linux uses a different business model while they do offer paid phone
support, paid hands on training, etc the majority of day to day
support is handled through mailing lists, online wikis, and
downloadable guides he felt wasn't good enough for the kind of tech
support BSVI is use to getting from say Freedom Scientific. I do see
his point, but the issue still remains they are paying hundreds of
times more on software than they really need to.
The other issue was that BSVI, BVR, etc look at this strictly from a
business point of view. If you are getting a job with a credit card
company and they use Windows 7 BSVI needs to purchase the software and
training for Windows 7 for their blind clients. I don't disagree with
him on that point, as that's all too often the case since Windows is
still the number one operating system, but the fact they almost
always purchase Freedom Scientific products for Windows rather than
other Windows alternatives is a bit narrow minded. Why not buy Zoom
Text, Window-Eyes, etc rather than Magic and Jaws? He didn't have a
good answer for that.
So I do understand where you are coming from but on a different issue.
Its all about getting the word out there that alternatives exist
weather it is GMA vs Azabat, Jaws vs Window-Eyes, or Windows vs Linux
doesn't matter. The fact is organizations, state agencies,
cherities, etc tend to market a specific type of client at the
exclusion of all others who may have a different need than the one
they normally service.
On 4/26/11, dark <d...@xgam.org> wrote:
> As people might know, I've been doing a lot of work on the
> audiogames.net database and something rather odd struck me.
> I'm finally adding in descriptions for the azabat games (not the least
> because the developer did send me the demo cd about a year ago and I
> stil haven't updated them).
> Azabat is the only developer of audiogames sold through the rnib.
> This is of course because the Azabat's aim, of providing nice old blind
> people with easy games to play at exaubitant prices (can you tell I'm not
> impressed!), goes along very much with the rnib, an organization who
> quite literally don't notice visually impared people under the age of 60 or
> so exist, mostly because younger people are less likely to give them
> donations in their will, ---- I'm serious! at a so called "information day"
> rnib spent about two hours just talking about will donations to them, ---
> and most of the rest of the time saying how great they were providing
> "dayly living skills" services"
> the amount of times myself, or another member of my family (most
> recently my dad in a survay), has given them what for over this,
> whether it's about what books they record (sinse their main producer of
> accessible books in this country given that the government does bugger
> all), or about what services they provide, they really! don't like the idea
> that people younger than about 60, or who have interest outside knitting
> and braille crosswords exist (I'm serious, there are several amagazines
> devoted to knitting patterns alone, but nothing whatsoever on roleplay).
> And if you tell them this they ignore you (the survey lady slammed the
> phone down on my dad after he'd said this).
> Anyway, getting the wranting train under control,my point is azabat,
> dispite producing games which are no better (and in many case not as
> good), as others around even in the same catagory like the recently
> released pontes backgammon (lacking graphics but having online play),
> and all of the spoonbill and blind adrenaline type stuff, yet have a huge
> record in this country simply! because they have had publicity through
> the Royally nasty inhibition of the blind, aka the rnib (oooh, I made a
> This doesn't seem correct, but I am now wondering what can be done
> about it.
> The business of sending myself to site village, the uk tech show didn't
> really advance much unfortunately mostly due to booking costs and
> such, but possibly a more reasonable organization such as Guide dogs
> (who do a lot more than train dogs, ---- I've been skeeing, touring egypt,
> cycling and goodness knows what with their holiday crew in the past)
> would be open to discussion, especially sinse they do deal with blind
> people who aren't the sterriotypical poor old useless individuals the rnib
> think they are.
> I've already introduced a friend of mine who does voluntry tech support
> at a charity for helping disabled computer users in her local area to
> audiogames.net and pcs games so she can show people some of the
> fun things their computers will do.
> When i red The only computer games sold by the rnib" It made me
> actually pretty mad, so it's time to do something about it.
> Any suggestions for people to contact? ---- I'm not familiar with us or
> european organizations, but is there a stink we can kick up?
> Action for blind people here (another of the smaller but nicer groups),
> did a pole a while ago, maybe it'd be worth seeing if they will do
> something else?
> Imho this situation needs rectifying, and people need to know there are
> more and better developers out there than just Azabat, and games to
> appeal to all sorts of tastes.
> Beware the grue!
> Gamers mailing list __ Gamers@audyssey.org
> If you want to leave the list, send E-mail to
> You can make changes or update your subscription via the web, at
> All messages are archived and can be searched and read at
> If you have any questions or concerns regarding the management of the list,
> please send E-mail to gamers-ow...@audyssey.org.
Gamers mailing list __ Gamers@audyssey.org
If you want to leave the list, send E-mail to gamers-unsubscr...@audyssey.org.
You can make changes or update your subscription via the web, at
All messages are archived and can be searched and read at
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the management of the list,
please send E-mail to gamers-ow...@audyssey.org.