While walking home from the bus, listening to some tunes on my iPod Touch, I was contemplating the mechanics of an audio-only game that I could play while walking and not having to look at the iPod screen. I didn’t get very far, but it certainly got me intrigued by the idea and the usability applications, particularly by blind users. As a long-time DJ and musician, I’ve certainly done a lot of ear training, especially in arena of listening to many sounds playing simultaneously, and picking apart the wall of sound into its individual parts. There seems to be an interesting game nugget hinted at there.
This morning I did a web search of audio-only games and found a site dedicated to the subject, appropriately titled www.audiogames.net. I spent a little time playing with some of the games found here and there is definitely something very refreshing about the combination of simple game mechanics/controls and relying on your ears only. In many respects it reminds me of preparing for a mix while DJing. Your eyes are still seeing but you are not necessarily looking at anything, while yours ears and hands link to make the necessary adjustments and maneuvers.
Now to see if any of these types of games have made it to the iPhone/Touch, which due it’s control scheme, doesn’t seem like a very useful platform for non-sighted users. Not that games like this are for blind users only, but they are an obvious beneficiary of the playing mechanic.
Speaking of blind video game players, check out this kid: