Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 25: September/November, 2000
Edited by Michael Feir
Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity
Welcome to the twenty-fifth issue of Audyssey. This magazine is dedicated to the discussion of games which, through accident or design, are accessible to the blind either with or without sighted assistance. This special holiday issue is made especially to help people take advantage of the many games that are available for purchase from companies producing games accessible to the blind. This year has seen some giant strides forward in the kinds of games available to the blind. You'll learn all about David Greenwood's success and progress with Shades of Doom. Also, you'll have a sneak-peak at ESP Softworks's first title called Monkey Business. David Greenwood presents us with some logic puzzles. The Dungeons and Dragons campaign story continues with the second installment. I could go on and on, but I'll leave the rest for you to discover.
Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Three plus-signs are placed above any articles or sections. Within these sections, two plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section. Smaller divisions are marked by a single plus-sign. This allows people to use their search capabilities to go quickly to the next division they are interested in. For instance, the "Letters" section is preceded by three plus-signs. Each letter within it has two plus-signs before it. Answers to letters have a single plus-sign before them.
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
This magazine is published on a bimonthly basis, each issue
appearing no earlier than the twentieth of every other month. All submissions to be published in an issue must be in my possession a minimum of two days before the issue is published. I now use MS-Word to produce Audyssey, and can therefore accept submissions in pretty much any format. They may be sent either on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via e-mail to my CompuServe address. I will give my home address and my CompuServe address at the end of the magazine.
Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your fellow readers. This magazine should and can be a highly interesting and qualitative look at accessible gaming. To insure that high quality is maintained, I'll need your written
contributions. I reserve the right to unilaterally make changes to submissions if I deem it necessary to improve them grammatically or enhance their understandability. I will never make changes which will alter the spirit of a submission. All submissions must be in English. However, people need not be great writers to have their work appear in Audyssey. Many of our community come from different countries. Others are quite young. Where possible, I try to preserve their different styles of expression. The richness that this adds to the Audyssey experience far outweighs any benefits gained from having everything in prose so perfect as to be devoid of life. Audyssey is a community and magazine built on the need for blind people to have fun. There are no formal structural requirements for submissions. Within reason, they may be as long as necessary. Game reviews should all clearly state who created the game being examined, where it can be obtained, whether it can be played without sighted assistance, and any system requirements or other critical information. Although profanity is by no means banned, it should not be used gratuitously. Submissions not published in a current issue will be reserved for possible use in future issues if appropriate. Those who are on the Audyssey discussion list should be aware that I often put materials from the list in the "Letters" section if I feel that they warrant it. Anything posted to this discussion list that in some way stands out from the common and often lively ongoing discourse will be considered fair game for publishing unless it contains the author's wish that it not be published. Until now, this practice has been commonly consented to. From now on, it is now officially a policy of the Audyssey community.
This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always remain so. PCS needs to charge a subscription cost to cover the disks and shipping costs that it incurs by making the magazine available on disk. I'm writing this magazine as much for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your articles, reviews, and letters, as well as any games you might care to send me, are what I'm after. Send any games, articles, letters, or reviews via E-mail, or on a 3.5-inch disk in a self-addressed mailer so that I can return your disk or disks to you once I have copied their contents onto my hard drive. Please only send shareware or freeware games. It is illegal to send commercial games unless you are their creator or have obtained permission to do so. By sending me games, you will do several things: first, and most obviously, you will earn my gratitude. You will also insure that the games you send me are made available to my readership as a whole. As a
further incentive, I will fill any disks you send me with games
from my collection. No disk will be returned empty. If you want
specific games, or specific types of games, send a message in ASCII format along. If you have a particular game that you need help with, and you are sending your questions on a disk anyhow, include the game so that I can try and get past your difficulty. If you can, I recommend that you send
e-mail. Thanks to my new computer, I can now send and receive attachments with ease. This way, no money will be wasted sending me a game I already have, and
you'll get my reply more quickly. You are responsible for shipping costs. That means, either use a disk mailer which has your address on it, and is either free matter for the blind, or is properly stamped. I can and will gladly spare time to share games and my knowledge of them, but cannot currently spare money above what I spend hunting for new games. I encourage all my readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will appreciate it. Up-load it onto web pages and bulletin board systems. Copy it on disk for people, or print it out for sighted people who may find it of value. The larger our community gets, the more self-sustaining it will become.
There are now several ways of obtaining Audyssey. Thanks to ESP Softworks, there is once again a distribution list for those who want to receive Audyssey via E-mail. To subscribe to the distribution list so that you receive all future
issues, the direct Url to the subscription form is:
You may also refer a friend and pass onto them the current issue as well as an introduction e-mail explaining the magazine in detail. Then, if they wish to subscribe they
will be referred to this form. The form is available from the Audyssey Magazine section of the ESP Softworks web-site. To get there directly, go to:
The Audyssey section also contains all back-issues of Audyssey if you want to get caught up with events.
Travis Siegel has set up a list to facilitate discussions among
readers between issues. Anyone participating in the discussion list will have issues of Audyssey automatically sent to them via E-mail. Representatives from all major developers of games for the blind are actively participating on the list. All staff members of Audyssey are also participating. If you want an active role in shaping the future of accessible games, this is where you can dive right in. To subscribe to this discussion list, send a message to:
with "subscribe Audyssey" in the body of the message. To post to the discussion list, send your messages to:
Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for easy on-line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to visit:
People can easily and quickly navigate through the various articles and reviews, and directly download or visit the sites of the games that interest them. This will be of especial benefit for sighted people who wish to make use of Audyssey and/or join the growing community surrounding it. The Audyssey community thanks Mr. Bobbitt for his continued efforts on its behalf in this matter.
You can also find all issues of Audyssey on the Internet on Paul Henrichsen's web site at:
If you have web access, Audyssey now has an official web-page, maintained by Igor Gueths at:
Besides having all issues of Audyssey available for down-load, six megabytes of storage space are available for popular games.
Another source for back-issues of Audyssey and accessible games is provided by Kelly Sapergia. He was our first interactive fiction expert, and has put his Internet skills and resources to splendid use for the magazine. Visit his site at:
If you have ftp access, all issues are also available at Travis Siegel's ftp site:
Look in the /magazines directory.
For those of you who have trouble finding some of the software discussed in this magazine, or if you know someone who doesn't have access to the Internet, but would be interested in the magazine, this magazine is now available on disk. PCS has agreed to distribute Audyssey, as well as selected shareware or freeware software on disk for ten dollars US per year. To subscribe to Audyssey on disk, contact them at:
Personal Computer Systems
551 Compton Ave.
Perth Amboy N.J.
E-mail: [email protected]
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
From The Editor
High Horse Hiatus
Forms of Compensation
Echoes From The Past: Contest Winner!
Venture And Gain
Keeping Baseball alive
Free Game Winner
News From GMA
News From ESP Softworks
News From MindsEye2
News From PCS
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS
Game Announcements and Reviews
From The Editor:
Greetings, everyone, and happy holidays! It has been said that change is the only constant in life. This is certainly the case in the life of Audyssey. A great deal has happened during the last couple of months, and more changes and opportunities are on the way for us.
As usual, there have been some changes that were more positive than others. The best news has to be that ESP Softworks has remained open and will shortly be releasing its first game. Shortly after the publication of the last issue, James North found a way to keep ESP Softworks open and moving forward. Monkey Business is now in beta-testing, and a demo will soon be available for all to enjoy.
Another James, Mr. Peach to be precise, has decided to resign his post as web-based games expert due to changing life circumstances. He has done much for the Audyssey community, and fully intends to remain a part of it despite his decision to vacate his post. If anybody wants to cover web-based games for us, please contact both him and myself. Due to the increasing interest in educational games, it seems a good idea to create a new position of Educational Games Expert. The person who fills this role will be responsible for:
1. Becoming familiar with and keeping us informed about all games specifically designed to be educational.
2. Pointing out the potential in non-educational games to teach people.
3. Promoting awareness of Audyssey and acting as liiaison between the Audyssey community and educational institutions such as schools.
4. Being available as a resource for parents, students, and others to turn to when searching for blind-accessible educational games.
Another piece of good news comes from Jeff Gibbons of Bavisoft. It seems that an advertising campaign they engaged in has shown positive results, and that things are looking good for the folks who brought us Grizzly Gulch. Jeff requested that I pass along his thanks to all who have supported him in the Audyssey community. We'll doubtless hear more from Bavisoft in the not too distant future. Any owners of Grizzly Gulch who have not already done so should check out the Bavisoft web-site and obtain the available patch.
All in all, things are definitely on an upward trend for the Audyssey community. There are many new members of our discussion list. A hearty welcome to all of you. Thanks for choosing to participate in Audyssey's ongoing concerns. To our new readers via E-mail distribution and the Web, a big welcome to you as well. Please remember that you too can contribute to Audyssey by sending articles, letters, and reviews. Participation is what keeps this community alive and kicking.
The next issue will appear at the end of January. By that time, I'll have a new E-mail address and a DSL connection to the Internet. This should make things move along even more smoothly than they are now. Also, the January issue will update everybody on the status of our attempt to start a privately funded non-profit company called Blind Explorers of Access Technology. This company will try to incourage more extensive use of access technology and especially of the Internet. Audyssey will be a very important element of this new venture as it is already helping to acomplish our goals. It will do so even more as our focus broadens into more areas of accessible games. This trend continues in this issue with David Greenwood's logic puzzles and with Daniel Row's review of a talking globe.
I hope everybody has an excellent holiday season this year. Never have there been more exciting new games for all of us to enjoy. Once again, my thanks to everybody who chose to contribute to this issue. Some of it unfortunately arrived too late for inclusion, but will be in the next issue of Audyssey at the end of January. Until then, season's greetings from your editor.
From Kai Xiong:
Hi Michael. My name is Kai Xiong, and I live in California. I love
gaming, and am pretty avid of a player. I've also done my share of
criticism towards games that were not functional. some games I like are
Falthru (although I think a few bugs still need to be worked out). For
example, if you're on the cliff path, and you're right in front of
Bigclif, it says that there's a cave or something 50 Leggins east. I go
there, and the path just continues. Every now and then, it shows up as a
viable exit. Which reminds me, did the developer ever come out with
I also love Nethack, ADOM, Angband (although that game has a few quirks
that I have to pick on), and the collection of IFiction games.
But back to the purpose of this letter. I want to tell you about a game
that I don't think has gotten enough press on Audessy. That game being
Westfront PC. I know it still have a few pains to smooth out, but for the
majority, it's a great game with lots of environment and irony (and
It is built off of Zork (sort of), with many more rooms, monsters, and
objects to work with. The fighting aspects of the game is pretty good,
although I don't know if he's fully implemented the effects of classes
and armor yet.
Also, there are a few bugs that can be quite annoying. For example, if
you have the grappling hook (to use with the rope), the grappling hook
will eventually disappear for no apparent reason. There are also a few
rooms where you are "able to examine the things in the room," but any
variation on the nouns in the room produce nothing but invalid command
All-in-all, with it's massive variety of rooms, themes, and skill
techniques, this game is very good. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a
6. It's a great game, but it still have many quirks to work out.
Thanks for sharing your impressions, Kai. With all the other recent developments, you're quite right that Westfront has escaped the closer attention that such a large text-based game deserves. This is particularly the case since the author is apparently still developing it and has an interest in making it accessible. It appears that the latest version has a setting that is supposed to help those with screen-readers. I'm not certain how effective that is since it didn't seem to make much difference for me. However, others using different speech packages may have better results. If anybody more knowledgeable in how screen-readers work could contact the author and offer suggestions on how to make Westfront easier to play for the blind, it would be very much appreciated. Please keep us advised of any progress in this.
As far as I know, a sequel to Fallthru was never developed. The author, Paul H. Deal, has not yet been contacted despite efforts of many people. By all accounts, version 2.00 is the latest version.
Editor's note: Kai has also sent another letter telling of Zmud. For any of our growing community who are interested in finding accessible mud clients, read on:
Hi Michael. I also want to tell you about a pretty accessible MUD client
called ZMUD. It's interface is very accessible, although it's
intuitiveness is sometimes questionable. Fore example, when you create a
new character, it lists all the MUD's you can enter. This is simple, just
find the mud you want in the list, press enter (or as I do because it
often works better, route your mouse to your PC cursor, and double-click)
on it. One would think that this would connect you to the MUD, but
instead, it gives you the description of the MUD. I would rather have the
description read to me as I moved to the different MUD's. Also, the
windows it uses aren't too standard, so JFW users may have some trouble
creating frames. What this program needs is a standard Windows ID control
for all these fields that present different information. This way, all
you'd have to do is frame each window/field, and presto! Accessible MUD
quick and easy. Also, like Winfrotz and the other interpreters out there
for IFiction games, the ZMUD client does not separate the information
given by the MUD. So all the information is in a linear fashion, straight
down the screen, line by line.
However, this MUD is very accessible once you get the hang of it, and it
does provide a good selection of MUD's to choose from. It is a
Windows-based MUD, so no need to open a MS-DOS session just to play a
MUD. The games also offers a pretty detailed help file, and the MUD list
is saved in plain English text. That means anyone curious about the MUD's
they can enter, without entering the client, can read this text file
instead. Also, in the text file, the descriptions are right after the
name of the MUD, very cool!
The shareware program costs $25 to register, and you can try it for 30
days. I am currently testing it to see if there are anymore quirks that I
think should be pointed out to the Audessy community and the designers.
It's not often that I find on-line material which is accessible by
accident, I'm very happy. The URL for the program is:
By the way, I forgot to give a URL for the Westfront PC game. The URL is:
As I look through the hundreds of messages which have appeared on the Audyssey discussion list, a whole lot of long threads have occurred. David Greenwood's Shades of Doom project has been the source of a tremendous volume of fascinating traffic. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if more than a megabyte has been written over the past months which is in some way related to his work. To save space, I'll simply direct everybody to the News From GMA section to find out what's been happening with Shades of Doom.
Another thread dealt with the possibility of an Audyssey radio show for Internet radio. This has certainly been considered in the past. If the organisation I and my partners are trying to start actually launches, we may try and produce such audio content with help from members of the Audyssey community. It's not a dead idea at all. It'll just have to wait until we're on a more solid footing. In the mean-time, we have the following suggestion to act uppon:
From guy vermeulen:
i think that a complete audyssey show on acb would indeed take too much
preparation, but i also think that the items on acb-shows that are game or
audyssey-related should be available on a specific audyssey related website for
even at this moment, there have been interviews on acb with michael feir, paul
silva, Robert Betz, stan bobbit, and demo's of the bavisoft game by kelly
sapergia and brian hartgen.
of course you can find them in the acb archives, but maybe it would be a good
idea to have them together on a specific audyssey-related page, and to have
them mentionned in audyssey itself.
An excellent suggestion, Guy. It's always nice to put a voice to the names that we read about. I propose that a new section be added to our magazine called Voices of Audyssey. This section would contain a complete list of any game-related audio material on the Internet that readers come across. This includes game-related material produced by members of the Audyssey community. If you think you can make an audio tutorial, commentary, speech, interview, etc, let us know about where it's posted on the Web and we'll stick it in the section.
It looks like our old friend Tony Beaclaur has awakened a giant. Interest in the Eamon adventures that he told us about in issue 24 has built considerably. In response to questions from people less technically minded and unfamiliar with these old games, Tony and Adam Myro have both come to bat for us. You'll find a review of the Eamon CD from Tony later in this issue. For now, here are Adam's notes to get people started. After these, Tony added a few more notes which are below Tony's letter. If you're not interested, go to the next plus-signs.
Since a lot of people seem to be totally befuddled as to how to get and
play Eamon games using the PC, I figured it was high time to compose some
directions that are hopefully clear and concise.
First, there are ports of some Eamons directly to the PC, but they only
include the very earliest and buggiest Eamons. You are best off using an
emulator. So, here's what to download. First, get a2, the only known
accessible Apple II emulator. This is at
http://www.plover.net/~jaybird/a2.zip. Note that you must use that exact
URL. This is a rough emulator, and not real good, but it's all we have
that we can use as blind people at the moment. Anyway, unzip it into a
directory of your choice. Next, you need some Eamon games. These are
found in ftp://ftp.gmd.de/games/appleII/eamon/guild/dsk/dos33.
All of these games should run on a2, since they are all uppercase and
40-column. This emulator only emulates an Apple II+ with 64K and the
original computer had these limits. In fact, you will discover that
everything you type gets converted to uppercase. Anyway, to make sense of
what to play from these seemingly meaningless filenames, get the following
This is actually out of the directory for the Native Apple II files, so
you'll have to adapt the filenames to the "dsk.gz" extension. It doesn't
contain all the games, but the vast majority are covered and it should give
you an idea of what's worth downloading and what's worth skipping. It also
makes clear which games are multiple disks. In an alphabetical listing,
the multi-disk Eamons come at the top, so they are easy to find. Anyway,
you'll need edos3001.dsk.gz in order to get anywhere. This is the text
version of the Main Hall and the Beginner's Cave which is a very simple
(and boring in my opinion) Eamon to get you started. It also includes a
character editor so you can make your character stronger. You will also
need either the master.dsk or boot.dsk that comes with a2.zip.
Now, to deal with those pesky ".gz" files you downloaded. They are
compressed with something called GNU Zip which is common on Linux and newer
Unix systems. How to uncompress them? Well, if you are using Windows 9X
or ME or NT or 2000, just use Winzip. It will recognize the files and
uncompress them to files that end in ".dsk." You will notice that they are
all 140K after this. This is the size of a real Apple II 5.25-inch disk
and these are just copies of the real disk. Just unzip into the same
directory as the emulator. I also believe that there is a DOS version of
gunzip, which can handle these files. If you find it, and have DOS only,
you can type something like "gunzip edos3001.dsk.gz" to get the file
To start up, from a DOS prompt, go to the directory you unzipped everything
to and type "a2 boot.dsk" and hit enter. You'll find yourself in
BASIC. Now, hit control-C and type "ins edos3001.dsk" and hit enter
again. Assuming you unzipped it right, you'll get a message that it was
inserted and is not write-protected. This is good. Now, type "cont" and
hit enter again. You will be back in BASIC. Now, type "run hello" and you
will have started the Main Hall. The reason you have to go through all
this is because the disks are not bootable. When they were originally
being uploaded, many people still used real Apple IIs and had old 2400 baud
modems, so making the disks non-bootable saved them precious download
time. To make the Eamon Master directly bootable, you'd have to copy all
the files onto a formatted disk. This is doable, but not easy to
explain. I have a master that I made bootable if anybody would rather boot
directly. Anyway, after you get the Eamon Master up and running, go
through its programs to create a new character, read the instructions, and
probably go through the Beginner's Cave if you've never played Eamon
before. It will give you a feel for how things work. Then, if you like,
use a character editor to pump up your character, or there are a few Eamons
that can do this for you. Pick out other Eamon games from the list that
you downloaded and have fun!
Note that if you save a game, it says that you can continue by booting the
disk that you saved it on. This is not correct, as I stated, none of the
disks are bootable. To resume a saved game, boot from boot.dsk, then go
through the control-C/ins disk routine only you type the name of the Eamon
disk instead of the master disk. Then, type "run main pgm" instead of "run
hello." You'll be asked if you want to resume the saved game. Press y
*without* pressing enter. You should pick up right where you left off
unless you are playing a multiple disk game. Note that if a game ever asks
you to "insert a blank disk" when you try to save, you will have to give it
a disk that you don't mind erasing. Such games usually format the disk and
the emulated disk gets wiped out. What I did to handle these situations is
to make a copy of the boot.dsk under a different name and when it wants a
blank disk, I use that one. Note that if it uses a blank disk, it will
actually create a bootable disk out of it, so you can boot it directly to
play. Luckily, there aren't a lot of games that do this, but the ones that
do are usually good because they are more complex than could be fit onto
Anyway, I hope all this at least gives you a start in the world of
Eamon. Note that if you have the Eamon CD, it is supposed to contain all
the disk images from the if-archive, so you should be able to use
those. They are identical to the ones on the if-archive. Note at this
time, avoid PRODOS disks since the emulator we have isn't ready for the
majority of them since they use lowercase text. Hopefully, some day, we
will have a better emulator, but this will do for now. Feel free to e-mail
me any questions you have. I've played Eamon games for years mostly on a
real Apple IIGS and now with A2. I've played most of the better stuff, and
plan to get the CD as it's supposed to have some games that aren't
otherwise readily available. Good luck to all and don't let the parser
throw you for a loop.
Tony Beaclaur adds the following:
Hello. Adam Myrow is mostly correct in his explanations of how to play
Eamon. Thanks, Adam. Here are some other notes which were not covered.
1. I strongly recommend getting the Eamon CD. This avoids the gzip problem.
You cannot run the games directly from the CD because they are read only,
but it is easy to copy them to a subdirectory and turn off the read only
bit. Instructions come on the CD. I will be reviewing it for the upcoming
issue of Audyssey.
2. There is another emulator which is somewhat accessible. It is called
Applemu. I suggest avoiding it though as it damages hard drives and crashes
easily. However, it is the only emulator that works with speech and plays
nibble disk images, which are 232,960 bytes. Someone has uploaded the
Swordthrust adventures to ftp.apple.asimov.net/ and they are not standard
disk images. A2 only works with 140 kb disks. I will let someone else
3. Yes, A2 will play ProDOS. It is not really much harder but you need an
additional ProDOS master, obviously. Sam Ruby's Softdisk titles are ProDOS
only and I have played all of them without trouble.
4. Finally, A2 does support lower case output, but that is irrelevant for
speech. The only time lower case makes a difference is with synthesizers
which come with built-in acronyms and abbreviations, like the DEC-Talk.
Sometimes it gets confused by a string of all upper case. This is also
important because the ProDOS Eamons are lower case only.
5. One other thing I just remembered. There were 40 column, normal ProDOS
disks at one time, but Tom decided not to image them. That is too bad
because they would work better with A2, and ProDOS is a little faster and
safer. It also has a better save routine. Anyway, be careful when playing
80 column games. Adam Myrow wrote his own Eamon which is 80 columns only.
You must remove references to "PR#3" in the programs or they will crash A2.
You will know when this happens, and you can hit Control C, reset the
emulator, and continue. You will be at the "]" prompt but you can try to
edit out the PR#3 statements. Sometimes they will be very hard to remove.
6. A2 does support shorter abbreviations and many other commands besides
what Adam listed. You can use "ii" for insert, "c" to continue, and "re" to
reset the emulator. Be careful when doing reset though as this causes some
programs to reboot or do other weird things. With Eamon, this is not
usually a problem though.
7. With Vocal-Eyes, you will not hear status messages from A2. I think it
writes to an invalid section of video memory, since VE never can read it.
Just hit Control L to read the current line. Also, the master.dsk which
comes with A2 and is available at other sites is NOT the Eamon Master. It
is the DOS 3.3 System Master. As far as I know, you need a DOS screen
reader to use A2. You can try turning on speak all in JFW but this may or
may not work. This does not work in Window-Eyes.
If you have any other questions not covered here, feel free to contact Adam
or myself. Please write to me privately at [email protected]. I like
Audyssey, but do not regularly read the list. I am sick of the SOD and
Windows discussions. I will try to help in any way possible. Well, I
better write my CD review now.
For those of you playing Zcode interactive fiction in DOS, Tony also brought the following new development to our attention: I thank him once again for his vigilance.
Hello. The newest DOS port of Frotz is now available. It is version 2.40.
I ran Mulldoon with no problems. Because it uses djgpp it probably needs a
DPMI host. One is included in the download. This should be used instead of
Blotz. It is at:
For those of you who are confused, Frotz plays Infocom or Inform games,
ending in DAT, Z3, Z5, Z6, or Z8. Others can provide more details.
Editor's note: It has now been moved to:
From Dave Sherman:
Hi Mike and list,
Just wanted to bring a new gaming list to everyone's attention.
Thanks to the idea brought forth by Jak Goodfellow, in a past issue of
Audyssey, several of us have organized a list of blind ppl interested in
grouping together on MUDS.
Also, thanks to the generosity of Travis Siegel, there has been a formal
mailing list established for discussion and communication between
individuals interested in mudding.
The list is there for total beginners through experienced players. It's
there to discuss interesting finds, arrange meeting times, for help and
advice, and pretty much anything related to mudding.
The name of the list is 'blind-mudders'.
To subscribe, send a message to:
and place the phrase:
in either the subject field, or the body of the message.
To send posts to the list, send them to:
(Don't worry Mike, we won't be taking any important content off of the main
Audyssey discussion list. Anything which comes across the mudding list,
which looks as if it would interest others on the general discussion list,
can and will be forwarded here.)
Also, we would appreciate it if you would perhaps put this notice in the
next issue of Audyssey, so that all the magazines readers, who don't
subscribe to the discussion list, will have a chance to find out about the
Thanks to Jak and Travis, and many thanks to you Mike.
Congratulations to all who brought about the formation of this new community. I have no concerns at all about these new lists taking away from Audyssey. All of you mudding experts can do the rest of us a service by keeping us informed of what is out there. Just as you keep us informed, so Audyssey will continue to pass on anything that comes our way that will help people enjoy these text-based worlds.
To give people an idea of what a thriving discussion list we have going, I did a bit of checking. For some reason, the archives at www.softcon.com have not been kept up to date since around the end of 1999. Therefore, it is impossible to know how many subscribers we have active on our discussion list or how many messages hav been posted. However, I have set my E-mail program to organise messages by threads. Here are some totals for your possible amazement:
Thread: Total messages
New! From Accessible Games![due to release of Starfight]: 44 messages
Ahead full zero knots[Lonewolf related]: 39 messages.
Interesting issue[I asked what people thought of down-loading large games if they knew they were accessible]: 20 messages.
A question about Mindseye2: 24 items
Sod Rules!: 30 items.
Grizzly Gulch: Rattlers: 11 items
Windows lonewolf versus DOS lonewolf: 28 items
As I checked through these thread totals, I couldn't help thinking on just how active and vibrant the community has become. All kinds of diverse and interesting people have become a part of our community. For the most part, discussions revolve around games. However, there are always interesting little sub-branches that will pop out of nowhere to add spice to life. Recently, the topic of music and how it related to computer games sparked an out-pouring of musicians among us stepping out of the closet to declare themselves. My delete key being both handy and deadly, I personally think that these side-trips are far more helpful than harmful. I can certainly understand the slight frustration people feel when things go too far off topic, but believe that people should feel free to express their other interests within reason. When things get too jammed up for peoples' liking, new lists can and have been created. Most recently, a list for musicians has been formed as a direct result of the forty-some-odd messages about music were posted. Games appeal to us for many reasons. I've always felt that they can often relate to other facets of our lives in powerful ways. They can show us things about ourselves and each other that might not occur to us otherwise. In that spirit, let the discussions continue.
High Horse Hiatus
Announcement by: James Peach
Greetings once again Audyssey community!
As some of you now know, I have moved myself from the province of Manitoba, Canada, to its east coast in Nova Scotia. I am very happy about this since it puts me a lot closer to some of my friends, family, and valued contacts (don't get up too quickly Paul). You might have noticed that I have said little and frankly, done little, since the last issue. This is the reason. however, this is not my main purpose for writing here.
Getting right to the point, I am resigning my position as staff member. Now before you beg me to stay, know this: I am not leaving Audyssey or it's community, only temporarily. Why? I have a life here that I need to sort out, I have glorious opportunities in front of me that require more of my time, and I simply need some time to regroup.
At this time, I am stepping down from the position of Web-based Games, leaving the seat vacant for an expert. IF there is someone who wishes to fill this vacancy either temporarily, or permanently, then please don't hesitate to contact via email (see bottom of issue), and we'll sort it out.
I give this as an alibi for my lack of quality Web-based Gaming content. I have, however, created a number of articles (as that is my strong suit really), and will not hesitate in contributing them as well as announcements as they appear. I hope that everyone can be understanding, and neither assume nor misunderstand my intentions; I will be here, just not on active duty.
I bid you all a good day, and wish the community well, as it treks through another year of great gaming, and great reading!
Editor's note: James has done quite a lot for the Audyssey community in the last two years. Starting as our eyes on the world of commercial games, he eventually shifted his post to web-based entertainment. He has helpped put the newly emerging Internet-based games out there on our gaming maps. I've certainly noticed improvements in his writing style over these years, and hope that he has learned other valueable lessons as well. Good luck with pursuing these new opportunities, James. You've earned the respect of your editor as well as your fellow community members.
Forms of Compensation
By Ron Schamerhorn
Everyone likes to take pride in something they do. These may take on a myriad of guises. It could be from playing games to programming, from teaching people to being taught, or contributing to a community or interest group. We more likely then not relish engaging in whatever this activity might be. If we are fortunate, we will both excel at doing it and give to someone else. We all take pleasure from knowing we have made some degree of difference. Or as some might say, "That warm and fuzzy feeling".
I vividly remember my first entry in Audyssey. As I read through the pages looking for my entry, the anticipation mounted. Then I found my game review, my first offering. Initially I was awed, I mean here was my name and writing up with the others! Me, a novice with people who really knew their stuff regarding gaming and computing. Now I submit because I understand that as a member of this community, we can all benefit by doing our part.
Since then, I have played many games and won few. I've used numerous programs, and feel more confident in my opinion. This isn't to say everyone will agree with it. I am not nearly as shaky anymore, and if I say something that others disagree with, then maybe I have done well by adding another voice.
There have also been fabulous bounties from others. I am referring to those who provide the entertainment. The DOS games and excellence can readily be found in such names as the folks at Infocom, Thomas Bisup, and Graham Nelson. There is in fact an abundance. Hey we all have favourites and play them incessantly.
Then come along the likes of ESP Softworks, PCS, Mr. Greenwood, and Mr. Betz. These represent the "cutting edge" of accessibility. Producing games through a medium that was thought unobtainable for quite some time. These people, in exchange for time and effort, ask for there due. Nothing wrong with that is there? This is their way of contributing to the community.
The point being that many people help out in different roles. Some give advice and some product or service. The method of gratitude differs from individual to individual. For some, a simple post card saying 'Thank you' is what they're after. In other cases, a fee is involved, could we say a specific way they wish to be thanked?
The point being if they don't believe they are appreciated then "Why should I keep trying?" "What do I get from helping out?" This thanks is paramount to keep the interest or effort in what they are doing. Typically, if it appears to somebody that what they're doing makes no difference to anyone, then they pack it in and find another venture leaving whatever they had done as their legacy to the community.
Editor's note: Ron certainly raises some interesting points here. He does so very timely, as we're entering a new realm of gaming now. Commercial developers of games must always compete against a huge number of freeware games that are out there for the taking. If we can support these people, they are willing to dedicate vast amounts of time and effort to making our lives that much more fun. Look at the sighted games industry. It exists because a large number of people are willing to pay for better quality entertainment.
As a blind person, I've had a lot of things handed to me by a large number of very kind folks. There's a danger that we must guard against as frequent receivers of charity. This is that we can all too easily come to expect and/or demand what we're not entitled to. If we want the best in entertainment, we've all got to be ready to try and support the people who bring it to us in some fashion. We can't just be takers. It has to be a mutually beneficial relationship. Let's all do our part to be certain that all of us feel in some way that our efforts have been recognised and appreciated.
Echoes From The Past: Contest Winner!
In the last issue, I held a special contest dealing with Audyssey's past. I hoped that this would incourage people to look back through issues of Audyssey and learn more about how far we've come over the past four years. As things turned out, only two of you decided to enter the contest. I certainly hope that future contests are participated in by a lot more readers, and will continue to look for creative ideas for contests.
Before we announce the winner, I'll present the official questions and their answers. This will allow everybody to do some learning about our four-year history at any rate.
Contest Questions and Answers:
Item 1: Many sports fans have joined the Audyssey community over the years despite the slim pickings for them. There are still relatively few sports games for enthusiasts to enjoy. Two very different Baseball games sparked a historic moment where readers finally started reacting to each other's writing. Who were the antagonists in the debate? What contribution was its initial cause? What was its final outcome? Which issues of Audyssey contained the back-and-forth exchange?
Answer: In the sixth issue of Audyssey, Allen maynard contributed "Review of baseball by Jim Kitchen and comparison with Harry
Hollingsworth's World Series baseball
by Allen Maynard". This review was to prove to be a pivotal moment as it angered Frank Gulics who thought it was unfair to compare the two games as Allen had done. In issue 7, Frank wrote a very tactful and thoughtful rebuttal to Allen's review where he gave Allen advice helpful to us all. In the eighth issue, Allen Maynard acknowledged that his review was unfair to WorldSeries Baseball and that his comparison was flawed. He has learned well from that initial chriticism, and through his willingness to accept Frank's advice, has become a far better reviewer and contributor to Audyssey as many of us have done since Audyssey's beginning.
Item 2: Personal Computer Systems Inc. have long been a part of the Audyssey community. Over the years, they have shown an innovative and generous spirit which has added much to our enjoyment. Long may this continue. In which issue of Audyssey did PCS first appear?
Answer: Phil Vlasak of PCS first made his presence felt in the second issue of Audyssey. This issue contained a technical question concerning ways to have continuous sounds in DOS. It also featured a full catalog of their games.
Item 3: The fifth issue of Audyssey was the least satisfying and enjoyable issue I've ever worked on. It has always stood out as being the lowest point in Audyssey's four-year history. What factors contributed to this?
Answer: During the time when the fifth issue was being produced, I received no articles from outside sources to put in the issue. The shortage of material was further compounded by cercumstances in my life at the time. I had just received my first Windows-based computer, and was attempting to master its intricacies. Finally, I was going through a particularly hard academic stretch at university. It is still vitally important that people continue to submit articles, letters and reviews. Audyssey does not magically appear every month. Rather, I build it with the materials I am given or can create.
Item 4: Adam, The Immortal Gamer has been a cherished part of many issues of Audyssey. Which game did this esteemed obcessed gamer get sucked into in the very first episode?
Answer: To teach him the dangers of getting carried away with games, Adam's computer pulled him into a game called Fallthru. This game, with its rich detail and many random elements, has long been a favorite of your humble editor.
Item 5: Multi-user dungeons or "muds" have continued to bounce in and out of the keen interest of Audyssey readers for quite a long time. These worlds forged from words make for excellent places for the blind to hang out and participate in thrilling adventures. Who was the first to write an extensive article about these on-line communities? What was this article called? In which issue did this article appear?
Answer: The article was called Tellnet Gaming. It appeared in the fourth issue of Audyssey and made a splendid addition to the start of 1997. Ken Perry was the author.
Item 6: For quite a while now, each issue of Audyssey has seen somebody receive a free game from PCS for their contribution to that issue. This generosity on the part of PCS has rewarded many fine pieces of writing, and will hopefully continue to do so. Who was the first winner of a free game from PCS? Which issue of Audyssey did this happen in?
Answer: In the 14th issue of Audyssey, Patrick R Davis won the first free game from PCS to be awarded by Audyssey. It hasn't always been easy choosing winners of these games, but it has always been an honour.
Item 7: Those who have chosen to become staff members have given very generously of their time, thoughts, and efforts over the years. Also, they have offered me a very much appreciated reliable source of material to construct issues of Audyssey with. In doing so, they have earned my gratitude and that of the Audyssey community as a whole. In which issue did I first put forth a call for staff members?
Answer: The call first went out into the community in the sixth issue of Audyssey. My thanks to all of those who chose to answer it and help tremendously with Audyssey's continuation. Many thanks for your previous and future efforts on all our behalf.
Item 8: David Lant has proved to be one of our most prolific and resourceful contributers over the years. He is ever at the ready to join in discussions, and has offered us more than one excellent article. This community and I personally owe Mr. Lant much thanks for a lot of delightful reading. Any advantage he gains by being the subject of this part of the contest has been well and truly earned. In which issue did he write an article where he mentionned a fountain of youth? What was it called?
Answer: In the seventh issue of Audyssey, David Lant set out his thoughts in an article called "My View of Games For The Blind". In it, he discussed a wide range of issues about the manner in which games for the blind were developed. His points on this are just as relevent today as when the article first appeared. Near the end of this article, David used the premise of a sound-based maze game to illustrate several points. It was here that he evoked the myth of the fountain of youth. His challenge to developers was first taken up by PCS who came out in 1998 with a game which contained twenty mazes for players to follow. David's proposal was next fulfilled by David Greenwood who decided to start the already stunning Shades Of Doom project. Work on the final game is still on-going at the time of this writing.
Item 9: Letters have been the glue that has held the Audyssey community together. This was even more the case prior to Travis Siegel's starting up the Audyssey discussion list. Letters from all of our readers both on and off this list are of vital importance to Audyssey's growth and survival. Rob DeZonia wrote one such letter. In what issue did it appear? Which unfinnished game from PCS was he eagerly awaiting? To what did he attribute a loss of brain cells?
Answer: Rob's letter appeared in the ninth issue of Audyssey. In it, he professed his eagerness to play the stats-based American Football they were working on at the time. Sadly, this game proved to be a larger project than they felt they could handle. It has never been developed. Being a musician, Rob attributed the loss of "too many brain cells" to playing music in bars for an unspecified number of years. Play on, good minstrel. Thank you for being a small part of our collective enterprise and history.
Item 10: Everybody makes mistakes, and I am certainly not the exception to prove that rule. One of my first truly infamous mistakes was made at the expense of a member of the Audyssey staff. Who was this unfortunate soul, and what was the mistake to which I refer?
Answer: In the ninth issue of Audyssey, Kelly Sapergia made his first appearance. Unfortunately, when I was working on my reply to his letter, it must have been quite late at night. I made the mistake of assuming that Kelly was female. Kelly took it all in stride, however, and has not held it against me. In fact, he has gone on to become a key figure in the Audyssey community.
And now... the winner! Congratulations go to Adam Myro for getting everything but the last question correct. He is certainly correct in so far as the now infamous Dungeons and Dragons article in issue 22 was a very serious error on my part. However, it was hardly the first such mistake I made while editing this magazine and acting as leader of this fine and very forgiving community. The runner up was Stan Bobbyt, who also got all but two answers correct. His answers came in later than Adam's. My congratulations, Adam. I trust that in the next contest, we'll have at least a few more contestants vying for the prise. Please tell me which game you would like and where I should have it sent. May it add good cheer to the remainder of this exciting year.
Venture And Gain
By Michael Feir
Now that more blind people are becoming aware that accessible software other than what comes with their technology is available, things finally seem to be changing. This is certainly the case for developers who intentionally design software to be accessible. Although still relatively small, consumerism is a growing force in the blind community. In earlier days, blind people would be reliant on agencies and companies to present options to them. Now, thanks to growing Internet use among other things, blind people are deciding for themselves what's best for them.
This holiday season sees a number dramatically increased number of commercially sold games for blind people and those associated with them to take advantage of. This sudden increase has certainly made its effects felt on the discussion list. I posed a question shortly before the issue was published asking what people thought of down-loading and purchasing games over the net. Would they be willing to down-load a large game if they knew that it was accessible? Of course, "large" by our standards could have been quite different than by sighted peoples' standards. Most games and demos that blind people have down-loaded in the past have been quite small. Even four megs can seem large for those used to down-loading text-based games which are tipically a meg or less. For years now, sighted people have cheerfully been down-loading demos of games which are larger than thirty megs without much protest.
So far, most of the responses indicate that given that a game was accessible, people won't mind taking the time to down-load it. This is by no means a foregone representation of the general feelings of the entire Audyssey community. However, it certainly prevailed in the answers I've received so far. This indicates to me that blind gamers are quite ready and willing to embrace fairly drastic change in the scope, size, and complexity of their entertainment. David Greenwood was taken completely by surprise that Lone Wolf was as popular as it has proven to be. Before releasing it, he was concerned that only a small minority would find it interesting. Until this submarine simulation emerged, however, nothing even remotely like it was available for blind people. The same will be true of the sound-based action games shortly to be released. The developers have ventured into completely unknown territory. Through this, we have all gained quite a lot. Our expectations have been dramatically raised. New questions are being asked and answered. Things like currency conversion rates and comparative prices suddenly begin to matter.
This is all well and good when dealing with software developed specifically to be accessible. However, there is another trend toward exploration going on as well. This is that more blind people want to find out if software bought right off the shelves of mainstream stores might be accessible. It has unfortunately been a frequent and bitter experience to find that games made for sighted people are usually not accessible. Even titles which seem quite promising have more often than not proved disappointing. The most infamous case of this was the much-anticipated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? This computerised version of a trivia game show excited a lot of blind people. Unfortunately, unlike the TV show, the host did not read out the questions in the computer version. Instead, the questions appeared on the screen in printing that was unreadable by speech software. You Don't Know Jack, by comparison, is almost completely accessible as Kelly's review illustrates later in this issue. Questions are read, and players use the keyboard to answer the questions. Only certain elements of the Jack series of games are inaccessible. Therefore, as long as one is aware of this and simply wants irreverent trivia, these games can be purchased without disappointment.
A lot of games are well worth the expense on the condition that a sighted person is willing to help the blind person in playing them. Some video games can even apparently be played through memorisation and due to their sound work. However, if the vast majority are going to prove disappointments, it is taking quite a leap of faith to even experiment. This is one of the primary functions of the Audyssey community and magazine. Good and bad findings can be shared and discussed among blind gamers. Many people can benefit from one person's gamble.
To lessen this gamble, it can help to find places who understand what kind of games blind people may be able to derive some enjoyment from. Talk to people in the stores about games and your needs before purchasing them. If possible, find a place with a good return policy in case things don't prove workable.
One good place to acquire games is Electronic Boutique. My father and I frequent the outlet near our house, and have found them to be very understanding, knowledgeable, and reasonable. They have a ten-day return policy, so you have ten days to see whether a game will work for you. Keep the receipt, and they'll accept a game back whether it's open or closed. This eliminates the large gamble that off-the-shelf software will prove useless to blind people. If something proves unuseable to you, you can simply take it back along with the receipt. Their newsletter is a good way to keep up to speed on the latest commercial games. The site to go to is:
All explorers should be cautious and find out as much about where they're going as possible before setting out. Keep your guard up and your expectations down. Use this magazine and community as well as game reviews on the Internet as your guides. Often, people who sell games are apt to play them. The staff in computer stores may very well be able to offer excellent advice if you can explain the kind of game you're after and ask the right questions. Good questions to ask are:
1. Is this game turn-based or is it real-time? If it is real-time, can the action be paused or slowed?
2. Is there a lot of speech in the game? If so, how extensive is it? [Some games only have partial speech. Others like Return To Krondor and You Don't Know Jack have speech throughout most of the game. Actors will speak lines of dialogue and so-forth.]
3. How intuitive is the interface? This can be crucial depending on the level of experience and patience of a sighted companion.
4. Are there a lot of action sequences and/or purely visual elements? Not all sighted companions can be expected to have the rapid reflexes and game instincts of video game veterans. Nor can they all describe events and surroundings with equal rapidity and skill. Be certain that you take such things into account when purchasing a game requiring sighted assistance.
With the above in mind, I hope people will feel more inclined to try out new things. We can only find what is accessible if we're willing to explore and likely discover what is not. There are a lot of treasures out there for whoever is bold enough to look for them. It may help to show this article to game retailers and let them know about Audyssey. If any retailers are reading this, I hope it has been useful to you. Best of luck to all of you who make game purchases this holiday season.
Keeping Baseball alive
Article by Jay Pellis
Another world series has concluded, and another baseball season has ended. We'll have to wait another year to follow our favorite teams again
but until then, the video game simulations of baseball will keep the sport
fresh in our minds. Video game baseball has evolved from games with just beeps for sound effects, and no real players, to todays cd based games with all the real
sounds of baseball, and all the real players and statistics for every team.
There are many baseball games on the market today that are competing with
each other, however each one has something unique all it's own. Sony's MLB
series concentrates on letting the player be the team manager by letting
them trade players, and have full control of every aspect of players and
teams throughout a season. Electronic Arts Triple play series still has
these features intact, while adding an arcade feel to the game. During a
game, the player has control of batting, pitching and fielding with very
realistic results. The game players act just like there real life
counterparts. For example, if Mark McGuire is up to bat, there is a very
good chance that he'd hit a homerun or at least get a hit most of the time.
In this article, I will be discussing the Triple Play series by EA Sports,
and how it is a great series for visually impaired baseball fans.
There aren't many accessible baseball games around, the only ones I can
think of being Jim Kitchen's baseball game, and World Series Baseball by
PCS. They remind me very much of the Triple Play and MLB baseball games
out there today. Jim Kitchens game lets you control the pitching and
batting but the game doesn't have real teams or player rosters, you must
name your own teams. On the other hand, World Series Baseball doesn't let
you control the pitching/batting but it does have all teams in the National
and American leagues, along with players and statistics. However, there is
one major drawback to both games, they don't let you play any kind of
season at all. If even a short 15 game season had been implemented in
either game, it would've added tons of replay value to the games.
The next best thing until the next accessible baseball game comes along
is the Triple Play baseball series. The games are available on CD for the
playstation and pc. The series is comprised of 5 games, Triple Play 97,
98, 99, 2000, and 2001. Every year, a new game in the series is released, and named according to the next year. For example, even though the newest game is called TP 2001, it has the 2000 team rosters in it. I will now take a look at each game in the series, and explain how each is different from the previous.
***Triple Play 97***
Triple Play 97 was the first attempt at a baseball game for EA Sports. All
of their previous sports series such as the John Madden football series
were quite good, so it was expected that EA would hit a homerun if they
attempted a baseball game. It turns out they did! No one knew it yet but
the TP series would bring the baseball video game to the next
level. First, there are many options to choose from when the game
starts. A menu appears on the screen, and depending if you are playing the
pc or playstation version, there are multiple ways to select options. A
handy feature of the pc version is that the keyboard arrows and other keys
can be used to select and toggle various options. As you move the cursor
that's on the screen, a sound is played. If you have sighted help, all
that would have to be done is to memorize the different sounds, and where
the different options are. For example, if the option menu selection is 3
to the right, you would press the right arrow 3 times, hear 3 beeping
sounds, then press enter to enter the options screen. In this screen, you
control various aspects of controlling the game. You can ajust the volume
level for music, sound effects, and the announcers voice. You can also
turn injuries off or on, errors off or on, auto fielding off or on, and
various other settings. Auto fielding is essential to turn on because when
you are playing against a computer controlled team or a friend and they hit
the ball, the players on your team will automatically get the ball for you,
and then all you must do is throw it to whatever base you want. If auto
fielding is off, it will be very hard to field the ball because then you
must control the fielders manually, moving them on the field, picking up
the ball, and throwing it to a base. After setting up settings in the
option screen and exiting, you can select from options that are in most
baseball games today. There is exhibition play, which lets you pick any
home and visitor teams, and play against the computer or another
player. Season play lets you select to play from a 15 game season, to a
full 165 game season. Later games in the series have other modes of play,
which I will explain about later. After choosing your mode of play, you
choose to play against the computer or a friend or to watch a computer
versus computer demonstration of a game. Before playing, listening to or
watching a computer controlled game between 2 teams may be a good idea, it
will give you a feel for how the game plays and sounds. Another option that is present in every game in the series is the ability to choose how many innings you want to play. You can choose between 1 and 9 innings.
Once a game starts, the teams are introduced by the announcer, Jim Huxon,
and as each player comes up to bat, their names are spoken. Controlling
the pitching and batting aspects of the game is sort of complex at first
but it gets easier the more you play. When you are pitching, you can
select from 3 or 4 pitches to throw, depending on who your pitcher
is. Each pitch is assigned to a button on the playstation or pc
controller, and also to a button on the pc keyboard. When one of the
pitching buttons are pressed, along with an up, down, left or right
direction button, either the control pad or arrow keys, the ball is pitched
in different directions. For example, if a pitch is thrown to the left or
right, it usually goes outside the strike zone, and the umpire calls it as
a ball. Every pitch is called by the umpire, so when you throw a strike, the umpire says strike or if it is strike2, he'll say strike2 etc. When your pitch is hit, the fielders will get the ball for you if the auto fielding option is on. Then, you have the option of throwing it to any base. Bases are labelled with directions, with right being first base, up
being second, left being third, and down being home plate. In order to
throw the ball to say home plate, all that is needed is to press one of the pitching buttons along with the down direction.
Batting is very similar to pitching, accept you have only 3 batting options
to choose from. You can use a normal swing, a power swing or you can bunt the ball. When batting, one of the batting buttons plus a directional button will produce different results. For example, the normal swing plus the up direction will hit a fly ball, while the power swing plus up will make the player try to hit a homerun. To time your swing, you must listen for the woosh of the ball being pitched, and depending on when you hit the
ball, either at the beginning, in the middle or towards the end of the sound, different things will happen. Usually, if you hit the ball at the beginning, you've swung too early and will hit a foul ball, while at the end of the sound, you've swung too late. So trying to hit in the middle of the sound is what you must aim for. However, each game in the series has a different pitching sound, so you may have to change your batting strategies for each game.
EA sports tried to incorporate some play-by-play calling in to TP97, and
they did a pretty good job. Jim Huxon announces each player as they come
up to bat, plus there batting averages and different statistics like how many runs they scored in a game. When the ball is hit, the announcer announces where it was hit. For example, right after the crack of the bat is heard, you might hear-
"Hit to left field, Justice makes the catch!" The announcing in this game was a good first effort, but it improves in many many ways for the following games in the series.
***Triple play 98***
Tp98 is almost the same as TP97 but with updated rosters, and the first
attempt at a 2 man play calling team. This time, Jim Huxon is joined by
Buck Martinez, and they do a really good job of calling the plays. Not only are players announced as they come up to the plate but Buck chimes in with occasional comments about the players, such as how many homeruns they have hit or just something about the players history in baseball. This time when the ball is hit, and something happens, Buck talks extensively about it. For example, if a player makes a spectacular diving catch, you might hear-
"Caught at the wall! What a perfectly executed play by Justice! Well the yankees had a perfect opportunity to score there but looks like they'll have to wait for another chance."
If a game is being won by a very high score, for example, 10 to 1, Buck
might say funny stuff like-
"So Jim, where do you want to eat after the game?"
Between innings, there are also funny commercials that are played. They
add tons of humor to the game, and I think the game is worth it just for
these funny commercials! Made up products such as-
"Chork! Yes folks, chicken and pork, Chork! Get some today!"
Then after the comercial, you might hear a chicken clucking or some other funny sound!
TP98 has the same options as in 97, including season, and a new playoffs option. This option lets you instantly enter the playoffs and advance your team to the world series with out having to play an entire season.
***Triple Play 99***
Tp99 adds even more announcing them the previous games. This time, not
only are the fielding plays called more accurately but much more information is spoken in the game. The announcers talk about the players, teams, the weather, and just about anything else, even the stadium that the game is being played in. There is also baseball trivia questions that the announcers ask each other and give the answers to. A new option in this game is the homerun derby. Players choose from a selection of baseball players, and then see how many homeruns they can hit when a certain number
of pitches are thrown at them. This is quite challenging and it's really fun when playing with a friend. This game has the most realistic batting control of the entire series, next to tp2001 that is. You *must* time your swings perfectly or you'll either strike out or keep hitting foul balls. It's frustrating to learn batting at first but when this games
control is mastered, you'll almost always get a hit when batting.
***Triple Play 2000***
Tp2000 departs from the realism of the previous games, and has a more arcade like feel to the game. Everything is over the top. If you hit a homerun, Jim Huxon might say-
"He hit that one to the moon!"
When you hit a foul ball, you hear a funny whistle or siren sound. There
are now also little announcements coming from the stadiums P.A. system between innings, which is neat to hear. In the homerun derby of TP99, the announcers didn't speak during any of the pitching/hitting, so it is a little hard for a visually impaired person to keep track of what's going on on screen. Now however, the homerun derby is back, with more players to choose from, and with Jim Huxon's and Buck Martinez's banter going throughout the derby. Also when you hit a homerun, you hear a big booming explosion sound.
***Triple play 2001***
Tp2001 combines the arcade feel of tp2000 with the hitting accuracy of tp99
to create a very strange combination of arcade/simulation baseball. The
announcing is of the same high quality of the previous games, with maybe a few new lines of dialog thrown in. The commercials that were the highlight of tp98 are still plentiful and funnier then ever! A new option in this game is called the homerun challenge. It lets you try to hit targets such as soda cans, and other weird things by hitting the baseball at them. The more you hit, the higher your score, and you can
unlock hidden features in the game, like players who will always hit a homerun everytime they are up to bat. These features can also be unlocked by performing well in a baseball game, for example, if you get a double-play or perhaps hit a grand-slam homerun, you might unlock 1 of the features.
As you can see, the triple play series is a diverse bunch of games. A
great combination of simulation and arcade action makes this baseball series like no other out there today. All of these games are available for the sony playstation and for the pc. In the pc versions, you may either use a controller or the
keyboard. All of the keys used to control the games functions are
available either directly in the game through the help menu or they are
shown at the top of the screen as the game is being played. Another
notable feature is that in tp97 and 98, the menu options can be selectable
with the keyboard keys. However in 99 up until the most recent 2001, the
mouse is used to select the options. These games *will* not work with any type of screen readers, since they are quite computer intensive games, and
tend to freeze screen readers. They may however work with screen magnification programs. The games are very decently priced, with the older games in the series
priced at about $8.00 US, while the later games are around $20.00 US.
I think these games will tide us baseball fans over until the next
accessible baseball game is released. so give them a try, you won't be
By David Greenwood
To me, puzzles are just another type of game, and so I thought I would
share with you a few that I have recently come across. They are not hard,
but I am sure that at least one or two of them will get you thinking. The
answers will be found after the last question.
1. There are two old men who are identical in all respects, except one
always lies, and the other always tells the truth. They both stand at a
fork in the road, and incredibly, there purpose is to guide travelers on
their way. You can ask one question of either man to help you decide which
is the correct road to take. Can you formulate a question which can be
answered by yes or no, to help you choose the right road?
2. Sue has five bags of candy to give to her friends. Four of the bags have
a total of eighty-four candies. The fifth bag contains four less than the
average of the five bags. How many candies are in the fifth bag?
3. Two mothers and two daughters went fishing. They managed to catch one
big fish, one small fish, and one fat fish. Since only three fish were
caught, how is it possible that they each got to take home one fish?
4. Donald had some muffins to sell. He sold half of his muffins plus a
half muffin more to Bob. He then sold half of what was left plus a half
muffin more to Walt. At this point Donald had one muffin left. How many
muffins did Donald have originally?
5. Bob and his sister Betty were passing the Three Diamonds Hotel, when Bob
said, "My nephew is in there and I would like to stop and say hello."
"Since I don't have a nephew, I'll continue on and see you later." replied
Betty. What relationship is Betty to the mysterious nephew?
6. You drop a 2 kilogram metal ball ten feet into water, say somewhere near
the equator. Will the ball fall easier through water which is forty
degrees Fahrenheit, or will it fall faster if it is twenty degrees Fahrenheit?
1. Ask either of the men, "Will the other man tell me that this is the
wrong road?" If he answers "no", the road you selected is the wrong one,
but if the man answers "yes", you have selected the correct one.
2. The fifth bag contains sixteen candies.
3. A grandmother, a mother, and a daughter went fishing. The mother is
both a daughter and a mother, and so, there are two mothers, as well as two
4. Donald originally had seven muffins.
5. Betty is the mother.
6. The ball will fall faster through forty degree water, since 20 degree
Fahrenheit water is frozen.
Free Game Winner
This issue's free game goes to Tony Beaclaur. He has helpped many people to enjoy the Eamon adventures which are an important part of our gaming heritage. In addition, Tony has always been quick to share advice and information with the Audyssey community. His participation is very much appreciated indeed. Well done, Tony.
News From GMA
What's New at GMA!
The latest release of the Shades of Doom alpha was certainly well
discussed, and put through its paces in the last go-round. Most of the
suggestions given on the Audyssey discussion mail list have been, or are
about to be, implemented before we release the beta scheduled for January
of next year. I had hoped to release it before Christmas, but because of
the number of changes, it is very unlikely. We are also making some
headway in creating a multi-user internet version of SOD. Hopefully we can
say more about this in the next release of Audyssey. You can find out more
about Shades of Doom, and download the alpha version at
We have had a great response to our release of Lone Wolf for Windows. Lone
Wolf users have been writing and submitting missions, and we have been
making them available on the GMA web site. We will be adding more missions
on a regular basis as they are developed.
For those unfamiliar with Lone Wolf, it is a sophisticated, full featured
World War II submarine simulation game, where you pit your skills against
the enemy's navy and land emplacements. As commander of a World War II
submarine, you are given missions that you must complete. You will be
pitted against destroyers, sub chasers, and mine fields in pursuit of troop
carriers, cargo ships, oil platforms, and other prey. You have full
3D-movement control of your submarine in a real-time and realistic war
environment. With seventeen missions and a module to create your own
missions, you will have the opportunity to experience an almost infinite
number of tactical situations, and with the multi-layered multi-dimensional
sounds, it will make you feel that you are right in the middle of a raging
GMA released Trek 2000 at the beginning of October, and since then, we have
received lots of positive feedback. Trek 2000 is based on the initial Star
Trek series. It is a move-based strategy game, with continuous bridge
sounds, the well-known female computer voice, the sounds of battle, red
alert sirens, and more. You command four Federation star ships and two star
bases. Your mission is to destroy the attacking Tholians, Klingons, and
Romulins. You are out numbered and out gunned, and so only strategy will
save the day.
You can find out more about us, and our games at http://www.GMAGames.com.
News From ESP Softworks
What's New @ ESP Softworks - November 2000
Well, there hasn't been a whole lot of news around here lately as we've been
spending the majority of time working on Monkey Business. However, due to
some other activities, it won't be ready for sale on November 22nd, 2000. A
fully-playable demo will be available via the website, though. Check the
website for details at http://www.espsoftworks.com. Stay tuned!
Editor's addition: As you might guess from the brevity of this official announcement, James is putting super-human effort into getting the Monkey Business demo and game ready as soon as possible. He is also engaged in studies at the same time. I trust that these are going well for him, and that all my readers will join me in offering my best wishes for success in all his activities.
The announced closure of ESP Softworks sparked quite a flurry of activity on the discussion list back in late August and early September. Thankfully, most of this was quite supportive of Mr. North and did credit to our community as a whole. It is largely due to this overall support that Mr. North ultimately decided to press on and keep ESP Softworks open. Other circumstances contributed to this as well, but I'll leave it to him to explain them more fully. In response to some of the negative messages from a few people who failed to see past their disappointment, James wrote a little about the steps that he had to take to get as far as he had by that point in August. I have trimmed it of its extra elements and present it to you below: I hope that all of you will take the time to read it and learn what it costs to attempt what James is trying to do for us.
Audyssey Community et al,
I'd like you all to understand what ESP has meant to me and exactly what ESP
is. The idea of me creating accessible games for the blind came out of a
discussion I had with a friend of mine who told me one of the things he'd
missed most out of losing his vision was the ability to play video games.
At the time, I had no idea there were any accessible computer games aside
from the text adventures I used to play back in the 1980's. I wasn't aware
at all of PCS, Jim Kitchen, David Greenwood, or Audyssey Magazine.
This friend expressed an interest in writing games that he and other blind
individuals would enjoy. To this end, I offered to teach him C++ on the DOS
platform and provide whatever assistance he required to do this. Little
time had passed when he decided he wasn't interested in getting back into
programming, so I offered to write a kind of 'adventure creator' program for
him so he could concentrate on designing game levels instead of programming.
At this point, the games were to be DOS text-based with no sound whatsoever.
It wasn't long before he lost interest in this as well.
I decided to continue the level creator program, but from a different angle.
I wanted to create a game with sound similar to the Dungeon Keeper game I
was currently playing. Progress on the DOS-based editor went smoothly in
C++ and provision for real-time, mixed, stereo sound effects was
implemented. That's right; DOS-based games with Windows-like audio
During this time, the programming was taking up most of my free time and as
I contemplated doing this on a large scale I had to consider what was to be
made of my living. On April 14th, 1998, I resigned from my employment with
the State of California. Things would be rough for sure, but I was
convinced that this cause was noble enough and could provide a comfortable
enough living to get off the ground and then to fold in other business
interests in order to fully support my family and the pursuits I wished to
At this point, I was still unsure of the market potential for this sort of
project as well as totally unaware of the interest or reception. In order
to keep the ball rolling and to help administrate ESP, I decided to take on
a couple partners and make ESP Softworks semi-official. Over the month or
so this actually worked out, we were able to obtain formal statistics of our
market base through a couple of national organizations. We decided the raw
demographic numbers were there--it was just now a matter of gauging
interest. After some initial research and interviews with administrators in
the area of computer technologies, we decided to shift our development focus
on the Windows platform and the level editor I'd previously been writing
under DOS was converted to Windows with an expanded scope.
Within a couple months after forming the informal partnership, it quickly
began falling apart. The work division that had been set up was quickly
eroding as the partners began losing interest and focus after their initial
excitement. There were also personality conflicts that were difficult to
resolve that began smothering the viability of the partnership. As I saw
the assigned tasks not being completed, the partnership was dissolved. One
of the partners helped administrate the planning of the NFB National
Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Gauging interest was the next step.
Planning and making arrangements for the convention was hectic and
stressful, but with some sort of luck I found myself in Atlanta, Georgia, on
no sleep. Not knowing where or how I was going to get several suitcases and
boxes of computer equipment around didn't help matters. This was the first
time I'd undertaken anything like this, but after the initial shock it went
rather smoothly. The day before the exhibitions were to begin, I started
questioning the whole affair. I hadn't had any sleep in nearly two days and
felt as though I wouldn't be able to sleep if I tried. I ended up crashing
about 9am in the morning for about four hours and awoke to the phone. My
head was in a complete fog and my body felt like it was still wrestling with
antagonizing exhaustion and the buzz of too much caffeine. Let's just say,
I had my doubts.
After half-successfully trying to gather my wits and a hot shower, I headed
down to the exhibit hall to sign in and obtain my exhibitors badge (which is
now hanging from one of the many whiteboards around my room). Even though
the exhibition hall wasn't set to open until the following day, it was alive
and brisk with exhibitors from everywhere rushing to get their booths set
up. The exhibition room was incredibly large with a couple hundred booths
easily. I signed in and received a folder with various materials and my
badge and walked over to where my table was supposed to be. There it was..
marked with a little sign that said "ESP Softworks" and my booth number. I
looked around and thought, "Yeah.. ESP Softworks.. this is where I'm going
to be." A little dose of sanity to hold me over.
The rest of the afternoon and evening I spent in the hotel room making sure
everything was ready to go despite moderate damage to the computer system
that was to be the heart of the demo station. After some last minute
editting of the business information and Genesis Project tracks, I was
fairly certain everything was ready. It was close to four in the morning by
the time I could fall asleep due to the time change. I woke up about a half
an hour after the exhibition hall opened. It was time to boogie.
I carted all the equipment to the hall and set up as quickly as possible.
About an hour after the hall opened, I was ready and set. The hall was very
busy for being so early. It'd be the one day we'd have everyone's attention
to ourselves. That morning, I brought about two hundred cassette tapes to
pass out as well as large print and braille on the tables. The tapes were
gone by 2pm and I'd demo'd to several hundred people. The response was
overwhelming and people were very excited about what we were planning to
accomplish. The speakers on the table that looped The Genesis Project demo
seemed to grab hold of passerbys and drag them to the table. "What in the
world is that??" After donning a set of headphones, one individual began
yelling to the game character, "get out of there!.. you've got to get the
hell out there NOW!!" to which I could only grin about. It was a long day
on little sleep, but it made all the difference to ESP. We had now gotten
the interest we needed to reaffirm our goal. We made several contacts with
educators, organizations, institutions, individuals like yourself, and also
found out about Michael Feir and Audyssey Game Magazine. After experiencing
the one-on-one interaction with the market, I was convinced this was
something that needed to be maintained and so I've tried to be as accessible
and candid about myself and the business as possible through the Audyssey
List Serve and Audio-Tips chats.
Upon return from the convention, our website was in dire need of being
developed and presented. This took some time as I was responsible for it's
development and completion. Due to an ISP that left much to be desired, it
was a rocky road but finally in October of 1999 the web site was complete
enough to begin online. This, of course, took time away from development.
Since the above, about ten months have elapsed and still no commercial
release has made it's way to the community. I know this has been a thought
in many a gamer's mind over since ESP Softworks decided to pursue their
goals. There are several factors in why it takes ESP so long to produce any
one title. Part of the problem is that I haven't worked on just any one
title. This is due to the fact of starting with unreasonably sized projects
initially instead of working our way up. As project ideas became more
manageable, development focus switched to these projects until one was
finally settled on to be a first retail release (Monkey Business). Once
this was released and helping to support the development efforts, we'd work
our way back up the ladder. Until then, I decided to release 'Freebies'
every once in awhile in order to help maintain interest in the website and
company. To this end, Shell Shock was released for free. I've heard some
comments that game was too simple and wouldn't really compare to the
upcoming proposed releases. I've also received several e-mails thinking
Shell Shock was the greatest thing to hit the scene. I was a bit confused
by both opinions. Shell Shock was a simple game and it was designed to be
that way; just a small Windows game more liken to a novelty to blow off a
little time.. for free. It wasn't completely free in the sense it took about
two weeks away from other developments and any means of getting closer to
being compensated for our efforts.
A great many people never come to understand what it's like being
responsible for an entire company as the sole proprietor. A great many of
us have dreams and aspirations, but never obtain the chance to see just how
difficult it is to realise them. When I resigned from my formal employment,
I made a sacrifice. Monetarily to date, that sacrifice has been $59,696.00.
What I thought I would get from that sacrifice is the ability to spend as
much time as I could stand in order to realise a dream I believed in. What
actually happened, however, is that much of my time got folded into
home-based activities and the advantage others took of my flexible schedule.
Unless you're single without children, I will tell you right now--it is VERY
difficult to work at home. It's really very easy to walk into a corporation
and put in your eight to ten hours a day being told what to do. It's taken
me a long time to adapt to this sort of working dynamic and, regrettably, a
little too late.
So, at this point, I'd like to illustrate what ESP Softworks is and isn't
since there seems to be some confusion as to the amount of time, effort, and
expenditure that was personally put into it in order to realise a better
aspect of life for the blind and visually impaired.
ESP Softworks is a sole proprietorship. I am the only 'employee' of ESP
Softworks. This means that ESP does NOT have a slew of staff that is busy
supporting the company in every facet. ESP has no 'board of directors', no
other programmers, no website developers, nil. ESP Softworks is a 'for
profit' company. I respect the model others have chosen to pursue, but for
me--personally--that model would entail more business than game development.
Our 'for profit' status doesn't need any sort of defense as we've long held
from the beginning that our products would be as affordable as possible.
This was our committment to you that accessibility would be truly accessible
by being affordable at the same time; a rarity in the accessible technology
Here is a rough breakdown of some of the aspects of running ESP Softworks
that many may have wondered about and I believe will give those with doubts
as to my intentions what exactly was sacrificed for the dream of producing
extremely fun and innovative games for the blind community:
Let's talk about money..
1999 National NFB Convention Costs: $2,300.00 w/ Four Weeks of Planning,
Preparation, and Presentation
Development-Related Hardware & Software: $2,260.00 (includes network
components, screen reader software, development programming tools, MIDI
keyboard, sound cards, CD-R (two, since my first one was destroying during
the return trip from the NFB convention).
Second Phone Line: $504.00
P.O. Box: $60 (which was a STEAL except that it was at a post office way in
Web Hosting / ISP Costs: $784.00
Lost Wages: $60,196.00
ESP Salary: $0
Beer and Other Assorted Alcoholic Beverages
Coffee to Counteract Previous Items
Lost Folicles Due to Pulling My Hair Out
Lack of Sleep
The ESP Nude Table Dancers
Total Sacrifice - $65,104.00
The Job Description..
Job Duties Include (but, not limited to): Programmer, Content Developer,
Level Editor/Designer, Storyline Writer, Web Designer/Master/Administrator,
Sound Editor, Music Composer, Technology Researcher, Analyst, Project
Planning and Management, Administration, Customer Service, Technical
Support, Audyssey Distribution, Public Relations, Marketing, Network
Administrator, Database Designer/Programmer.. oh, yah.. did I mention
The Development Statistics (as best I can recall)..
Website - 380 Files, 140 Documents, About a Dozen Online Forms
Beta Testers: 103
ESP News Subscriptions: 118
Audyssey Subscriptions: 108
Shell Shock Downloads: 360
ESP Related E-Mails: 500+
Development Documents: 193
Website Hits: Approx. 2,900
Trailers: Several Hundred Resource Files / 36 Hours
Sounds Editted and/or Sorted: 5,337
Project Code Lines of Top Projects (Code Only, Not Including Resources):
The Genesis Project: 7,103 Lines
Shell Shock: 3,112 Lines
Monkey Business: 7,505 Lines
Battle Chess: 1,332 Lines
All Projects (Including Not Listed) Total Resource Files: 1,781 Files
Editor's note: There was more to James's message. It came right at the peek of some quite bitter messages. As all of this bitterness is now forgiven and peace reigns supreme once again in the Audyssey community, I have chosen not to include parts of the message which more directly respond to this. I too felt a keen sense of what a loss to forward momentum would have resulted had ESP Softworks actually shut down. Thank you, James, for sticking by your dreams.
To close off this section, we're going to let Randy Hammer give us a sneak-peak at what's almost finished cooking at ESP Softworks. Randy is on the Monkey Business testing team, and is helping to make certain that things are as glitch-free and fun for the rest of us as they can be. Without further delay, I'll let him have your undivided attention.
So there's another bizarre experiment, and it goes bad. The monkey specimens have escaped and you've volunteered (read "been drafted") to recapture them. But it'll take a lot more than quickness and strength to net these monkeys. They've been advanced mentally, and are going to be a handful.
Want a tough, high-intensity, fast moving game? Check out Monkey Business. It's taken a while for ESPSoftworks to push out their first major release, but this is incredible! And I was priviledged enough to work on the beta test team. This review was written on a beta version, so I won't be able to report on the finished product including documentation. Look for a further review in the next issue. However, as you are reading this a demo is being created. Download and enjoy!
Firstly, let me say that Monkey Business is NOT for the faint of heart. The game play is difficult. Expect to work hard just to catch your first few monkeys. Unless you've played other serious action games, for example those for the sighted world, the play may be difficult to understand. This isn't because there are many keyboard commands (like in Lonewolf), but because players must train themselves to react extremely quickly to sound input. The controls are actually very simplistic. One of the hardest concepts to get through to new players of this style of game is handling multiple controls at the same time. For example, you will run with one arrow key, turn with another arrow key, and swing your net with the action key all at once.
The game is played in levels. Each level has a number of monkeys that must be captured before the entrance to the next level is accessible. The player starts out in a lab, and attempts to hone the navigational and mapmaking skills that will be critical later. Then swing through a jungle, dash past quicksand, swim rivers, chase monkeys down streams and across lakes, and even experience the sounds and excitement of an old fashioned carnival. Just in case chasing monkeys isn't hard enough you'll have to watch out for your own skin. Thugs try to shoot you down in an old west gun fight, birds swoop in to peck at you, coconuts drop from trees, and the monkeys throw bombs at your boat. Like I said, this game is difficult.
As I said before I can not give this game a full review at this point because of it's beta status. However, I would highly recommend that any serious gamers look at this game closely. Play the upcoming demo and put aside some money to buy this one, or put it on the top of your Christmas list. We've seen a lot of great advances in the gaming world over just the past year, and this will be the pinnacle of them all.
Monkey Business will require a fairly high-end PC, with DirectX and stereo sound support. A screen reader is not required, all information will be self-voiced. This game is, at this point, acceptable for children. Monkeys are not killed, and damage to the player is fairly comical. However, the game play is complexe enough that children will have trouble with the concept.
News from MindsEye2
Contact: http://www.mindseye2.bigstep.com and [email protected]
MindsEye2 has been very active producing new games. Since August we have added 4 new games to those we sell. These are:
Anagram Mania - Suggested age 10 to 100. Price $22 + $3 shipping
Flies By Night - Suggested age 8 to 100. Price $15 + $3 shipping
Magic Match - Suggested age 6 to 100. Price $20 + $3 shipping
Christmas Playroom - Suggested age preschool (1 to 5) Price $15 + $3 shipping
MindsEye2 soon may also be releasing 3 more Christmas games.
Announcements will be posted on our website and on BlindKid-Software as well as Audyssey as games are released. You may write [email protected] for our latest catalog and for details on current and upcoming games.
Christmas games expected to be released soon are:
Christmas Tic Tac Toe - Suggested age 4 to 7
Help Prancer the reindeer play Tic Tac Toe with Santa
Robbie Robot in the Toy Factory - Suggested age 4 to 7.
Help Robbie Robot find toys and transport them to Santa's sleigh.
Robbie Robot Helps Santa - Suggested age 8 to 100.
Slider puzzle. Robbie Robot moves gifts around until all children have what
they want for Christmas.
MindsEye2 has downloadable demos of Magic Match and Christmas Playroom.
To download these go to http://www.mindseye2.com/download.htm
MindsEye2 now accepts payment via PayPal from most countries.
You can purchase MindsEye2 games with your credit card using
PayPal on our website http://www.mindseye2.bigstep.com
When you order via PayPal MindsEye2 for a limited time is offering
free shipping to any address in any country.
MindsEye2 has helped to start a mailing list for educational software
and computer games for blind children. The list is BlindKid-Software
It is a school and family oriented list to discuss software for children.
Members may also discuss educational matterials, toys, non-computer games
so long as the postings are within the scope of the list.
To subscribe send a message to
Below are descriptions of MindsEye2's new games:
Christmas Playroom - Age preschool (1 to 5) Price $15 + $3 shipping
Christmas Playroom is the new Windows game for preschoolers with a
Christmas theme. Christmas Playroom is a keyboard activity center
with exciting activities your child will love!
Lil' Jukebox - each press of the key plays one of 16 different tunes,
from Christmas music to other children's favorites.
Nursery Rhyme Time - Each press of a key recites one of over 30
nursery rhymes with accompanying sound effects. Full color artwork
with audible descriptions available for each rhyme.
Read-Aloud Stories: "Twas the Night Before Christmas and Robbie
Robot and the Christmas Adventure.
The Amazing Audio Alphabet- Press a letter and hear the letter and
an associated word, such as "B is for bubbles" followed by the sound
of bubbles, while the screen shows a picture of Santa in scuba gear
among a flurry of bubbles that say, "ho, ho, ho!" Accompanying
artwork with audible descriptions available for each letter of the
Almost all the keys on the keyboard do something. Your child will
have fun exploring the keyboard. The game is self-speaking with no
screen reader required. It is designed for visually impaired preschool children ages 1-5, but is also great for sighted children making it a great choice for preschools and other places where young children come together to play and learn.
Christmas Playroom - Age preschool (1 to 5) Price $15 + $3 shipping
Anagram Mania - $22 + $3 shipping
Experience a veritable feast of anagrams. If you like word scramble, you will love Anagram Mania! What's an anagram? An anagram is a word or short phrase where the letters are scrambled into new words, often with interesting and hilarious results. For
example, the letters of "Hey dog, run" can be rearranged into greyhound and the letters of "Oh, no money" can be rearranged into honeymoon. Now you try it, the clue is "It ran". The answer is train. Over 1300 anagrams in 100 interesting themes including
Football Frenzy, Those Wild Cards, Gone Fishin', Bodacious Bears, Honey Bee Buzz, Sweet Tooth Treat, Passionate About Parrots, Fabulous Flowers, The Spice Rack, Shiver Me Timbers!, Biblical Places, Baseball Bonanza, and In the Chicken Coop. Solve the
challenging and fun anagrams while relaxing to the optional background music. Got one right? Hear one of a multitude of interesting reward sounds and tunes. Can't figure it out now? No problem, the program automatically saves your place or use the
solve word key. Designed by a blind programmer, the game on CD-ROM runs in Windows 95/98 and uses a speech accessible interface.
Suggested age: 10 to 100
Price: $22 plus $3 shipping
Flies By Night - $15 plus $3 shipping
Tired of shoot 'em up games? Try the exciting action in Flies by
Night, the new Windows game from MindsEye2. Deep in treacherous Tadpole Swamp lives Prince Polywog Frog who must gobble up twenty irritating, fast flying but tasty bugs before sunset to win the fair Princess Petunia's hand. But the swamp is a dangerous place to live. As the clock ticks off the hours til sunset, wildcats and
hungry rattlesnakes prowl the shore, the Great Blue Heron swoops in trying to spear a frog for dinner. Swarms of angry hornets, honking geese and leaping fish add to the fun and excitement. If that isn't enough, Bully Bullfrog, the rival suitor gets into the action by chasing the Prince and bouncing him right off his lilypad. But faint
heart never won fair frog. All may be lost for Prince Polywog unless he hears the chirp of the Magic Cricket, bringer of good fortune to the quick acting and stout of heart. Race against the clock and overcome the obstacles to win the beautiful frog Princess
in this lively and all fun game. Five thrilling tunes enliven play just like in a real arcade, as well as provide clue's for the bug's location. A plethora of interesting sound effects adds to the excitement. Need help? Progressive audible hints are available at
the touch of a key.
Flies by Night comes on CD-ROM and runs in Windows 95/98. The game
is designed to be played without the use of a screen reader, but the
screen reader will not interfere with play if it is on. Simple easy
to remember keystrokes control the game action and options.
Beautiful full-color artwork and the positions of the frogs and bugs are also shown as they move around the pond. So the game is easy for sighted members of the family to play as well. Challenge friends or family to see who will be the first to help Prince
Polywog win the fair Princess. CD, jewel case, and game package
are labelled in print and Braille. Audible instructions provided in
the game. Recommended for ages 6 to 100.
Note: If your computer will not let you play the exciting midi
tunes, short wav file tunes provide all the information needed to
play the game.
Suggested age: 8 to 100 Price: $15 + $3 shipping
Magic Match - Price $20 + $3 shipping
Enjoy the fun of Magic Match, a self-speaking memory game for one or
two players. The computer keeps track of and announces your score
as you play solo or in a challenge match with your blind and sighted
friends to see who can score the most matches of exciting sounds
with accompanying artwork in 9 different categories.
Listen to "Turkey in the Straw" as you match mooing cows, crowing
roosters, and bubble blowing donkeys. Experience the beauty of birds as you match bird songs of the Australian kookaburra, colorful parrots and elegant flamingoes. Enjoy the world of music as you match oboes, banjoes, clarinets, cellos saxophones and more. Other categories include Zany Sounds, Wild Animals, Around the House,
Colors and Shapes, Mommy look at This!, and Fun and Games. Each game contains twenty-six cards and sounds for matching. Pressing the space describes the card's artwork and repeats the last sound.
Magic Match includes exciting background music,and a keyboard and
mouse interface. Also includes the MindsEye 2 talking menu for easy
starting of your self-speaking games.
Educational benefits: Increases auditory memory skills, provides a
fun way to learn bird calls and songs, identification of musical instruments and animal sounds. The game also encourages cooperation, promotes social interaction and taking turns in the 2-player mode. Blind and sighted children and adults can play
Magic Match comes on CD-ROM and runs in Windows 95/98. The game is
designed to be played without the use of a screen reader, but the
screen reader will not interfere with play if it is on. CD, jewel
case and game package are labelled in print and Braille. Audible
instructions provided in the game.
Suggested age 6 to 100. Price: $20 + $3 shipping
News From PCS
Reduced price coupon for P C S games!
Personal Computer Systems creates audio games for the blind community. Our Windows games are audio only, so everything is spoken by a human voice needing no screen reader to play. If you contact us for a list of games, You will
receive a coupon for 10 dollars off any game. This offer expires December 31, 2000.
Check out our games on the Internet web site at www.pcsgames.com
where demos may be down loaded.
We will be adding a Snipe Hunt Windows/DOS demo to our list, with
our new Installation program that allows you to choose sound drivers. It will be called SNIPE01.ZIP
Contact us at:
Personal Computer Systems
551 Compton Ave.
Perth Amboy, NJ. 08861
Phone (732) 826-1917
E-Mail [email protected]
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS
STRIKE, AND COUNTER STRIKE
After accepting a charge from Masron the merchant, the group, comprising of Myrthorn; the human Mage, Muldred; the Elven cleric, Jarveth; the Dwarven fighter, Ardrah; the human female fighter, and Brik; the huge human fighter, took their places on the wagons and were responsible for guarding the caravan, its wares, and the other merchant passengers, through the Dragon Maw pass and on to the coastal city of Corindia.
For the first few days the trek was uneventful as they encountered only the few benevolent group of wayward travelers. However, when the caravan neared the zenith of the Dragon Maw pass they encountered a gang of highwaymen. A fierce battle ensued which saw Myrthorn rendered unconscious and the rest of the group, with the exception of Brik, receiving a plethra of wounds ranging from the mild to the severe. Now with the battle concluded and Myrthorn revived by a potion of healing administered by Muldred, Ardrah and Jarveth made their way back through the pine forest toward the pass and the halted caravan after chasing down and dispatching several fleeing attackers.
They reached the wagons and Ardrah went immediately to the cart and fished out a potion of healing she had purchased in Pendboro. She quaffed it and the gash in her back immediately sealed itself. The slash across her wrist stopped bleeding and scabbed over but it did not completely heal. She shrugged and tossed the empty bottle over her shoulder. Shrugging, Ardrah returned the potion to Muldred's pack.
Myrthorn and Muldred were questioning their prisoner as Brik held him fast. Out of the corner of his eye the mage saw the battered dwarf. Guessing correctly that Jarveth was too proud to ask for or openly accept a healing potion, Myrthorn went to the cart, dug out his potion and surreptitiously offered the crystal vessel to Jarveth.
"Thank you, Mage," the dwarf said under his breath. Myrthorn made sure Jarveth drank the entire amount before returning to where Muldred and Brik still stood with the highwayman.
The interrogation was going nowhere and the mage and cleric were quickly growing weary of the pointless questions. Either the man was an incredibly talented liar or he was a complete idiot. Finally at a nod from Myrthorn, Brik dropped the man who stumbled forward, regained his footing then fled down the road in the direction of the distant Pendboro.
Myrthorn sheathed his silver dagger after wiping the few drops of blood off on his sleeve. The door on the fourth wagon which had several covered windows as well as a roof, opened and Masron jumped lightly to the ground. He approached the weary group with a broad smile. "Very well done," he congratulated in a hearty voice. He shook each of their hands in turn before returning to his wagon.
With the exception of Jarveth and Ardrah, the group quickly downed healing potions before returning to their wagons and cart to prepare for the continuation of their trek through the mountains.
Presently the caravan was moving once again. By the time the sun was setting they had reached the mouth of the dragon maw pass. The wagons were circled in a small clearing which lay off to one side of the road. Myrthorn and the others took turns guarding the wagons as the merchants slept. The night passed slowly but uneventfully.
At last the sun burst over the crests of the mountains which were beginning to close in on either side of the road. They ate a hastily prepared breakfast, for Masron had said earlier that he wanted to be at least half way through the pass before nightfall. He implied that this was the most dangerous leg of the journey.
They broke camp an hour after sunrise and the wagons proceeded into the Dragon Maw Pass. Myrthorn studied the sides of the pass as they grew more steep and rocky. The grass and trees reluctantly gave way to bare rock. Jagged spires of stone, which actually resembled giant dragon's teeth, covered more and more of the mountainsides. "More excellent cover for an ambush," Myrthorn thought as he fingered a crossbow bolt. Eagles and hawks seemed to dance among the great peaks. They swooped and dove before rising gracefully on an upward current of air. A few hawks winged low over the caravan then banked sharply away. Myrthorn stared wistfully after the birds of prey. Maybe someday he too would learn the spell for flight.
Brik did not stray far from the head of the caravan. If there was an ambush he would be a nice target. He patted Horse's neck and they trotted along twenty yards or so before the wagons.
A couple of hours before sundown, they came across a natural bay in the rock face. It was a U-shaped opening protected on three sides by steep slopes. It allowed for good protection, Ardrah thought, but it also provided only one opening for escape.
They weren't quite half way through the pass, but it was an ideal place to make camp Masron decided, and he ordered his wagons into the bay. The caravan trundled into the opening and formed a U-shape, conforming to the contours of the walls. They made camp and ate a leisurely supper. As the shadows lengthened, plunging the bay into an artificial night, Muldred and Myrthorn took the first watch. Primarily, they kept an eye on the road in both directions so as not to be taken unawares by a large force which could seal off the bay entrance. Occasionally, one or both of them would clamber up the steep sides of the bay to scan the night for mountain lions or other night predators.
Muldred yawned. "All this is doing is keeping us from getting sleep," he mumbled. "There's nothing out here that..." The peace of the night was splintered by a sound that Muldred and Myrthorn did not need to hear. The howl of a wolf.
"You were saying?" Myrthorn asked, giving his friend a wry smile. But then he stiffened as another howl pierced the darkness followed by another, and another.
"I'm beginning to really not like this," Muldred said scanning the mountainside nervously.
Myrthorn quickly turned as another howl echoed through the mountains; the cry definitely coming out of the south. An answering howl issued from somewhere north of the camp.
"There getting closer," Myrthorn said as he hurried toward the wagons. "This is bad and getting worse. I'm waking the others and rousing Masron," he called over his shoulder. He moved into the dying firelight and grimaced. The horses were shuffling and whinnying nervously with every chilling wolf cry. He increased his pace for he didn't know how much time they had. "Brik, Ardrah, Jarveth!" he yelled, not bothering to take the time to stop at each wagon to wake his companions. "Trouble!" he finished. Now he broke into a run and reached Masron's wagon. He pounded on the door. "Masron!" the mage shouted. After a few seconds Myrthorn drew back his fist to assault the door again, but it was abruptly thrown open and a sleepy Masron poked his head out, nonplussed.
"What in the name of hell and human decency is going on?" he snapped.
"Wolves," was all Myrthorn said.
Masron jerked back with the sound of that single syllable. "UMMM," was all he could manage.
"Wake some of your merchants and try to calm the horses," Myrthorn said, turning to race back to the mouth of the bay. "They're getting nervous and I'm afraid some will try to bolt!"
I just might go with them, Masron thought as he threw on some clothes and jumped to the ground.
Myrthorn ran back to where he had left Muldred. He caught sight of the three other members of his group rapidly donning their armor. Brik was already striding purposefully toward the bay mouth clutching a flaming object in his hands. As the mage drew closer he could see that Brik held an oil bomb. Ardrah ran up to where Myrthorn and Brik were standing just as three figures appeared beyond the opening in the rock. Myrthorn and his other two companions stared, startled. In the mouth of the bay stood two large wolves, a coal black predator with piercing grey eyes and a slate grey beast with eyes the color of obsidian. Between them stood a man. The wolves bared their teeth which gleamed in the dim firelight. They growled, a sound issuing from deep in their throats. They took a step forward, muscles visibly tensing.
One of the horses suddenly screamed and ripping herself loose, galloped wildly up into the mountains.
"What is your business here?" Brik asked, remembering that Ardrah had said something like that before. In response, the man raised his hand, moving his fingers in a peculiar fashion. Brik hurled the oil bomb at the man at the same instant the wolves leapt at the big man. The bomb struck the man in the shoulder and burning oil boiled across his chest and face. Incredibly, the man smiled. Then he began to melt; skin rippling and undulating as he slid onto all fours. His face elongated into a snout bristling with sharp teeth and snow-white fur sprouted all over his body. Fingers and toenails thickened and protracted into claws. His eyes glowed a deep red and burned with an insidious light.
"A lycanthrope," Myrthorn hissed as the huge wolf wheeled and stalked toward the mage.
Myrthorn saw that Ardrah was drawing her claymore. "No!" he cried. "That will be useless. Here!" and he tossed his silver dagger over to the female warrior. Myrthorn quickly loaded a silver-tipped quarrel, leveled his crossbow, and fired. The bolt struck the werewolf in the neck but only dug a shallow gash in its flesh. The wolf screamed, throwing itself back as if its belly had been ripped open. Myrthorn loaded a second bolt and fired but the wolf seemed to anticipate the mage's attack and it reared up on its hind legs and the bolt whined harmlessly into the night. The wolf dropped back to the ground, paused for a heartbeat, then leapt a full three feet in the air at Myrthorn who was in the process of loading a third silver-tipped bolt. He had to lunge to one side and the wolf's great jaws snapped together on empty air. Myrthorn spun and fired but he stumbled on a rock just as he depressed the trigger of his crossbow and the bolt sliced the air just behind the wolf's left ear. The werewolf landed and crouched, studying its adversary. Possessing the intelligence of a human the wolf saw that this human had no more cursed silver crossbow bolts remaining. It tensed, preparing to strike. Then it suddenly whirled at the sound of a new threat.
With impressive coordination, Brik backhanded one wolf that was leaping at him, slamming his huge forearm across the side of its head. Surprised, the wolf faltered in mid air then hit the ground hard. At the same time Brik struck the first wolf, he turned and drew his broad sword. The second wolf shot past him. Brik struck at its flanks but missed. The second wolf landed and spun back toward Brik. The black wolf began circling its prey as the grey wolf righted itself and joined its partner. Brik now had a wolf on either side of him. If he turned to attack one then he would expose his back to the other. Brik waited, turning and trying to keep both wolves on either side of him. He struck at the black wolf and sliced off one of its ears. Brik was thrown forward as the grey wolf sprang and slammed into his back, but its teeth only scraped against the metal of Brik's armor. He struck again at the black wolf but missed. Then Brik grunted with pain as the grey wolf's teeth tore into the flesh of his left elbow. The black seized the initiative and sprang at Brik's throat. Brik barely got his sword up in time and the wolf was flung aside as the flat of Brik's blade connected with the side of its head. The grey wolf, seeing an opening, was about to leap when a stone struck it in the side and there was an audible crack as one of its ribs snapped. The wolf staggered under the impact then a second stone slammed into its head and the wolf collapsed. A third stone, much sharper than the first two, buried itself in the wolf's chest smashing aside the bone and severing a major artery.
Muldred reloaded his sling and tried to locate the black wolf but Jarveth had come up with axe in hand. Brik saw the dwarf out of the corner of his eye. Brik struck at the black wolf with both hands gripping his sword. The wolf, focusing only on Brik, threw itself to the side and rose up on its hind legs. Jarveth's axe flashed and sank into the wolf's exposed belly. The wolf fell back with blood pouring from its stomach. Brik ran his sword through its heart which killed it instantly.
"Come to me, Demon," Ardrah cried, stopping a few feet from the werewolf and crouching. The white wolf regarded her for a moment then its lips pulled back in a vicious snarl. Ardrah lashed out with the silver dagger but the wolf ducked away. Ardrah lunged forward and slashed at the wolf's throat but it nimbly leapt aside. Suddenly, Jarveth was at Ardrah's side and he swung his axe. The blade sank into the wolf's shoulder up to the haft. In stunned amazement Jarveth watched as the werewolf calmly shook the blade free of its shoulder and waited only a moment as the wound closed. Then the wolf spun and leapt at Jarveth. Its teeth sank into the dwarf's right hand, shredding flesh, snapping bone, and dislocating several fingers. Its hind leg slashed Jarveth's upper arm just below the shoulder and ripped the skin and muscle down to the bone. Jarveth cried out and fell back. The wolf would have torn his throat out but it caught sight of Ardrah lunging at it. The wolf leapt aside but the tip of the silver dagger sliced into its cheek. The werewolf screamed in agony as the silver burned its flesh and seared its mind. The white wolf jerked back and pierced Ardrah with a venomous gaze. Without warning, the wolf sprang at Ardrah. It feigned a snap at her left hand then a forepaw lashed out and slashed down her throat. However, the pain of the silver dagger still pulsed in its mind and its accuracy was off. The razor sharp claw missed her windpipe and her jugular but it was a painful blow. Instinctively, Ardrah put her hand to her throat and her fingers came away covered in blood. The wolf wheeled and pressed its advantage. It leapt again with jaws wide aiming to tear out her throat. Ardrah lashed out with a steel-booted foot and caught the wolf squarely in the chest. Surprised, the wolf dropped to the ground and snarled in fury. Ardrah backed away and moved to one side trying to find an opening. She feinted right then lunged right at the wolf but her feint didn't take it in. It crouched low and her blade whipped over its head. The wolf darted forward and closed its teeth around Ardrah's knee. She cried out and reflexively kicked out with her free leg. The steel boot thudded into the wolf's ribs. Unaffected, the wolf hung on and Ardrah went down. Claws raked across her breastplate and the wolf growled in frustration. Eyes glazed with pain, Ardrah poked weakly at the wolf's side. The demon flung itself away but did not release its jaws. The corners of her vision began to blur and Ardrah feared she would pass out. She then clenched her teeth. Never before did she come close to passing out and she'd be damned if she'd do it now. Adrenaline pumped into her bloodstream and her own eyes burned with hatred. She brought the dagger across her body and struck at the wolf's snout. Startled and wanting to avoid the blade the werewolf released its hold. Ardrah sat up and at the same time struck at the wolf's lower jaw with a backswing. The wolf did what she had hoped it would. It jerked its head up. Ardrah brought the blade back slicing cleanly through the wolf's exposed windpipe. The werewolf screamed and the terrible sound echoed high into the mountains but no blood poured forth. It dropped to its side claws weakly pawing the air. It shuddered then abruptly the body began to elongate. The head rounded and the claws disappeared. The paws flattened into hands and feet. Ardrah stared, stunned, at the dead man lying before her.
Ardrah struggled to her feet. She winced and dropped the dagger as her knee exploded with pain. The bone had not been broken but the muscle had been severely torn.
Two more wolves appeared in the mouth of the bay. Smelling blood and seeing wounded prey, they advanced on Ardrah. She reached weakly for the fallen dagger but suddenly Brik and Muldred were there blocking the wolves approach. The wolves paused and regarded this new prey. Muldred loosed a rock but the wolves parted and it sailed between them. Brik stepped forward and slashed at the wolf on the right. Muldred cursed, dropped his sling and drew forth his war hammer. The second wolf leapt at the cleric who drove it away with the hammer. Muldred swung the hammer over his head and brought it down. The wolf jerked back. The hammer missed its head but the wolf yelped with pain as its front paw was crushed. It limped back, whining. Muldred stepped forward and swung the hammer over his head a second time. Again the wolf jumped back but Muldred released the hammer which slammed into the wolf's chest driving spears of shattered bone through its heart.
Brik slashed at the first wolf stepping forward as he did so. The wolf tried to leap around the big man but the flashing blade cut it off. Again the wolf leapt at Brik who almost casually slashed at it. The wolf dropped to the ground panting. Brik moved so that his back was against a vertical swoth of rock at the side of the bay. Snarling wildly, the wolf sprang at the big man who ducked away. The wolf slammed into the rock face. Brik struck, driving his blade completely through the wolf's body. The beast fell to the ground its body stiffening in agony. It whined piteously. Brik hastily ran his sword through the wolf's heart and the great beast went limp.
Brik turned and grimaced as he saw two more wolves slink into the bay, but upon smelling the death of other wolves in the area, they turned tail and fled.
Brik, Myrthorn, and Muldred clustered around their fallen companions. Ardrah's and Jarveth's wounds were still bleeding freely. Masron approached carrying two vials. Wordlessly he handed one to Ardrah and the other to Jarveth. "Drink," was all he said.
Both gulped down the healing potions. Immediately the bleeding stopped. The slash on Ardrah's neck closed but there was a long white scar remaining. The torn muscle and flesh of her knee knitted together but the potion's power was not strong enough to completely heal the wound. A thick scab formed around her knee, but now she could at least stand.
Jarveth's broken fingers healed rapidly and the dislocated ones popped back into their sockets. The deep gash in his upper arm closed, leaving no scar. Jarveth got to his feet and glanced about for his axe. Masron gallantly helped Ardrah get her feet under her. Muldred retrieved his sling and Myrthorn claimed his silver dagger which curiously had no blood on it. He would look for his silver-tipped bolts come morning.
Editor's note: The third part of this tale of adventure will be revealed in the next issue of Audyssey.
Game Announcements and Reviews:
Above the full reviews which appear in this section, any new games which have not been fully reviewed yet will be announced in the hopes that readers and/or the Audyssey staff will try out and review these games for us. Reviews of games will not appear in any particular order. The only exception to this will be when we have more than one review for a game. In this case, reviews will be placed consecutively so that it is easier to compare them. As with Anchorhead a few issues back, I may wish to interject my own thoughts on a game should it provoke significant reaction or otherwise prove itself especially noteworthy. When I choose to do this, you'll find my remarks above the review or reviews for the game in question. Should a game have more than one review, two plus-signs will be placed above the first review and/or my remarks. This policy will hopefully encourage people to try both the latest as well as some older games which may have been overlooked. Just because something isn't hot off the presses doesn't mean that it is any less worthy of a gamer's attention. Also, remember that it doesn't matter if a game has been reviewed before. If you have a different take on the game than has already been published, send in your review and I'll consider it for publication. If a review fails to interest you, simply skip to the next plus-sign. It's that simple, folks.
A few games appeared too late in Audyssey's development to be properly reviewed in time for this issue. One of these is a brand new large text adventure from Andy Phillips. It is called Harowine's Mantle. The file name is haroine.z8, and it can be found at:
You need a Zcode interpreter such as Winfrotz, Blotz, or the new version of Dosfrotz in order to play. I should warn novices that Mr. Phillips has gained a reputation for including some very hard puzzles in his games. The story seems to be about a girl that you play whose parents have been murdered by gangsters. You, as a thirteen-year-old child, were saved from sharing their fate by a legendary haroine known as the crusader. You must ultimately seek out the man responsible for these cruel acts and bring him to justice. The file is around 510 K, which makes it quite a large game. From what little I've played so far, I caution parents that it isn't suitable for youngsters. Like most of Mr. Phillips's IF, this game also explores the darker aspects of human existance. It would be much appreciated if people who take on this game submit reviews of it for the next issue.
Activision has recently released a new role-playing game called Wizzards and Warriors. It can be found at retale stores, and can also be ordered on-line. Adam and I have started to play this game and have found it quite engaging for blind and sighted companions. The sound is quite good and is in sterio. The game can be played as a turn-based adventure which gives plenty of time to consider strategies and describe things. The only serious drawback is that the sighted companion will have to do a lot of reading. Only some characters actually have audio dialogue. Most just print out what they want to say on the screen. Also, descriptive text appears in a text window which should be read as well. As long as reading doesn't tax the patience of the sighted partner, the game seems quite promising.
Another recent discovery is that Michael Crichton's novel Timeline has just been made into a game by Eidos Interactive. I can tell you from personal experience that the story the game is based on is excellent. From what I've read about it so far, it seems to me that it's going to be an adventure game with action elements. The game developers and Mr. Crichton have taken great pains to have the game be story-driven and stick to Timeline's excellent plot. Apparently, extensive efforts have been made regarding historical authenticity of settings and characters in the game. Timeline is basically about a group of archaeology students who must rescue their professor when he is sent through quantum phoam into medieval France. The game features some excellent music, and won't be accessible without a sighted companion. From viewing the trailor while visiting me, Adam Taylor suspects that the game is an action-based game and may not leave time for discussion or planning. Anybody who decides to try out this game should do so with an experienced sighted gamer. My father and I are planning to obtain this game, so we should have more details for you by the next issue.
The final announcement before the reviews has to do with some old favorites. It seems that a source for the Infocom Masterpieces CD has at last been discovered. This collection contains thirty of Infocom's famous text adventures not including Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. To make use of the manuals, it is necessary to obtaine the Adobe Acrobat reading software as well as the Adobe Access plugin. Both are available from:
The material below gives details on where to obtain this CD: Thanks to Justin Fegel for his vigilance.
For those of you searching for the Masterpieces of Infocom cd, here is a
site that is still selling that collection. They also appear to have limited
supplies of the Lost Treasures of Infocom compilations.
Interdata Developments are proud to announce that the Masterpieces CD
and Lost Treasures II may be purchased online at
After a 15-year wait, the anticipation is finally over with Scott Adams latest
installment. Yes, the master of adventure games, The Chief Adventurer himself is
Imagine a world where your imagination replaces your senses. A world full of
sea, sand, pirates and treasure ! You wake up in a boat, not knowing your
purpose, but as you find your sea legs and begin to explore, many tasks are
unraveled. Solve the various puzzles and use your wits to conquer the mysteries
of the island. The original adventure master is back with his best creation yet,
"Return to Pirates Island 2". A fun game that will appeal to the whole family.
Say "YOHO" turn around - and suddenly you are there! Explore a pirate's world
through your mind's eye...
After 3+ years of development, interactive fiction's finest is ready to send you
on an adventure of the high seas utilizing the latest in text-based gaming!
ú Extensive help system
ú Multi-windowed interface (* visually challenged users please see note at end
of this ad)
ú Non-violent G rated fun game
ú Custom engineered sound effects
ú Interactive natural language parsing
ú Appealing to the whole family, young and old alike!
Scott Adams' latest adventure will have you enraptured, day and night, in a
world of excitement and suspense.
Your goal: To collect a set of *treasures*, some hidden well and some hidden,
well ... right in front of your nose! Visit exotic locales, find sunken
treasure, work with the crusty old pirate, put up with obstinate sea creatures
and even learn to really hate alarm clocks! Yes, that Scott Adams sense of humor
is back too!
Download it now!
Then pull up a chair...
And get ready for a journey to lands never seen.
Happy sailings Matey!
* Note that RTPI2 has been successfully used with some text reading software.
The current interface features a split screen which may cause problems with some
Text Readers. The author is working on an updated release of the game, which
will have a single window interface similar to the classic DOS games of old. All
owners of Return To Pirates Island 2 will be emailed and upgraded at no cost.
Frog Legs for the Holidays?
A Review of Flies By Night from Minds Eye 2
Review by Randy Hammer
Game available from:
Minds Eye 2 seems to be coming up with some great educational games. With all the focus on action and battle, it seems that we have lost track of this very essential niche. Yes, we can say that Shades of Doom teaches hand-ear coordination, but truly educational games are hard to come by. ME2 really is developing a strong corner on that part of the gaming market.
Their newest major release, Flies by Night, continues that tradition. The game is quite complicated, and requires players to actually think about moves before making them. If you are a parent looking for a high-quality game to get your child for the holidays, this is the one for you.
The game story includes a princess frog, the evil Bully Bullfrog, and our hero. Bully is betting that our hero can not eat twenty bugs before sunset. If he doesn't, Bully Bullfrog gets the girl. Putting the sexist notions aside, the game really has a cute story. You end up hopping all over the local pond trying to eat bugs as quick as possible. A snake, wildcat, and a heron all act as obstacles to your munching pleasure. Lively and interesting midi (or wav) music makes the experience entertaining, while also giving clues to bug placement.
The game is set up as a matrix of lilypads. The player hops from pad to pad trying to get to the column/row address of the bug. Younger children may have trouble with the matrix concept at first, but will quickly learn. The game teaches critical processing skills like finding the shortest path between points, and creating different paths to a goal with different weights. For example, the player may find that the shortest path to the bug is straight across an island in the center of the pond. However, the heron lives on that island, and he will eat our hero if he crosses the island. The player must find the best and fastest route to the bug.
This game is turn-based, which means that time does not tick by unless the player makes a move. However, when the player moves the clock may be moved forward by other creatures in the game. For instance, an attack by the heron moves the clock forward. The sounds are high quality, but aren't always understandable. There is no option to hear the sounds with a description. As an example, it's difficult to know if the heron has just eaten a fish, or if the fish is just jumping nearby.
The main problem with the game is documentation. The readme and help files (which are self voicing, allowing game play without a screen reader) are skimpy at best. They both refer to online hints available by hitting any of the letter keys ("a" being the least revealing.) However, the hints are a problem as well, as some are actual hints to the game, and some describe what different keys do. The game would be gbetter if the hints about keystrokes was put into the help files. Go ahead and try the game without reading the hints, I guarantee you'll have to read them eventually. Despite this, I was really impressed with the setup and packaging. Setup was easy, and includes a self-voicing and editable menu. This menu can be accessed by hitting a key combination, allowing the menu to load from anywhere (as long as the icon isn't deleted from the desktop. This removes the hotkey.) The packaging was all brailled, including the CD itself!
Again, if you're looking for a present for that little one I'd definitely recommend this game. ME2 recommends ages 6 and up, but I believe younger children would be able to successfully learn from and play this game. As aI said above the game does not require a screen reader, and the packaging makes it easy for visually impaired gamers to identify the CD for setup. A sound card with MIDI capabilities will be helpful, but is not essential.
Once again, the annual IF competition has taken place. A staggering 53 games were entered this year. Due to a number of circumstances beyond his control, Kelly was unable to submit any material regarding this competition for this issue. Even with both staff members working at full strength and coordinating their efforts, it would still have been an extraordinary feet to cover this event as well as might be wished. The deadline for voting is the very day that this issue is published, November 17th. The results of the competition will therefore be published in the next issue of Audyssey. For future competitions, it would be good to form a special task-force to cover the event. If any of our readers would like to volunteer for such a task-force, please E-mail either myself, Kelly, or Justin regarding this. In the mean-time, Justin has done what he could to review some of the games. You'll find his material directly below:
Competition 2000 Wrap-up
By Justin Fegel
The sixth annual interactive fiction competition is drawing to a close. In fact, by the time you read this, all of the votes will have already been submitted and we should be seeing the final results with in the next couple of weeks. There were a ton of games entered this year and most of them were good, so I'm very interested in who the winner is going to be.
Like the previous competitions, this one was bigger and better than the one before. This year's competition featured 54 games. As usual, a majority of these were developed with Tads or Inform. There were however, a couple AGT games, a Hugo game, an Adrift game, a stand-alone MsDOS game, and a couple stand-alone Windows games.
There really were no accessibility issues accept with two games. The first was an MsDOS game called Otos, which stands for, On the Other Side. This game has an interesting concept as it puts you in the role of the computer guiding the interactive fiction player. This means that you type the descriptions for locations, objects, etc. by creating a script file that the Otos program reads. That is the best way I can explain it as I was never able to get the program to work correctly as it wouldn't work well with my screen reader. The concept is interesting though.
The second game I had problems with was a windows game called Quest. I have no idea what this game is about because when I loaded it, I could not find any text on the screen to read and I couldn't even close the program normally. So, I can't rate this game to highly.
As I've already mentioned, there were quite a lot of games entered this year and there is no way I can cover half of them. What I will do is briefly discuss a few games that I enjoyed and would like to see place well.
In this Tads game, you come to your senses to find yourself buried under a pile of corpses in the middle of a vast battlefield after a great battle has ended. You appear to be the only survivor and you must first escape from the pile of dead bodies and find the items to construct a monument so that the dead will not be forgotten. This is a short and fairly simple game. I was able to complete it in just under an hour. For those uncomfortable with the subject of death, you may wish to steer clear of this one as it is sort of a dark and grim sort of a story.
In this Tads game, you are Jarod, the son of a roman centurion who had an encounter with Jesus and thus has been converted to Christianity. This game takes place shortly after the time of Jesus when Christianity is still very young. Your father is old and dying and he sends you out in to the world to learn about Christ and to bring others to know him.
This game does not have any real puzzles. You will travel to different cities where you can observe other people and talk to them. When you are ready to leave a city, you will be asked what you learned there. Based on your answer, you will go to a different city. Thus, there are multiple paths you can take to finish the game, so you may encounter several endings. For those of you that use the HtmlTads interpreter, there are also some nice sound effects and graphics.
A humorous little Tads adventure in which you wake up one Saturday morning to find you have somehow turned in to a dog and you are locked in a cage in a pet shop. Basically, you must escape and find a way to change yourself back so you can get home in time for your ninth birthday party. What makes this game really neat is the continuous musical sound track which plays in the background throughout the adventure. There is a different tune for each location. To hear the music and other sound effects, you must be playing the game with the HtmlTads interpreter.
Unnkulia X: Escape of the Sacrificed
At last, another chapter in the popular Unnkulia series created by Adventions in the early nineties. In this game, you play a young orphan girl who is about to be offered as a sacrifice to the demons of Unnkulia by her village. This game is good, but it's not as good as the previous unnkulian adventures. You don't need to have played the previous adventures to complete this game, but having some knowledge of the other games will help you understand some of the words and phrases you will come across. This game also makes some references to the previous games.
There doesn't seem to be much of a plot to this game. I've escaped the villagers and it sounds like I'm supposed to find a way to free the village from the demons, but I'm about three quarters through the game and there has been no more mention of the demons or my village. I've been running around solving a lot of puzzles, but this doesn't seem to be leading me closer to a resolution. As I said, I haven't finished the game yet, so maybe there is a surprise waiting for me. The game is quite large with a lot of places to explore and characters, which don't seem to really fit in with the story, to interact with. Overall, it's quite an amusing game. Play it if your a fan of Unnkulia.
and the Waves Choke the Wind
This is another Inform game based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, one of the early 20th century masters of horror and suspense. The version of the game entered in the competition is not complete. It is actually a preview to a much larger game which I'm hoping will be available soon. The game is divided in to chapters and the competition version lets you play the first two.
You begin the game lying bound and gagged in a lifeboat adrift at sea. You have also apparently been drugged and it takes a few moves for you to come completely to your senses. After you've regained full control of yourself you notice a strange island ahead of you. That's when the real nightmare begins.
Probably the hardest part in this preview is near the beginning when you have to somehow untie yourself and swim to the shore of the island. Once there, the rest of the game is primarily exploring your surroundings. If you enjoyed Anchorhead, then you should like this game as I think it's just as good. I'm really looking forward to the full release.
Return to Zork: Another Story
As I'm sure you deduced from the title, here is another game based in the Zork universe. I get the picture that there is supposed to be some relation between this game and Return to Zork, a graphical adventure released by Activision some years ago. What this relation is I'm not sure as I have never played the game due to the fact that it would require sighted assistance to play.
The story is that you have won a prize and you must journey to the town of Shanbar, which is located near the Great Underground Empire, to claim it. After you have arrived, which is a puzzle in itself, you find the town deserted except for the mayor and a few other inhabitants. After some investigating, you find that the person you were supposed to meet is missing, the townspeople are being kidnapped by vultures, and the empire is collapsing in on itself due to evil magic. You have two options at this point,: to only rescue your friend, or in the process of doing this, offer your assistance to the movement trying to save the empire.
This game was great in that a vast majority of the puzzles had multiple solutions. For instance, near the beginning, when you have to travel to Shanbar, there are three possible routes you can take. You can also get different endings depending on which decisions you make in the course of the game. I think its a fine addition to the Zork series and it's actually one of my picks to win the competition.
A Crimson Spring
This was the only Hugo game entered in this year's competition. It's twenty years in the future and you are a superhero known as the Holy Avenger. Your girlfriend has been brutally murdered and you are on a mission to track down the people who killed her. With the help of your friends, the Scourge Squadron, who also have super powers of there own, you will scour the mean streets of New York City, fighting other super villains, in search of revenge.
A good portion of the game is spent fighting or talking to other characters. Don't let this be a turn off though, the story is good and there are a couple clever puzzles scattered around. I should warn you that there is some violence and strong language, so if you are uncomfortable with that kind of material, you won't want to play this game. The author does include a disclaimer at the beginning. You can also download multimedia sound and graphics files, but to play them, you will need to be playing the game with the windows version of the Hugo run-time which is not very accessible.
Remember, these games I have just briefly discussed are just a fraction of what's available. Head over to <ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/competition2000 and start downloading. Each game has its own subdirectory or you can just grab them all in one shot by downloading the self extracting file ifcomp2000.exe.
An Upgrade to a Good Game, Worth it?
Review of Trek 2000 from GMA Games
Review by Randy Hammer
Game available at:
Fully accessible without sighted assistance.
A few game developers recently have been upgrading their DOS-based games to Windows-based. the main reasons are playability and expansion. It seems that the code for Windows-based programs is easier to upgrade, allowing new versions and changes more quickly and efficiently. The gamer sees easier play, with higher quality sounds (including proper sound overlay and 3D rendering.)
After upgrading Lonewolf to windows, and seeing the success it made, David Greenwood of GMA Games updated his Startrek game. Trek 2000 is now available for purchase, but is it really worth the update?
If you liked the DOS-based Trek you'll really appreciate the upgrade. Sounds are quicker, and sound quite a bit crisper. Menu functions are a lot easier to navigate, and there is now a self destruct option directly off the Weapons menu. (Though it still requires the antimatter mine to accomplish the task.)
For those who really didn't care for the older Trek game, you probably won't see anything worth looking at with the update. You may consider downloading the free demo from http://www.gmagames.com, but you probably still won't be impressed. The demo allows 10 moves, which is enough to get a pretty good feel for playability and game mechanics. If you're really not into Startrek, I would recommend spending your money on Lonewollf.
For more information on Trek '99 (the DOS-based version) and to get a better feel for the game in general check out my review a few issues back. The same information still applies to the upgrade.
Game by EA Sports
Available in computer stores
Available for the sony playstation and pc
Version reviewed for sony playstation
Requires sighted assistance
Review by Jay Pellis
The sport of basketball has been simulated in video games ever since the
old atari2600 was king of the consoles. They have progressed from games
with fake team/player rosters, and beeps for sound effects to full fledged
simulations with team/player rosters and full play-by-play commentary. One
such game that uses the CD medium is NBALive98 by EA sports. Released in
1997 for the sony playstation and the pc, it's one of the best basketball
games out today. It even stands it's ground against the newer BB games of
today such as it's sequels NBALive 99/2000 and others.
When the game is started, a number of menus appear on the screen such as
Season play, which allows you to take a chosen team through an entire
basketball season, and preseason play, which lets you pit any teams against
each other. In preseason mode, you can either play against the computer or
play a 2 player game against a friend. The options menus let you change
the rules of the game, such as turning on and off the shot clock, fouls
etc. In the pc version, menus are navigated by using the arrow keys on the
keyboard, and in the playstation version, they are navigated by using the
Once teams are selected, you can switch players, remove players from the
lineup or add them. You have full control over the players on your chosen
team. When a basketball game is started, the announcer will announce the
names of the 2 teams that are playing, and the game begins! On the 8
button playstation controller, different buttons do different things
depending if you are either on offense or defense. On offense for example,
one button passes the ball from player to player, while another shoots the
ball. On defense, one button makes your player grab for the ball in order
to steel it from the opposing team, while another makes your player run
faster. There are keyboard equivalents for the pc that do the same
thing. The directional pad on the controller moves your player left and
right on the court, while the arrow keys on the pc do the same for that
version. Also, if you have a pc controller, such as the 8-button Microsoft
Sidewinder or at least a 4-button controller, you can use that to play the
game on your pc.
The announcer announces who the ball is being thrown to as soon as it is
passed. So if you know who the players are on your team, you can easily
pass the ball from player to player, and choose when to shoot the ball. If
you are the first player, you'd be moving to the right on the court when on
offense, and to the left on defense. The reverse applies for the second
player. The announcer also speaks during every event that happens on the
court. For example, if a pass is intercepted, the broadcaster will say who
stole it, and who now has the ball. This game has the most commentary I've
ever heard in a basketball game, and I've played many of the newer games
that had much less commentary then this game. I assumed that the newer
games such as NBALive99 would have more commentary then the 98 version but
the commentary was lessened in favor of graphics. The sounds are also well
done, with the crowd reacting to the home or away teams progress. If a
home team player makes a monster dunk, the crowd reacts by cheering loudly,
if they miss an easy shot, the crowd will boo. The swoosh of the ball
going through the hoop is clear as a bell, and very realistic. The sound
of the ball being passed, and dribbled can also be heard clearly, and there
are many more sounds to make the game seem just as if you were
participating in a real basketball game.
This game requires sighted assistance in navigating the menus and choosing
options. However, when you've gotten accustomed to the game controls and
sounds, it is easy to play against a friend or the computer by just
listening and reflexes. Playing against a friend is where this game really
shines. The computer controlled opponents are either too easy to beat or
too hard, depending on the difficulty level of the game.
Until an accessible BB game is made for the blind, this is a close second,
and should tide any basketball fan over until said game is released. If
you are buying the pc version of any game, be sure to look at the system
requirements on the box, such as what processor is needed to run the game
etc. People with older machines, such as pentium 90s won't be able to run
this game well or the game may run very slowly. This game is a few years
old now, so can be picked up under the EA classics label for $10 for the
pc, and I happened to find my copy for the playstation used for $15.
Review of DUNGEONS OF THE NECROMANCER'S DOMAIN
Developed by R.O. Software as shareware
Game fully playable without sighted assistance.
Hi fellow gamers! I'm fairly new to the Audyssey community, and am glad to be a part of it. I know that it is game interest and dialog that keeps this community alive, so here's some imput from me on an old favourite of mine.
The name of the game is " DUNGEONS OF THE NECROMANCER'S DOMAIN", hope I
spelled that right, and is a shareware release by r.o. software. I don't
know if it's still available, but there is an address given in the notice
that appears on the game's splash screen. It is as follows:
4757 W. Park BLVD.
Suite 106-207 Plano TX
Editor's note: As this is quite an old DOS-based game, I have doubts about whether the authors are still accepting registration. Further investigation is necessary on this point.
This game, though I think does have simple graphics, is mostly text, and is
completely playable by a blind person without sighted inturruption,
(smile) and although smaller and more basic than the real dungions and
dragons game that inspired it, is still fun and interesting enough to keep
one hooked for quite a while. If a gamer is new to the d&d concept, this
game will be a good introduction, with fairly streight forward commands
and good help sections to get ya started. And what is the objective,
well, first, to go explorring, in one of five dungeons where you'll
encounter all kinds of nasties that want nothing more than to make sure
that you don't find your way out! Also, there are lots of treasures your
character can collect to buy better weapons/armor, clothing and
transportation to other dungions. When you first start the game by typing
'dnd' you'll get a notice file that tells about the game, and following
that, the options that you have before exploration. When you first create
a character, it is likely that you will not have much money, so if you do
visit the store,you'll not be able to buy much, so you get to go find
stuff in the dungion right away. the commands are one keystroke each for
the most part, and game play is fairly fast for a turn-based game. Even
though it's simple, I personally found it rather adictive, and there's
lots of levels to explore per dungion.. The only down side to this is
that I am not sure if it's still available from the original vendor, as I
haven't had the money to buy the registered version, and have not found a
phone number or e-mail address to contact them. For those who have the
registered version, there is a dungion master, which can make dungions and
edit characters that ships as a bonus with the game. If it's still
supported, I hope someone can let us all know, I for one would register
it. Well, saying much more would give too much away, so if anyone's
interested in exploring some dark passages and knocking off nasty critters
and treasure hunting, contact either our estemed helmsman, at his
compuserve address or me at my e-mail address and anyone else who may
already have this little gem. My e-mail address is:
Happy gaming all!
The Future is Coming, Slowly
Review of Starfight from Games For The Blind
Review by Randy Hammer
Game available from:
Fully playable without sighted assistance
About a year-and-a-half ago we got our first look at live action games with the introduction of the first release of Lonewolf. It was an amazing upgrade for many of us who were used to playing round by round. Action style games were something we watched our sighted friends play. We continued with Shades of Doom and Grizzly Gulch.
However, the consumer is a picky creature. They always seem to want more, faster, bigger, better. I think it was last April that I started hearing (and voicing on my own) complaints that we had no games we could play over a network. It's fun to play the computer, and it's alright to play against friends sitting in front of the same keyboard, but let's face it the VIP computer gamers community isn't huge. We are spread all over the world, and can't exactly get together on a Friday night to play a few games together.
So the answer is the networkable game. This is a game that can be played over a local area network or the Internet against other players. No, I'm not talking about the HTML-based games, or muds. I'm talking about games that are based on individuals PCs and can be played in an offline mode, but have the option of playing online. Imagine, playing Shades of Doom against a human opponent! Imagine playing Lonewolf with a friend, trying to take out huge convoys! Well, the future is here!
We've all heard of Robert Betz of Games for the Blind (http://www.games4theblind.com.) He's brought us several interesting games over the past year, mainly card and word oriented. However, just a few days ago he released a new game that launches us to the next level. Network gaming is here. Allow me to introduce "Starfight."
Great lead up eh? Well, take it at face value. The game is really not that impressive on it's own. Basically, the game is the classic game of Battleship, with spacey ship names and sound effects. The true beauty of the game is beneath the skin.
Like most Battleship games you have the option of playing the computer, or playing against an opponent at the same keyboard. Starfight goes one step further by introducing the network component. You can download a free Chat program from www.games4theblind.com, connect, and find someone to play. Game play is directly incorporated into the Chat engine, allowing you to start the game straight from the chat software. You can then continue on chatting in one window, and playing in another. The game software includes a instant messenger feature, so you can communicate with your opponent while playing.
This is new technology for us, so of course there will be a few hitches. First, the game engine only works with two screen readers. Others will have trouble playing, though it doesn't look impossible. Even with the supported readers you will run into trouble if a sound effect plays while you are reading a message. The game is programmed to stop your screen reader in order to play a sound. Third, you don't have the option of hosting your own game, or connecting to an IP address to play an opponent. All game transactions happen through a server at Games for the Blind. This means that you have a slight bit of performance degradation, and you can't play on a non-Internet connected LAN. (In other words, those of you with firewalls may have trouble.)
So, should you buy this game? No, go ahead and download it, play it for the 15 day trial to get the feel of it. The game just isn't worth the money. Wait for the next generation of networkable games, which aren't that far behind. Oh, and my typical children rating.....Children will appreciate the ease of playing the game, and they will learn from the strategy of finding ships. However, as always when playing on the Internet you must be cautious about who they are chatting with.
Name: The Eamon Adventure Collection CD-ROM
Media type: CD-ROM
Price: $3 US, foreign unknown
web site: none
support group: news:alt.games.eamon on Usenet
Email contact: Tom Zuchowski, [email protected]
Postal address: not listed
As you can probably tell from the above statements, I am very excited and
enthusiastic about this CD-ROM. For the first time ever, all of the surviving
Eamon adventure games are collected into one library for a ridiculously low price.
No, I am not associated in any way with Tom, but I think he has done an excellent
job in assembling the CD.
Here is what you will find. All of the newsletters from 1984-present. Most of the
NEUC (National Eamon User's Club) are in jpg image format, but I converted two of
them to text which appear as well. You will also find all of the EAG (Eamon
Adventurer's Guild) newsletters in two formats. They are in plain text from 1987-
97, and in RTF from 1997-present. Wordpad can read both formats with no problems.
You will need an OCR package which supports converting image files to read the
other newsletters, which are in poor quality. You may download all of the
newsletters without buying the CD. Go to:
Tom has given his permission to upload anything from the CD except for Sam's
Softdisk titles, which will be discussed below.
Unlike the files found at the IF archive and it's mirrors, the disk images on the
CD are not in gzip format, so you do not need to manipulate them in any way before
use. All you need to do is make a subdirectory on your hard disk and copy
everything you want. Make sure to copy the files ending in ".dsk" and not ".sdk,"
since the .sdk files are native Apple files and will not work with an emulator.
This is far easier and quicker than downloading over 250 files and decompressing
them. Additionally, you may make one master zip file (if you are using DOS) and
compress all the images in one file. This saves space but requires unzipping every
time. Full instructions for copying and using the files are on the CD.
You will also find four new Eamon adventures which are not available elsewhere.
Eamon 243 was actually discovered on ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/ by me. I did some
salvaging, and Tom Zuchowski fixed the database and main program. As of the time
of this writing, the fixed, official version is not available online. This is
quite a good Eamon, and I suggest playing it when you get the CD-ROM. The other
three adventures were written by Sam Ruby for Softdisk. Sam is an excellent
writer, and his games are comparable to the interactive fiction games being
released today. They have good puzzles and a good story. There is usually some
combat, but the main element is the puzzles. The Softdisk games are smaller than
most Eamons because they had to fit on one disk. They are not in the public domain
and may not be uploaded anywhere! To buy them from Softdisk for a real Apple would
be quite expensive, but they come free on the CD. (One quick note. You will
probably have to modify the disk images to remove the PR#3 command, otherwise it
locks up the emulator.)
So, what else is here? Yes, there is more. You will find John Nelson's PC ports.
They are not as good as the real Apple versions, but they are a good introduction
to Eamon if you have not played it before. They use direct screen writes so your
screen reader may need adjustment to work. The PC Eamons are harder to set up, but
instructions are provided. In fact, almost every directory has README files
explaining the contents and how to work with the files. Finally, if you find that
you are interested in exploring more Apple software, Tom has provided a wealth of
resource materials, along with lists of other sites and care and feeding of a real
Apple. You are bound to learn something from these resource files.
What, you are still not sold yet? No problem. It is only $3 US, so at least try
it. For more contact information, look at the newsletters at the site listed
above. You may also download most of the games there and try them. Before you can
use the games, you need an emulator. Currently, the only one which works well with
speech is at:
Also, Adam Myrow wrote some notes on other things you need and what to do.
Editor's note: This information can be found in the "Letters" section of Audyssey. For all who take up the Eamon challenge, I hope this issue serves as a trusty guide to aid your success.
Geosafari talking globe
Product by Geosafari
Review by Daniel Rowe
Playable without sited assistance.
As you all probably know, most electronic quiz games are not accessible right out of the box. They have to have the membrane switches; (a flat surface, which acts instead of buttons with the letters and symbols printed on it) labelled in Braille. Some just say things like "What is the correct answer?" and display the question on the screen. But the Geosafari Talking globe speaks everything and uses buttons as its interface.
The Talking globe is a quiz game about geography. It asks you questions about countries, rivers, lakes, capital cities, mountain ranges, and things of that nature. It has a very clear American voice, which you can adjust the volume of if necessary.
The globe is quite light and could be easily transported by hand or in a bag.
The globe is a standard sized globe. The globe stands on a base, which is circular in shape, which houses the game computer.
The game runs on four AA batteries or a standard AC adapter set to six volts.
When you power up the globe, it asks you how many players are going to be participating in the game. You can have 1 to 4 players. Next you can select your difficulty level from beginner, intermediate and advanced. The levels determine what questions the globe asks you; the topic of the question and the difficulty of the questions. On the intermediate level and the advanced level, some of the questions ask you to identify national anthems. The game plays the first bar or two of the anthem using a sort of trumpet sound (not unpleasant) and you have to say what country it's from.
Some of them aren't easy. It might play the anthem of Zimbabwe or something like that.
Next, you can select how many seconds you want to answer the question in. You've got to answer before your time runs out. You can have 15, 30, 45 or 60 seconds
After you've done that, the game is ready.
The game will ask each player 10 questions and you answer using the 1 2 3 or 4 buttons. The game goes through the choices from left to right and lights up the corresponding button with a bright light as it reads that answer. True or false questions are buttons 1 and 2.So if you have got some vision that might help you but no vision is necessary to play the game.
The game has two voices. A female voice for the prompts, and a mail voice, which tells you the questions. If you don't know the answer, you can press the help button, and the game will tell you should look to find the answer. The globe has got razed lines on it, they might be outlines of countries or they might be creases because it is made out of thick card. So you might need some help using the globe. But more often than not, you'll get the right answer with the help key even if you don't use the globe.
For example: the game might say,
Where is Italy?
Asia, North America, Europe.
When you press the help key, it would give you a big hint on where Italy is. It would say
Look in Europe.
The game has a repeat key, which repeats the question and answers to you. I've noticed that you can only use the button twice.
Each question is worth 10 points and the maximum is 100.
I have had this globe for about 4 years.
If you want to buy the globe, you can buy it from speak to me for around 100 US dollars.
You can order on-line at
Look in the game section.
The UK agent for speak to me is computer room service. Their web site address is:
The price is around 50 pounds.
If you like quiz games, I would highly recommend buying this. It's the only product that I've found of this nature that is fully accessible out of the box. And strangely enough, this product wasn't designed for the blind!
If anyone wants a sample of the high quality speech in the globe, e-mail me at
And I'll send you a wave file.
Kings Quest 5: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder
Developed by Sierra on-line
Available at computer software stores
Requires Sighted assistance
Reviewed by Jay Pellis
Just as the Zork series made their mark in the text adventure world, the
Kings Quest series did the same for the graphical adventure world. The
first game in the series had a simple text interface but it was the first
game to incorporate graphics in to the game. For the first time, you can
see the character you were playing as, and the surroundings of the game
such as woods or a castle.
Kings Quest 5 stepped up the technology yet again by being the first game
to be distributed on both floppy disk aCD-ROM. It was also the first
game to have full voices for every action the player took, and sound
effects to accompany the voices in the CD-ROM version.
You play the role of King Graham, the father of Prince Alexander, who was
the star of Kings Quest 6 which I reviewed in an earlier issue of
Audyssey. In this prequel to that game, Graham is taking a walk in the
woods near his castle one day, when suddenly, the air grows still. A magic
whirlwind surrounds his castle, and it sinks with the rest of his family
still inside it. Also watching this was a talking owl named
Cedric. Cedric informs Graham that the evil Wizard Mordack has brewed a
magic storm to capture Graham's castle and family. With the aid of a good
wizard named Crispin, Graham sets off on a long journey to get his castle
and family back. Along the way, he'll have to face an ice monster, and
infiltrate Mordack's castle in order to save his family.
The interface is completely mouse driven, so any totally blind players will
need sighted assistance to play this game. The well known icon based
interface that Sierra on-line uses in many other games was first introduced
in this game. The right mouse button cycles through various icons such as
look, talk, and walk. When one of these icons is highlighted and the left
mouse button is pressed, the character performs that action. The icons are
labelled graphically, such as an eye for looking or a mouth for talking. In
the CD-ROM version, every action is accompanied by a voice that narrates
the story. For example, if you look at the bookshop owner in the bookshop,
you might hear:
"The bookshop owner is busy helping customers now, he ignores you."
Many of the other descriptions are much more descriptive then the one above
but that should give you a good idea of what is spoken when an action is
taken. There is also an inventory where Graham stores items he picks up
along the way. He can use any item on any object in the game.
The puzzles are sometimes frustrating because you can die unexpectedly in
some of the places in the game. For example, if you enter the cave of the
ice monster with out the appropriate item to defeat him with, you will be
instantly killed by him. Some good advice in this game is to save
often! You never know when you might need to restore back to an earlier
game because you might have forgotten to pick up an essential item to win
the game with.
Most of the puzzles in the game are inventory based. For example, the
Taylor might need a needle and thread to make you some clothes. You might
find the thread perhaps just laying around in the town or forests around
the town or perhaps another character may have it, and you'd have to do a
task for that character to get it.
The locations vary greatly also. Towards the beginning of the game, you
find a town with many people to talk with, and things to buy in
shops. Later on, you have to make your way through a desert, and beyond
that, you find some mountains that you must navigate. Along your journey,
you will meet many interesting characters, such as a witch who seems evil
at first but if you help her a little, she will help you in return.
Kings quest 5 was a groundbreaking game for it's time. Today, there are
many graphical adventures out there but a lot of them got there ideas from
this game. This game was released in 1990, before the adventure genre was
smashed wide opened by the classic game Myst in 1993.
I also must mention the musical score in this game. Even though it is midi
based, it still combines quite well along with the voices to put a lot of
emotion in to the game.
This game can be picked up along with other Kings Quest games in the Kings
Quest collection. The collection features the first 7 games in the Kings
Quest series, along with a few bonus games. It can run in DOS, windows3.1,
and windows95/98. The price for this collection is $20.00 US dollars or
lower, it's a great price for many great games that defined the graphical
adventure genre as we know it today.
"YOU DON'T KNOW JACK: The NetShow"
Game by Berkely Systems
Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia
Almost fully playable without sighted assistance
As long as I can remember, I've been interested in trivia
games. I have two trivia tapes, "Talking Trivia" (which is no
longer available), and "Trivia Time". I also have a copy of Jim
Kitchen's trivia game system.
I recently have been reading and hearing about a game show
called "You Don't Know Jack." In Issue 20 of Audyssey, Randy
Hammer wrote an excellent review of the CD versions. In the
review, he also mentioned a free online version, called "You
Don't Know Jack, The Netshow".
For those of you who've never heard of YDKJ, it's a trivia
game where "high culture and pop culture collide!" The game
asks trivia questions about various subjects in an "irreverent"
manner. The host also reads out the answers. (It's like your
typical TV game show.)
If you know the answer, you buzz in by pressing a key on the
keyboard. If you choose the wrong answer, the host will usually
make a sarcastic comment. For example, when I got a wrong answer,
the host said "You got it! No, just kidding."
Up to 3 players can play, and you can play by yourself if you
Installing the NetShow version was easy. You simply download
an installer program and run it. After it installs the necessary
files to your hard drive, you can then run the program by
clicking on an icon on the Desktop. Then, you have to wait about
30 minutes or so for the game itself to download. (This is a
one-time only installation.) After the game has been fully
installed, you're presented with a dialogue box asking for your
e-mail address, country, age range, etc.
Note- You have to be at least 13 or over to play the game.) After
you enter all the information, press the OK button. (Again, this
only happens once.) The game will then begin.
The first thing you'll be asked to do is to select the game you
want to play. This is tricky because the game titles aren't
spoken. You can pick one at random if you want by moving up and
down through the list and press Enter, or the game can select one
for you automatically if you wait too long.
You're then asked for the number of players, and their names. The
announcer will then tell you what key to press on the keyboard to
activate the buzzer.
When I first tried the game, I couldn't understand what was so
funny about it. I guess I wasn't in the right mood at the time.
I guess I wasn't used to the style in which the questions are
presented. Last night, I played the game again, and was able to
enjoy the comments from the host. However, I agree with Randy,
when he says not to let your kids play any of the YDKJ games. The
subject matter is intended for adults. (It's too bad they
couldn't design a kids version of the games. Oh well, can't have
everything I guess.) Other than that, I really like playing the
game. The sounds are okay, and the music is excellent, especially
the music you hear during the "Jack Attack".
As with most games, there are usually bugs and other problems.
You Don't Know Jack, the NetShow is no exception. The game tends
to lock up quite a lot, which is particularly annoying.
Before I started writing this review, I did some research on
the NetShow version of the game, and found out that the NetShow
version is limited to some degree.
For instance, the CD versions of the games have something called
the "Fiberoptic Field Trip" Also, the NetShow version
contains only 15 questions, while the CD contains
21 per game. Also, the sound quality is higher on the CD
versions, but I didn't have any problem with the audio quality on
the NetShow version.
The NetShow version also plays short ads at the end of each
round. I didn't mind this because it made it feel like a TV game
show. (The CD version also contains ads that are played at the
end of a game. Note that the ads on the CD aren't appropriate for
kids. The ads on the NetShow version are for sponsors of the
In conclusion, I recommend the NetShow version for those of
you who want to try the game first. Like I said, there are
shorter demos of YDKJ, but they only give you three questions.
I gave this game a rating of 9 out of 10, because of the access
issues with the Jack Attack.
If you're looking for a fun game show-style game, I recommend
You can download the game installer from a number of sites. For
you can find it at www.download.com. (Do a search
for You Don't Know Jack).
The main "You Don't Know Jack- The Netshow" game site, where you
can also download the game, is at:
Wizard's Castle [RPG]
Reviewed by Ron Schamerhorn
"Many cycles ago in the kingdom of N'Dic, the gnomic wizard Zot forged his great orb of power. He soon vanished, leaving behind his vast subterranean castle filled with esuriant monsters, fabulous treasures and the incredible Orb of Zot.
From that time hence, many a bold youth has ventured into the Wizards castle. As of now , none has ever emerged victoriously! Beware!!!!"
Since it is always best to start off with the positive things, I will. You are given 4 races to choose from including Hobbit, and choice of gender. Bonus points to put in an attribute of your selection. Easy to use keyboard commands, an 8 x 8 x 8 dungeon, and various modes of play.
There are 4 modes of play, Classic, Normal, Statistician, and Cartographer. Classic is more like the original game, with typos and a backward co-ordinate system. Normal is cleaned up and has the typical x & Y layout. Statistician uses the status line to show character attributes without having them written each turn. Lastly Cartographer gives a visual display of the current dungeon level. Personally I find the Statistician to work the best since you can have the Jaws cursor on the status line and let the PC read what happens during a turn.
Now for the other side of the game. Your quest is simply to go and retrieve the Orb of Zot. It isn't quite that simple since the Orb moves around the castle. You need to sneak up and teleport to the exact location. In order to teleport you need to have a particular magical staff. Once your character obtains a certain level, there is no further development. When scores hit 18 that's the farthest you can develop. I realise this is typical but in other RPG's you can at least train to become better. A limited choice of weapons/armour and other supplies. Though you won't starve to death*g*. You can buy flares at the beginning of the game as well as find some throughout the dungeon, but I have no idea what purpose they serve. It also seems that you go along into a room and poof! You're now somewhere else in the dungeon. I've never noticed any warning. There are Warps and sinkholes in the game and that part makes sense but this just having it occur is frustrating. I completed the game, [not too quickly I might ad] and the ending seems to be rather disappointing. Not that I expected trumpets and fireworks, but a bit more would have been a nice touch!
Overall I guess it is difficult to play a RPG without making a mental comparison to the likes of Nethack, or Ancient Domains. I find the game too simple, you don't get wrapped up in the character as in other role playing games. It would be good as a beginners introduction to RPG's. I would rate it a 4.5, good for what is there, but lacking in plot/character development.
I can be reached in three ways. Over the next while, my E-mail address will change since I'm about to switch providers. At this time, I have no idea what my new E-mail address will be. However, as soon as I know, I'll let people know as quickly as I can. Try my CompuServe address first. If this doesn't work, you may send your messages to my staff who can pass messages on to me. The Audyssey discussion list will be the first people to know my new address. My e-mail address is as follows:
You can also call me via telephone. I have voicemail, so you can leave a message if you fail to catch me at home and off-line. I'll do my best to return calls, but won't accept collect calls. My number is as follows:
Alternatively, you may correspond with me on 3.5-inch disks,
provided you be sure to send them in returnable disk-mailers. I don't have the money to pay for postage. My mailing address is:
5787 Montevideo Road
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Postal code: L5N 2L5
Adam Taylor, star of Adam, The Immortal Gamer, and our resident ADOM guru, can be reached three ways. You can send him e-mail at:
Or, you can check out his homepage on the web:
His page is dedicated to providing help, cheats and solutions to many games. Send him a request, and he'll do his best to find what you need. He also has sections on ADOM and Nethack available. Also,
you can download the magazine from his page.
Finally, if you wish to contact him at home, his address is: 3082
Canada L5N 3L1
Jay Pellis is an avid fan of graphical adventures and console games. For those of you wondering which Sega or Nintendo games are at all enjoyable to the blind, he's the one to turn to. He can be contacted at:
Justin Fegel is one of our two interactive fiction staff members. He will be happy to advise and guide players through the many interactive fiction games out there. He can be contacted at:
Kelly Sapergia is another expert in interactive fiction. He is a
well-established reviewer of games for Audyssey, and has an
interest in developing interactive fiction as well as playing it.
He can be contacted at:
Randy Hammer conducts an ongoing search for worth-while mainstream games that can be enjoyed by blind players with sighted assistance. He will also review commercial games and shareware produced specifically for the blind, such as that from ESP Softworks, PCS, and eventually, Zform. He can be contacted at: