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Audyssey;
Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 31 Fourth Quarter, 2001
Edited by Michael Feir and Rebecca Sutton

Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity

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Welcome
Welcome to the thirty-first 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. Our yearly holiday
tradition continues in fine fashion with this issue. All kinds of news from
game developers has been included, and a bunch of other interesting items
await your pleasure.

 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.

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Distribution Information and Submission Policies
This magazine is published on a quarterly basis, each issue appearing no
earlier than the fifteenth of the publication month for its quarter. All
submissions to be published in an issue must be in my possession a minimum
of two days before the issue is published. I 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 Sympatico address. I will give my home address and my Sympatico
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 understand ability. 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. Due
to a lack of demand, PCS Games is no longer making Audyssey 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. I can 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
http//www.espsoftworks.com/forms/audyssey_to.asp
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
http//www.espsoftworks.com/textonly/audyssey/audyssey.html
The Audyssey section also contains all back-issues of Audyssey if you want
to get caught up with events.

The Audyssey discussion list has moved once again for what I hope will be
the last time. The sudden transfer was precipitated by a small crisis at ESP
Softworks which initially seemed far more severe than it turned out to be.
Thankfully, all has worked out for the best. This list facilitates
discussion about games
accessible to the blind between the publication of issues of Audyssey. All
are welcome as long as they respect their
fellow community members and keep in mind that the topic of the list is
supposed to be games. Other topics are allowed
within reason as long as they don't begin to monopolize the list traffic for
too long. Newcomers should be advised that
traffic is frequently fairly heavy. To help those who are swamped with
E-mail cope with this, there is a digest mode available which sends one
large E-mail per day containing the day's traffic. 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 blank message to
[email protected]
To post messages to the list, send them to
[email protected]
Should you wish to unsubscribe, send a blank message to
[email protected]
To change your subscription to digest mode so that you only receive one
message per day, send a blank message to
[email protected]
To go back to receiving individual messages, send a blank message to
[email protected]
There are more options at your disposal. To find out about them, send a
blank message to
[email protected]

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
http//www.geocities.com/sbobbitt21
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
www.henrichsen.org
J.J. Meddaugh has long been famous in the Audyssey community. He has now
started his own web-site called The Blind Community. All issues of Audyssey
are there in zipped files in the file centre.

Kelly Sapergia's site has unfortunately closed down for the moment. We'll
hopefully have better news in the next issue of Audyssey regarding this. He
can still be contacted via E-mail with the recently changed address you'll
find in the Contacting Us section of Audyssey.

Another site has recently added Audyssey issues to its resources. We
welcome
www.blindhelp.com
to the Audyssey community and hope that visitors to this site find our
resource to be of value to them.
If you have ftp access, all issues are also available at Travis Siegel's ftp
site
ftp//ftp.softcon.com
Look in the /magazines directory.

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Contents
Welcome
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
Contents
>From The Editor
Letters
What We Stand For
As Good as It Can Get A reflection on Experts with Game Companies
IF Only
Announcing The Mach1 World Championship
Friendly Travellers
Free Game Winner
News From Code Factory
News From Danssoft
News From ESP Softworks
News From GMA Games
News From PCS
News From Zform
Kitchen-Russell Blind Cyber golf Tournament Starting Soon!

Game Announcements and Reviews
Contacting Us

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>From The Editor

Hello, everyone. Season's greetings to readers new and old. Once again, it's
that time of year when good cheer and good will are at their highest. It's
also time for our special holiday issue which features the latest news and
discoveries about accessible games.

I have quite a bit to fill you all in on this time around. First of all,
we're going to slow the publication of Audyssey to a quarterly rate rather
than have an issue come out every two months. There are many reasons for
this change, and I'd like to take the opportunity to set them out for you.
They are as follows

1. Games just aren't produced quickly enough to reliably provide enough news
for each issue of Audyssey. Nearly all of the game developers do their work
in addition to other jobs and other things. I've received information that a
couple of them are going to proceed on a slow but steady approach. We should
expect one or two games per year on average from each company. Were the
economics different, things might move at a faster pace. However, the
reality is that the money just doesn't seem to be there to support a number
of fulltime small game developers. News of new games is a very important
part of each Audyssey issue, so the pace of development has to be taken into
account.

A major reason for the lack of reliable income for developers is that most
organisations and people involved in helping and educating the blind have
yet to realise the potential offered by computer games. The connection
between games and learning has long been established in the sighted world,
but the attitude there just doesn't translate for the blind community.
Computers for us, the official view seems to say, are still merely tools
which allow us to work and nothing more. I am far from giving up hope that
they will change their thinking in the future, but it hasn't happened yet.

2. Another rising concern I have is burn-out. We've had some issues which
were not very exciting due to people just running out of time or ideas for
articles and reviews. Maintaining interest during times when no new games
are released is absolutely crucial. During those times, we have to take up
the torch and keep things lively. Now that my life has changed so
drastically, I won't have as much time to write articles at the last minute
and write extra things for issues where other people haven't submitted
enough material. Before, I could do whatever I felt was necessary to make an
issue live up to the standards I hold for Audyssey. I don't want anybody to
worry that I'm going to jump ship. After building this community for over
five years, that's the last thing I want to do. It's as much a home as if we
were all in some great public square. However, other obligations are setting
in and I'm still getting the hang of time management.

3. Audyssey has gone through a kind of transformation over the years. The
discussion list has gained tremendous importance. It is where the day-to-day
action takes place. Anybody who wants to keep informed and involved with
games for the blind should be a part of it.

There are two types of people who read Audyssey The casual reader might
look in on the world of accessible games from time to time. Perhaps, they
read each issue of Audyssey but never contribute. The seriously interested
and active ones all take part in the discussion list. They voice their
opinions and discuss each other's reactions to games. These people care
enough to stand up and be counted. I would rather have readers do this than
simply read issues
of Audyssey when they're published and not hear a thing from them. We need
to encourage more interactivity among the readership. That means that there
must be incentive for people to take the plunge and make a commitment to the
community. By slowing the
publishing to quarterly, the people who may want to be informed more
frequently about new offers and developments will have more incentive to
join the discussion list. The discussion list is where to be if you want to
find out what is happening with developers. They turn to Audyssey for ideas,
feedback, and recruits for testing their latest wonders. They have also
showed their appreciation by making special discounts available to Audyssey
members. James North of ESP Softworks offered two such promotions for his
ESP Pinball and soon to be released Monkey Business games. Both offers will
have expired by the time you read this.

4. Interest in text adventures, online games such as multi-user dungeons,
and other long-term games is on the rise. We have three staff members
focussing their efforts on on-line games playable over the Internet. More
people also seem to be looking at text adventures such as Zork and Jigsaw.
I'd like to give people more time to explore these and write up their
articles
and reviews based on a more thorough exploration of the games. A lot of this
has suffered in the past due to being rushed. I hope the slower pace will
give the right
amount of extra time to people.

One sad bit of news to pass along is that it looks like MindsEye2 is going
out of business. A number of circumstances have contributed to this, many of
which are somewhat unique to Roger Myers's company. This is particularly sad
news for parents and teachers and/or younger readers. Roger Myers made
numerous games of a more educational nature including the first large
collections of accessible crossword puzzles. With something in his sales
inventory as widely sought after as those, I took it for granted that
Roger's prospects were quite rosy. It turns out that very little interest
was shown in his work. He felt that all he was getting back for his efforts
was criticism of his work. Being unable to find sighted assistance, Roger
also finds himself unable to continue operating his business. It is a sad
irony that a business which could have helped many families with blind
children has ended up taking a heavy toll from his own family's happiness.
No schools for the blind or other agencies came forward in time to support
Roger's efforts. Unfortunately, a number of projects were quite far along
which will now never be shared. I received a copy of his Early Learning
Playground which would have been a splendid gift for blind children even
without the other games which would have connected into it.

I can only hope that the loss to the community of such a champion for blind
children serves as some sort of a wake-up call for the rest of us. Companies
producing games for the blind are all very small and delicate entities. Most
blind people find it hard to offer much in the way of economic support
themselves being something like eighty percent unemployed. In a letter
explaining his circumstances, Roger put forth an interesting proposal to
lower the production cost of games for developers and also lower the cost of
the final product to those who helped produce it. Points could be awarded to
individuals in the Audyssey community for using their talents to aid game
developers. These points could then be used to buy free games or to lessen
the amount of cash that had to be paid for games. Points could be
transferred between individuals so that people could use them for games they
were interested in playing. Audyssey could publish the points awarded to
people which would perhaps stimulate more people to pitch in. This proposal
certainly deserves some thought in the months ahead. Whatever you might
think of Roger's games, he certainly earns points in my book for trying as
hard as he did to fill an important niche which wasn't receiving much
attention back when he started his company. Wherever his future takes him, I
wish Roger and his family the very best of luck.

The above may give some the impression that things are looking down for
blind gamers. On the whole, I don't think this is the case. There are many
positive developments which have occurred over the past months. For one
thing, people are at last starting to compete with games designed for single
players. I would direct your attention to the information about a Grand Prix
competition and a golf tournament based on Jim Kitchen's excellent Windows
games. I've been waiting a long time to see this start to happen, and it
opens a lot of possibilities. I hope people find the information inspiring
even though the Grand Prix has already started and been filled. Some of you
will, I hope, participate in the Golf tournament which will start in
December. Disappointed racers who missed out will be pleased to hear that
another event is being planned for January, 2002. Audyssey will always have
room for information regarding these events and will publish their results
for all to marvel at in the months ahead.

In closing, I hope that all of you have an excellent holiday season. With
all the turmoil in the world this year, we can certainly do with that.
Rebecca and I will likely be going to numerous gatherings and occasions
together. Therefore, we may not be as prompt to respond to E-mails as usual.
To all who have contributed material to this issue of Audyssey, I thank you
for your efforts. To those who have not taken an active role in the
community, I ask that you consider doing so. Fresh thinking and ideas are
important to our survival as a community. If you have a chance to tell
others about accessible games or to demonstrate them to interested groups or
media, please do this. Keep well, and keep watch for developments until our
next issue due out in February.

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Letters

Despite the sudden move to Yahoogroups, things were lively on the Audyssey
discussion list. It took a while for many participants to find out where we
had moved to, but I'm now fairly confident that we haven't lost anybody due
to the change. It is now very easy to find out how many members there are
which will doubtless be of use to game developers and will also be a good
indicator for us. The Audyssey Community Charter appears to be just what the
doctor ordered. Things have been quite pleasant and orderly. Brenda Green
has replaced Joshua Loya as the new co moderator and is doing a fine job
along with David Lant who continues to serve us well. My thanks to both for
their continued vigilance.

++
>From Cecilia

Hello fellow gamers!
I haven't had a chance to read the back issues of Audyssey yet, but I'm
wondering if anyone knows of a way for a totally blind person to play
Triple Play Baseball? The 1997 and 1998 games are very accessible, and I
have both, but I want to play the most current versions if possible. A
friend of mine and I have communicated with E.A. sports, but they don't
seem all that interested in trying to fix their games. Is the keyboard
support still a problem?

+
Steve Cullen responded with the following

Hi Cecilia and All
Cecilia triple play baseball is not accessible to the blind. This game is
not accessible for one reason, because all of the menus are mouse driven.
However
there is another game that is very accessible, and this game many people
deem to be better then triple play. This game is called high heat 2002, and
is
very accessible. You can get this game in most stores that sell computer
games, and I believe you can get High Heat 2002 on the internet at any site
that
sells computer games. I'm not sure if this game is available for play
station. I hope this can be of some help to you.
Sincerely,
Steve Cullen
+
To which Jay Pellis replied

Hi everyone-
Steve, High Heat baseball 2002 is available for the playstation2 and it's
quite good.  The only problem is that there is a batting cursor that you
must use to hit the ball.  Instead of hitting the up direction, and a
button to hit a homerun or the down direction and a button to hit a line
drive like in triple play baseball, a cursor must be used to line up the
bat with the ball, then you press the swing button when the pitch is
thrown.  This is one reason I am leery about buying the pc version, even if
it is somewhat accessible with jaws for windows.  I tried the demo, and
some of the options were readable with jaws because they were presented as
standard windows dialog boxes.  However, not all the combo boxes were
readable, and when I tried to unload jfw before starting the game, it
crashed on me.  If I can find high heat 2002 for the pc for a price of $15
or lower, I'll probably give it a try.  The new triple play game in the
series simply entitled Triple Play baseball is now out, and it's probably
the best game since tp2000.  There is some new commentary from the
announcers, as well as more trivia and general banter from them.  That
title is for the playstation1 and the pc.  The ps2 has it's own triple play
title, triple play 2002.  It has totally new announcers, sounds, and it's
great!  I rented it, and the only thing it is missing is an auto fielding
option, grrr!  If it had that, it would be a very good game to play for the
blind, since it's sounds are very very realistic, and the new announcers
add to the old recycled play-by-play that is in the older triple play
games.  Every baseball game I can remember had an auto fielding option, and
I don't know why this one doesn't.  When auto fielding is turned on, the
computer team-mates on your team automatically get the ball for you when it
is hit by the opponent, so all you have to do is throw it to a base to try
to tag someone out.
Another game to consider is the world series baseball series for the sega
dreamcast.  World series baseball 2k1 as it is called was a total flop but
the newer world series baseball 2k2 might be good, I haven't tried it yet.
Regards
Jay

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>From John Kelly
Hi All,
I have just bought Grizzly Gulch and I have a problem.
I move to the saloon,  choose poker and start to play, but when I win a hand
its not added to my money. I'm totally getting ripped off at this poker
table.
Also the other day I won a hand with two pair, two Jacks and two tens, but
the winning hand was announced as one pair of Jacks. This sucks, if I was
able I would shoot the dealer!
Has anyone had this problem, and  know how to fix it?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Regards John

+
Charles Rivard had the following reply
If you win some hands at the poker table, you get your money back, but no
more.  I think, if you get 1 pair of jacks or better, and you bet $20 and
win $20, of course, your total remains the same.  If you get a pair of
threes, that's not good enough.  In the visitor's centre, check out what the
payoffs are.  Or listen to the entire help section given at the start of the
game.  It's in there as well.  I have never encountered the problem you
mentioned.  The poker table is hard to win.  If you want to build up your
account quickly, use the slot machines.

++
>From Tom

Hi everybody,  I just wanted to let you know that my telnet board is up and
running.  I have two lord games and one dog world so far.  the lord game
that is listed as, lord406 has 1000 fights and the other is 100 fights.
please go ahead and log on and have fun!  I will be putting more games on as
soon as I can.  to log on just telnet to,
gameworld.darktech.org
and don't forget the periods in the address.
  thanks,  Tom AKA lingo,  your sysop.

+
Interest in Telnet and BBS games seems to be a fairly well established thing
these days. It certainly wasn't always the case. Good luck with your new
gamer's haven on the Internet, Tom. Please keep us posted as new games are
added or other interesting events occur. Readers should know that numerous
games have been added since I received Tom's letter. These include a number
of adult games as well as the very popular Usurper.

++
Chess has been of interest to blind players for quite some time now. I've
included the letter below and hope that those who are after a good and
accessible game of Chess will find it of interest
>From Charles Rivard responding to Ron Schammerhorn

Ron  I've found that anything above the chessmaster 6000 doesn't work with
JFW.  I've tried both the 7000 and the 8000 with no success.  the 6000 works
with jfw 4.0 as well as I discovered by being beat this afternoon.

+
I thought it wise to include this small but useful reply since the interest
in accessible Chess games seems to be on the rise. If you can get it, it
seems that the Chessmaster 6000 is a good idea for a Christmas gift this
year. Ebay may prove handy in acquiring it since it's an older version.
James Peach has discussed Ebay in a previous issue of Audyssey, and is very
knowledgeable about it as are a number of those on the Audyssey discussion
list.

+++
What We Stand For
The Meaning of the Motto
By Michael Feir

Fun, friendship, knowledge, charity. These four words have appeared near the
top of each issue of Audyssey for a long time now. It took an editorial
catastrophe which could have done major damage to the Audyssey community to
show me with crystal clarity just what we stood for. This small snowball of
a hobby I started rolling all those years ago had gradually gained an
astounding depth and importance. Audyssey is no longer just a place for
blind gamers to shoot the breeze. Fun and games will always be at the core
of the Audyssey experience, but a whole lot of other values and ideas have
grown around it.

I thought of those four words as an excellent way to
sum up what we were all about. They sounded good, and conveyed the spirit of
our community. I now realise that they also illustrate a kind of social
progression that all of us either have gone through or are going through.
Recently, my life has undergone a great deal of change. However, my
dedication to Audyssey and what we stand for has not wavered despite my
having a lot less time to put into it.

I started Audyssey wanting just fun. This is true of most newcomers to the
community. Either we want to find more games, or we're stuck in a game and
in need of some assistance. What we've become now was once a simple reaction
against being board one Summer. It was only once I kept it going for a while
that I discovered how many excellent friends I was making because of
Audyssey.

Not expecting to have many readers, I found my self
with quite a large following. Getting letters from people who had been
inspired by Audyssey, I was given a very real sense of responsibility and
how rewarding it could be. I certainly didn't start out as a very good
editor or community leader. These things came about gradually as more people
began to place their trust and friendship in me. I'm still far from perfect
in either of these areas, and hope that all of you will continue to show a
willingness to forgive my blunders. Since friends have a tendency to do
this, I believe I'm in good hands as far as that goes.

Next comes knowledge. I learned a great deal from the friends I've made
through Audyssey, and suspect that I'll continue to do this
for life. Knowledge is always a fruit of friendship, and I think we'd be
hard-pressed not to learn from each other. Certainly, we're all eager to
learn about various accessible games. However, we've also learned about far
more diverse things. We've found out about each other's interests outside of
games. We have members from many different countries who have shared their
national identities and experience with us in many small ways while
participating in discussions. Many of us are either very skilled in or
appreciative of music. In fact, a blind musicians discussion list was
started to fill the need for discussion among Audyssey members who were so
inclined. Technical knowledge has been shared extensively on the discussion
list. People seem to enjoy coming to each other's rescue and/or sharing
their expertise when the occasion arises.

Games will always be our central contact point, but if we wish, it need not
be the only one. The Audyssey charter and the moderators who enforce it
makes certain that our search for fun, friendship, and knowledge will never
be limited by a narrow interpretation of what Audyssey is all about. Games
come first, but not to the extent that friendships can't be found or people
in distress can't turn to the community for help.

Charity doesn't exactly fit at the end of the progression. It actually runs
through everything that is Audyssey. I have found
it very rewarding to give my time and effort to the community, and have been
rewarded in turn by that community. Without the willingness of many
community members to come forth in kindness and lend a hand, we would never
have made it to where we are today. I couldn't have done even a fraction of
it myself. As blind people, we can easily find ourselves isolated from
so-called "normal life". We can be left on the sidelines of a lot as sighted
people plough on with their frantically paced lives. The Internet doesn't
rely on sight to get to destinations. On the information highway, we can
drive with the best of them. The Audyssey community has become a place where
we can take and, perhaps more importantly, give. That article we slave over
might very well be just the guidance that somebody else was waiting for.
Your letter might ask or answer a question which others didn't feel
comfortable putting forward. It could be just what a teacher, parent, or
friend of a blind person was hoping to find.

I hope that all of you who are active members of the Audyssey community take
a moment to reflect on the positively powerful entity that you have chosen
to remain a part of. Bask in the glory that you have well and truly earned.
You've decided to reach out and quest after four small words which lead to
four very powerful ideas. When it became more than simply fun, you stuck by
us. That says a whole lot about you. One of my long-term hopes is that the
experiences people have in the Audyssey community will serve them in other
areas of their lives. In some cases, this is already happening. Many
teenagers in particular seem to find Audyssey a nice place to be a part of.
Even knowing them only through their E-mails, I think it's safe to say that
we're a positive force in their lives. I've seen many changes in people here
at the centre of the storm. They have gained respect, patience, wisdom, and
an overall good character that does us all credit. This has also happened to
me. I suppose this shouldn't come as such a surprise. After all, aren't fun,
friendship, knowledge, and charity crucial elements of growing up? Being a
part of such a large and diverse community helps us all grow in many ways.
May this process always continue.

To you first-time readers, I invite you to join us on our journey. Write a
letter, article, or review and share your fresh perceptions with the rest of
us. Join our discussion list and take part in the ongoing conversation. Let
game developers know what kind of games you want to play. They're always
interested as are we. You never know what treasures your thoughts might turn
out to be.

+++
As Good as It Can Get A reflection on Experts with Game Companies
Article by James Peach

Are you interested in inducting an expert into your business?  Do you even
know what an "expert" is, or what kind of expert one needs?  This article
will attempt to argue for the benefit of experts within an accessible games
developer.

So, what is an Expert anyways?  Well, they are characterized as being highly
knowledgeable, trained and/or experienced in a particular field of work,
study or interest.  They are not perfect, or infallible, but know enough in
a particular area to grant them "expert" status.  Doctors, lawyers,
engineers, etc. are examples of persons with expertise in their particular
field.  I will use the term "expert" loosely, as everyone has some form of
expertise in a given area of study, work, or interests.

Now that you know what an expert is, why should you have one?  Well
technically, if you are a computer games developer, you already have one.
If you have an experienced computer programmer in your midst, then you
already have an "expert."  That said, what about having somebody on the
payroll who has marketing experience, or knowledge that might improve your
project?  These are the kinds of experts I'm thinking about.

Let's say you are developing an accessible strategy game.  In the
preliminary stages, it can be hard to determine what kind of "assistance" a
developer might need.  In which case, what about an expert at building team
development strategies?  Or better yet, another programmer who has
successfully co-developed a strategy title with another company (if not an
accessible strategy title)?  Such persons have knowledge that the project,
or even the whole business, might be able to use to their advantage.

Let's take another example.  You are designing an accessible car racing game
(sound familiar)?  What if you could entice a member of a race car design
team to be a consultant on the physics of that kind of car racing?
Information about a car's speeds, manoeuvrability, and reactivity could
become more realistic with an expert on the crew.

We're all set then!  You need an expert on the development team!  Easier
said than done I'm certain.  Such highly skilled, trained or experienced
persons do not have time to give away, as few accessible games companies
today could afford to pay many of them.  There are several solutions that
could help bring an "expert" hand to your projects.

Search for students Students searching for employment or work experience
are the most accessible to the low-budget market of accessible games.  While
they themselves are not experts, one has to start somewhere.

Post job ads to newspapers and the Web There are many job search Websites
out there, including Monster.com and Workopolis.com.  There are many
unemployed professionals and experts out there who just might be seeking the
"challenge" your company is presenting.  It is now up to the company to
determine how they are going to pay or accommodate this potentially
priceless employee.

Send requests to experts to become advisors Companies such as Zform have a
Board of Advisors who are professionals and experts within the fields of
computer games and non-profit funding.  This panel graciously devotes its
time, for little or nothing, to assist Zform in their intrepid developments.
Think about this as a possible strategy for your business.

Create an expert This has a tie-in with student employment, though it could
also apply to existing employees or potential employees.  The idea is to
assign to this person the task of becoming a "self-proclaimed" expert in a
given area.  This might mean doing extensive research or taking some
night/weekend/online courses.  Again, another possibly low-cost solution to
bringing a more knowledgeable staff member into the business.

After all this, you still might wonder about the bother of it all.  Is there
a real need in the blind gaming market to have such expertise in one's
company?  If one of the above solutions can work for you, with the penny
pinching your business requires, go for it!  If the games are fun, is it
really that important that they be very realistic?  Well, as the market
progresses, and the games become more advanced (as we are currently seeing),
the consumer will demand that they get the most for their expensive dollars.
Realism is in fashion--  why not be the first one out the gate with the most
realistic experience your money can buy?

After over three years of active employment within the halls of the Audyssey
machine, I think I could proclaim myself an "expert" in the area of
accessible games.  There are many others within the staff, and the community
at large, that could say likewise.  When it comes to the community, and
promotions of it's achievements, such dedicated persons are what we need to
eloquently promote the community.  The "company," that is the Audyssey
gaming community, can look into its numbers, to pick the brains of the
experts, and become more knowledgeable themselves.  In the end, an expert
can help to enrich a company and help them focus on the next level of their
projects and developments.

+++
IF Only
News About Interactive Fiction

This section of Audyssey will feature news about developments in the world
of interactive fiction which have a broader scope than new games released.
For information about newly released games, you should still look to the
Game Announcements and Reviews section. Now that we're operating on a
quarterly basis, I hope that more people will submit reviews of interactive
fiction games they have played. There should be more time for people to play
through a game in order to give it a more in-depth review.

Items in this section will be separated by single plus-signs to make
navigation easier. To start this section off, I have personally gone to the
major sites and searched for new developments. However, I would appreciate
it if anyone responsible for websites related to IF or for major projects in
the IF community would submit material on these things for my inclusion in
Audyssey.

+
The seventh annual IF competition has just ended. Luckily, the results were
ready in time for publication in this magazine. I've published the plain
results here. To obtain the games, read reviews, and learn more about the
competition and results, visit
http//ifcomp.org

Stephen Granade has organised the competition this year. We'll be hearing
more from this dedicated individual later in this section. For now though,
here are the results as displayed on the official site

Congratulations to all those who entered!

- Mark J. Musante
Comp Vote Counter

Total number of vote files read 225
Total number of unique voters 216

Table with 5 columns and 54 rows

Games with at least 10 votes

Place
Name
Avg. Score
No. Votes
Std.Dev.

1
All Roads
7.45
136
1.69

2
Moments Out of Time
7.43
69
2.29

3
Heroes
6.94
115
2.06

4
No Time To Squeal
6.81
101
2.10

5
Beetmonger's Journal, The
6.71
111
1.91

6
Vicious Cycles
6.63
123
2.09

7
Best of Three
6.60
116
2.53

8
Earth And Sky
6.44
118
1.73

9
Triune
6.40
99
2.18

10
Film at Eleven
6.26
115
1.71

11
Prized Possession
6.08
109
1.98

12
Journey from an Islet
6.07
110
1.93

13
Grayscale
5.91
104
1.99

14
Chasing, The
5.69
64
1.89

15
Coast House, The
5.66
111
1.80

16
Night Guest, A
5.54
112
2.05

Carma
5.54
83
2.18

18
Fusillade
5.50
114
2.35

Fine Tuned
5.50
111
2.19

20
Evil Sorcerer, The
5.40
110
1.76

21
Gostak, The
5.35
104
3.05

22
Isolato Incident, The
5.14
69
1.97

23
Crusade
5.11
118
2.11

24
2112
4.96
57
2.26

25
You Are Here
4.94
113
1.85

26
Elements
4.90
112
1.84

27
Cruise, The
4.77
104
1.95

28
Shattered Memory
4.72
111
1.80

29
Bane of the Builders
4.71
118
1.72

To Otherwhere and Back
4.71
65
1.70

31
Stiffy Makane The Undiscovered Country
4.67
90
2.60

32
Kallisti
4.22
106
2.24

33
Colours
4.15
123
1.98

Cave of Morpheus, The
4.15
59
1.94

Silicon Castles
4.15
118
2.34

36
Timeout
4.10
91
1.76

37
Begegnung am Fluss
4.09
32
3.00

38
apple from nowhere, an
3.99
100
2.22

Stranded
3.99
75
1.66

40
Schroedinger's Cat
3.85
115
2.02

41
Stick it to the man
3.84
80
1.98

42
Jump
3.76
116
1.95

43
Volcano Isle
3.75
96
1.69

44
Mystery Manor
3.31
51
1.52

45
Invasion of the Angora-fetish Transvestites
2.96
52
1.67

46
SURREAL
2.87
63
1.52

47
Goofy
2.71
83
1.46

48
Test, The
2.48
56
1.75

49
Lovesong
2.38
56
1.43

50
Newcomer, The
2.17
100
1.45

51
Last Just Cause, The
1.86
57
1.11

52
You Were Doomed From The Start
1.72
81
1.42

+
A Rosetta Stone For Blind Infocom fans

Recently, I have been in contact with some wonderful people who have
obtained permission from Activision to provide the manuals and other
documentation for Infocom's text adventures on the Internet. This is
fantastic news for blind Infocom fans who have previously had major problems
accessing the manuals and especially the piracy protection elements found in
many Infocom games. In time, all of this obscure information will be
revealed in plain text thanks to the Infocom Documentation Project at
http//infodoc.plover.net

A growing number of manuals are available in text-only format already. These
even feature excellent descriptions of the pictures, maps, and other visual
elements found in Infocom's manuals. Anyone who enjoys text adventures
should give this site a looking over. Also, the folks in charge are eager
for comments from their blind audience. Let them know what you think of your
efforts and offer any accessibility-related advice that you might have.
Below, you'll find information taken directly from their site Long live
Infocom!

Infocom was one of several companies producing Interactive Fiction (or "IF"
in short), also known as "text adventures" between 1979 and 1989. For many
fans of IF, Infocom is still the best of those companies by far.

Sadly, Infocom is no longer around, but the games continue to exist thanks
to the company that took them over, Activision, Inc.
Activision continued to sell the games in several different compilations,
including The Masterpieces of Infocom and, most recently, a downloadable
version.

However, many of these compilations came with low-quality paper-only
manuals, and some came without any documentation at all, making it hard for
users - and especially blind users - to play any of the games.

With the permission of Activision, Inc., this project strives to recreate
the Infocom manuals as close to their original form as possible, providing
complete documentation for each game. At the same time, the documents are
being created in a special blind-friendly format, containing all the text in
a single column.

While the recreation of the manuals is still underway, the
Hints Infocom used to provide for their games are already available in
digital form; and so are the "
newsletters" which advertised their products and provided the players with
background information, trivia and contests.

Please send questions and comments about the web site to the webmaster,
Gunther Schmidl.
E-mail
[email protected]
If you want to join the project, e-mail Roger J. Long at
[email protected]

+
Taking Up The Brass Lantern

Stephen Granade has become very well known in the IF community. Among other
achievements, he has authored the game Losing Your Grip. Recently, he has
had to relocate his website about interactive fiction. It is no longer a
part of the About network. The transition process of old material is still
going on, but new material is also appearing there.

Visitors will find a number of guides for players, beginners, and authors.
There are also many editorials, reviews, and links. Below, you'll find
information from the About Us section of
http//brasslantern.org

Once upon a time, there was a young man named Stephen Granade. Now, Stephen
fancied himself a writer, and he was intrigued by this new-fangled thing
they called "the Internet." He was also interested in text adventures, and
had been for years. He'd been known to read the Usenet newsgroups
rec.arts.int-fiction
and
rec.games.int-fiction
since the early 1990s.

He decided to create a few pages for text adventure authors.
And that went over nicely. Occasionally people would write him and thank him
for making those pages. And Stephen was pleased.

Then one day, a strange man emailed Stephen and said how much he liked
Stephen's pages about interactive fiction. Would he be interested in writing
similar pages for a company, and in being paid to do so?

Now, Stephen was a bright young lad. "I like writing," he said to himself.
"I bet I would like writing for money even more!" So he decided to try
writing for the company.

The company found this arrangement agreeable, and Stephen began creating
pages for the company. Now the rest of the acts of Stephen with this
company, and the details thereof, are they not written in the book of the
history of Brass Lantern?

But as the years passed, Stephen became less and less enchanted with his
pages at the company. To create revenue, the company added more and more ads
to the pages. Pop-up windows descended on his site like a plague of locusts,
and soon his pages were loaded down with many adornments, so many that it
became hard to distinguish Stephen's writings from the noise of the bazaar.

"This is not good," said Stephen. "But I still enjoy writing, and I do not
know if I could create such a site on my own." And so Stephen continued to
create pages for the company.

Now it came to pass in the days that followed that a famine came upon the
Internet companies. The company that Stephen worked for was not spared the
crushing hand of Adam Smith. And so the company decided that it didn't need
quite so many people writing for them, and closed a number of its sites,
including the one Stephen worked on.

But Stephen, being a bright and industrious lad, as has been previously
mentioned, decided that he could run such a web site by himself. In addition
to being bright and industrious, he was also a bit egotistical, and thought
that his writings were of such value that they should not pass from the face
of the Earth.

And so Stephen created Brass Lantern. Its goals were threefold

Act as a repository for writings about adventure games, especially his own,
and do so in a less blinky and whirry fashion than did the company site on
which he used to work.
Make available to readers the latest news and goings-on in the community.
Maintain a reduced collection of links to other adventure game resources,
for lo, links are verily a pain in the frontal lobe to maintain, but some
are still worth that trouble.

Stephen decided that those goals in that order were the proper focus of his
new site. And so it was that he created Brass Lantern and opened its doors
on the 29th of October, 2001.

+
A book is being written dealing with the theory of interactive fiction. It
looks like the project is just getting started. They've assembled a staff
and have a rough outline posted. Anyone who may wish to become involved with
this project should go to
www.iftheory.com

+++
Announcing The Mach1 World Championship
Organised by
The Mach1 World Championship is a friendly, but highly contested,
competition based around Jim Kitchen's Mach1, an accessible version of that
old Formula
I racing game for the Atari, Pole Position.

The Rules of the Championship

1. The Grand Prix consists of 5 races, each on a different track of the
Mach1 game. These are
Race 1 Grand Prix of Ohio (1 lap to be made on difficulty level 1)
Race 2 Grand Prix of Chardon Hill (1 lap to be made on difficulty level 1)
Race 3 Grand Prix of Snake River (1 lap to be made on difficulty level 1)
Race 4 Grand Prix of Indianapolis (Indy) (2 laps to be made on difficulty
level 2)
Race 5 Grand Prix of Maple (2 laps to be made on difficulty level 2)

2. Points for each race are awarded on the basis of time to complete the
race. The players with the best 5 times in a race will receive 25, 20, 16,
13 and
11 points respectively. The next 10 competitors in that race will be awarded
10, 9, ..., 1 points, while the remainder receive 0 points.

3. All drivers are allowed to make as many attempts as they like on each
track between October 1 and December 31.

4. On January 1, the final result of the Championship will be published.

5. In order to participate, all competitors are required to download the new
version of the Mach1 game from
Jim Kitchen's web site.
The new version is packaged in a file called wincar4.zip which can be found
by following the  "Click here for free Windows games" link. The new version
of the game accounts for differences and speed between different computers
so that no handicapping is required in order to compare the times
of different players. The older version of the game does not do this and the
times obtained under it are not comparable with times achieved playing the
new version. For this reason, only times from the new version will be
considered valid and accepted during the championship. It is therefore vital
that
all participants download and run the new version of the game.

6. If you have been playing the new version of Mach1 prior to the
commencement of the Championship, you must delete all the .rec files in the
Mach1 directory
before starting the championship. This will zero all your previous records
so you are not submitting records made prior to the championship. Please
check
that you are running the latest version of the game and that your record
files have been zeroed before starting your first race in the Grand Prix.

7. New personal best times for each race should be E-mailed to Hugo Janssens
at
[email protected]

Simply E-mail the .rec file for each track you have made a new record on. Be
sure to either attach the file to the message, so that it's name appears in
the attachment list, or paste the .rec file into the body of the message,
being sure to indicate which track it is for.

8. Each week, an update summarising times for each Grand Prix will be sent
out so that the competitors can see how the Championship is progressing.

9. Together with the Individual Championship, a Team Championship will be
conducted.
The teams, each comprising two drivers, will be determined by lottery. For
the Team Championship, the points of both drivers will be added together to
obtain
a team total. The team with the highest number of points for the 5 races
will be declared the winner of the Team Championship, and so on.

10. In case of any disputes, the rules of the F.I.A. will be decisive.

11. If two or more competitors realise the same times, then each will
receive the average of the total points allocated to the positions they
occupy in
the finishing order.
For example, if two drivers tie for second place, then those two drivers
would be ranked second and third. However, it is not possible to do this
since
they finished in the same time. To resolve this situation, each driver will
receive the average of the points allocated to the second and third places,
that is (20+16)/2 = 18.
If there were three drivers tied for second place, then each would receive
(20 +16 +13)/3 = 16.33 points, and so on.

12. The top 15 finishers in the final classification of the 2001 Mach1 World
Championship will automatically qualify for entry into the next
championship.
All other drivers and new competitors will need to participate in a
qualification round to be held before the commencement of the 2002 Mach1
World championship.
As with the current championship, a total of 24 drivers will be accepted
into the next championship.

If you wish to participate in the 2001 Mach1 World Championship, please send
a message to
Hugo Janssens,
but you'll have to be quick as there is only room for 24 participants in the
championship.

The organiser of the Championship trust that all competitors will abide by
the rules of the Championship and wish all participants good luck. Cheating
is
not encouraged. Those of such a mind are not welcome and need not apply.

+++
Friendly Travellers

The Audyssey community has many people in it who have quite diverse
interests and backgrounds. In an effort to improve community spirit and
bring us all a little closer together, this section was created. In each
issue, people interested in being contacted by others who want to get to
know them will have their introductory paragraphs placed as they are here. I
hope that having this section will serve two purposes. First, it will
strengthen the ties within the active part of the community. It will
encourage friendship, which is one of those keystones that the community is
built upon. Also, I hope that others may choose to contact people whose
paragraphs are found here and may become more involved through this.

+
Nick Adamson

My name is Nick Adamson,  I am a student in the UK studying software
engineering at De Montford University. I'm 19, I've got a guide dog, "seeing
eye dog" called Charlie and one of my main hobbies is playing Goalball.  I'm
Fairly new to the blind gaming community, I Joined  the mailing list in the
middle of august 2001.  I love games like loan wolf and mark1.  I also love
music, I play the drums and trombone.  I also read a lot of science fiction
and fantasy, my favourite author at the moment is a guy called David Webber.
My theory about life is not very original but works for me
  "What I'll do I can, What I can't I'll still try."
And that's about me.
If you want to contact me My address is
[email protected]
+
Charles Rivard

I'm 1 of those, and I hope there are many, who love computer games but am
not good at most of them as of yet, due to lack of time.  I work for a major
credit card company, troubleshooting merchants' credit card terminals over
an 800 phone line.  I'm 47, & have been playing guitar since 1968 in rock
and country bands.  I enjoy most music.  Rap is to me an art form, but not
music, and this is not a putdown--it takes talent to do it right.  I'm a
chess player, a bowler, and have shot archery unassisted, among other things
such as driven a speedboat at over 100mph (with help, of course).  Also
bungy jumped and I absolutely LOVE roller coasters.  Not a computer guru
yet, but sort of working on it because they fascinate me, especially seeing
how they've opened up a whole new world of opportunity for totally blind
people to become employed successfully as well as accessing the Internet to
get all sorts of stuff we never even thought possible at one time.  Also
love outdoor cooking and I live in Phoenix Arizona where the weather allows
lots of that.  Email me at
[email protected]
and my 8 year old female
German shepherd guide Johna or I will respond.  She's my third guide from
Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, Ca.  All have been shepherds.

+
Mark Hemmings
I don't know how i rate at computer games, but I love games which involve
both skill and some kind of strategy, though there's plenty of text
adventures which have me stumped.  I am 36, single and live in nsw
Australia and have a guide dog named laker.  my second dog from the guide
dogs association.  have been using computer since the early eighties, --
well, smile,  i gave my age.. and due to study and lack of employment, have
become some what of an expert, or so my friends say.  being hearing
impaired as well as blind does make some games more difficult to play than
others, but I intend to learn to developed my own games and who knows...  I
do have some previous programming experience so gamers be prepared.

+
Krister Ekstrom
My name is Krister Ekstrom, (or if you want to spell it in Swedish it's
Ekström) and i live in Malmo in the southern parts of Sweden. I have a
guide dog called Simba and it's my second dog. Apart from gaming i play
the guitar, keyboards, bass and drums and i also do some singing. I read
books too. Favourite genres are horror and fantasy with names like
Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, Katherine Kerr, Marion
zimmer Bradley and many more. Favourite games are Esp pinball, Shades of
doom and i also like the wincasino.
You can contact me at
[email protected]
or if you're into instant
messaging, icq 902032, Msn
[email protected].

+
Graham Pearce

Hi! I'm Graham Pearce, and I'm 13 years old. I've been in to gaming in some
form or another for the past 9 years, as my story about games for the blind
in audyssey issue 29 will tell you. I like nearly all types of games,
especially the classic basic ones, because those are the ones that I had the
most fun modifying and playing. Apart from gaming, my hobbies include basic
programming, surfing the net, listening to and playing music  and reading.
My interests in music are nearly as diverse as those in gaming, and I like
everything from opera to rock, classical to modern. My favourite genre of
books is science fiction because I like the concept of other inhabited
planets and space ships. Contact me at
[email protected]

+
Jim Kitchen

I am a peace loving, old, long hair hippie.  I spent many a year
smoking up, drinking and listening to rock -n- roll in my painted,
postered black light party room.  My hobby for 20 some years has
been computer programming. (mostly games)  I live in a small town
very nice HUD apartment complex.  My unofficial wife lives just
down the hall.  Kinky sex is my other favourite hobby.  In movies,
TV and books I like comedy, sex and science fiction.  Not
necessarily in that order, but a combination of all of them is all
the better. Contact me at
[email protected]

+
Allen
My name is Allen and I am 31 years old.  I am way too single and living in
Evanston Illinois, U.S.A.  I live with two cats, Nikki and Shelly who have
effectively taken over my apartment.  I have been playing computer games for
16 years.  I programmed in Apple Basic at first and created mainly
arcade-type games.  I am just diving into the Visual Basic language and when
I get a much better grasp of it I will be creating arcade-style sports
games, sci-fi games, and other fast-action games for Windows.  I have played
my share of text adventures but only solved a very few.  To be honest, I
have grown tired of the text version of interactive fiction and vastly
prefer games such as SOD, Lone Wolf and Grizzly Gulch. E-Mail me at
[email protected]

+
Justin Ekis
Hi all,
My name is Justin Ekis, I'm the magazine's staff writer on online gaming.
I am 18 years old, and live in southern California, near Los Angeles in the
U.S.
I just graduated high school and am preparing for a career somewhere in the
technology field such as programming or technical support.
My hobbies include jaws scripting although I'm not very good at it lol,
amateur radio I'm studying for my license, and listening to sports on the
radio my favourites are baseball and American football.
My favourite hobby is still gaming though.
I like all of the accessible games out there, but my absolute favourites are
games you play on BBS systems or on the web.
In fact, I've started up my own gaming BBS and it should be up by the time
you read this in the magazine. I also might make an announcement in this
issue if it is.
My favourite kind of books are science fiction although I hardly ever read
any books at all. I don't listen to much music either but when I do my
absolute favourite is country.

If you want to contact me, my e-mail address is
[email protected]

You can also add this same address to your msn messenger contact list.
If you use yahoo messenger instead, you can find me under the yahoo ID
j_ekis but note that I'm not on that one nearly as much as I'm on msn
messenger.

+
Lian Mervan

Hi everyone!

I'm Liam Erven.  one of the craziest guys around.  I'm 16, and am from Des
Plaines Illinois.  What do I like to do?  Well. I love audio production,
broadcasting
radio shows on the net, and playing these fun games!
games are loads of fun!  oh yes indeed!  I run a cool web site.
liamshow.com  and if you want to talk to me (yeh right)  you can either
catch me on msn messenger.
[email protected]
or e-mail me.
[email protected]

+
Kelly Sapergia

   My name is Kelly John Sapergia (also known as The KJS Man). I live near a
small town called Mortlach, in Saskatchewan, Canada. My interests include
playing computer games, creative writing, composing music, broadcasting, and
amateur, or Ham, radio. Speaking of music, I like just about everything
except rap and some dance tunes. My personal preferences are classic
country, and new age or easy listening music.
If you'd like to contact me, my e-mail address is
[email protected].

+
Darren Hartland

My name is Darren Hartland, known to most online as Hugmaster.  I'm 32 years
old and started playing accessible games Christmas 2000 while I was drunk
one night *grin* and haven't stopped playing since.  My other hobbies are
Music, I love adding material to my websites

http//website.lineone.net/~hugmaster

and

http//www.bigmix.co.uk

I run a mobile disco business in Northamptonshire, England after moving from
Birmingham to be with my partner Louise.  I run a chat room on the Lineone
chat server called Hughouse, would love to have you come see us there.
Could go on for ages about my other interests but don't want to bore you to
death.

You can contact me at
[email protected]

+
J.J. Meddaugh
My name is J.J. Meddaugh, also known as J-Squared on Test Pattern Radio.
Broadcasting is my biggest hobby, and I host a weekly music and variety show
on that station.  It's lots of fun to interact with the listeners and
discuss just about anything.  I got into gaming with my Apple
file//E
in
the late 80s with classics like the Great Escape and Lemonade Stand.  I'm
mostly interested in sports and card games, and anything with a high replay
level.  I have a short attention span.  I'm also interested in either
starting my own game company or working with someone else on a project to
get more Internet-based games to the blindness community.
I also enjoy goalball, hanging out with my friends, and plenty of partying.

J.J. Meddaugh - Email/MSN to
[email protected]

+
Darren Duff
Hey guys, my name is Darren Duff and I live in Gainesville GA. I'm 22 and
have only been on this list for about a year. I'm completely blind and have
been cents birth. some of my favourite games are sod, lone wolf, and mach1.
the first totally accessible game I ever played was sod. one of my hobbies
is
music. I've been a drummer for about 12 years, and I've played guitar for as
long as I can remember. my favourite kind of music is Christian rock, but I
also love some of the old 70's classic rock too and  I'm going to school to
major in computer networking. I spend allot of time on the computer. you can
ketch me on msn, or ftp, or accessible chat if you want to talk. and that's
about it. Happy gaming all!
audyssey rocks!
E-mail me at
[email protected]

+
Robert Pires

My name is Robert Pires.  I am visually impaired, 29 years old,  and live in
Rhode Island.  (For those of you who do not know, Rhode Island is not part
of New York.  It is its own state.) *grin*
I graduated in May with a double major in Finance and Economics.
Unfortunately, I'm still looking for a job.  I also have some programming
experience,
though it was about 9 years ago and limited to quick basic and a little
COBOL.
My interests include hockey, I am a HUGE hockey fan, music, mostly hard
rock/heavy metal and I even play guitar and a little bit on the keyboard,
though
I don't do much of that anymore, reading, I'll read most anything but my
favourites are Stephen King and the Dragonlance series.
In addition, I discovered accessible gaming within the last few months.
It's an incredible feeling to be able to play games to their fullest
enjoyment
without my blindness taking anything away from them.
Let's keep these games coming and continue supporting their developers.
E-mail me at
[email protected]

+
Cecilia
You open the door and step into a very dark room. Apparently the person who
lives here doesn't believe in turning on lights. But why should she since
they don't do her much good anyway? As you step further into the room, you
trip and fall over a huge pile of stuff on the floor. The person who lives
here must not believe in cleaning very often either. So who is this
mysterious person who doesn't need light and loves a cluttered room? While
playing my favourite muds, I'm often known as Dura the quick-tempered
warrior or Cristiana the kind-hearted ranger. In the real world I'm called
Cecilia. I'm 26 years old. I live in St. Louis, Missouri. I am the director
of The St. Louis Christian Outreach Centre For The Blind. Here, I do
computer and Braille training, direct a music group, and host a meal of the
month which all blind people are welcome to attend. I am the co host of
Faith Matters, a weekly program on ACB radio. My favourite type of music is
Broadway with my favourite musical being Phantom Of The Opera. I love
singing, playing keyboard, and breaking windows with the help of my violin.
I also enjoy being on the internet, reading, making new friends, and trying
things I haven't tried before.
My email address is
[email protected],
and I love nothing better than
to get personal e-mail.

+
Jared Stofflett

My name is Jared Stofflett and I am a 15 year old high school student who is
teaching him self visual basic and hoping to program games. I also play
football, wrestling, shot put and discus, I water ski, downhill ski, and
play goalball. I also sail. I was in a Florida youth tournament and was last
on the
roster but got to play in a lot of games since we mercied like 3 teams. If
anyone knows of a goalball list or something like blind athletes list please
let me know. Contact me at
[email protected]

+
Nick apostolidis

Hello everybody. I'm 23 years old. I live in Greece and i absolutely love
computer games!
I'm studying computer science and i hope one day to be able to contribute my
own computer game in this community!
I like reading science fiction, romance and basically i read any kind of
book that comes in handy!
I'm good with computers and i try to be productive.
I'm also a musician. I write background music for theatre.
I like sports but I'm not really good on this subject, (lot of my time i
spend sleeping!
I like going in parties with my friends and drink until I'm completely
elsewhere! I'm not very good in drinking either!
I really like our traffic in this list and i hope we continue to grow!
If anybody wants to contact me, they can do this via msn or email at
[email protected]

+
Lisa Hayes
Hi All, I thought i would write my paragraph as a few of you have been doing
lately on list.  Well my name is Lisa hayes and i am 33 and live in sydney
Australia.  I have been using laptops for years and i also have an aria, a
little palm top computer.  I got a desktop last year and haven't looked
back.
 I was a roar novice at windows, and am still not an expert, but am
learning.  I love all kinds of games and have played a lot of the Infocom
games and
now love sod, pinball and monkey business when i get my hands on it. E-mail
me at
 [email protected]

+++
Free Game Winner

That's right! After a long wait, we're starting up the Free Game Winner
feature again. The sponsor of this issue's free game is GMA Games. Wiliam
Lomas may choose any game he wants from GMA Games. He provided an excellent
review for this issue as well as one for the next issue. Due to an
unfortunate technical glitch, only one of these is available for this issue.
Congratulations, Wiliam!
+++
News from Code Factory

First of all I would like to thank all the readers of Audyssey for visiting
our website and downloading our demos. We are really proud and grateful that
we got so much attention from you.
Here is a little statistic of the top three downloads
1. KM 2000
2. Pied Piper
3. Snow White

New games

At the beginning of October we published the fifth game of our educational
series  Cinderella.

I think all of you know the story of Cinderella.
Cinderella is a beautiful, innocent girl who lives with her stepmother and
stepsisters who make her life impossible, and decide that she shall be their
servant. One day, they receive an invitation from the palace to go to a
ball, to which all the girls are invited. However the wicked stepmother
forbids Cinderella from going to the ball, since she has to sweep, and mop
etc. Will Cinderella go to the ball and meet the prince?

Areas
The areas which are developed in Cinderella are
- Knowledge of environment.
- Language.

Specific goals of this game are
- To distinguish and classify members of the family.
- To tell the difference between synonyms and antonyms.
- To develop auditive memory.
- To exercise short term memory.
- To know if substances are of artificial or of natural origin.
- To practice spelling.

If you want to download the demo of this new interesting game go to our
website.

Near the end of November we will publish a new game of the educational
series
Puss in Boots

A very sick miller divides up his estate among his sons. The eldest receives
the mill, the middle one a donkey, and the youngest, a cat. Surprisingly,
the cat talks, and makes his master pass as a marquis the Marquis of
Carabas. The cat offers several gifts to the king and queen in the name of
his master, and succeeds in getting the king and queen to take an interest
in the marquis as a possible fiancé for their daughter. Will the cat manage
to get the princess to fall in love with the Marquis of Carabas?

Areas
The areas which are developed in Puss in Boots are
- Typing skills.
- Language.
- Knowledge of the environment.

Specific goals of the game are
-To get to know the position of the keys on the keyboard.
-To acquire fluency in handling the keyboard.
-To distinguish animals by their sound.
-To learn the names given to the sounds the animals make.
-To develop auditive memory.
-To distinguish objects by their sound.
-To order jumbled letters to form a word.
-To reinforce spelling.

In a few days, you will also find a demo of this game on our website.

Christmas surprise

After the 20th of December you will find a little Christmas surprise on our
website. It was  especially done for all the readers of Audyssey.

Plans for next year

Next year we will continue producing the educational series.
We have plans to make some other interesting games too.  We also want to
collaborate more closely with Audyssey and are planning to do some
interesting competitions in which you can win our games. You will get more
information about it in the next issue of Audyssey.

I am looking forward to getting your opinions about our games and your
suggestions.
Send us a mail or visit our homepage at
 www.codfact.com
and subscribe to our newsletter.

+++
News From Danssoft

Gamers,

Wow! Since the last Audyssey issue, it seems as though everything is going
right with respect to Danssoft! Read on to find out about contest winners,
new game status, and more! Enjoy!

New Website Address

My ISP has changed the domain scheme of their member websites, so you should
all be aware of my new address. From now on, you can hit the Danssoft site
at

http//home.cogeco.ca/~danssoft

However, you can also get to the website using the following short URL

http//go.to/danssoft

The latter uses a redirection service, and it will always point to the
correct URL (in case it should change again).

Contest Winners

Last issue, I provided Audyssey readers with two chances to win free stuff!
One of the contests (creating sounds for my new game Paratrooper) was
attacked with a vengeance by Liam Merven and Jared Stofflett. These two sent
me a whole legion of amazing sounds. Before writing this up, I had the
dilemma of choosing the winner. Liam? Jared? Jared? Liam? It was such a
difficult choice that I decided, hey, why not have two winners! So, Jared
and Liam, congratulations! You guys are sound experts, and you have
well-deserved your prize. Sadly, I could not get a winner for the other
contest (Freedom
Scientific trivia). I had some valiant attempts, but they all fell short on
one question. To send a file with the fewest keystrokes to the PC, you
simply have to hit y-chord from the files menu. I'll admit this was quite
the shrewd question, but I honestly thought someone would have nailed it! Oh
well; we better make up for it this month. Thanks to all participants of the
contests.

Winfight Update

Since the last issue, Winfight has caused some significant turbulence in the
Audyssey community. I'm glad people like it! The product is continually
being developed, with more quests and options in the works. Thanks to all
who have purchased the game. Don't forget to email me so we can get started
on making some quests of your own! You should all expect a new version
within the next month, so if you've beaten all of the quests, don't worry!
There are more to come! Other features are in the works as well, including a
method of determining your enemies exact position!

Introducing Troopanum

You'd better sit down, cause this game's going to knock you off your feet!
Danssoft's next game will officially be a game similar to Paratrooper.
Enemies descend from the sky, attempting to land unharmed, so that when they
accumulate,  they can gang up and overpower you. Armed with your weapons,
you attempt to destroy the skydiving foes before they land. Game development
is progressing well, and when its done, it will most likely be the most
furious, frantic, crazy game you have ever played! With a multitude of
levels, you will progress from single paratroopers dropping, to multiple
paratroopers falling at the same time, to paratroopers with special
abilities, and more! You will pick up special items, weapons, and powerups.
There will be multiple difficulty levels to accommodate a wide range of
playing ability. My beta team has been assembled, and they are working hard
to ensure that the final product will make everyone stop and wonder how they
ever played text adventures! With Heart pounding background music, brilliant
sound effects, and incredible variability, this game will keep you busy
hours on end. And this is only the beginning. Check Danssoft's website for
release date information, downloadable demos, and development status.

Contests

I'm going to try and give away my Blazie note taker games again, but this
time I'll make it a little easier. Just answer all of the following
questions, and you will be entered into the hat (uhhh, actually, more like
my random name generator) for a chance to win. Please answer all questions
as completely and accurately as possible. These answers will guide the
future of Danssoft.

1. Give three things that you like about Winfight.
2. Tell me three things you don't like.
3. Are you interested in my upcoming game, Troopanum? If so, give me three
features not mentioned in this issue that you would like implemented.
4. Would you suggest Troopanum
A. Be completely self voicing? (yes or no)
B. Have the ability to play a two-player mode over the Internet? (yes or no)
C. Have joystick support? (yes or no)
D. Allow keys to be held down for motion, instead of having to continually
tap the key as in Winfight? (yes or no)
E. Come with a DOS version which uses the PC speaker? (why or why not)
F. Allow for two players to play on a single computer? (yes or no)
5. What would you like Danssoft's next game to be? Please provide as full a
description as possible.

Another contest? Sure, why not! I'll try and give away another copy of
Winfight. This one should be interesting. Maybe I'll ask Mike to post some
of the funny responses in the next issue.
My next game (the Paratrooper spin-off) was named Tropanum because I felt it
was an appropriate name to use. The question is other than the allusion to
Paratrooper, what else does the name mean? In other words, why do you think
I chose that name. Pick that off, and you've got a free copy of Winfight.

Drone

A few years ago, I created a role-playing text adventure, similar to
Braminar. In thinking that there would be some interested parties in the
Audyssey community, I decided to post a message to see if I was right.
Apparently, I was. The problem with the game is that, when I made it, I was
not planning on releasing it, so it was not very accessible. Jim Kitchen has
edited the game so it is fully accessible with speech, and I'm just putting
the finishing touches on it now. It should be available for download from my
website within a month. Thanks to everyone for showing interest, and
allowing some of my previous work to actually become beneficial!

Well, that's all for this month. Thanks for reading. All you can do now is
wait in anticipation for Troopanum to surface!

[email protected]
http//go.to/danssoft

+++
News From ESP Softworks

What's New @ ESP Softworks -- Fourth Quarter 2001

Greetings, Gamers!

The holidays are approaching quickly with Christmas just around the corner!
ESP Pinball is available for immediate purchase and Monkey Business is
scheduled to ship mid-December.  The ESP Softworks website has been
completely reorganized and updated and features an exclusive ESP Pinball
Lounge for owners of the full version of ESP Pinball where they can post
their high scores, participate in surveys, and win credits toward free games
in monthly contests!

Following is some brief information about ESP Pinball and Monkey Business

_ESP PINBALL_

Take hold of any of six available themed pinball tables and set the ball
into motion for non-stop pinball excitement!  Each table has it's own
variety of themed sound effects and ambience as well as scoring objectives.
Score mega-points in this real-time accessible pinball game that'll keep you
coming back for more!

Features

- Six exciting and interactive themed tables including the free bonus table
'Pac Man'
- Great Ambient Sound Effects
- Two Modes of Play Classic and Accessible
- Two difficulty levels Normal and Insane
- Fast-Action Game Play
- Cool Music
- Lots of Cool CD Extras Including
  - Hilarious Bloopers & Outtakes
  - Monkey Business Demo
  - All Issues of Audyssey Game Magazine
  - Free 'Shell Shock' Game
  - Audio Trailers For Our Other Game Projects

ESP Pinball retails for $24.95 plus shipping and handling and is shipped on
compact disc.  A fully playable two-table demo and audio trailer is
available
via our website at
http//www.espsoftworks.com.

_MONKEY BUSINESS_

Get ready for an absolutely fun action arcade-style game in this
first-person adventure against the evil Dr. Wobble! As a net-for-hire by a
scientist who's teleportation invention and plans have been stolen by Dr.
Wobble, you must catch a fleeting group of monkeys across ten levels of
arcade-style insanity and several bonus levels!

Features

- Run, Jump, Climb and Swim Through Ten Themed Levels of Gameplay With Fun
Puzzles
- Great Ambient Sound Effects
- Complete 3-D Player Freedom of Movement
- Several Bonus Levels
- Intuitive Fast-Action Gameplay
- Cool Music

Chase monkeys and avoid obstacles in real-time through a lush jungle!
Explore the runes of an ancient Aztec temple, avoiding perilous traps and
wild animals!  Take a stroll down the midway and play an assortment of
games, navigate the wacky funhouse, and be a star in the big tent!  Strap on
yer six-shooters for a spell in the ol' west for slots, suds, and a chance
to take down Wiley the Gunslinger!  And, much.. much more all in a lush 3D
audio environment!

Monkey Business retails for $29.95 plus shipping and handling and is shipped
on compact disc.  A fully playable two-level demo is available via our
website at
http//www.espsoftworks.com.

and, coming in January..

_ESP RACEWAY_

Racing action so realistic you'll be signing autographs for your friends and
family after the race!  Grab your helmet, put on your pit radio, and rev up
your engine and prepare to take a wild 270 mile per hour ride over a dozen
different exciting tracks!  But, there's much more..

Features

- Wonderfully Realistic Sounds
- Accurate Engine & Car Physics
- A Dozen Completely Different Tracks
- Pit Stop With Full Crew Including A Pit Captain
- A Head-Set Radio Link To Your Pit Captain For Real-Time Information
- Several Weather Conditions Including Sunny, Rain, Sleet, and Snow
- Manual & Automatic Transmissions
- Great Crowd Ambience To Keep You Going
- And, much more!

ESP Raceway will be available on compact disc during the first quarter of
2002.  The retail price will be $29.95 plus shipping and handling.

As always, visit ESP Softworks on the web at
http//www.espsoftworks.com
for
current information about our products and release schedules, free games,
contests, and more!

+++
News From GMA Games

What's New at GMA Games

We have just released version 3.2 of Lone Wolf, the submarine strategy
simulation.  It is primarily a stepping stone to our next release, but it
does include many new features, such as Joystick Support, ability to save
an unfinished mission, crew alerts for beginners and experts alike, ability
to automatically dive and turn to a preset depth and course, conversion to
DirectX 7, faster game clock to facilitate smoother game play, and much
more.  This release is a free upgrade to registered users of Lone Wolf 3.0
or higher.  As well, don't forget that there are many new and old user
designed missions available for download from our web site.

Shades of Doom continues to be as popular as ever.  We are planning an
update in the new year, which will not only be an enhancement to the game,
but an expansion as well.  New weapons, new sounds, new game effects, and
additional levels are currently all being worked upon.

We are also working on several new games, as either sole GMA projects, or
in conjunction with others.  It is too early to give any details at this
point, but keep tuned.

Visit our web site at

http//www.GMAGames.com

or contact us at

[email protected]

Have a good holiday season.

David Greenwood.
GMA Games,
GMA Inc.

+++
News From PCS

News from PCS Games
I hope every one has a wonderful holiday season!
I got married on October 27, 2001, to Betty Jo Payne, so PCS game
development went on a back burner.  Carl is busy learning to program in
Windows for his work at IBM, and this knowledge will hopefully lead to full
Windows games next year.
PCS continues to collaborate with David Greenwood and GMA games on several
projects.
And I need to get lots of Christmas gifts for all my new in-laws!
Smiles and seasons greetings,
Phil Vlasak of PCS Games
666 Orchard Street
Temperance, MI 48182
(734) 850-9502
e-mail
[email protected]

+++
News From Zform

***19 September 2001 Web Update
**In Brief
Zform Welcomes the Fat Man to Board of Advisors
Zform Featured in Game Developer Magazine
Zform Appears in Daily Hampshire Gazette
CSRwire Becomes an Official Zform Sponsor

**In Detail
* Zform Welcomes New Board Member
George Alistair Sanger (AKA the Fat Man), Founder of Big Fat Inc., has
joined Zform's Board of Advisors.

George has been creating music and other audio for games since 1983.
He is internationally recognized for his work on over 130 games and
for greatly influencing the shape of audio in the video game industry.
George hosts the annual Texas Interactive Music Conference and BBQ
(Project BBQ), the computer and music industry's most prestigious and
influential audio conference.

Visit his website at
http//www.fatman.com.

* Zform featured in Game Developer Magazine
Zform is featured in the October issue Game Developer magazine. Game
Developer is the premier journal for the game industry. The article,
written by Zform's Gavin Andresen, describes Zform's prototype and the
difficulties involved in making a game accessible.

Visit Game Developer Magazine at
http//www.gdmag.com.

* Zform appears in Daily Hampshire Gazette
Zform recently appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette in a front-page
article of the business section. The article includes a description of
Zform and its history, as well as some information about the video
game industry and how Zform makes its games accessible.

To read the article, go to
http//www.gazettenet.com/09102001/business/6245.htm.

* CSRwire Becomes an official Zform Sponsor
The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire now provides Zform with
media advice and press release distribution services.

CSRwire is the only newswire service devoted solely to corporate
social responsibility (CSR) issues. CSRwire provides access to a
targeted audience of investors, consumers, and employees who consider
corporate social responsibility policies and practices in their
investment, purchase, and career decisions.

Visit CSRwire at
http//CSRwire.com.
Read a recent Zform press release
at
http//csrwire.com/article.cgi/733.html.

CSRwire's director, Meghan Connolly, sits on our Board of Advisors.

+++
Kitchen-Russell Blind Cyber golf Tournament Starting Soon!

Following the current success of the Mach 1 car racing tournament being
organised by Hugo Janssens in Belgium, I thought it would be fun to run a
golf tournament based on Jim Kitchen's golf game.  The game can be
downloaded from Jim's website *details in a moment* and the tournament is
open to experienced players and newcomers alike.  There is an individual
championship and also a team event.  Individuals will automatically be
entered into the team event.  All three courses will be used, and, for the
purposes of this tournament, each player will play off of a zero handicap
playing as a perfect player.

The tournament will commence on 1 December, and players will have one week
to submit a best score for each of the three courses.  Scores will be sent
to me by e-mailing the "golfrecs.txt" file found in the golf folder.  This
file should then be deleted ready for the second round.  Second round scores
should reach me on 15 December and 3rd Round scores on 22 December.  As
Christmas intervenes, and even gamers sometimes take a break, players will
be allowed two weeks to enter their final rounds to me, with the results
available soon after 5 January 2002.  The same scores will be used for the
team event.  Each team will have two players, with the scores on each course
being added together.  In order to make the teams as equal as possible,
experienced players will be paired with beginners, and this should mean that
everyone has a chance.

The closing date for entering the tournament is 28 November.  If you wish to
enter, please e-mail me at
 [email protected]

letting me have your full name and e-mail address, the country in which you
live, and your lowest score on course 1 with a zero handicap playing as a
perfect player.

It is important that everyone is playing with the same version of Jim's game
and this can be found at

http//www.simcon.net/jkitchen

Why not have a go, it could be fun.
 Look forward to seeing you at the nineteenth hole.

David Russell

+++
+++
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.

One game which got somewhat negative attention over the past while was
KM2000 from Code Factory. This was somewhat misplaced as the game is fully
accessible without sighted assistance. Below is an explanation sent in by
Andrew Hart which illustrates why it is vital to give these developers some
credit.

Contrary to popular belief, the game is accessible.  I think the problem is
a lack of documentation.  The documentation included with the demo outlines
sketches the keys for control, but does not explain the audio paradigm used.
As far as I can make out, it works as follows

You are driving along a track.  Pressing the arrow keys will turn you left
and right.  This is different from the Mach1 game, where pressing a key only
turns you a little, or more accurately, moves your car left or right on the
track.  Once turned, your car continues  to travel in that direction
and it is necessary to straighten up again.  I dare say it would be a lot
easier to play the game with that steering wheel mentioned in that
catalogue.  Then you would have continuous feedback on which way your car is
heading.  When the sound moves to one side or the other, all you have to do
is turn the opposite way in order to bring it back into the centre.
However, you must be careful not to over do it.  I haven't broken any
records yet--and I wish it would announce what the current record is, but
this may just be a limitation of the demo--but have managed to get
around the Madrid track without crashing quite a few times now.  Mind you,
it took me about 20 minutes to figure out just what was going on.  My
understanding of it is this.  Your point of view is fixed centred over the
track and probably from behind and/or above your car.  Then, the sound is
simply panned to the position on the track where your car is.  Your point of
view follows the car, but is always centred (from side to side) over the
current stretch of track and the objective is simply to stay in the middle
or not to get too close to either side where you'll crash.

It's kind of interesting that you have to pick up your car and put it back
in the centre of the track after a crash.  Brings back fond memories of
playing with matchbox cars.  *grin*

So, folks, go back and give it another try.  The game works just fine, but
as has been expressed, I think it is perhaps missing a few audio elements
that would enrich the game experience, plus it would be useful to have some
kind of indicator as to the direction your car is facing.  However, as it
stands, the game is perfectly playable, challenging and you need really
quick reflexes--much faster than I've been able to  muster so far--to make
it round the track in one piece, let alone with a good time.  No doubt, with
practice, one would learn the layout of the various tracks and be able to
judge the corners so as not to over/understeer and hence end up off the
track.

+
The Windows Golf Game
By Jim Kitchen
reviewed by Graham Pearce
accessible without sighted assistance
available at
www.simcon.net/jkitchen

Remember in audyssey issue 27, where I was raving about how good Jim's
casino game was? Now, I think I've found a game that rivals the casino. The
windows golf game! It starts with a title theme, then the sound of you
hitting a ball, then something funny happens, which can vary from game to
game. After a prompt asking you if you want special key instructions, you
are given the opportunity to select either a golf course, a practice driving
range or a practice putting green. Both of the practice courses are good,
because they allow you to try at getting a particular distance for the real
golf course. Oh by the way, you also have a choice of 3 golf courses, from
the easy to the devilishly hard.

The game mechanics are very simple. You hear a rising scale of beeps, and
you must press a key when the beeps reach a particular pitch. The higher the
pitch of the beep when you press that key, the more power is in your shot.
On the driving range, there are obstacles hindering your path like a pond
and a lake. It takes a few games to master the subtleties of play, but once
you have, getting that ball into the hole is a breeze!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate Jim's golf game a 10 out of 10! I think Jim
has done an excellent  job of making it really feel like you're at a golf
course. The game is self-voicing and it's  free, so there are no excuses for
not trying it! Of course, unless you're not running  windows.

+
review of mech wars
available at
www.mechwars.net
Reviewed by Justin Ekis
playable without sighted assistance.

Since the last time I wrote an article on web gaming, I have found a large
directory of web-based games. It is called the multiplayer online games
directory or MPOGD.
This site lists the name, web address and description of over 1000  games.
This is where I found the game mech wars. Unfortunately most of these games
are graphical and not very accessible, but there are a few text games on
there and some   of those are of real high quality.

Anyway, on to mech wars. At the time of writing, mech wars is number one on
the mpogd top 100 list. This is a futuristic war strategy game taking place
nearly 200 years in the future.
You build up an army of robotic fighters called mechs and attack other
players' armies. I really like this game. It does tend to get a bit involved
though.
At first glance, this game looks like it would be really easy, but there is
a lot more to it than first meets the eye.

I thought it would be just about building lots of these mechs and then
deciding when it's the right time to attack and who to attack. Well it is,
but it's also tougher.
The thing that makes mechwars so much fun is that there are so many options
and so much to consider when making plans. There are lots of different types
of mechs that you can build and it's up to you to decide which ones to
build. Each has different strengths and weaknesses. You have to decide what
is most important and how much you can give up for it.

It gets even tougher. It's not just fighting machines you have to build, you
also can study special technologies that make your army stronger, faster
etc. Lots of players go for those so if you don't study them you will be at
a disadvantage. Also you have to build different kinds of buildings that
help you get these technologies.

As you can tell, the fun of this game is all the tough decisions you have to
make.
What will you do with your next few hours of time, build mechs, study
technology, or build a building? So you want to get a new technology. Well
there are more than 30 technologies, so which one should you go with next?
It's all up to you. I love this kind of game.

Another thing about this game is there is lots of teamwork. When you begin
to play, you are placed in a random group of players and your group is
called a country. From what I understand, countries don't normally work
together that much, most of the time, the only thing your country partners
will do is offer a little protection from attack and they will retaliate for
you if you are attacked but they won't go out of their way to help. Still,
you work together to develop strategies for playing.

If you want an even more teamwork oriented game, you can join a large team
of players called a clan. I haven't joined one yet, but from what I
understand a good clan will do absolutely everything they possibly can to
defend each other, especially it's smaller members.
What I like about clans are the occasional clan war. That is where all
members of two clans take part in a huge series of fights. These big wars
sometimes involve up to 200 players. Sounds like fun.

One last note before I get into how I scored the game on my rating chart.
The game itself is very accessible, but there is one  major problem. Many
players like to meat in chat rooms called irc chat. There is an irc program
on the game's site, but it isn't very accessible. I've been told there are
ways to get  it  to work properly, but it's really  technical and not worth
the trouble in my opinion. If your country  or clan wants you to use irc
chat, explain the problem and hopefully they will understand. Also consider
using one of the popular instant messenger services and telling them to
contact you that way.

Game ratings.

Site speed 10, maybe it's just my high speed Internet connection, but it
seemed like the web pages in the game were always loading incredibly fast.
documentation 10, The manual is incredibly detailed, each and every option
available had it's own separate page. Superb.
Accessibility 7, the only thing that kept the game from getting a top score
is the chat room problem mentioned earlier.
Overall score, 6 out of ten. Check it out at
 www.mechwars.net.

++
"SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES"
Part of Code Factory's Educational Series
Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia
Available at
www.codfact.com (
Choose English version link)
Fully playable without sighted assistance

    If you're looking for a program that lets children enjoy a classic fairy
tale and have fun at the same time, then Code Factory's educational games
series is for you! These programs allow you to listen to a classic story,
such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves", "The Tortoise and the Hare",
etc., and include interactive activities dealing with nature awareness,
mathematics, language, etc. For this review, I'll be reviewing the demo
version of "Snow White".
    It's easy to install the demo. You just download the executable file and
run it. The program extracts all the files to a new directory on your C
drive. After that, just go to the drive and folder where the files are, and
run the executable file you'll find in the main folder. (If you get the
CD-ROM version, you don't have to install anything.) Note- You do not need a
screen reader to use this program.
    The main menu contains two options Listen to the story, and play, which
lets you try the different activities in the game. These options are
selected by pressing either 1 or 2 on the number row.
    I really like the way the story is presented with it's excellent
narration, background sound effects, and music. A bell sounds when it's time
to turn the page. The Right arrow key goes to the next page, and the left
arrow key goes back one page.
    The activities in this program are also excellent. In one of the
activities, you're asked to choose whether a certain sound is on the left or
right speaker. For instance, if you're asked to "find the owl", and you hear
the owl on the right speaker, you'd press 2 on the number row. Another
activity helps with basic English skills by giving you a singular word, and
you typing the plural of that word. For instance, if you're given the word
"stone", you would type "stones" and press Enter. The keys speak as you
press them.
    While I like the way the story and activities are presented, there are a
couple of problems that detract from the program.
The first is that there is, as far as I know, no help system, and no
documentation. I couldn't figure out how to turn the page to continue the
story after the bell rang. Pressing space started reading the page I was on
again, and when F1 was pressed, I was asked "Are you sure you'd like to
start over again?"
Also, I got confused when the Play option was selected from the main menu,
because for a minute I thought I was listening to a part of the story again.
When I pressed the right arrow key to turn the page, I was taken to an
activity. After the activities were complete, another part of the story was
read, which I hadn't heard before. (This could possibly be a programming
error.)
    Despite the problems listed above, I really enjoyed this program. I
think Code Factory did a good job of making an interactive version of a
classic children's story that's usable by blind and sighted users.
I recommend the story for ages 4 and up, and the activities for ages 6 and
up.
If you'd like more information about this program, or the other programs in
Code Factory's educational series, go to
www.codfact.com,
and choose the English version of their web site. You can download demos of
the other games in this excellent series as well.

+
Enjoy And Learn with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Game by Code Factory Inc.
Reviewed by Michael Feir and Rebecca Sutton

Told with excellent style, Code Factory has managed to breathe new life into
this classic tale. Children will thoroughly enjoy hearing the story and
completing the various challenges it presents. The readers do a superb job.
Also, the music playing in the background is very suitable to the current
mood of the story. Whenever the wicked queen appears, it gets sinister
without being too frightening. The wicked queen is portrayed with care and
is easily identified as evil without being too terrifying for young
children.

Clearly, Code Factory has built on previous successes and thought of nice
improvements. During the story, a bell sounds at the end of a page so that
people aren't left uncertain about when to go to the next one. Also, the
activities are different in the harder level and not simply a repeat of the
easy level activities made more challenging. Typing is not hampered at all
when players are called upon to do so. However, there was one point where
the player is told to type after a tone and no tone is ever played. The
wicked queen asks players to type the name of fruits in when this occurs.
Rebecca and I were particularly impressed with activities which had players
follow animals by indicating whether they were heard in the left or right
speaker. This was particularly effective in level B when other animals made
the task harder. Also, Level B had a syllable counting activity which will
be very useful in teaching children about how words are divided. Being a fan
of riddles, I appreciated the prince's test where the dwarves made the
player help the prince by answering riddles. It serves as an excellent
introduction to this ancient pastime.

Replay value suffers somewhat from there not being any alternative questions
for the various challenges. Once a child has won the game, there is nothing
to draw them back into it for another try. If alternative questions, such as
different riddles chosen randomly from a collection, different fruits and
trees, etc, were included, the game's replay value would be greatly
increased.

Other than my concern about replay value, Rebecca and I can find nothing
else which detracts in any way from this game other than a lack of online
help. It is a fine addition to any child's collection of games. As with
other Enjoy and Learn games, this one also has pictures included making it
attractive for sighted children as well. Rebecca gives this game a perfect
rating of ten out of ten. I give it a nine out of ten.

+
Enjoy and Learn with Little Red Riding Hood
Game by Code Factory
Reviewed by Michael Feir and Rebecca Sutton

The Enjoy and Learn series combines listening to a classic fairy tale with
stimulating educational activities to provide an excellent overall
experience for young children. We examined Little Red Riding Hood and found
that the craftsmanship was very impressive. The stories were told with
enthusiasm. The voice actors spoke clearly and slowly to make it easier for
children to understand the story.

Activities were quite suitable for the six to ten year old age range which
the games were designed for. Level A was for younger children and involved
multiple choice questions. For instance, one activity had Red Riding Hood
describing rooms in a house and asked the player to identify the room.
Another activity had children determine which foods came from plants or
animals. Level B for older children had them type in the correct answers,
and it was here that some minor problems emerged. If a fast typer plays the
game, they must consciously slow their typing so that all the letters typed
are registered. Another problem is that different words are sometimes used
to identify things in different parts of the world. One example is that a
corridor might also fairly be called a hallway. The description for a living
room might equally well refer to a den, family room, or study. In future
titles, greater care should be taken to avoid this. Children should not be
given the impression that answers are wrong just because different words
might be used than those they have been taught.

Another problem might lead to greater frustration. It is sometimes hard to
tell when to turn the page. Sounds will simply continue to play and users
might not realize that they must hit the right arrow key to go to the next
page or the left arrow to go back. This is especially true for young
children. While the manuals explain all this in print and Braille, a number
of blind people do not know Braille and would be better served if more
spoken help were provided in the game. An easy solution would be to have a
help key which would read the entire instructions aloud. It would also be
simple to have a reminder speak if a number of seconds go bye without any
action being taken.

One nice feature of the series is that all games have pictures as well. This
makes them quite suitable for sighted people. Both Rebecca and I found no
problems at all with the sound effects and narration. Instructions were
clearly given and woven nicely into the story. Rebecca gives the game a full
ten out of ten rating. The minor problems in an otherwise excellent product
stuck out for a gaming veteran like myself, and I therefore give it an eight
out of ten. Red Riding Hood would make an excellent gift for a young blind
child as well as their sighted siblings.

++
MYRTHORN AND KORIAL'S MONTHLY MUD PICKS

A field of roiling mud spreads out in all directions, dark brown waves
flowing energetically across the uneven ground. Suddenly, a column of mud
begins to rise from the surface, swaying momentarily before coalescing into
the figure of a Dwarven woman. Making slow careful movements, Korial steps
forth from the column. Gaining her footing, she runs across the muddy field
stopping at a wide gateway along its eastern perimeter.

Greetings folks and welcome to our bi-monthly visit to the world of muds. In
the last two months, Myrthorn and I have been playing on an Lpmud called
Gateway. Join us as we journey to its fantastical realms.

GateWay
 Mud Created January, 1990
  Site gatewaymud.com 6969 [64.242.77.153]
Admin [email protected]
Theme Medieval/Fantasy
 GateWay Homepage http//www.gatewaymud.com/gateway.html
 Location Canada (ugh! says Myrthorn ... a hoser mud!)

 Stepping through the veil of reality, we arrive at Gateway, a fully
original world with a diversity of realms to explore, quests to complete and
monsters to kill. The world's descriptions are, for the most part, well done
(although some areas seem richer in detail than others).

There are plenty of newbie areas to explore and enjoy (and one remains a
newbie until reaching an ability rating of 30). This takes a bit of time,
allowing the adventurer to gain a good understanding of the mud's commands
and policies, while at the same time protecting the newbie from being killed
by aggressive mobs or the folly of attacking monsters too dangerous to
handle. Newbies also have other abilities to help them in the beginning such
as free equipment, help with traveling the world and the like.

The mud has a variety of races to choose from as well as some interesting
and unique guilds. I'm playing a ranger at the current time and I've found
guild members to be helpful and supportive and the guild itself to be fun to
play. Rangers have access to a special bow, which when trained can be a
formidable weapon. In addition to mud-wide quests, rangers must solve
special quests in order to advance in the guild.

Questing plays a role on this mud, with the amount of experience you gain
from a kill directly related to the number of quests you have done. It adds
a nice twist to the game.

The mud has very good help files and a large player base. These two factors
combined means that you are seldom at a loss for assistance or answers to
your questions. Players can also get mentors from among the more skilled
adventurers on the mud (and these mentors will assist with money, equipment,
advice and the like). This approach, in addition to being very helpful to
Newbies, encourages interaction between players as well as a friendly
supportive atmosphere.

Player killing is optional on Gateway. For those who like the idea of a
little pk but who don't wish to lose experience or equipment, etc., there
are occasional guild wars (where guilds try to steal the flags of other
guilds). This involves PK but does not cause you to lose experience, etc.
The help files explain this better than I have here.

I've found the admins to be very responsive and quite friendly. When I first
logged into this mud I was repeatedly disconnected during the character
creation process because it took me a while to listen through all of the
text. I reported this to the admins and they  quickly fixed the problem.

The only thing I don't like about Gateway, and admittedly it is a small
thing, is that you absolutely cannot have more than one character under any
circumstance. Since I like to play different guilds, I find this a bit
frustrating. While it is true that you can switch guilds, there is a pretty
hefty penalty for doing so.

Overall, I give this mud a 4.5 and encourage you to play it and find out for
yourself.

Korial steps through the veil of reality and leaves gateway behind, turning
her gaze to Myrthorn to hear his words of wisdom on this extensive realm.

Words of wisdom, you say?  Ahem, well guess you've come to the right man
...(nothing more irritating than a smug mage, eh?)
Korial's been playing on Gateway a bit longer than myself, so my comments
are coming from the viewpoint of a newbie on Gateway  (actually past the
newbie stage a few days ago -- but most of my experience is coming from that
perspective).
    Lots of fun to be had in the realms of Gateway!  Yes, I said 'Realms'.
There are currently 6 domains in total, all with a slightly different theme.
Visit the Underground, Crystal, Haven, the Orient, Shadow, and Callis.  And
the guilds on Gateway are intriguing also.  Not your standard,
run-of-the-mill  guilds (i.e. - warriors, thieves, clerics, and mages).
That's not to say that there aren't guilds following these ideals, just that
there are unique guilds that allow one to specialize a bit more.  Here's a
quick run-down of the guilds Clerics of Cianna, Devil Worshipers, Gwydion's
Druids, Lost Knights of Callis, Monks of Marik, Rangers, Serpent Warriors,
Shortbreds, and Vikings.
     I suggest you take some time and read up on Gateway on their homepage,
before entering the realms.  This will give you a much better understanding
of the mud before you enter, and will give you an idea of what race and
guild you may wish to join.
     Gateway is jam-packed with puzzles and quests, for those who wish to
participate in them.  There is an "official'"  tome of quests in the
adventurers guild in Underground - though there seems to be non-documented
quests all throughout the domains of Gateway.  Sometimes this turns me off,
but not on Gateway. I am finding Gateway to be a 'keeper', ranked high on my
list of muds to play on a regular basis.
    As Korial mentioned, there are skills that newbie's have, which are
revoked from the veteran player once they reach level 30.  Two of these
'skills'  I have always found useful on any mud, regardless of level.  These
are 'consider'  and the ability to scan adjacent rooms.  That's about the
only shortcomings I see with Gateway.  (HINT Take your time in reaching
level 30.  There are a lot of rooms and areas to explore.  Explore them as a
newbie, while you have the veil of protection.  I fell short in this regard,
not realizing these skills would be revoked once level 30 was reached).

* Korial sticks her ample dwarven nose in and points out that rangers get
the "study" skill which replaces consider and the "scout" ability which
allows one to check out adjacent rooms. Guess Rangers are the best and
coolest guild on Gateway just like Korial always believed. She smirks at
Myrthorn and disappears before he can bop her on her hard head.
*
     Gateway has a very  friendly player base.  If your mentor is not on
line, there are usually plenty of other players willing to assist you.  I
recommend using your guilds communication channel to its fullest extent and
benefit.  And speaking of the mentoring system - take your time before
selecting a mentor (or accepting to be a protegee to one).  You or the
mentor can terminate the relationship at any time, without any repercussions
(other than perhaps ill feelings).  I was approached by an elder monk within
the first half hour of being online.  I didn't even know about the mentoring
system or policies.  My now, ex-mentor  told me not to worry, it is just a
formality.  So I quickly read the docs on it, and (regretfully) accepted his
offer.  I saw him on line a few times, up through level 5.  He was never of
any assistance, and tended to log in and immediately go AFK and idle.  I
never saw him again, until I was above level 30, and beyond newbie status.
At this point, it was impossible to choose another mentor (just part of
Gateway's policies).  There is a distinct purpose in having the mentoring
system.  Both the protegee and the mentor benefit - providing they both work
together.  It is the mentor's job to help orient the newbie to Gateway.  In
short, if you get a lousy mentor, don't wait to disown him/her  until you
are above level 30.
     Since I chose to be a monk in Gateway, I put the name Myrthorn aside,
and chose an alias.  I'm now level 36 ... any takers wishing to have MonkEC
be their mentor?  I'm looking for a partner, MonkEDo!<grin>  (I promise to
do a better job than my ex - BTW - I don't want to dis him, so I won't give
his name away, let's just say it's the same as the Editor's name <cough> ...
did I say that?)
I could go on and on about Gateway, but I think the best way for you to find
out more is to experience the mud for yourself!  I've also got to give
Gateway a 4.5 out of 5.
(now Myrthorn reaches for that damn veil to see what Korial is hiding behind
it!<lol>)
 Korial quickly grabs the veil and blocks Myrthorn's view. Maybe next time
I'll let you look she yells, laughter rippling through her voice as it fades
away in the distance.

... and now we take you to a time long, long ago, in a land far, far away
...

Star Wars Mud (SWmud)
 Mud Created February, 1994
Site swmud.org 6666 [208.170.78.46]
Admin Email [email protected]
Theme Star Wars
 Star Wars Mud (SWmud) Homepage http//www.swmud.org/

     I spent a few days searching through the 50 SW muds listed on TMC.   I
only found one worth playing - and this is it!  Now realize that I'm from
the old school, so the original trilogy are the only SW stories I'm familiar
with.  There were quite a number of Mush's and Muck's devoted to the prequel
trilogy ... but I have no knowledge of those stories, and therefore no way
of participating in those types of RP intensive muds.  Everything else
listed was merely SWR code (which is mainly just a ROM derivative).  So
you've got that same old mud school, and that same old city layout ...
except you've got wokiee's in place of trolls, Ewok's in place of hobbits
... etc.<major boring!>
     Surprisingly, this was the very first mud I ever played on (back about
6 years ago).  It's gone through some changes, but is mostly still the same.
It's an Lpmud, so this was built from the ground up.
Those of you interested in Star Wars and mudding -- this is your next
shuttle stop.
     I'm not 100% certain of the origins of this mud, but those of you
interested in HHGG will find this a bit interesting also.  SWMud is about
99% Star Wars, and 1% HHGG.   Check out the drink list in the main bar on
Coruscant.  Go ahead and buy yourself a PanGalactic Gargle Blaster (If you
think you can handle it!) And don't be typing 'help <topic>' on SW mud.
You'll get an obnoxious error message saying, "Help!, help! ... sounds like
you're panicking ...".  That's right, the little Guidebook you carry around
with you in your inventory is a copy of the HHGG.  Remember, DON'T PANIC!!!
However, if you want assistance from the help files, that's exactly what you
need to do - panic <topic>.
    OK, so here's a summary for you.  SW mud allows your character to be one
of the various races associated with the SW environment.  If there's a SW
race, its an option for you.  As far as guilds are concerned, SW mud uses a
multi-class system - allowing you to have your primary guild along with a
secondary and tertiary.  Here's a list of the 9 primary guilds Assassins,
Bounty Hunters, Diplomats, Mercenaries, Merchants, Pilots, Scientists,
Slicers
and Smugglers.   Jedi is also a secondary guild that one can join, though if
this is the choice of a secondary guild, then you're not allowed to have a
tertiary guild/class.  Each of these guilds have unique skills which can be
learned, and the skill system is level based.  You progress up to level 20,
and after that, must complete the High Mortal quest, in order to continue
playing.  The HM levels range from 20 to 50, with advanced skills available
to the High Mortals.
     I've found the piloting system on SW mud to be a minor bit daunting as
a VIP mud player.  It is a thorough and complex system that has been
designed.  But don't let my trepidation's stand in the way of you becoming
the next X-wing or B-Wing fighter pilot supreme!  There are plenty of ships
to fly, from simple shuttle craft, all the way up to the huge capital ships.
If you're a Merc, and don't want to fly, you can man the guns for a pilot,
and be his/her gunner.  Got a lot of dough finally?  Well you can head over
to the Sluissi ship yards, and have a ship custom made for you!
Along with ships, there are also plenty of ground craft.  Ever wanted to
pilot one of those walkers seen in the beginning of "The Empire Strikes
Back"?  There's plenty of them to be found on Endor.  Hire a capital ship to
take you and your newly captured walker to another planet, and start
blasting away! (not at other players though - unless you are both Pkers).
What would Star Wars be without those stupid droids? <grin> - never fear,
they're everywhere in this mud also.  If you've got the money, you can get
whatever type of droid you want.  If you're a scientist ... well, perhaps
you can "borrow"  somebody else's <snicker>.
     Ah yes!  I forgot to mention one of the most important things about SW.
Do you feel like a rebel? ... or are you an Imperialistic twit?  Maybe
somewhere's in between - don't want to take sides  -- no problem.  You can
choose your alignment, and if you are rebel or imperial allied, you may join
their army/navy.  And what would SW be without the Force?  If you choose the
path of a Jedi, you may seek either the dark or the light side.
     Swmud has gone through it's ups and downs over the years.  I originally
stopped playing on it back when the first prequel movie came out.  At the
time there were only about 5 SW muds listed on TMC, and once the movie was
released, in came the flood of whining 12 year olds.  The server could only
handle about 70 players at a time, and the average number of users on line
spiked from around 30 to the max.  I was lucky if I could ever get logged
in.  When I did, there was mass SPAM on the shout channel -- things like
whiners complaining about their bleeding gums from their braces <cringe>.
Needless to say, old Dartex took all his money out of the bank and headed
for the nearest casino.  Once all the money was spent, he committed suicide.
    Luckily the light side of the Force has prevailed, and the wiz's have
finally enforced some rules about using the shout channel, as well as
implementing a feature to block any channel you do not wish to hear.
The only drawback to SW mud that I don't care for is the fact that it is one
of those muds that does not  save equipment.  So you are forced to buy new
eq every time you log in ... and sell it for 1/3  of what you paid for it
when you log out.  If you don't sell it, it just falls to the ground where
you once stood when you quit.
My overall rating of SWMud is a 4 out of 5 (as far as Star Wars muds go -
it's a 10 out of 5!)

Happy Holidays, and see you next issue!

+
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Game by Eidos Interactive
Reviewed by William Lomas
This game requires very little sighted assistance
Available from all good computer shops, (in the u.k. available from
Dixons.)

For many years now, that annoying little man, Chris Tarrant, has
astounded the world with his smash show, Who Wants To Be A
Millionaire?
I always watch this tv show every time it comes on here in
England, because the atmosphere, even though you can't see, is
gripping in itself.

What has this got to do with gaming?
A company called Eidos Interactive, a company based in the
United Kingdom, have produced an English version of Who Wants
to be a Millionaire? the version I am reviewing is for the computer.
Firstly, let me say that I assume the American version is the same as the
u.k one, because it is so popular.
Look for Who Wants to be a Millionaire second edition.

Firstly, I will tell you right now, that this game is thoroughly enjoyable
by a totally blind person, whether your playing alone or with a team.
The idea, is to answer 15 questions to win a virtual (not real) million
pounds!!
To start, I will outline the installation process.

When the cd is inserted for the first time, and if your Autorun feature is
enabled, a setup installer will commence. Simply follow the instructions.
You need at least 80 meg on your pc, but if you do not have enough disk
space you will be informed. I can not exactly remember the system
specifications,
but a stereo soundcard will be a must to make the game sound good.
It will work with Windows 95/98/nt/2000/me, and you must have DIRECT x v7.0
or higher.
It may be advisable to read the readme file on the cd before usage. In the
find dialogue box of Windows type in readme after typing your cd drive,
colon,
backslash, and you should have the readme file presented to you.

The installation process can take a while, but it will be well worth it,
you'll see.
It is recommended, that your screenreader should be put to sleep because it
may disrupt the spoken dialogue.
So, when you have highlighted the Who Wants to be a millionaire? icon on
your desktop, put your screenreader to sleep.
The icon will read
wwtbam second edition
When you have pressed Enter on this icon, make sure the who wants to be a
millionaire? cd is in the drive.

Firstly, a movie will appear on the screen. Just click the mouse button (the
left one) to skip this. Use the physical left mouse button to do this.

Once you have clicked the mouse button, the fun really starts.
You will hear Chris Tarrant introducing the game, telling you what the game
is. Although you can now see the upcoming menu, it's quite straight forward.
I think the only options at the start are, "start" and "exit."
When I have finished a game I just use alt  +f4 to escape out of the game
entirely. So, when you hear the opening dialogue from Chris, just wait until
Chris says, "let's play."
Now, press the letter "s"   on your keyboard to start the actual game.
The rest is self-explanatory, but I want to talk about the questions rather
than setting up the players etc. for that purpose, just follow the
instructions.
I would advise you not to go for a fastest finger first, unless your family
can press your buzzer (a key which you choose) when the correct series of
answers
are displayed.
I will only talk about the one player mode of the game, and not the previous
modes mentioned above.
When you type in your name after selecting one player, the round will begin.
Chris will tell you what question your on, and how much money it's worth.
This is where the accessibility of the game comes into its own.
Chris Tarrant will read the question out loud, and it will also be displayed
on the screen. When the question has been read, you will hear 4 choices,
just
like the tv game show.
When you hear the 4 choices, they correspond to the letters a, b, c and d.
It is now a case of remembering what's a, what's b etcetera etcetera. when
you have done a fifty-fifty, you will have to remember what the question
was, and
what the answers were.
The game is excellent, except for the repeating of the question problem.
When you choose more than 1 player or a different mode, the
game still acts in the same way. There is a game version of the
Weakest Link available, and if it ever becomes accessible, I will
write a review on it.

All in all, I highly recommend this game. Just have plenty of
patience, a good computer and a cd-rom  drive.
Thanks a million for reading!!

+
Snakes And Ladders
Game by Jim Kitchen
Reviewed by Rebecca Sutton
Available from
http//www.simcon.net/jkitchen/
Fully playable without sighted assistance.

Snakes and Ladders is a game for children which is packed with learning and
fun all rolled into one.  The object of the game is for each player to try
to get to the one hundredth square on the board. A child's mathematical
skills come into the game when the snakes and ladders move you up or down.
Players will quickly learn that the snakes and ladders are positioned in
increments of ten and start to hope that the die rolls will pass them by the
snake squares and land them on the ladders. At the start of the game the
game asks how many players will take part in the game.  There is also the
unique option of allowing the computer to play in the game as well.  At the
beginning of the game, player number one has to roll a dice which will
determine the number of spaces that the person needs to move.  The board
contains several empty squares, and several snakes and ladders.  Landing on
a snake results in being moved down several squares.  If a person lands on a
ladder, he will be moved up several squares.
The game has many sound effects which are very realistic.  The player will
be asked if he would like to play as a certain animal such as a cat, and
there will be a sound which correlates with the character.  There are also
specific sounds for the snakes and ladders too which are great.  The roll of
the die is an especially realistic sound, and it is my favourite.
One problem with the game is that it has the potential to go into an
infinite loop when a ladder goes up to a snake which goes back down to the
ladder. The only way out of that situation is to hit the escape key and give
up the whole game.

I think that families with blind children should definitely download this
game.  It has a lot of potential, it's a lot of fun, and on top of that,
it's free.

+
"ESP Pinball"
Game by ESP Softworks
Reviewed by Kelly Sapergia
Available from
www.espsoftworks.com
Fully playable without sighted assistance

   I've been a fan of pinball games ever since I can remember. I'm not sure
what the first pinball game I played on the computer was, but I've been
hooked on this popular style of games ever since, because just about all of
the software versions of pinball games use the keyboard to control the ball,
and because of the excellent sounds and music.
The only problem with these games is that there's no way to know where the
ball is going to go on the table (i.e., what bumper or object it's going to
hit.) That's why I was excited when I first heard about ESP Pinball, a new
game from ESP Softworks, which is specially designed for visually impaired
players. All you need is a CD-ROM drive, a sound card that can support
DirectX, and a good pair of headphones or speakers. From the moment I
started playing the various tables in this game, I've been hooked!
   ESP Pinball contains six tables Pac-Man, a pinball version of the
classic arcade game of all time, Soccer Star, where you play a pinball
version of Soccer, Heist, where you'll take on jobs you'll receive from a
master crime lord, Safari, where you're in the jungle and must try to get as
many animals as you can, Haunted House, in which you'll get to spend the
night in a scary house, and Wild West, a table where you play as a horse
thief in the days of the Old West.
   There are a couple ways you can play ESP Pinball. You can choose to play
the game in one of two difficulty levels Normal or Insane.
You can also choose what mode you'd like to play in.
In the Accessible mode, you'll sometimes activate a scanner that scans,
either from left to right or right to left, the table. You'll hear different
cues for certain items on the table as the scanner moves over them. You can
then press one of the shift keys on the keyboard to move the ball in the
direction of the object you're interested in. For instance, if you hear the
sound of a window breaking while scanning, pressing one of the Shift keys at
that point will make the ball break a glass window.
If you choose to play the game in the Classic mode, the scanner isn't used.
Speaking of cues you'll hear while the scanner is moving, in some of the
tables are letters that, when "lit up" by the ball, will allow you to do
things to get bonus points. For instance, in the Haunted House table,
spelling the word "grave" will let you go into the cemetery and knock down
the tombstones.
   The majority of pinball games for the PC are playable using the keyboard,
and ESP Pinball is no exception. You use the Left and Right shift keys to
control the flippers or to get the ball to move to an object that's
indicated by the scanner. The space bar is used to launch the ball, and in
some of the tables for various functions. For instance, in the Safari table,
the space bar is used to swim if you fall in the water.
The Enter key will "tilt" the table. This is useful if the ball gets stuck.
The only thing I don't like about the tilt feature is that your score isn't
saved if you tilt the table.
The P key will pause the game. Pressing any key will return you to the game.
The S key will announce your score, and how many balls you have left.
   Another thing I like about ESP Pinball is the "help" menu. This menu
allows you to listen to sound descriptions from each of the six tables.
   While I like playing the various tables in ESP Pinball, there are a
couple things that I hope will be improved when patches for the game are
available.
The Enter key for the tilt feature is inconvenient, because you could
easily bump that key by mistake. In my opinion, the T key might be a better
choice for this command.
I also don't like part of the "pause" routine. When you press the P key to
pause the game, you're told "game paused", then some background music starts
playing. That's fine, but while the music is playing, the word "paused" is
repeated every few seconds. In my opinion, this is distracting, especially
if you're trying to read something in the manual for instance.
   In conclusion, if you're looking for an accessible, and action-packed,
pinball game, ESP Pinball is the one for you! I gave it a rating of 9 out of
10. You can download a demo of the game that includes the "Pac-Man" and
"Soccer Star" tables, from
www.espsoftworks.com

+
FIRST THINGS FIRST
By J. Robinson Wheeler
Reviewed by Dave Sherman and Kirstan Mooney
Fully playable without sighted assistance
Available from
http//jrwdigitalmedia.com/ftf/index.html

    We decided to take on another interactive fiction game together.  We saw
this game mentioned on the discussion list, and downloaded it to see how
well we liked it.

Sit down and get yourself prepared for a mind-twisting journey.
First Things First is one of the most exciting, complex, and frustrating
pieces of interactive fiction that we've
seen in a while.  You start off by coming home from the local library, only
to find that you are locked out of your home ... it's going to be a
long night!
     FTF deals with time travel, and the many paradoxes associated with it.
Yep, you're going to be time hopping, from the present to the future and the
past.  Your actions in the past and future will alter your reality.  FTF is
full of puzzles which need to be pieced together in multiple time periods,
in order to reach your final goal.  Some of the puzzles are so blatantly
obvious, the solution may be
overlooked, Kirstan admits, after overlooking a few points at the beginning
of the game.(Dave snickers from around the corner)
    The author/designer has created a rich plot to weave around the puzzles.
This IF game isn't just a series of pointless puzzles, there is a complex
and intriguing story woven
in amongst its workings.  Most of the puzzles, although appearing quite
challenging, have logical and reasonably easy solutions, making for a good
game
even for someone not very experienced in Adventure Games.
     There are five time eras in which you can travel; the present, and 10
and 20 years into the past and the
future.  This allows the player to approach obstacles from several different
angles (time-wise) and allows the player to be solving several puzzles at
once.  As we discovered, some
of these puzzles, although easy to solve, can take a little thinking about,
and once you are on the same brain wave as the Author are well worth
solving.
     There's not a large number of NPC's to interact with, but the two main
NPC's in the game keep throwing surprises your way.  Fred and Laura will
keep your character busy in whichever of the time frames you meet up with
them.  The Author has made interacting with these 2 main characters a lot of
fun, and has been able to create a couple of real personalities without
whose help the game may of been left flat.  Fred is a jovial man who works
in the local sandwich shop, and Laura works for the local bank.  Fred
is happy and simple; Laura is constantly on edge and uneasy about her life.
    Watch your home, your neighbourhood, and the local town change with
time, and change due to actions you take.  You're in charge of the time
machine - and you control the future.
    There is a minor glitch to watch out for in the game.  There is supposed
to be a maximum of 151 points, but one particular action in the game gives
you 14 points, when it is
Only supposed to give you 7 (as reported once that action is taken).  So in
actuality, there is a total of 158
points to completely finish the game.  Don't let this put you off the game
though, it is very worth while playing.   Just be aware of the discrepancy.
     This game is the sort of game that can be played, and at the beginning
you know it is not going to go on forever and that you are going to get to
the end without having to play it for hours each day, not ever knowing,
until the end of it, that it is going to take a very long time to solve.
  Ahem, ... not so fast Kirstan. I feel that FTF can wear you down, to the
point where you push it aside for a while (finished or not).  But, because
of it's complexity and the ability to jump between time eras, the game has a
lot of replay value.  Even though the player knows the solution to all of
the major puzzles once the game is completed for the first time, there is
still quite a bit to the game, which may have been overlooked the first time
through.   I pick up interesting little tidbits, that I had previously
missed, every time I play it.  These "tidbits"  are hints to the solutions
of the puzzles.  It's amazing how much is buried in the code of FTF.

    There is an 'Easter Egg' in this game (as pointed out in the FTF.SOL
file).  We wouldn't have known it was there though, without reading the
solution file, once we had finished the game.  There is no clue in the room
description to let you know it is there.  It has nothing to do with the
story of FTF, it's just a simple and separate little game.  And there are a
few items listed at the bottom of the solution file, challenging you to find
some well hidden parts of FTF.  We've both totally missed some of them, and
need to go back and search for them.
     This TADS game has a good storyline intermingled with its puzzles.
It's especially interesting to watch the story change, as you solve puzzles,
and change the course of events.
We found it more fun to play the game together, versus playing it completely
alone.  Being able to bounce ideas off of each other via email kept it
interesting, while holding back just enough kept that challenge to see who
could finish first.
 We got to different points of the game at different times, and it was
interesting to find that we both got to solutions to different puzzles in a
different way.
We both decided on a rating of 8.5 out of 10 and would recommend this game
to anyone who is looking for an excellent adventure game, with both easy and
difficult puzzles to solve, and a good escape from the outside World whilst
playing it.

You can find First Things First at
http//jrwdigitalmedia.com/ftf/index.html

+
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Game by Eidos Interactive
Reviewed by William Lomas
This game requires very little sighted assistance
Available from all good computer shops, (in the u.k. available from Dixons.)

+++
Contacting Us

I can be reached in three ways. The easiest is via my Sympatico E-mail
address.
My e-mail address is as follows
[email protected]
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
(905)-814-0608
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
[email protected]
Or, you can check out his homepage on the web
Blade's Armoury
http//www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Arcade/9111
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
Bartholomew Crescent
Mississauga, Ontario
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
[email protected]

Justin Fegel has resigned his official position as an interactive fiction
staff member. As such, he will be sorely missed. However, Justin plans to
remain active in the Audyssey community. Therefore, those who need guidance
with interactive fiction may still benefit from his experience. He can be
contacted at
[email protected]
Kelly Sapergia is our 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
[email protected]

James Peach is responsible for maintaining our new official homepage. Your
feedback will help him make our site a better place to be on the Web. He can
be contacted at
[email protected]
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
[email protected]

Justin Ekis is our new web-based games expert. He will search for and report
on on-line games like Utopia and Archmage. He is also going to keep a close
eye on the re-emerging BBS scene. You can contact him at
[email protected]

Dave Sherman has become well-known on the Audyssey list and has now joined
the Audyssey staff as our multi-user-dungeon expert. Interest in muds has
popped up again and again in the Audyssey community and elsewhere among the
growing net-savvy blind community. Thanks to Dave's efforts, newcomers will
have another expert to turn to for guidance. Dave will also report on the
various different MUDs out there and steer us to the more blind-friendly
ones. You can contact him at
[email protected]

Muds take a long time to become familiar with. Therefore, Maria Dibble joins
Dave Sherman in his exploration of muds. They also make a great team to
tackle interactive fiction games together. Maria can be contacted at
[email protected]

David Lant has long been an active member of the Audyssey community. He is
now one of our two moderators keeping things pleasant and orderly on the
Audyssey discussion list. He can be contacted at
[email protected]

Brenda Green is the new co moderator. Her efforts on behalf of the Audyssey
community are very much appreciated. She can be contacted at
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

Paul Nimmo is a long-time resident of the Audyssey community who maintains a
Frequently Asked Questions or faq file for Audyssey. When it is updated, it
gets posted to a number of sites. He can be contacted at
[email protected]

Michael Feir
Editor of Audyssey
Phone 905-814-0608
E-mail [email protected]
MSN name [email protected]


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