Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 32: First Quarter, 2002
Edited by Michael Feir and Rebecca Sutton
Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity
Audysub list: 56
Blind gamers list: 156
Note: These numbers do not represent total readership. Audyssey can be
obtained and given freely, and is posted on numerous sites on the Web.
Welcome to the thirty-second 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.
Gamers are in for a real treat this time around. ESP Softworks has finally
released Monkey Business. We have an in-depth interview of James North.
Also, people have looked back to the classic games of yesteryear even as new
games are emerging.
Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Three plus-signs
are placed above any articles or sections. Within these sections, two
plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section. Smaller divisions are
marked by a single plus-sign. This allows people to use their search
capabilities to go quickly to the next division they are interested in. For
instance, the "Letters" section is preceded by three plus-signs. Each letter
within it has two plus-signs before it. Answers to letters have a single
plus-sign before them.
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
This magazine is published on a 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 four 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 E-mail address. I will give my home address and my E-mail 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
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
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. ESP Softworks is no longer
directly supporting Audyssey Magazine on its site. As a result, those who
want to receive issues of Audyssey as they are published should send a blank
The Audyssey discussion 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
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:
To post messages to the list, send them to:
Should you wish to unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
To change your subscription to digest mode so that you only receive one
message per day, send a blank message to:
To go back to receiving individual messages, send a blank message to:
There are more options at your disposal. To find out about them, send a
blank message to:
Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for easy
on-line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to visit:
People can easily and quickly navigate through the various articles and
reviews, and directly download or visit the sites
of the games that interest them. This will be of especial benefit for
sighted people who wish to make use of Audyssey
and/or join the growing community surrounding it. The Audyssey community
thanks Mr. Bobbitt for his continued
efforts on its behalf in this matter.
You can also find all issues of Audyssey on the Internet on Paul
Henrichsen's web site at:
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
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
Look in the /magazines directory.
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
From The Editor
Get Going With Valhalla if you're new!
Final results Mach1 world championship 2001
A Disturbing Trend
How A Sonic Side-scrolling Game Could Work
What's Going On With Accessible Games
New List For Game Developers
What "They" Say: James North of ESP Softworks
BPCPrograms, Making Games Designed For Blazie Note takers!
Puzzles AND Games
Free Game Winner
News From Danssoft
News From ESP Softworks
News From GMA Games
News from MindsEye2
News From PCS
An Alternative Game
mach 1 race-calendar 2002
Game Announcements and Reviews
Answers to Puzzles
From The Editor:
Greetings, gamers. This issue marks the beginning of our first year as a
quarterly publication. Starting off frighteningly slowly with very little
happening, it has ended in a rush of exciting announcements and
developments. The long anticipated Monkey Business has been released, and
Dan Zingaro has come through with a nifty classic arcade game for us. Jim
Kitchen has also announced that he's working on an old favourite of the
sighted world. I have high confidence that we'll have an event-filled second
This is particularly pleasant since my personal life demands that I entrust
the editorship of the next issue to another person. Rebecca and I are going
to be married in June, and due to extremely long delays in getting
subsidised housing, we have decided that the better course of action is to
move into our own apartment in May. This will hopefully give us time to
settle in and adjust to independent life together before the wedding. Both
moving out for the first time and getting married add up to a whole lot of
stress. Re-structuring one's life so drastically is not accomplished without
a high amount of painful choices and compromises. I've reached the stage now
where I need to put myself entirely to the task of preparation for our new
lives. I've been editing this magazine for over five years, and other than
the last-minute crunch, I have enjoyed it immensely. Before you jump to the
wrong conclusion, I'll make it clear that I'm not resigning as editor. I
wouldn't dream of walking away from such a fantastic community after seeing
it grow and take shape around me for so long. My intentions are to resume
editing Audyssey no later than July and put together the August issue. If
all goes well, I won't be out of contact from the community for very long.
It's a very hard thing to step away from something which has meant so much
to me even on a temporary basis. However, I was fortunate to have the
understanding and support of the community. Those letters of congratulations
and best wishes mean a lot to me. Also, a relative newcomer to the list,
Lynn Williams, has agreed to step in as acting editor while Rebecca and I
get settled. She will produce the second quarter issue due out at the end of
May. People should send all submitions to her E-mail address at:
Reading an Audyssey issue that I haven't edited is an experience I'm
certainly looking forward to. This is particularly the case after seeing the
abundance of support and good will on the Blind gamers list. People are
coming forward and making certain Lynn knows she's not alone. Keep it up,
folks. All game developers should make a point of contacting Lynn as well. I
have every confidence that I'm in for a great read when the end of May comes
around. Those of you who are interested in a free game from ESP Softworks
should write a submission for the May issue. Thanks to the ongoing
generosity of James North at ESP Softworks, I hereby announce that Lynn will
have the pleasant task of awarding the author of the most deserving
contribution a free game of his/her choosing from ESP Softworks.
We are now completely switched over to running on Yahoogroups. You'll want
to be certain that you're subscribed to the right list for the level of
involvement you want to have with the gaming community. Starting with this
issue, I'll post statistics for both the subscription list and the Blind
gamers discussion list near the top of the issue to give us all a better
sense of how much we're growing or, gasp! Shrinking!
Now that we're completely on neutral territory using Yahoogroups for the
distribution and discussion lists, I believe we're on as independent a
footing as possible. Developers will all now hopefully see that it is to
everyone's benefit if they help Audyssey be a better magazine. They can do
this by providing content, running contests, and doubtless in other ways
that have yet to be thought of. They should realise from the start that
helping Audyssey in no way entitles them to special status or privileges.
I'll never let people endanger the rights of others to say what they think
about the games they play. Personal attacks and outright lies are one thing.
Those I will do all in my power to save people from. However, being critical
of games is perfectly fair. Developers should expect it and learn what they
can from it. Anybody also has the right to respond publicly to anything
published in this magazine. This is the footing that we'll move forward
Joshua Loya deserves a special mention here for taking up the torch and
agreeing to start a permanent column in Audyssey called What They Say. This
column will feature interviews with important people in the blind gaming
community. His first interview is with James North of ESP Softworks. Good
luck with this new endeavour, Joshua. You have set sail in very fine fashion
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to have the surprise I
promised ready in time for inclusion in this issue of Audyssey. It will be
ready shortly. The surprise was a game I have nearly completed which is a
board-game equivalent to a classic side-scrolling video game. Two dice are
all that is needed to play. Called Sparkle, the game puts up to six
adventurers in a complex of stacked levels full of goblins, ghosts, trophies
and other items. Players have to clear all levels of trophies in order to
win. Goblins also try to obtain trophies. At the top of the complex are two
exits where trophies must be deposited and where a dragon waits to destroy
the incautious player. As a sort of consolation, I have written down a
proposal on how a side-scrolling game could be made for blind people using
stereo sound. Designing Sparkle has re-shaped and clarified my ideas on this
so that I am now confident that they are feasible. I hope one or more game
developers out there can put them to use, and that readers find my theories
to be of interest.
This issue is a particularly meaningful one for me since it is the last one
I'll write as a single person. Due to the slow beginning of the first
quarter, I decided to try to have Sparkle ready to release as part of the
issue. This completion of a project I've been thinking about and working at
for years would have been a nice capstone to my writing to this point. It
will still serve as that since it is the last project I started prior to the
radical changes my life has gone through. There won't be time to play-test
the game before I release it to the community at large. I'll rely on anyone
interested to help with this. Eventually, I hope to release a revised
version taking your feedback into account. Other than Audyssey, I won't
start any more projects as ambitious without first making certain that there
is adequate compensation for Rebecca and I.
Recently, we both attended a meeting of a group of parents of blind children
where there was interest in learning about computer games accessible to
blind people. Thanks to everyone who gave permission for me to include
material on the Sounds Like Fun CD which I created. I'll be keeping it
updated as new demos and games become available. It was an absolute pleasure
to talk with them and open their minds to some of the games around. I'll be
on the look-out for more opportunities in the future to speak to interested
groups. Parents and seniors are two categories of people who I would be
particularly keen on raising awareness of games among. Both groups, I feel,
could benefit a lot from such exposure. My thanks to Susan Wolmak for
providing such a good speaking opportunity.
No matter what happens, I'll always remain a loyal supporter and participant
of the gaming community. I hope to be editing Audyssey for life as the
rewards have far outweighed the costs in time and energy. As we begin our
new lives, I am very honoured and comforted that we have such a fantastic
online community behind us. I wish all of you well, and look forward to
continuing my duties when circumstances permit. Until we move, I'll still be
reachable at my E-mail address that you'll find in the "Contacting Us"
section. You can also reach me by phone. However, after the move, I'll have
to get a new E-mail address. I won't be publishing the new phone number
since it is no longer entirely mine and Rebecca values her privacy. However,
I'll certainly let you all know my E-mail address when I know it myself.
Hello Michael and all,
I'm a fairly new reader of Auddyssey and found it to be a massive help in
finding out about accessible games. Please print a big THANK YOU to all who
As a minor contribution of my own I would add that I have enjoyed immensely
the GMA games: Trek 2000, Shades of Doom and most particularly Lone Wolf.
The area of gaming that I find wanting is accessible strategy games. I
have searched widely but the nearest I've come up with to my taste is
Utopia, a MUD available from Swirve.com.
If anyone knows of an accessible game with a large strategy content I would
Also I can no longer find Audyssey on the ESP site - how can I access back
Not too long ago, ESP Softworks decided to change its posture in relation to
Audyssey in order to avoid any feelings among other game developers that the
magazine might be unduly influenced in favour of ESP Softworks. As a result,
there is no longer an Audyssey section on the ESP Softworks site and the
distribution list formerly managed by James North has now been moved. Both
the Audyssey discussion list and the E-mail distribution list are now on
Yahoogroups. This makes it easier for everyone and provides a completely
neutral forum for discussion. It also gives ESP Softworks more time to put
into developing great games for everyone and support the community in
different ways. I would certainly rather have avoided the bad feelings and
such which this process entailed, but trust that the result arrived at will
be worth it all in the long run. A good place to find Audyssey is:
David Russel started a thread near the end of 2001 which asked gamers to
look back at the year's events and say who made the top contributions to the
gaming community over the past year. I have included some of the more
explanatory posts on this topic below:
As it is approaching the end of the year, why don't we all get a bit
nostalgic and take a moment to consider who has done the most for blind
gamers in 2001. For myself, at the start of this year I did not know you
could play games on the pc, at least not games specially invented and
adapted for blind people, so I am probably not qualified to give an opinion.
But that has never stopped me yet, so I will give a few mentions to leading
contenders. Free games by Jim Kitchen are where many of us started, and I
am no exception. David Greenwood has presented us with Shades, which has
been called a landmark in gaming for the blind, and James North has given us
Monkey Business *well almost* not to mention Pinball. Also in order to
catch up with what I have missed out on, Michael's Audyssey mag has been
There must be others I have not mentioned but, assuming we all have one
vote, where would yours go? I have decided, but will keep my ideas to
myself for the moment. I forgot to mention Grizzly Gulch, but that was
probably last year. Let's hope for something new from Bavisoft in the New
Nick Adamson wrote:
My thoughts are that any one who makes accessible games is worth a mention
but I think GMAGames gets my vote.
I'm probably a bit biased because Lone Wolf was the first game I purchased.
I also think James at ESPSoftWorks has worked very hard for the community.
Jim Kitchen wrote:
I have to agree with you about Michael Feir spreading the word
about accessible games. But there were accessible games long
before Michael Feir started the Audyssey magazine. Many early text
games worked very well with dos screen readers. Then there was us
who in the early 1990's and I'm sure even before that created games
specifically designed to work well with screen readers like
Richard L. De Steno, PCS and myself. You could find the games as
well as all screen reader friendly programs on a BBS run by Willie
Wilson in Pittsburgh named Blink-link. Willie Wilson also was the
monitor of a Fidonet echo named Blink-Talk that spread the word
about accessible games and other programs for the blind. I believe
that you can still call into Willie Wilson's BBS.
If you are talking about accessible games in the last couple of
years yes you have to talk about the people at
and hopefully myself at'
Now in the last year it may be narrowed down to only a couple of
the above. But I just wanted to mention that there was a history
of us that were working on accessible games for many, many years
before even the Audyssey Magazine came about.
I don't usually take a reply without first putting in the question. However,
in this case, I think it is appropriate. The question was brought forward by
a player of Once And Future. This extremely good text adventure had the
player in a sorry plight. Instead of risking learning too much and looking
at a walkthrough, the distressed player sent a call for help to the Audyssey
list. Thankfully Rian Strunk, a generous and worthy gamer, came to the
rescue. Note the use of the words "spoiler space" written in vertical
letters each on a separate line. This is a convention adopted by the
Audyssey list and other lists when one wants to give aid to those who truly
want it, but does not want to ruin the game for others. This is how it is
From Ryan Strunk:
Here's a bit of a hint on the third mountain king puzzle. The puzzle, as
you have guessed is a bit cumbersome, but try this out.
Take absolutely everything out of everywhere. When that's done, you should
have 12 new objects in your inventory. Place one object in the torus, point
the vane at one of the intermediate directions, and give the lever several
pulls. After each pull, investigate the rooms and trace the path of the
You should be able to figure it out from there.
As for the straw man puzzle ... that one is a bit tougher. Notice that when
you look at the maiden the first time, she is enjoying the heat and wants
more. Take special note of how increasing and decreasing the number of lit
facets changes the heat of the diamond. Give her what she wants.
Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions.
I was just reading through the magazine recently, and an idea came to me. It
seems to me that there are a number of people who are interested in
programming games, and especially accessible games.
One of these of course would be myself.
As I wrote a while ago I have been working on coding an accessible game in
the same genre as a bauldurs gate or ultima etc.
I was wondering if some of the more experienced game programmers out there
have thought about creating a mentorship program where people who are
interested in designing games would be able to ask questions, and get advice
on some preferred way of doing things.
Like I know for myself I am working to figure the best way of designing and
implementing an engine. I know that there are many things to consider before
something like this could come to fruition. But I just wanted to put it out
there to see if there might be some interest.
As Jamie is on our active discussion list, he has undoubtedly already heard
about the list for developers of accessible games which you'll find the
announcement for later in this issue. Let us all hope that it serves as a
springboard for fresh thinking and a means of increased cooperation.
One thing which has increasingly come under discussion lately is how we as a
community react to games designed specifically for the blind. There are two
basic positions here. On the one hand, some of us feel that any game for the
blind should be viewed positively. Since authors have taken time to create
games which consider our needs, we should view the results, whatever they
might be, in a positive and grateful fashion. Others contend that games
should be viewed objectively including their faults and short-comings. This
magazine always has been and always will be a forum where people are free to
express whatever they wish about accessible games as long as it is within
reason and not patently false. Roger Myers presented the list with some
interesting thoughts on why all games should be thought of positively. He
has given permission to include the following part of his message. I present
two letters below concerning this topic:
From Roger Myers:
I think there are probably good and bad features in all the games
and some times it depends on your point of view as to what is a
good feature and what is a bad one. That is why we have reviews
to point out what the game is like in an objective way.
I mean that any game written for the blind is basically a good
thing and should be considered as such. I guess I prefer to be
optimistic and look at a glass as being half full not half empty.
I think it helps more towards promoting games for the blind that
If you are putting things on either the side of being good or bad
have you found games written for the blind which are bad? Which
are they? I would like to try one out. I want to see if I can
find any good in it.
I do not mean bad like badly written. If a program does not work,
has so many bugs no one can play it, and so on it is not really a
game at all.
So limiting ourselves to real games written just for the blind or
at least primarily for the blind can you tell me of one which you
consider a bad game? I suppose some may consider a game teaching
crime or bad morals a bad game. I really have not found any game
for the blind that does anything like that.
If not then I contend that they all have at least some good in
them even if it just is that it shows the person cares about the
blind and is trying to help.
So for all the good which is in the games I consider them jewels
and the good should be encouraged. Not all jewels have the same
value but can all be considered good things to have. If one takes
the time to tell a programmer they did well it encourages them to
write more games This does not need to be as reviews either. Just
a tiny note of one line to let the programmer know you found
something you liked about their game will mean a lot and go a
long way to promote games for the blind. It need not cost you
anything. Just make a practice of every time you play a new game
written for the blind take a moment to write the author and let
him/her know at least one thing you liked about it. That is it in
a nut shell.
Programmers seem to mainly only hear from people who did not like
something or could not get something working etc. If you want to
help out with little time then let a programmer know you liked
something about his game when you notice it of course. And try to
look for the good in each game. Trust me. It makes a difference.
From David Lant:
I agree with the entire sentiment of your last message. It's a real shame
you're not allowing these ideas to appear in Audyssey. They're worth
something, believe me.
What I think some of us were reacting to, was the implication in your
original note, that *all* games for the blind *had* to be received
positively. Now, I appreciate that positive feedback is an essential part
to development, both personal and technical. However, I don't think we
should stray into the educational error of praising for the sake of praise.
I was just leaving full time education when the popular movement arrived
which indicated that it was not good to correct a child's mistakes, because
it was felt this would undermine their self confidence. The problem with
this approach was that the child then went on in life never being able to
take correction, and never improving either. Psychologically, it probably
made sense to someone, but educationally, not to mention socially, it didn't
make sense. The same applies to games and their developers. By all means,
give praise where praise is due. But no game, no matter how well written,
or how much effort went into its production, has a right to be praised. Nor,
by the same token, must any game be subjected to unnecessary and
I'm perhaps in a sufficiently secure financial and social position, not to
feel that being blind makes me a charity case. Therefore, I refuse to feel
gratitude just because someone does something in the name of helping the
blind. Now, that sounds worse than it is. The problem starts when people
do things because they *think* it will help the blind, without stopping to
find out whether it actually will or not. Yes, I have actually had people
try to help me across a road I did not want to cross. I'm afraid I will not
thank people for that. <smile>
I think that all of the people I'm currently aware of, who are writing games
for the blind, are doing so for the best reasons, and have done their
research. As yet, I've not come across any games that I would consider to
be demeaning or insulting in their treatment of the abilities of the blind.
There are games, however, that I would not feel are very worthy of much
note, and others that have been aimed at the wrong audience, in the way of
age group and the like. But they all deserve a fair crack of the whip. As
long as people realise that occasionally, the whip hurts. <grin>
In any publication, it is the editor's responsibility to ensure that any
articles they publish are reasonable, legal and decent. Provided that a
review of a game is an honest appraisal, and does not contain merely a
whinge list, then it should be published as is, with no prior interference.
If, on the other hand, the reviewer appears to be just slamming the game
because they didn't enjoy it, without any attempt at even handedness, then I
would think the editor would either ask for the author to make some
modifications, or to reject the article outright. Yes, an editor *is*
entitled to as a contributor to alter their submissions if he or she wishes.
And naturally, the author may refuse, on the understanding that this may
result in the article not being published. For my own part, I know Michael
will not make people change the spirit or intent of their submissions
What I think we really need, is for many more people out there to write
reviews. Rather than make conditions on their creation, let's just have a
whole lot more of them, and then we'll get the kind of range and variety
that Michael's always wanted.
James Peach got everyone started thinking about what they regard as classic
games. Here is his original posting and some of the more thought-provoking
I was sitting here, listening to my favourite console game soundtracks, and
got to thinking. There are many classic books out there, and even classic
movies that we enjoy over and over. Could computer/console gaming be
enjoyed in it's classical state as other art forms are?
Listening to the Super Mario Brothers theme, and Mario Kart tracks, I was
getting a hankering to play those ol' games again! I spent hours as a youth
playing such fun an exciting games, and might still enjoy them.
I know that we all have different ideas about what a "classic" game is. For
some, Galaga or Pac Man is their idea of "classic", while others think of
some obscure BBS or Telnet game they played over a decade ago. Thought I
would put this sentiment forward to the list, and listen to what everyone
has to say about it.
Ron Schammerhorn wrote:
Rather thought provoking! For my bit I would have to consider some of the
old Atari 2600 games to be the console classics. A couple that I enjoyed
were Berzerk, and Asteroids.
Of course there were also the older arcade machines. Karate Champ was one
of my favs even though it's not all that old. I was pretty good at it so I
guess that would be why *s*
Jim Kitchen wrote:
Yeah I also started on an Atari 2600. My favourite games were Pole
Position, bowling, baseball, football, space invaders, star wars,
star trek and pong. Next I went to an Atari 800 xl home computer.
Some of the above games might have actually been on the 800 xl.
Joshua Loya writes:
It's all about The Legend of Zelda!!! I like Mike Tyson's Punch out too. I
started with an Atari and still remember Moonwalker, Asteroids, Joust,
Defender, Pack Man, Plaque Attack, Dig Dug, Fishing, ET, Midnight Magic,
Keystone Capers, Pike's Peak, Pitfall, Barnstorming, and Frogger. Oh
wait!!! Don't forget the original Mario Brothers. *grin* How many people
realize that it was originally an Atari game? I'm not talking about Super
Mario Brothers; I'm talking about *Mario Brothers*.
Steve Cullen pined thusly:
When I had site Up until about age 13, some of the best games I remember
playing are legend of zelda, metroid, Bionic commando, and Ninja Gaden. Boy
what I wouldn't give to be able to play those games again. I think that's
something the vi community is missing is a good type of adventure game.
Cecilia recalled with tender wistfulness:
Ah, but then there are my original classics, like Kidnapped, Smirk,
Stoneville manor, Great Escape, Planet of the Robots, Eliza, Space
Invaders, and so many other apple games I can't even begin to name them all.
I remember one of my friends using a part of Smirk to teach me something
about Basic. He taught me how to break the program, find the variable for
the information I needed, then get the computer to tell me what the number
for the magic powder I had to buy was. I'm ashamed to say how much I used
what basic I knew to cheat in some of those games. Then there were the
Speak'nSpell and Speak'nMath, the first talking games I ever had.
By the way, how were you guys able to play all these Atari games when none
of them could speak?
Another thread concerned "the changing face of gaming". It was started as
follows by a newcomer to the Audyssey community.
Hello ladies and gents,
I'd like to introduce myself. I'm one of the new members around,
FullBurst41, and I have been active in the sighted gaming community for
quite some time now. I have been blind for a good 13 years though (I'm 15),
however I didn't find out about the games for the VI community until a year
or so ago, and back then I messed up -my visual basic and I couldn't play
Lone Wolf or Trek 2000, that's to say my DLL files were totally messed up.
How I did it I don't know. I would like to bring this to all of you though.
I know quite a lot when it comes to "the other" gaming community you
probably call it. I follow it quite regularly, especially when it comes to
Action and Strategy games. And guess what? The games that are being cranked
out are changing radically. Instead of the DOOM-style games, now we see an
immense amount of realistic games (or semi-realistic most of the time) pop
up. Examples of these are Rainbow Six (1998), Rogue Spear (1999), Ghost
Recon (2001), Operation Flashpoint (2001), Delta Force series (1998-2001),
SWAT 3 (1999-2001). This is just the land-based shooters I'm giving a few
examples of (although Operation Flashpoint is a little more than that). I
would just like to ask, do you think you are ready for a change in games for
the VI community as well. I ask this because when I played Shades of Doom
for example, it was a very innovative idea how to make it accessible, but I
found the overall game idea pretty old-school and dull after a few times
playing it. I would just like to know the general opinion around here about
going to more realistic games, and I say more realistic games because
totally realistic games might for the moment be quite hard. I take as
examples games like Medal of Honour: Allied Assault. If any of you heard of
it, it is a WWII shooter concerning you as a US ranger and your team who
needs to go through a campaign, including the landing in Normandy. This game
should be released in a week or so, and I'm gladly looking forward to it.
Please give me some feedback if you feel like it.
Yvonne Smith wrote:
First thing's first, a quick intro. I've only recently subscribed to this
list, and have been watching the discussions with some interest. I'll admit
up front that I am not a huge game
player. Partly at least because my primary operating system is linux, and
most games are for windows. So most of what I play is text adventures. The
other reason, of course, is I don't have the kind of money I'd need to throw
around to buy the commercial accessible games.
I've been reading audyssey a lot longer than I've been subscribed here, and
the advance in accessible gaming over the years is
amazing. As someone who doesn't really have any sighted people who are even
slightly interested in games, things like car races, golf
pinball, packman etc etc etc are all new to me, and they're great fun to
That kind of leads in to what I wanted to say. People have been
talking about how games aren't fresh enough, how we're still playing games
like doom and that they're boring and we've been there and we've done that.
Umm, hello? Help? I've never been able to play Doom in my life. I'm totally
blind, I'd almost certainly need a playing partner for that. I've never
played packman. I've never played a computer sim of pinball. I'm sure I'm
not the only one like that here, am I? I'm amazed when I hear stories of
totally blind people figuring out how to play games like this on a console
on their own. For some of us, it's not nostalgia, it's a pretty damned
amazing view into what sighted people have been playing for years, and
incidentally a really great way to hone our audio skills.
I think the accessible gaming community's come a long, long way in a few
years. We went from almost no action style games and almost
entirely text adventures with the occasional golf or baseball game to lone
wolf and shades of doom in a handful of years. I think as far as catchup
we're doing pretty well, to be honest. It's almost like watching the sighted
game world played out at high speed.
We'll get to all the things we all want eventually, I'm sure. When
more people start creating games, when the people creating games now have
bigger and better ideas and want to create different things. When we figure
out how to translate all the things you get in a sighted game into audio
that someone can actually comprehend. I shouldn't imagine it's a
particularly easy thing to do.
All this long winded message is trying to point out, is that I doubt all the
games are being created like this because of nostalgia. People are trying to
start from fairly simple game concepts, and going from that to more and more
complex ideas. The fact that that means they're mimicking old standards in
the sighted community like doom and pinball is most likely a side effect of
the fact that they're the games they used to play and they use the concepts
they're trying to figure out how to create. Ya got to walk before ya can
run, after all.
Enough of this already. As a newby to the community, I'm likely to get
flamed out of the water for this message anyway.
Bonnie the crafty crafter replied
Hi, I like games of different types from the arcade type to simulations like
Lone Wolf to strategy games where you have to take over cities such as the
old Dos game Empire. I also like games where you have to go through the
mazes killing monsters and fighting your way through dungeons to obtain
something requested by the king or the Oracle such as the Dos game Omega.
So, I am open to all kinds of games not withstanding the old standby text
adventures which make you think.
From Zachary Kline:
Happy new years!
I am writing to tell you about a MUD I love playing on.
Its called Achaea, Dreams Of Devine Lands. I first stumbled across it about
a year ago. Its amazing! Unique everything!
The uniqueness starts out right from the moment you create your character.
The 'mud school is gone replaced by an interactive tour that will gain you
some levels and exp. The tour is somewhat long, but take it! The description
is first rate and the players are friendly enough. Also, the combat system
No more Kill this and that no.
It might work like this,
You swing out at a pixie with your short sword but miss.
Also, it is huge! 2 thumbs up!
Go on! The address for the mud is:
Achaea.com port 23
Ryan Strunk found some drawbacks to Zackary's find. He writes:
Zachary has written the positive side of Achaea, dreams of divine lands, but
I thought that perhaps I would write the negative side, as I played there
for a good time myself. Please note, Zachary, that I am not trying to
offend you in any way, but I would like to write about things from my
First of all, players must deal with a large amount of spam. You might pass
someone on the street with a name like
brother abara Torshiro, guardian of the west wind. Cool name, yes, but it
is always there. Even when you are fighting said brother, his name will
show up with every attack he makes and every word he says. Say he lights
three pipes, inhales the smoke of one, then throws a kick and two punches
how combat works on achaea), you will be cursed with loads of spam.
Second, there is the matter of vials and bottles and such. Each is given an
identification number, for example
an oaken vial containing a salve of mending #28573
a maple vial containing a caloric salve #66983
If you wanted to get the salve of mending from your pack so you could rub it
on your broken arm, you would type get 28573 from pack, as opposed to get
oak from pack, get vial from pack, get salve from pack, etcetera.
In one of the help files, the gods state that unless you have a good client,
you will not make it far in the game. This is very true. I found that only
with a load of aliases and triggers could one man survive. Fighting against
npcs was one thing, but pitting oneself against a sighted individual with
the ability to sort through the rubbish he or she saw and pick out the words
"you have recovered balance on all limbs," indicating they were free to
attack again was nearly impossible, unless of course there is some technical
aspects of JAWS or window eyes I am not familiar with.
I will give you that the game had great combat--the ability to damage
certain limbs, employ all sorts of attacks, etcetera, but I have seen other
muds with systems that would cripple it. Take for example After the Plague.
You brutally bash the goblin's right hand with your left hand.
The goblin's right hand is disabled!
The goblin drops his short sword.
You sever the goblin's head with your bastard sword.
The goblin's head falls to the ground spinning...
The goblin drops to the ground, dead.
You stand in a chamber perhaps eighty feet square. The room is devoid of
furnishings save an oaken chest in it's centre.
You smell no odd odors.
It is somewhat lit here.
head of goblin and body of goblin are here.
For some, Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands may hold promise. With a vast
player base, and no fewer than 100 players on at any time, it may entice
However, for me, the spam, the methods of object manipulation, and the fact
that it is nearly impossible to advance far without sending the creators a
check for credits was enough to drive me from it.
There were of course many more threads on the list. Everything from thoughts
of mascots for blind gamers to rally around similar to Zelda or Mario to a
great deal of discussion on Troopanum from Blind software. There was also a
surprise contest issued by ESP Softworks for free copies of Monkey Business.
Those who have the time would be well advised to join in the discussion on
Blind gamers. Otherwise, you'll have another glimpse into it in the next
issue of Audyssey.
Get Going With Valhalla, if you're new!
Note: This document was written for the ease and use of blind or visually
impaired people. Sighted readers may have some difficulty in reading this
Hi there! My name is Sean, and I've written this little guide for people
like you. People who want to play Valhalla, but (a) don't know how to do
it, and (b) don't even no what it is!
If this guide is written badly, or if you have any problems, I may or may
not be able to help. By comparison, I am pretty new on Valhalla myself. If
you want to email me though, I will try to help you to the best of my
abilities. Lets get all the contact details out of the way first, then we
can get down to the good stuff.
My email address. You can email me anytime you want, and I check my email
on a regular basis. Yeah, I maybe a fourteen year old (kid) but I won't
think any different of you if you're a hundred and eight, or eight years
old. I'll treat you in the same way as I would anyone. Now my address:
I live in South Wales, which is in the UK.
How will you no if I am on the internet?
In all likelihood, if I am connected, I will be on Valhalla somewhere.
There maybe occasions when I am online, but not actually playing. In these
cases, I will always have my name in the (msn) computer programme. If you
don't use msn, you can download it from:
this is an instant messaging utility. To add me to you're list, hit the add
contact button, found in one of the menus:
my msn address is:
Please don't send email to this address, use the link above for that sort of
Why would you need to do this?
You probably won't. If you want my help playing the game, I will be happy
to give you a hand, but it's unlikely you'll need me there. There are many
other players, who will endeavour to help you. If you want me personally,
it is not a problem. It's not like I'm in hi demand or anything!
Note: on Valhalla, my nickname is Shwatscoff.
Because? In short, it's a name of a shampoo. If anyone calls me shampoo now,
you'll no why:
What is Valhalla?
To tell you the truth, I haven't got a clue what Valhalla means. I think of
it as the name of a game. A giant, online, multiplayer, text adventure
game! If you've played text games before, you'll understand. If you
A text game is a computer game with no pictures, sounds, animations, or
anything other than text. They are quite challenging, and for people who
can't see, or can see very little, text games are the perfect things.
Besides! They work well with screen readers!
But let's get back to Valhalla at large. This uses the Telnet playing
platform. For people who've only used Tads, this is something a little
different. To use telnet, you haven't got to download anything. If you are
using Microsoft Windows, Telnet comes as standard. I personally, use the
Jaws screen reader. It is likely therefore, that anyone using Jaws can
follow this guide totally without any trouble. Users of other screen
readers, please be aware that keystrokes may differ for you. If your going
to follow this guide, you should look up the "say all" keystroke feature.
The idea of Valhalla, is for you to (in the early stages at least), gain
experience. The more experience points you get, the higher your level. You
start on level one, and then you can get points to go up a level again. You
do this by killing animals, or (though it is illegal) other players. Then,
apart from all the levelling, you must choose your guild. I am using
Microsoft word to type this document. I just looked up the word guild, the
Professional group. That is really what your guild is. Valhalla has many
guilds. Fighters, conjurers, mages, rangers; etc. You must choose three.
There are eighty-one combinations, and if your using jaws, you may want to
use the jaws Cursor to review the list before you make your choice. But
before all that, you have to get started. Oh dear: this could get
To load Telnet, and Valhalla, you have to have an active Internet
connection. If this isn't automatic for you, just open up the Internet
explorer (or your web browser) and close it again, keeping the connection.
Then you have to go to the run dialogue box, which you can access from the
start menu. When there, enter the following, note: you may want to copy it
to your clipboard.
Telnet valhalla.com 4242
When it's in the run box, check by reading the line, press enter. You may
not hear anything. Check the window title, you should hear: Telnet
Valhalla.com If you don't? Use alt+tab until you find it. Now it's time to
tern on the Say All feature. For jaws users, this is quite simple. Hold
down the (insert) key, then hit the (s) key. If Jaws says (all) release
both keys. If not, keep hitting (s) until you hear all. If you use another
screen-reading program such as Window eyes, check your hotkeys for say all.
Warning! On some computers, the say all feature causes the Jaws programme to
say the word (start) and repeat it. If this is the case, do the following:
1. access the start menu. Go into settings, then hit the the t ke, to
access the taskbar properties.
2. Insure that the box labelled "always on top" is not checked, and that
the one labelled "auto hide" is.
3. Hit the ok button, do not hit the escape key. Use enter, or tab to the ok
4. exit, and come back to Valhalla.
Now, read the line.
If you can't do this, proceed to carry on with the next bit of entering a
name for yourself. You can use your name if you want, but remember that
personal details are released at your own risk. If you can read the line,
you should hear
(by what name do they call you?) Continue to enter your name (or nickname.)
When you're done, hit enter. Then you can follow the prompts! They are
very simple to understand. Note: y n h; which you may hear; means yes, no,
or help. You will come across this when being asked if something is
correct. To respond, just hit the letter, y; n; or h, and enter.
When all the prompts have been followed, your guild has been chosen, and the
actual game begins, you may hear a lot of rogue text. You should stick this
out, as it will not last for long.
When you first start, you will arrive in the (temple of Udgaard) and
immediately prey to (odin) the God. He will grant you some basic equipment,
like a dagger and shield, for example. As people who have played text games
before will no, there is a prompt. This can be anything, a letter; number,
or punctuation mark, that tells you when you can type. You will see this at
the end of something you have read for instance. Valhalla's prompt is a
long series of letters and numbers, which you will want to change
immediately! My prompt is the word (dot.) this goes well, as (a) it is
short, and (b) many things happen at once, and sometimes things can get
confusing. To change your prompt, just type:
If you don't want your prompt to be (dot.) type something else in its place
P, r, o, m, p, t. d, o, t, .
In Valhalla, if you simply typed (hello) something unexpected could happen.
You wouldn't, as you had intended, say the word (hello.)
If you wanted to say hello, you would type (say hello.) that is, say; space,
hello. By using the (say) command, you can talk to anybody in the room, and
everyone will hear. To be more direct, you can tell people things.
To tell me hello, you would type (tell Shwatscoff hello.) Warning! Player's
names can not, I repeat, cannot be abbreviated. If they're name begins with
a capital letter, you must include that letter. If you don't; your sentence
will go nowhere. If you want to no who is playing the game at any one time,
just type (who.) The (who) command lists all player's names, and you can
review they're spellings with the jaws cursor, or the mouse review feature
of your screen reader.
Movement and items.
Any item can be looked at, examined, and in some cases, taken. In Valhalla,
you will want to wear or use most items, for example; you would wear a
shield, and wield a dagger. If you type (wear all) you will put on, or use
all the items applicable in your inventory. Note: items you carry, and
items your using or wearing, appear in separate lists. To see what you're
carrying, you can type:
These three commands all do the same things, I is probably the easiest to
To see what you're using or wearing, you can type:
In this case, eq is probably the quickest.
(note for Tads users) the (x) command you would use in Tads is not
applicable in Valhalla, you can use (l) which does the same job.
The (l) command, if you're not a Tads user, is to look. If you were to type
(l dagger) you would look at a dagger. If you typed (look) you would get a
description of your surroundings.
Now on to movement.
You start off in the (temple Of Udgaard.) It is a temple, in the village of
Udgaard. (you may want to learn to spell Udgaard.)
U d g, double A, rd. If you keep saying it, you will remember easier. (I
S, or, south: go south.
N, or, north: go north.
E, or, East: go east.
W, or, west: go west.
Ne, or, northeast: go northeast.
Nw, or, northwest: go northwest.
Se, or, southeast: go southeast
Sw, or, southwest: go southwest.
U, or, up: go up.
D, Or, down: go down.
The one-letter aliases are very helpful!
The newbie guide.
When you begin, you are a (newbie.) This means you're new to the game.
There is a command that you should never forget. When invoked, it summons
the (newbie guide!) The guide can:
1. take you on a tour of Udgaard, and show you how to fight; etc.
2. Take you back to Udgaard if you get lost in the woods (or anywhere else.)
3. Give your old body (corpse) to you if you die. This allows you to
retrieve your lost items. Note: you should do this if you die.
To call the guide, just enter this command:
say help me newbie guide
Say, space; help, space; me, space; newbie (n e w, b; I; e;) space, guide.
Remember it: if nothing happens, the guide is busy. Retry it in a few
Other things you may want to do
1. Learn the (who guide) command. This command lets you no which real
people who are currently playing can help you, just because you're new. If
there aren't any, just ask somebody else, the Udgaard townsfolk are very
helpful, and most of them are human too!
2. Add the newbie channel. Channels are a great way to talk to people. To
use the newbie channel, replace the (say) command with
(newbie) followed by your message. Then, only people in the channel will
hear your message, regardless of where they are in the game. Before you can
use the (newbie) channel, you must add it. To do this, just type:
Com add newbie
Sometimes, the newbie channel can get annoying. To delete it, just type:
Com delete newbie
Note: you should only do this if you are hunting, and are on the alert for
animals. If you want to see a little hunt, (which is just an animal kill)
you can ask somebody to show you how it's done, or I will be happy to help
3. Add the (blind) channel. This is a channel I have set up on Valhalla,
for people who have read this document. It works in the same way as the
(newbie) channel, to speak to the channel, you would type: (blind hello.)
If you didn't want to say hello? Just type something in it's place. There
may not be many people in the channel to start off, as this manual will need
time to be read. To add the channel, type:
Com add blind
Other info (please read?)
As I have said before, I am by no means good at playing the game yet.
However, I like to play, and hope you will too.
Please note that Valhalla isn't the only game out there of this type! It is
just one game, one in hundreds.
Note: if you would like the scripts for "jaws 3.7" which I have written, let
They will save you having to turn on say all each time you load up, and give
you access to a few of the menu items, straight from you're keyboard.
Well, what more do you need?
Get going, and I hope I' will see you soon.
On Valhalla, is known as shwatscoff.
Final results Mach1 world championship 2001
The first big race is over, and the second is just getting underway as
Audyssey is being published. Members of the Blind gamers list were kept
updated on the standings in regular bulletins from the race organiser, Hugo
Janssens. Here are the final results of this exciting competition for each
Ohio final results
Table with 5 columns and 25 rows
Chardon final results
Table with 5 columns and 25 rows
Snake river final results
Table with 5 columns and 25 rows
Indy final results
Table with 5 columns and 25 rows
Maple final results
Table with 5 columns and 25 rows
A Disturbing Trend
By Allen Maynard
I'm beginning to see a disturbing trend in the gaming community. There
seems to be two groups forming. One group thinks that any game created by
and for the blind must be treated with kid gloves and should not be
criticized and should just be appreciated. The second group tells it like
they see it whether that be good or bad.
The group seems to take great offence when games created for the blind are
commented on in what they perceive as a negative and mean-spirited manor. I
maintain that this is the right of anyone purchasing anything. You evaluate
the item, decide if you'd like to purchase it, then decide if you would like
to still purchase it based on the price. To be honest I balked at the price
of Troopanum's $25 price tag. I stand by my opinion that when deciding on a
price for a game the complexity of the game must be taken into consideration
and not just the time and energy involved in creating the game. If you
remember I had the same problem with a game created by Mindseye2 last year.
I believe the price tag was $35 for a game, whose title eludes me, but it
was good but there was not a lot to the game mainly because it was for
I do understand the time and energy that is necessary to put into creating a
game whether for the blind or sighted or both for that matter. I am in the
process of creating a game of my own but I do not harbour illusions of
becoming rich on the proceeds.
Anyway, my earlier point was that when I posted my pricing question to the
list just to get a feel for the opinions of others on the list, I received
some rather nasty replies such as, "Well, then, you don't have to buy it."
To be fair, the responses were mixed but my purpose was not to attack Dan or
anyone else. I was fully prepared to do some rethinking if the vast
majority thought the price was reasonable.
I got the distinct feeling from those who liked the game and from Dan that
they were thinking, "How dare you say anything against this great game
created by and for the blind." This attitude also disturbs me because it
flies in the face of fun and friendship.
I am honestly glad that some people love this Troopanum game but the
unfriendliness shown with other posts to the list firing back at those of us
who say anything other than, "This game is one of the best I've ever played
for the blind," really makes me take pause. If questions or comments about
games created for the blind are not appreciated because many think only
praise and appreciation should be shown toward those who create such games,
then maybe some of us should rethink our place in this community.
[Editor's comments]: I believe the phenomenon indicated in the above article
is the result of a fundamental attitude which has pervaded western society.
Blind people have so often been viewed as charity cases that people tend to
assume that we'll be grateful for whatever is done on our behalf. A lot of
the time, gratefulness is certainly appropriate. I wouldn't be where I am
today without the help of others to whom I am very grateful. However, as
consumers, we have the same rights and duties as everyone else. Makers of
any product for the blind as well as those who provide services must
recognise that we are like everyone else and have the ability to appreciate
or not as we choose. This magazine and the Blind gamers discussion list will
always be forums where people are free to speak their minds about what games
are available to them. Developers should understand that we are like any
consumer group and that making games for us does not mean that they will be
How A Sonic Side-scrolling Game Could Work
By Michael Feir
To make a game which offers all the challenge that sighted people experience
would require a vary careful use of sounds. The basic scenario would take
place on a line extending from left to right in front of the player. As the
player moved along the line, sounds representing monsters, objects,
obstacles, and so-on would pan from left to right or vise versa depending on
the direction travelled. The volume of sounds could also be used either to
denote the height of objects or make more obvious what is in the immediate
vicinity and what is further away on either side. Pitch of sounds could be
another height indicator.
Each item in the game would generate a sound as long as it was within a
certain range. For example, a pit which had to be jumped over might have a
vast echoing sound associated with it. As one approached the pit, the sound
would move closer to the centre of the line in front of the player. If the
player did not jump at the right time, he/she would fall into the pit.
Multiple layers of sound would be required for such a game to work. There
would probably have to be at least two layers of sound for representing
stationary features such as pits, water, raised platforms which could be
jumped onto, etc. There would also have to be channels for object sounds. A
good example would be a heart beeting as a symbol denoting a healing item
which would increase health. A magic sword might have the whisper of its
name as a locater, or a sound of a sword being drawn. A chest might have a
When it comes to enemies, things don't necessarily get all that much more
complicated. Enemies would have their own movement and identification
sounds. A monster might breathe heavily or growl. Flying enemies would have
flapping sounds and/or different chirps. Combat would work similarly. An
attacker would swing at a player from the side where it is located. A
monster on the right might attack a player, for instance. The attack
approach sound might be a swoosh or fierce roar. The player would have an
instant to dodge to the left out of the zone which would be hit by the
attack. The player's attacks would similarly extend a certain range at a
certain speed. The player would have to learn to judge how far and fast
his/her attack moved and make certain that the enemy wouldn't move out of
range in time to avoid the attack. A flying projectile could be blocked by
moving slightly in its direction so that the player's shield was facing the
right way. As a more complex option, different pitched attack approach
sounds could represent different heights which could be matched by players
using the arrow keys or joystick to raise or lower their shield. Players
could attack along a few levels of height represented by pitch and attempt
to score a critical hit or shoot at flying enemies represented at higher
pitches. These approaches have been used in other games for the sighted, and
with modern technology, it should be possible to represent all this
sonically. Shades Of Doom and Monkey Business certainly prove that the
In the case of the game Sparkle which I have almost completed, events might
happen on different levels of a multi-level complex. Depicting events
outside the level that the player is on would be somewhat problematic. The
best approach would likely be to have a voice similar to those in games like
Gauntlet. In the case of my game, it would say things like:
"The haven on level three is under attack!", or "A goblin on level four has
rolled a magic boulder."
The number of players would be pretty much limited to two on a single
computer. Each could have separate controls on the keyboard or use
joysticks. The tricky part would be making certain that there was no
confusion and that both had access to information relevant to them. Having a
game playable over the Internet simplifies this since each player would be
in front of their own computer and speakers and would logically hear things
from their character's point of view. It's possible that a static view might
work better in a level with two players on the same computer. Each player
might have different footsteps denoting their characters. With a non-static
view, both players could tell relatively where they were on a given level.
An aspect that would present problems would be how to locate obstacles. In
the single-player example I gave above, volume and having sound move based
on the player's location was used. That is, the pit was stationary but the
sound got closer to the centre as the player approached it. If a
side-scrolling game was made for two players, the problem would be that
without two separate sets of speakers, the viewpoints of both characters
couldn't be represented in a non-confusing manner. The player near the pit
couldn't hear it coming nearly ahead of him/her if the other player heard
the same pit but was far to the right of it.
At present, therefore, it would be possible either for a single-player
side-scroller or a multi-player Internet-based side-scroller to be made. One
could not, however, have a two-player game of this type which needed only
one set of speakers.
Having a game use two dimensions instead of three in this manner should be
pretty straight-forward. It would be less taxing to develop than something
like Shades of Doom was. Strangely enough, nobody has attempted it yet. With
ever-popular games like Super Mario, Pitfall, and a whole hoast of others
for the sighted, I would think such a natural translation to stereo sound
would be fairly successful.
What's Going On With Accessible Games
By Didier Vanoverbeke
About six months ago, someone hinted to me that there were games accessible
to the blind, so I went over to some
websites and quickly got my hands on some game demos. I'm writing this
article just to let you all know what I think of
To sum it all up, one big mess, although that might sound a bit harsh. I'm
not talking about text adventures and DOS
driven games, but I'm focussing more on the windows-based games. I quickly
became aware of the hype around Shades of Doom, the shooter from GMA Games.
I downloaded the package and
installed it. The first thing I noticed, is that for some reason on the
lowest difficulty level, you can't seem to disable the Training Mode. Not
that that really matters. I'll tell you what I thought of it right away, I
think the DOOM concept was a total waste of resources and time. Making a
9-level game with a boss level based on the DOOM concept of gaming, and a
very close variant of that game, means that you just run around shooting
things. GMA chose to make the game more frustrating by forcing you
to kill virtually everything you came across, so that you could pick up
items like security chips, data wafers, armour,
weapons and whatever else. No sneaking in this game, like a good DOOM game
asks. But I thought we were finally
passed this, weren't we? There are a lot of games out there that are a far
half-brother of some sort of DOOM-like
game, but what is different in these games, is that you can sneak around,
you have a good AI (I wonder if these
monsters would be as dumb as they were in DOOM), interesting weaponry (most
of the time), and these days, even
the DOOM-like shooters have a almost-realistic setting. Not only that. What
is wrong with the sound of Shades of
Doom? I mean why is it that it just frustrates me to the bone sometimes? I
don't really feel the thrill in this game that
modern-day shooters do (although SOD does have its moments, ambushes are a
good example, the music isn't exactly
impressive (understandable), and there is no atmospheric ambient sound
except for some nice wind effects. In the end,
I think SOD was a bad idea in the first place. So next I went around to ESP
Softworks' games. They just released
Monkey Business, and I tried that demo as well. While this game is not
really my cup of tea, it is one hell of an original
concept compared to a DOOM shooter. They also did some nice levels in the
demo, pretty sweet design. Now I'm
kind of interested in the Raceway project, even though race games aren't my
cup of tea either. If ESP Softworks would
make a shooter, I'm sure they'll make something equally original. Even their
pinball game had some interesting and
original tables. I am only saying here, that making games is good and all,
but please, oh God please make it original! I
won't even start with Danssoft because I'm afraid of what I'd say... but
regardless. I'd love to see a good semi-realistic
shooter one day, with great ambient sounds, like Medal of Honour: Allied
Assault. Not only do these sounds give
atmosphere to the game, they are also high-quality, crisp and clear sounds.
I must say that the sounds in SOD sound
quite unclear, like they were lower quality sound. It may be caused by the
compression technology. I'd like to finish by
saying, keep making games people, just don't give us things we've heard
of/seen before, make the concepts original.
Why do you think Return to Castle Wolfenstein wasn't as popular as first
[Editor's comment]: While I'm all for originality and always appreciate it,
I believe there will always be not only a place for adapting classic games
from the sighted world, but a need to do this. Since long before I started
Audyssey, I wanted to experience all the games I could only play vicariously
through sighted friends interested in those games. I'm very glad to have
developers come up with tried and true games which were previously
inaccessible. Having said that, there is the danger of a flooding of that
kind of thing. Look in the Letters section and you'll find a response by
Yvonne Smith which somes this up quite nicely.
New List For Game Developers:
We'd like to announce the opening of a new list devoted to accessible game
development and we would cordially invite all established developers of
accessible games, both non-commercial and commercial, as well as those who
aspire to be developers or who are just starting out learning to write
accessible games, to join the list.
The aim of the list is to foster an environment in which game developers can
exchange ideas and discuss and solve problems they encounter during
development. Playing games and creating them are two distinctly different
activities requiring very different modes of thought. The much more
difficult of the two, believe it or not, is developing a game. Game
development requires both feits of artistry and technical knowledge that are
not apparent in a well-designed game. However, there is no real outlet
where developers can currently exchange tips and tricks an all aspects of
game development without either going off-topic or having the worry of
disenchanting players by revealing some of the techniques used for
generating the interesting effects that appear in their titles. There is
also nowhere, that we know of, where people can get together to discuss
issues specific to the development of accessible games.
As a result, we have created the Accessible Game Development list (or AGDEV)
and we would encourage all established and
novice developers to join in and participate. It is our hope that such
interaction between the developers of accessible
games will lead to even more imaginative, innovative and enjoyable game
titles than those we have witnessed in recent years.
Suitable topics for discussion will include such things as sourcing and
editing of sound bytes, artificial intelligence for games, timing and
movement physics, interactive fiction development, programming language
specifics, DirectX, development and use of game engines, techniques for
making games self-voicing,
methods and devices for receiving player input, packaging and distribution
methods, and much more.
To subscribe to the list, send a blank E-mail to
The Moderators (AGDEV)
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
The 2002 Xyzzy awards are about to be presented. Voting is almost complete,
and will pretty much be wrapped up by the time Audyssey is published. The
Xyzzy awards are similar to the Oscars for movies. Games are voted on in
categories such as best game, best use of medium, best puzzles, etc. For
people wanting a good indicator of the best of last year's new interactive
fiction, I could hardly recommend a better place to get it. The awards
ceremony will be on March 9 at four PM Eastern. The awards are presented in
a ceremony held live on the If mud. The address is:
All of those interest in interactive fiction and/or these awards should keep
checking the Xyzzynews homepage at:
For more news about interactive fiction, I recommend players keep watch on
three sites which I have found invaluable. They are the Xyzzynews homepage
mentioned above, the Brass Lantern site at:
and the Spag homepage which you'll find at:
The no frames choice would likely be more appropriate.
What "They" Say: James North of ESP Softworks
If you've been involved with accessible gaming for any length of time,
you've almost certainly heard of James North, president and founder of ESP
Softworks. ESP Softworks has three titles released: ESP Pinball, a fast
action arcade pinball game with a twist; Shell Shock, a free artillery game
to help burn some time; and, most recently, Monkey Business, a 3D action
adventure game in which you are given the task of capturing mischievous
monkeys, in order to recover the parts and plans of an invention that have
been stolen by a mad scientist.
I recently caught up with James via MSN. Here is what he had to say to
so, What is the meaning of life?
is that the first question for real?
Only if you want it to be.
Do you have enough tape for my answer?
Seriously, how did you get involved in accessible gaming, and what made you
decide to start making games?
Too much alcohol and a lot of boredom..
Actually, I've always had an interest in writing computer games since I'd
gotten my first computer--an Atari--as a teen, but never was a very good
artist. Of course, back then, the graphics were so bad that you didn't NEED
to be a great artist, but as the graphics improved, my hopes for
single-handedly creating commercial computer games dwindled.
I'd met a blind friend of mine through some acquaintances and we became good
friends. I'd tell him about my own gaming adventures and he told me the one
thing he probably missed most about losing his vision was the ability to
play video games.
He used to love playing them as a teen and always wondered how awesome the
games of today must be to play. So, I often shared my own experiences while
we were out and about.
He said he'd been interested in writing games, but needed to refresh his
programming skills first. I offered to help and so that was our intent. To
develop games that were accessible. Sooner rather than later, however, his
interest went by the wayside over day-to-day activities, but the idea stuck
with me and so I set out to develop accessible games.
That was what, three years ago?
That's right--about three years ago. My first concept project was The
Genesis Project, but it was actually quite a bit different beast than many
have come to envision it and a lot of people don't know that.
How did you come up with the name "ESP Softworks?"
Ah, thank you for asking! *grin* The initials E.S.P. were actually the
acronym "Extra Sensory Perception". I wanted the accessibility of our games
to be that extra sense--the six sense--that would allow blind and visually
impaired players to be totally immersed in worlds that they were able to
navigate. The 'Softworks' part was just kind of an off-the-cuff hack and it
seemed to work together, so it stuck.
What have been some of the struggles of starting a company from the ground
up, especially one in a field that is only now beginning to blossom
There have been a lot of different challenges in starting up and running the
business. Since I decided to do it as a full-time endeavour, there was the
lack of a steady income while the products were being developed. I was
lucky in having augmented support until the products actually came to the
market. Another challenge was being my own boss. It afforded me a lot of
freedom and flexibility,
but at the same time demanded discipline which I didn't have a lot of at the
time. It's a very different deal than simply showing up for work at some
company and doing what you're told.
Also, since it's essentially a "one man show" I have to wear and incredible
variety of hats and try to juggle every aspect of the company in some sort
of sane manner or it all breaks down.
I think a lot of people check out the website and are under the impression
that ESP Softworks is run by a dozen or so employees. I'm flattered by
that, but I often pay the high price that goes along with those impressions.
If I didn't know better, I would have thought so too.
It can some times cause me grief as so much seems to be expected of ESP and
really what it comes down to is all those expectations funnel down to me
exclusively. For the most part, everyone is very patient and friendly, but
there have been a few incidences where someone will e-mail in kicking and
screaming until I explain how things really are. Then, they're usually very
understanding about it.
The website was very un-updated for quite a while and there was some
unhappiness about that, but it was almost a necessity as I turned my efforts
toward developing ESP Pinball and Monkey Business.
I've enjoyed pinball quite a bit myself. How far into development did you
have the idea of the pinball lounge, where players could compete against
each other by posting their scores?
I seem to recall that it was probably around mid-development of the cycle.
The idea of having high scores and posting them for--rather than by--the
players on the website and contests had been there from the beginning, but
as the development was closing, I decided to spend some time automating the
process and embodying it in the ESP Pinball Lounge.
Where do you get the inspiration for most of your games, and what might the
development cycle look like to an outsider?
I've always seemed to have plenty of inspiration and ideas, but lacking in
the discipline and mythologies to bring them to life. I have text files and
assorted files laying all over my hard drives with ideas of games I'd
love--and, can't wait--to do as well as projects that are in some stage of
development. I would've loved to have had TGP to had been the first, but
economics necessitated that
some smaller releases came first. From an outsider's perspective, probably
utter chaos! One big disadvantage in working at home is the constant
distractions and requests by other members of the household. It's very easy
for those around you to view your flexibility in self-employment as an open
invitation to make use of you as much as possible. It has really hindered
the development processes.
In the beginning, I would usually just jump into a project without much
thought, but that has changed quite a bit and so now there is much more
planning and forethought involved.
Is there anything brewing that you can share with Audyssey readers?
James says: Well, I think after ESP Raceway is completed and shipping, I'm
going to take a short break to get the other aspects of the business in
order as well as complete a few other non-ESP related projects. Toward the
middle of 2002, I'll be working on a multiplayer action/strategy game
that'll play off our own custom game server. I'm really looking forward to
that project. It'll be a nice change.
Is there any advice you would give to somebody out there who is thinking of
creating accessible games?
As far as development goes, if you're just getting into programming, really
spend the required time reading and playing with the language as much as
possible. Don't be afraid to make mistakes because not only are they
lessons to learn from, but they also provide the 'jagged edges' that often
inspire the creative process.
In regards to what to create.. try to create something unique or something
that has unique aspects to it. Don't be afraid to embellish and stray from
the norm or the standards. Fill your games with personality, humour, and
folly.. people will relate to that and feel the game is more personal and
*meant* for them.
Also, when it comes to potential customers and the community and market at
large, become involved. Keep it real. The community is a great source of
ideas and inspiration.
is flatulence a good ingredient?
Well, a man once said--perhaps Edison--that invention is two percent
ingenuity and ninety-eight percent hard work.. or, something like that..
well, here at ESP, invention is around ninety-five percent hard work, ten
percent ingenuity, forty percent alcohol, and twenty percent flatulence.
Okay, so.. I suck at math, but hey!.. I write great games! *grin*
Is there anything you would want to share about James the man, as opposed to
just the mind? behind ESP Softworks?
Not really.. I'm actually a pretty boring guy.
hmm.. well.. lemme think
I think mostly that I'm a very approachable part of the company. I've
always felt that it's important to become involved in the community and to
listen to what people want to see happen. It's not a luxury that's been as
much accessible to commercial game developers, but I personally feel that
it's an opportunity that we--as developers--should take advantage of-- to
give back by listening to our market.
There are a lot of times when James the man and the mind behind ESP are
often one in the same as is witnessed in the humour that often creeps into
the games I write.
How did you first here about Audyssey?
I first heard of Audyssey from a gal named Theresa VanEttinger at a national
annual NFB convention I was attending in order to demonstrate the Genesis
Project concept. She loved the demo and said she would return and pass
along Michael's contact information.
Once I returned home, I contacted Michael Feir and the rest is history.
And partially from that point, you began to do more for accessible gaming
than just developing games. You also distributed the magazine, and even
hosted the discussion list for a time...
I've always been the type to try and lend a hand to worthy causes or
individuals if I had the resources. In having the resources, I decided that
it would be great to help further the Audyssey community cause by
distributing the magazine to subscribers, hosting the discussion list serve,
as well as promoting the magazine where ever ESP may have tread.
And even now that you know longer host the discussion list, you still host
the blind mudder's list which is moderated by Dave Sherman.
I've met quite a few people through the business who have become good
friends--Dave Sherman being one of those. He asked if I'd be able to host
the mudder's list and was glad to do so. In becoming close with many
members of the community, I've had a vested interest in much more than just
the development aspects.
What is the status of accessiblegames.com? Is that still in the works?
Perhaps you would want to elaborate what you want to do with that?
I originally acquired the AccessibleGames.com domain name in order to
prevent it from being used as a catch-all for a particular company's
endeavours because I felt it would be more fairly put to use to represent
not just one game developer, but every game developer as well as be a hub
for the gamers themselves to be kept up-to-date on the latest developments,
read reviews, download demos,
interact with one another on message boards and chat, and contribute to the
site as they'd like to see it evolve. While I own the domain name itself
and administrate the site, I've always wanted it to be the communities place
to gather and it's destiny shaped by the same community.
After all, all of us developers produce 'accessible games' and all the
gamers are interested in 'accessible games'.
*nod* Are you looking for volunteers to come forward to assist with the
Most definitely! AG.com is one of the endeavours that I'm looking forward
to pushing forward during my development duty break. I'll definitely be
inviting everyone to become involved and hope that lots of people do.
I would very much like to see the AG.com eventually cover all aspects of
accessible gaming whether it's computer games, hand held games, board games,
card games and what have you. Also, a place for developers to submit
'behind the scenes' or 'in the making of..' articles to give gamers a
glimpse of what's involved in the whole development process or with a
particular title. The site could also
feature a section for aspiring game developers as well.
If somebody is interested in getting involved with the project, what is his
or her best line of action?
The best line of action at this point is to sit tight until the development
queue is clear and the announcement is made. They can always e-mail me
directly and I welcome them to do so, but the field will be more clear in
the coming months to better deal with and handle a new project and the
Alright. Well, I don't have anything else, unless you have any parting
In closing, I'd just like to say to everyone to try to become as involved as
possible whether you're a developer or a game player. We all have such a
unique opportunity to shape the future of this market and community and it's
a rare opportunity to be had. Many claim that accessible gaming is a niche
market and to those, I simply say, "Then, you are not trying hard enough!"
Spread the word and
get other people excited and involved. This market has been a long time in
coming and way overdue and there are so many good things about to come forth
that'll make the journey all that much more worthwhile!
Thank you for the interview James. I know I'm not the only one looking
forward to what is in store for us from ESP Softworks, or James north.
Thanks, Joshua. I appreciate you taking the time to help the cause!
wait.. was that cause or curse??
If you are interested in learning more about any of the games made by ESP
Softworks, or any of the email discussion lists that ESP hosts, you can
BPCPrograms, Making Games Designed For Blazie Note takers!
BPCPrograms, a small, non-profit company makes games specifically designed
for the family of Blazie Note takers. Since Blazie released its Millennium,
most of us have been held back from playing games on our Note taker because
of a sound chip problem. However, BPC develops games which are accessible on
a Millennium, as well as on the regular Blazie Note takers. Our games are
also converted to run in DOS Mode under the GWBasic Interpreter. This means
that visually impaired users can play the games, as well as sighted users!
BPC's founder, Munawar Bijani, is the main developer for the games at BPC.
His main goal with BPC is to create games that run on all three systems
Although all games submitted to BPC don't meet this goal, with Munawar's
BPC Team, converting these games is not hard at all.
BPC has games like Unending Adventures, Trivia, and an exciting tournament
game which is currently being tested. This game will be released soon. A BPC
Member, Graham Pearce, has submitted a game similar to Star Trek. This game
can only run in DOS right now, but converting is taking place to run on a
Note taker. To view a list of all current BPC Members, visit
Right now, BPC consists of 7 members. You may also sign up to be a part of
the BPC team. Or, you may submit a game to BPC. The BPC homepage is located
When you sign up with BPC, you will be requested to join a mailing list
which is specifically designed for BPC Members. This list gives you inside
scoops of current games being developed. All programs submitted to BPC will
be forwarded to this list to Beta test and convert to DOS and other systems.
The whole BPC Team is on this list.
We hope to see you on the team soon!
BPC Founder, Munawar Bijani
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.
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 Goal ball.
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:
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
bungee 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.
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.
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 win casino.
You can contact me at [email protected] or if you're into instant
messaging, icq 902032, Msn [email protected].
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:
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:
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:
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
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:
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
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,
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.
or e-mail me.
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:
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
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 Line one
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
You can contact me at [email protected]
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 goal ball, hanging out with my friends, and plenty of partying.
J.J. Meddaugh - Email/MSN to: [email protected]
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
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!
E-mail me at:
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
though it was about 9 years ago and limited to quick basic and a little
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,
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
without my blindness taking anything away from them.
Let's keep these games coming and continue supporting their developers.
E-mail me at:
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.
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 goal ball. 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 goal ball list or something like blind athletes list
please let me know. Contact me at:
Hello everybody. I'm 23 years old. I live in Greece and i absolutely love
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
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:
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
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
now love sod, pinball and monkey business when i get my hands on it. E-mail
Puzzles AND Games
By David Greenwood.
These puzzles are for all you armchair physicists. You won't need a pencil
and paper or any other materials to figure them out. The best way to solve
them is to just sit back in your favourite chair and think about them.
1. A helium-filled balloon is tied to the floor of a car that makes a sharp
right turn. Does the balloon tilt while the turn is made? If so, which way?
The windows are closed so there is no connection with the outside air.
2. A small boat is floating in a swimming pool. The man in the boat picks
up a cannon ball from the bottom of the boat and throws it in the pool. Does
the water level of the pool change?
3. You have two bars of iron. One is magnetized along its length, the other
is not. Without using any other instrument OR OBJECT, find out which is
4. You are just served a hot cup of coffee and want it to be as hot as
possible later. If you like milk in your coffee, should you add it when you
get the cup or just before you drink it?
[Editor's comment]: For new readers who might be gnashing their teeth unable
to think of the answers, relax! They are provided later in this issue.
Parents, teachers and others should be certain to check out interactive
fiction. Otherwise known as text adventures, these games are stories which
are full of interesting puzzles including some similar to the ones David
Greenwood has set down here. I strongly recommend interactive fiction such
as the Zork series from Infocom, Haunted Theatre, Jigsaw, and other games as
a great way to improve typing skills, instill an interest in reading, and
learn a whole lot.
Free Game Winner
News From Danssoft
Our intergalactic space shooting game Troopanum is ready for download! The
entire download is 5.1 MB and includes over 130 stereo sound files! No need
to download for hours, you can yank our game in 20 minutes with a regular
dial-up modem or in seconds with cable or DSL! We are the first to use/come
up with this hyper-nifty technology... compressing sound files and unpacking
them after installation! We are certain others will copy this approach so
let it be known... we were the first to come up with it! grin. We are a bit
proud of this accomplishment so please bare with our childish boast. LOL.
For any questions about the game, email Daniel Zingaro at
[email protected]. For more details about the game, and for a download
link, visit us on the web at:
and read the what's new section on our home page.
The BSoft team!
News From ESP Softworks:
What's New @ ESP Softworks -- First Quarter 2002
This issue of Audyssey will find our update sweet and short, but still bring
you gamers good news!
Monkey Business has finally been released for shipping and all orders are
filled for immediate delivery. It has turned out to be quite a bear of a
project, but has finally come into it's own. I think you'll all be very
excited with the results. For information about this innovative and wacky
completely 3D adventure, point your browsers to http://www.espsoftworks.com
and click on the Monkey Business link. Stay tuned for detailed reviews of
this title in the next issue of Audyssey.
ESP Raceway is still being developed and should be released sometime during
beginning of the second quarter of 2002. It promises to be a very, very
cool racing game with lots of tracks and great effects. Here are some of
the nifty features you can expect:
- 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!
Shortly after it's release, we'll be releasing two arcade-style games that
should prove to be great fun. More information regarding these will be made
available upon their gold release.
After the above releases, ESP Softworks will be taking a short development
break in order to update our website technologies and begin the initial
pre-rollout work on the AccessibleGames.com website. More information about
the AG.com site will be forthcoming as well.
As always, feel free to visit our website at http://www.espsoftworks.com for
current information regarding our products and services.
News From GMA Games
Shades of Doom is currently in the process of being upgraded and enhanced.
It was written using GMA's proprietary game engine, and almost all changes
made to the engine are automatically reflected in Shades of Doom. Several
new games are currently being developed using this engine, and each has its
own unique sound and feel. The new games range from arcade to medieval
fantasy to military. All of them entirely unlike Shades of Doom. No dates
have been set yet on their release.
Development for the next release of Lone Wolf is still on the back burner,
but thanks to many suggestions from the users, it looks like the next
release has already been scoped out. The major changes will involve two or
three reality settings, and a much more powerful mission building system.
News from MindsEye2
--> Distributor inquiries welcome
If you own a business and you would like to offer MindsEye2 games
in your catalog then please contact us at [email protected]
--> FREE! $13 gift while supplies last!
This Spring purchase Forest Friends Easter Egg Hunt Adventure and
receive a $13 gift from MindsEye2 while supplies last. The gift
is The Pooh Very Grand Garden Playcenter. This playcenter
includes Pooh, seeds, several pots, tools, carrots and flowers
and a tool shed. Your child will enjoy playing with Pooh and also
finding the many hidden Easter Eggs in our Forest Friends Easter
Egg Hunt Adventure this Spring. This offer is until Easter or
until supplies run out so place your order soon to not miss out.
--> The full colour MindsEye2 Spring 2002 print catalog is now
MindsEye2 has its full colour Spring 2002 print catalog done so
write to [email protected] to request a copy today! The
catalog shows several pictures from the games and also describes
two games MindsEye2 will be releasing this Spring. It lets you
pre-order these two upcoming games at a discount to save!
One upcoming game is Barkly Puppy's General Store a money
counting game in which you help Barkly Puppy count change for his
animal friend customers. It will ship with Jungle Tic Tac Toe a
tic tac toe game with a jungle theme.
The other upcoming game is Backyard Birds a game in which you
learn about common American birds. You match the bird's song/call
with its name and in another activity answer trivia questions
about the birds. A mini encyclopaedia of the birds in the game
lets you learn more details about the birds.
--> Accessible toys available on our website soon!
MindsEye2 will soon be offering a few toys on our website So come
visit to discover these. We have very limited supplies of each
toy but will offer each at an attractive price.
--> FREE game to download!
MindsEye2 now has a FREE game for you to download and play.
Christmas Tic Tac Toe is a simple but fun game for children age 4
to 7. In Christmas Tic Tac Toe you are Prancer one of Santa's
favourite Reindeer. Have fun playing tic tac toe with Santa. Visit
our MindsEye2 website to download this game and discover the fun
in all our MindsEye2 games. This is the full version of Christmas
Tic Tac Toe 5.7 megabytes to download.
--> Two new games have been released!
MindsEye2 has released two new games. Keyboard Playroom is a play
centre for children age 1 to 5. Each keystroke pressed reveals
hidden fun. The letters say their names and a sound related to
the letter such as "W is for wolf" followed by the sound of a
wolf howling. About 30 other keys speak nursery rhymes and
several keys read poems. The game includes a jukebox for playing
familiar children tunes. Great for children age 1 to 5.
The other game recently released is Froggy Hop for children age 3
to 5 or so. Help Jumper Frog hop across her pond by answering
preschool age questions. Over 300 questions are included. Also
included are 5 adventure stories about Robbie Robot a lovable
curious little robot. He goes camping, explores a cave, builds a
sand castle on the beach, and has loads of fun.
Both Froggy Hop and Keyboard Playroom come with Farm animal
Picture Book and Zoo Animal Picture Book. These picture book
programs teach about 32 well known animals and include the sound
--> Below are descriptions of all our current MindsEye2 games
Currently MindsEye2 has nine accessible games to purchase from our website.
Each sells for $40 US + $4 US shipping.
You may pay using PayPal on our website or by sending a check to our address
after the game descriptions below.
Forest Friends Easter Egg Hunt Adventure
Enjoy lots of Easter fun in the Forest Friends Easter Egg
Hunt Adventure. The Windows title is a collection of
thrilling, self-speaking Easter-themed games.
Search for Easter eggs in 8 fun-filled games (4 for the younger
child and 4 slightly harder, more complex games for the older
child). Accompanied by Freda Fox and Michael Myna, who sings out
clues, roam through the forest, stroll through the field of wild
flowers and crawl through a hollow log, searching for eggs. Meet
many friendly forest creatures along the way. Oh, and don't
forget, to explore the gloomy bat-filled cave and to paddle
across the beautiful blue lake in the canoe. Explore many more
exciting sound-studded locations as you hunt for that next Easter
The Bunny Trail - Let's your child show off his knowledge in a
curriculm-based educational quiz game, while he has fun helping
the Easter bunny gather jelly beans on the Bunny Trail. (For
preschool and kindergarten)
Easter Tic Tac Toe - Join Lily Lamb and Quackey Duck in a
challenging game of Tic Tac Toe. Includes background music as
well as pictures and sounds. Two levels- an easy level that
allows the younger child to experience the thrill of winning and
a harder level to challenge the thinking skills of the older
child as she plots her way to victory.
Experience more traditional Easter fun as you enjoy The Tale of
Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter and listen to The Easter Bunny.
Relive the exciting adventures of Peter in Mr. McGregor's garden
and enjoy the imagery and fun in the poem The Easter Bunny.
Educational Benefits: The Easter Egg Hunt provides practice with
keyboarding and orientation skills, increases auditory
comprehension and memory and provides exposure to screen-reader
type voices. The Bunny Trail provides practice with multiple
choice questions, reviews preschool and kindergarten level
reading, math, vocabulary, social studies and science. Example
skills include beginning sounds, opposites, rhyming, and
ordering events. Easter Tic Tac Toe promotes logical thinking.
All Easter activities above are part of this fun packed game.
Suggested age 3 to 7
Have you always wanted to work crosswords or do you love
crossword puzzles? Then this game is for you! Have fun working
this exciting collection of 70 crosswords. Virtually every kind
of crossword under the sun is here - newspaper style, freeform
crosswords themed crosswords, crossword anagrams and a unique
sound crossword. Requires the use of a screen reader for a
visually impaired player.
Experience a veritable feast of anagrams. If you like word
scramble, you will love Anagram Mania! What's an anagram? An
anagram is a word or short phrase where the letters are scrambled
into new words, often with interesting and hilarious results.
Over 1300 anagrams in 100 interesting themes including Honey Bee
Buzz, Sweet Tooth Treat, Passionate About Parrots. Requires the
use of a screen reader for a visually impaired player
Enjoy the fun of Magic Match, a self-speaking memory game for one
or two players. The computer keeps track of and announces your
score as you play solo or in a challenge match with your blind
and sighted friends to see who can score the most matches of
exciting sounds with accompanying artwork in 9 categories.
Blind and sighted children and adults can play
together. Everything speaks so no screen reader is required.
Flies By Night
Deep in treacherous Tadpole Swamp lives Prince Pollywog Frog who
must gobble up twenty irritating and fast flying bugs before
sunset to win the fair Princess Petunia's hand. But the swamp is
a dangerous place to live. As the clock ticks off the hours till
sunset, wildcats and snakes prowl the shore, the Great Blue Heron
swoops in trying to spear a frog for dinner. Swarms of angry
hornets, honking geese and leaping fish add to the fun and
excitement. Everything speaks so no screen reader is required.
Crossword Fun for Kids - An exciting new computer game for Windows
has 70 crossword puzzles designed especially for blind children. Puzzles
Down on the Farm - Old McDonald never had so much fun! Identify
farm sounds from tractors to sheep in this fun crossword puzzle.
Trick or Treat! - It's all here - apple bobbing, ghosts, jack
o'lanterns and more. This Halloween themed puzzle is complete
with spooky sound effects.
Under the Sea - You dive into the briny deep. What's that? An
octopus or a jellyfish? Learn about sea creatures in this
exciting underwater puzzle.
Educational Benefits: All the puzzles reinforce spelling and many
reinforce facts from the classroom. Many puzzles, while fun with
silly, zany and interesting sound effects, are educational.
Children will learn the days of the week, holidays, months and
seasons, and important time and money facts. Children will also
learn about sea creatures, wild animals, dinosaurs, outer space,
and Ancient Egypt. They will practice spelling common words, such
as shapes and colours, in the crossword spelling bees and to spell
the numbers from zero to 20. Children will learn to associate
birds with their songs and identify musical instruments. There is
a special group of 10 puzzles for the younger child that do not
require spelling or reading. Beginning words, grouped by rhyming
families, are pronounced then spelled as the child is prompted for
each letter. Frequent reinforcement and encouragement is given.
Suggested age: 6 to 12
Requires the use of a screen reader for a visually impaired player.
Christmas Playroom - Age preschool (1 to 5)
Christmas Playroom is the Windows game for preschoolers with a
Christmas theme. Christmas Playroom is a keyboard activity centre
with exciting activities your child will love! These include:
Lil' Jukebox - each press of the key plays one of 16 different tunes,
from Christmas music to other children's favourites.
Nursery Rhyme Time - Each press of a key recites one of over 30
nursery rhymes with accompanying sound effects. Full colour artwork
with audible descriptions available for each rhyme.
Read-Aloud Stories: "Twas the Night Before Christmas and Robbie
Robot and the Christmas Adventure.
The Amazing Audio Alphabet- Press a letter and hear the letter and
an associated word, such as "B is for bubbles" followed by the sound
of bubbles, while the screen shows a picture of Santa in scuba gear
among a flurry of bubbles that say, "ho, ho, ho!" Accompanying
artwork with audible descriptions available for each letter of the
Almost all the keys on the keyboard do something. Your child will
have fun exploring the keyboard. The game is self-speaking with no
screen reader required. It is designed for visually impaired
preschool children ages 1-5, but is also great for sighted children.
Making it a great choice for preschools and other places where young
children come together to play and learn.
Keyboard Playroom is easy to play even for the youngest child.
Press any key on the computer keyboard to hear nursery rhymes,
poems, familiar children tunes and learn about the alphabet.
There are lots of sounds to listen to and pressing space will
tell you what the picture is showing on the screen. Even if the
child presses several keys at once the game picks one key and
acts on it so the child does not need to be real careful to press
only one key at a time.
Example: When the letter "A" is pressed a voice speaks "A is for
apple" then we hear two crunchy bites and a boy saying "Yum yum!"
Keyboard Playroom includes Farm Animal Picture Book and Zoo
Animal Picture Book for free.
Suggested age 1 to 5
Froggy Hop (Including Farm and Zoo Picture Books for FREE)
Froggy Hop is a computer game in which Jumper Frog tries to cross
her pond by leaping from lily pad to lily pad as you answer
preschool age questions. Only ten questions right to reach the
far shore for Jumper Frog where she receives her reward a lengthy
lively tune which will have your child dancing and wanting to
play again. If you miss three questions Jumper hops into the pond
with a mighty splash and swims back to shore to start over.
There are 317 preschool age questions provided with the game.
These are on a wide range of educational topics appropriate for
preschool age children.
Topics cover areas of learning such as colours, shapes, counting,
first/last, rhyming words (Sounds like), biggest/smallest,
starting sounds, parts of the body, holidays, recognizing sounds,
and many more fun and educational topics.
A few typical questions would be like:
What do you do first in the morning?
Eat breakfast, wake up, go to school
What would make a good toy to play with?
Matches, A knife, Teddy Bear
What animal lives in a zoo?
Sound of a horse, Sound of a dog, Sound of an elephant
How many sounds can you hear? (Three sounds of a sheep play)
Three, One, Two
Which animal do you hear first? (Sounds of Cat, Dog, Horse play)
Dog, Horse, Cat
T makes the T sound. Which word starts with the letter T?
Frog, Turtle, River
What word sounds like GOAT?
Car, Boat, Ring
What is the opposite of BAD?
Good, Sad, Grandmother
What comes after three?
Four, One, Two
What do you use to open a door?
A hammer, A saw, A key
There are many questions on quite a range of topics and these are
questions your child may well know the answer to or is learning.
Froggy Hop is very easy to play using only the four arrow keys
and the space bar. You pick an answer with the three lower arrow
keys and then choose it by pressing the up-arrow key. Space
repeats the question.
We include five Robbie Robot stories with Froggy Hop. These are
stories about a curious little robot who has lots of fun on his
Robbie Robot Goes Camping
Robbie Robot Goes Cave Exploring
Robbie Robot on the Beach
Robbie Robot Goes Fishing
Robbie Robot Christmas Adventure
Froggy Hop including both picture books
Suggested age: 3 to 5
Farm Animal Picture Book
Listen to Old McDonald Had A Farm while learning about 12 farm
animals. A description of each animal in simple language
appropriate for younger children is spoken followed by the sound
of that animal. Pressing any key speaks the description of the
next animal. Pressing the space bar describes the picture showing
on the screen.
Included free with both Keyboard Playroom and Froggy Hop
Suggested age 1 to 5
Zoo Animal Picture Book
Similar to Farm Animal Picture Book with 20 well known wild
animals being featured. Animals include lion, hippo, rattle
snake, skunk, wolf, and many others.
Each animal is described and its sound played for extra fun.
Included free with both Keyboard Playroom and Froggy Hop
Suggested age 1 to 5
MindsEye2 can be reached at:
1334 Airport Road
Fairmont, WV 26554
News From PCS:
Congratulations Michael Feir and Rebecca Sutton on your up-coming wedding!
Last year with Phil moving to Michigan, getting married and buying a house,
and Carl getting a job with IBM and moving to New York, PCS Games had to
put game production on hold. Well, that time will soon be over, thanks to
David Greenwood of GMA Games, Phil is working on a self-voicing Windows 3D
sound version of Pacman. The game will be tentatively called "Pacman
It is built with the same game creating engine from GMA that the Shades of
Doom game uses.
What is Pacman Talks? Here is a little description of the game:
A pie-shaped character named Pac-Man runs along inside a maze, eating dots
as it avoids four ghosts. Each ghost has its own unique personality and
gobbling one of the four super power dots makes Pac-Man invincible to the
ghosts for a given period of time.
Here are some features already in the new game:
Automatic moving through the maze.
Just a touch of the up arrow key starts Pacman zooming down corridors and
through openings to gobble those dots and earning points.
When you near an opening you will get a sound indicator and if you wish, a
voice telling you about the turn. All you need to do is hit an arrow key
and you will quickly make the turn. You can even anticipate turning by
hitting the arrow key early. The game will wait until you're at the
opening before turning you.
Four talking ghosts
Each of the four ghosts has a name, a different speed of moving and
As a ghost gets within range, it will say its name and its voice will get
louder the closer it gets. The first is Pinky, it's fast but not so bright.
The next ghost is Blinky, he's slower but it's hard to shake him. The third
ghost is Inky, it's terribly shy and will actually run away from you. And
the forth ghost is Clyde, he is the smartest one and will try his best to
get you, but he is slow.
Talking power Pills.
When you near a Super power pill, you hear it, and as you get closer its
voice gets louder. A special sound is used to tell you when your super
power is almost gone.
High score standings.
Like the original arcade game, you will be able to save your initials in a
high score standings list.
Pacman Talks uses all of the original Pacman sounds plus many created just
for this game. In addition, The game will have many features and surprises
not found in the
original arcade game. As Pacman Talks is still under construction, we
can't tell you when it will be done, but we will keep you posted on its
development and where the demo will be located in future Audyssey magazines.
Locations of PCS Games demos:
We have game demos in several Internet sites:
The Kurzwiel Extras page:
or Paul Henrichsen's file page:
Phil will be at the NFB Convention in Louisville, Kentucky July 2002.
Hope to meet all the Audyssey gamers there!
You can contact PCS Games in any format at
666 Orchard Street
Temperance, MI 48182
phone (734) 850-9502
E-mail Phil Vlasak [email protected]
Our Web site that is temporarily down while we change hosts:
An Alternative Game
By Graham Pearce
Six years ago, after having my eureka go through a major overhaul, I got
some presents, in the form of games disks. On one of the disks, I found the
Microsoft Basic interpreter, and about eighty other games. Little did I
realize it then, but these games were not just games specifically designed
for the eureka and thrown on to a disk for pure pleasure, these were
classics of a forgotten chapter in our gaming history. The classic basic
The reason why I liked these games so much is because they were of a
completely different type to those I had encountered before. I believe, for
a period of time lasting a year, I had some degree of exposure to every game
type accessible to the blind, from interactive fiction to arcade, card games
to strategy. Those classic basic games were also a catalyst for my interest
in programming. My first successful modification of a program took place
when I was only 7 years old. I modified a shopping program, which is
reviewed later in this article, so that you could buy some beer without
getting syntax errors thrown at you all the time. Although the problem was
minor, (it was just incorrect spacing,) it took me about half an hour to fix
it so that the program would operate normally again, without the beer
These classics are one of the few games that can run on any computer, from
the Braille Lite to pc's, and even, amazingly enough, the Braille
Companion, a dos-based note taker using keysoft. I believe the best
accessible interpreter to play these games with is gwbasic. It can be
obtained from a number of places around the net, including this site:
At that site, you can also find examples of some of my work.
Note: If, while attempting to load these games, you receive a line buffer
overflow error, just load the game into word pad, remembering to set it to
wrap to window, and then save the file.
Some of the games that I am about to review come from a site called
basichome, which is a site dedicated to preserving classic basic games. It's
address is at:
A couple weeks into the start of the year, I encountered a collection
containing quite a few other basic games which were designed for an
operating system called cp/m, which is what the eureka a4 and the apple
computers ran on, as well of dozens of other early computers. Wanting to
work on many of these games, I set to work modifying them so they would work
with the gwbasic interpreter. Some problems were minor, such as a few spotss
where the keywords were bundled together like:
and others used very odd commands which were common to find in non-microsoft
basics. If the game comes from www.retroarchive.org/cpm, I will try to list
the kind of changes I had to make. If the changes are not listed, it usually
means I can't remember what I had to do, or they were so minor that they
would be easy to fix.
Note: To unpack a file with a .ark extension, just replace the k on the end
with a c, and then it should be usable with most good archiving programs,
like winzip, power archiver and filzip.
Acey ducy was the first game I ever played from that disk of Microsoft Basic
games, because it was the first alphabetically. The computer deals two cards
face up, and you have an option on whether to bet or not depending on
whether you feel the next card will have a value between the first two. This
game fascinated me at first, because the rules were not outlined at all, and
I was wondering why I was losing sometimes and winning at others. Now, I
think it is an oversimplistic card game. It can be a good diversion though.
Ah. Civil war. This is a simulation of the American civil war between 1861
and 1864. This game has always fascinated me because of the facts and
figures. It has also fascinated me because of the fact that until now, I
have never been able to win it. Various factors effect the outcome of the
battles, including money, the number of men you have, and how you distribute
your money. It's one of the most intriguing basic games around. The only
thing it needs is a "press enter to continue" prompt after a screenful of
instructions has whizzed by. This can be easily added using the input
File name is dragrace.asc
Drag race is not at all your typical, run-of-the-mill racing game. It's not
real-time at all and has no sound effects or graphics. The difference
between this racing game and most others is that the only way to win is by
designing your car properly. And no, I don't mean just stealing some money
to buy the most powerful engine and then you're all set. The way you design
cars in this program is by specifying the horsepower, rear end ratio, tyre
width in inches and tyre diameter in feet. You have the option of racing
against another car made by a friend, or racing against the computer's
dragster. I tried to race that dragster for 4 hours, using a little help
from my father to set the parameters. I managed to be beaten by about one
and a half metres, but never managed to actually win. One of the cars I
designed which was a slight variation of the computer's dragster was beaten
by a millimetre. eek. The program does have some shortcomings though. For
example, I designed a car with a tyre width of 0 inches and it managed to go
about 800 feet at a top speed of no less than 120 miles an hour! Not bad for
a car with no wheels, huh? I also managed to design a car with a rear end
ratio of -5 to 1, which travelled an incredible -1200 feet, with a bottom
speed of -120 miles an hour! I wonder where it was going? lol.
Available: I know there are three versions of this game on the site, but
neither of them is as good as one I found on ftp.gwbasic.org, which at the
moment, is down. You'll have to ask me to send it to you. My e-mail address
is at the bottom of this document.
Hamurabi is yet another strategy game that fascinated me for some time.
Basically you have to try to get through 10 years of ruling the ancient
kingdom of Symeria, but it's not as easy as it sounds. You have to try and
feed your people with enough bushels of grain, while exchanging land for
bushels and bushels for land. Various other problems can beset you such as a
plague that kills half your population, and rats that will eat your grain.
You also have to be careful that you don't starve half or more of your
population, or you will be impeached. I have only managed to truly win this
game once in the 6 years of owning the game.
Madlibs is a very interesting and funny game where you have to make stories
by supplying adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and a few other things like
peoples' names. There is no real set goal, except one determined by the
user. You could try and make stories that make as much sense as possible, or
are as wacky as possible, or somewhere in between. To get very nonsensical
stories, try using opposite adjectives together, like good and bad. Other
than that, I have no other advice for you about this program except to
Available at: www.retroarchive.org/cpm/games/manygame.zip
There were many versions I found of Monopoly written in basic, and this
version I'm reviewing was the second, so I may have some bias here. This one
plays much like the real game, except there is a free parking jackpot, which
increases every time you pay money from a Community Chest or Chance card.
One of my main criticisms of this game, which I've heard at least one person
openly express, is it's lack of interactivity. Sure, it does the dice rolls
and stuff like that, which all computers should do in this kind of game, but
because of it's restricted interaction, you can't, for example, auction a
property or sell houses that easily. I have seen much better versions of
monopoly out there. If you want to bother with this game, you'll need to
remember that some of the spacing in the fornext loops is incorrect for
gwbasic, e.g. nextj instead of next j. So, if you get a for without next
error, it's because of the spacing, not because that the author forgot to
put the next statement there! Also see ausopoly, which is a version of
monopoly using British property names instead of American. It is available
filename is shop.asc
Shop is the game which started my programming experience. It was, as
mentioned above, the first game I successfully debugged so you could buy
beer without getting a syntax error thrown your way. Oddly enough, the error
is still in the program, on line 830. Also, you will get a syntax error from
gwbasic if you type in special. The only way that I could get around it was
to remove the special feature entirely. Well, all it needs besides that is
the ability to buy all the things listed on the shopping list, and the
ability to buy more cookies, grin!
Available at: http://moorecad.com/classicbasic/basic//creative/splat.bas
Splat is, in my opinion, by far the best classic basic game I have found so
far, due to it's sheer replay ability and randomness. You have to parachute
on to various planets on the solar system, trying to open your shoot as low
as possible without going splat! This would be a good game for physics
students, as it teaches the relationship between acceleration and time. It's
sheer replay ability comes from the fact that it gives you comments based on
how low you opened your shoot at based on your other tries. It also contains
some rather humorous comments for when you fall. My best attempt so far was
when I opened my shoot at 28.42 feet. If anyone has managed to beat that,
please email me. My email address will be given shortly.
If you have any comments, suggestions, problems or advice about this
article, please send them to:
mach 1 race-calendar 2002
Series Mach 1 World championship
Ohio level 1, 2 laps
worldranking points: 12.5, 10, 8, 6.5, 5.5, 5, 4.5 till 0.5 for place 15.
Enduro Race 24 Hours of Le Mans
Ohio level 2, 4 laps
Ohio level 3, 2 laps
Ohio level 1, 4 laps
world ranking points: for each leg, see points of the series, final
classification: 50, 35, 25, 20, 18, 16, 14; 12, 10, 8, 7.5, 7 etc. till 0.5
point for place 25.
500 Miles of Indianapolis
Indy, level 3, 9 laps
world ranking points: 25, 20, 16, 13, 11, 10 and 1 point for place 15.
october, 1,-december, 31,
World championship Mach1 2002
Ohio gp, level 1, 2 laps
chardon hill gp, level 1, 2 laps
snake river gp, level 1, 2 laps
eerie lake gp, level 1, 2 laps
mentor road gp, level 1, 2 laps
Kirtland gp level 1, 2 laps
world ranking points for each gp: 25, 20, 16, 13, 11, 10 till 1 point for
place 15. Final classification: 100, 70, 50, 36, 32, 28, 24, 20, 16, 15 till
1 point for place 25
October, 1- December, 31
(only for competitors who do not participe on the world championship)
500 Miles of Maple
maple, level 2, 9 laps
world ranking points see series.
Good Luck, to joint the races send a mail to
+++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 Anchor head 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
Jim Kitchen has submitted the following news for classic game lovers out
Coming soon a sound based version of Pong which 30 years ago was
the first ever video game. This game will be self voicing with
human speech and is a fun game for kids of all ages.
Troopanum has arrived on the scene and been warmly greeted by the Audyssey
community. It is similar to Space Invaders and is quite well put together.
Dan Zingaro has certainly taken giant strides forward from his first game.
As I haven't played the full game, I won't give it a full review in this
issue. However, I will say that the demo has certainly impressed me. I would
recommend anyone looking for a classic arcade-style game go to:
and check this one out.
A few items of note for interactive fiction enthusiasts: There have been
several updates to games previously released. These include the following
taken from the Recent Additions file at the If-archive:
Pytho's Mask, by Emily Short.
Release 4 / Serial number 020223
Silver Gauntlet, by Paul Panks. Alpha Version 0.65
First Things First, written by J. Robinson Wheeler.
Version 2.0 20020220.
Vicious Cycles, by Mark Simon
Release 3 / Serial number 020222
Metamorphoses, by Emily Short.
Release 4 / Serial number 020222
Pytho's Mask, by Emily Short.
Release 3 / Serial number 020223
Z-Chess, by Eric Schmidt. An abuse of the Z-Machine that allows two
people to play chess.
Reviewed by James North
Available via the web at http://www.kitchensinc.net
Rating: 7 of 10
A good racing game has been a long time coming in the accessible games
market and there have been many requests over the years for just such a
title. As an introduction into this genre of accessible games, Jim Kitchen
of Kitchen's, Inc. has developed and released the first
developed-for-the-blind accessible racing game entitled Mach 1.
Self-described as an accessible rendition of the Atari classic Pole
Position, take to any of eight unique race tracks in a 200 MPH-capable race
car and put the pedal-to-the-metal to place in the best lap times.
Once the game is installed, getting started is fairly straightforward as you
make your way into the Programs menu of the Start menu and click on the Mach
1 icon. There are fairly detailed instructions provided, but you'll need to
hunt around for them in the Mach1 folder as there is no shortcut provided in
the Programs sub-menu. An actual Mach1 Programs sub-folder containing
shortcuts to the game and instructions would've been splendid.
Upon starting the game, you'll hear a short blurb of music and then be
presented with the self-voicing main game menu. The menu options are
accessed by pressing a number key from zero to nine on the keyboard. The
first eight menu options select the various tracks that you're able to race.
The ninth menu option allows you to set the rate of speech and the tenth
option exits the game completely.
There are eight different race tracks in Mach 1 that are listed below with
Ohio Motor Speedway - A large, fun track with an odd shape and a tricky
S-curve to keep you on your toes.
Chardon Hill Top Raceway - A good moderately difficult track once you get
comfortable with some of the easier ones with some sharp turns and shaped
like a large, broad 'U'.
Snake River Speedway - The name says it all--lots and lots of U-turns!
Indy Oval - A nice traditional elongated oval track to cut your tires on,
the curves are nice and gradual without any surprises.
Maple Leaf Tri-Oval - Another oval track, but slightly skewed so a little
Erie Lake Front Speedway - This track is a definite bear! Don't get too
comfortable on the broad U-turns because before you know it, you'll slam
right into an on-coming wall as the turn makes an abrupt twist!
Mentor Road - More sharp turns--evil!
Kirtland Dirt Mile Oval - Another simple oval track with an easy, rounded
Once you select the track number you want to play, you'll be prompted to
choose a difficulty level between one and three. At difficulty level one,
you have the entire track to yourself with no other cars present. At
difficulty level two, you share the track with one other car. And, at
difficulty level three, there are an unspecified number of other cars on the
track. As far as I can tell, these other cars aren't to race, but merely
obstacles to avoid as you race around the various tracks.
After selecting your difficulty level, you'll be asked to pick how many laps
you'd like to race. At this point, the race begins..
There are a few different keystrokes you should be aware of before you zip
off from the starting line. Most importantly, you have a low and high gear
that are controlled via the up and down arrow keys. Other keys of interest
are status keys to tell you your speed, your position on the track, and the
lap that you're currently on. Finally, the space bar will be used to apply
the car's brakes.
Once the race begins, your car will automatically begin moving forward,
accelerating on it's own. As it accelerates, your speed is announced in 25
MPH increments until it tops out at 200 MPH. As your car speed approaches
75 MPH, you'll need to shift into high gear using the up arrow key.
The track has three lanes that you can steer across by using the left and
right arrow keys. If there are other cars on the track, they'll stay in the
centre of either the left or right lanes and always go slower than you do.
As you approach either the left or right wall, you'll hear what the
documentation refers to as an 'echo' of your car as you get closer to it.
The sound is more like an airy whoosh versus an engine echo, but it's what
you use to tell how close you are to the walls. As you drive down the
track, you'll hear a whooshing-type sound on either your left or right side
indicating that a left or right turn is approaching. You'll want to begin
steering shortly after--and, quickly after if it's a sharp turn--while
listening to the wall echo to make sure you're not getting too close to the
wall you're turning into or so far away that you can hear your car's echo in
the opposite wall. Once you make the turn, you'll hear another unique sound
indicating that you're through it. If you get too far toward the edge of
the track, you'll hear a thumping sound as your tires roll over the textured
After you complete all the laps, you'll hear a 'woohoo!' in the spirit of
Homer Simpson and your lap time will be spoken along with whether you've
beat the previous lap time or not.
My impression of Mach 1 is fairly good overall--it's a highly addictive game
with good replay value, great car control, and the game sounds are all used
purposefully and effective. Racing around these tracks becomes very
intuitive after a very short learning curve. The interface is simple and
The game is similar in style to Pole Position, but certainly not a recreatio
n of the original. This may be a good or bad thing depending on your
pre-play expectations. I would prefer that the acceleration is done by the
player and perhaps use the auto-acceleration as a player aid option. The
wall sounds might be a tad louder as well as they are somewhat quieter than
the rest of the sounds. The vocal speed feedback might also be considered
as a game option. Scores should be playable from the main menu as well as
at the end of each race so they can be heard at-a-glance. It would also
have been good to have the ability to actually race against the other cars
instead of just trying to avoid them in their lanes. However, their current
use does afford a nice way of presenting track obstacles.
If you're a racing buff, you may be somewhat disappointed with the overall
game design, goals, and sound effects, but I think you're still in for a
good time in the spirit of racing.
Whether you're a racing fanatic or just a casual gamer, I highly recommend
downloading Mach 1 and giving it a try. No matter which way you slice it,
it's a good deal!
MYRTHORN & KORIAL'S MUD PICKS
Code Base: LP
Site: 3k.org 3000 [220.127.116.11]
Theme: Fantasy, Science & Chaos
A large hexagonally-shaped piece of crystal hovers in midair, its opaque
silvery surface as smooth as a quiet pool of water. Without warning, colours
and flashes of light begin to struggle within its depths, swirling and
twisting in intricate patterns, finally coming together to form the vague
outline of a woman. Slowly, the image solidifies, and Korial steps from the
mirror blinking in confusion as she becomes accustomed to the glaring light
of reality. She shakes the dust from her travel-stained cloak, shifts the
pack across her shoulders and then begins to speak.
Greetings adventurers! I've come to tell you of a fantastic land called
3-Kingdoms, named so because it is comprised of three realms which include:
Chaos, Fantasy and Science. Each Kingdom is filled with innumerable areas to
explore, quests and puzzles to solve, monsters to kill, and secrets to be
discovered, along with the many joys and frustrations inherent in
exploration and adventuring.
Upon entering 3-Kingdoms, you will be transported to the newbie Hall where
you can get some free equipment and embark on your journey. You will find
that you have a companion, a small Brownie who can impart much valuable (or
annoying) advice, depending on your level of experience with mudding and
with Lpmuds in particular. He is mostly very helpful though and you can rid
yourself of him once he has outlived his usefulness.
There are many newbie zones, more than enough (something I am seldom able to
say about a mud, with approximately ten newbie quests (give or take a few)
and more than 75 quests on the entire mud. You are not permitted to join a
guild until level five, but believe me there is plenty to do and much to
learn and the levels will fly by.
The Newbie Academy is actually a quest, and it is quite an original and
entertaining way to learn about the mud. The quest info says it's a level
three quest, but I suggest doing it as soon as possible since it has much
good info to impart and it's fun as well. Be forewarned, it is absolutely
unacceptable to share quest hints or info with other players, with harsh
penalties for doing so.
The entire mud is quite original, from detailed room descriptions and areas,
to the wide variety of guilds. The guilds are as follows (with some guilds
having subguilds as well): Adventurer, cybercorps, jedi, mage, priest, bard,
elemental, juggernaut, monk, warder, breed, fremen, knight, necromancer.
I've played this mud as three different characters (seconds are not
permitted by the way until you reach a higher level so be careful of this).
I tried the necromancer guild but found it too complex for my playing style.
It was creative, had interesting skills/spells and required components for
spell casting (something I rather enjoyed). For those who like playing an
evil-aligned character in a challenging magic-using guild, this one's for
I next tried the knights, guild. I liked it much better. Knights have
subguilds which you can choose at a higher level (based on your preferred
alignment). They also have the ability to joust. Jousting involves two
players riding horses over a field till one knocks the other off his/her
steed by essentially entering the same room/space. Once you've defeated your
fellow knight in this harmless manner, you then are challenged by an NPC
knight of your level or similar. If you beat him you reap a reward, lose
and, um, well, you die (though I never found death in this manner). I'll
leave the secrets of this and other guilds for you to discover, I only give
this jousting example to demonstrate the unique qualities of the guild
Help files are extensive and quite good, players are, for the most part very
friendly and playerkilling is optional
Some downsides of the mud are that equipment isn't saved over quits (though
many guilds, maybe all I don't know) have donation rooms or boxes and
players of higher levels keep them well stocked. Also, it is quite a noisy
mud, much shouting, etc. However, you can screen out shouts under level 50
with the earmuffs command, and for even more soundproofing, you can by
earmuffs for a reasonable fee. Additionally, it can be a bit daunting in the
beginning, for it is a huge and very original mud, but it is very much worth
the time it takes to learn. Read help files, (and don't forget to peruse the
rules or you'll get yourself into trouble), ask other players for assistance
and make use of the newbie line and you'll be fine.
I give this mud a resounding five stars and urge you all to come explore it
for yourself. Look me up there as Jezrae and I'll be glad to show you the
With those final words, Korial smiles and waves and drifts slowly back into
the crystal mirror to continue her adventuring in 3-Kingdoms.
... Myrthorn attempts one of those fancy moves, like Korial, and trips over
his tongue and lands on his face ...
I've got a couple of reviews for you this issue, but I will only give a
cursory review of the second of the two. It is so large, that I haven't
had time to explore all of its realms yet.
Site: www.coremud.org 4000 [18.104.22.168]
Theme: Science Fiction: Futuristic Space Colony
Avg. # of Players: 25 - 49 (more like 10 to 25)
Quests Available <Ha>
Role-playing Is Encouraged
Tired of all those medieval fantasy based muds? Looking for a change? ...
perhaps something futuristic, without being Star Wars/ Star Trek related?
Well, Core 2651 looks appealing - or so I thought.
Reading the homepage for this mud is pretty much a requirement before
playing, if you want to have much knowledge of what is going on around you.
I found the on-line help files to be mediocre at best. That address is:
Essentially we are launched about 650 years into the future (2651). You
start off in the shuttle bay area of a mining colony on a small planet off
in some distant, outlying region of space. Newbie school on Core consists
of you skimming through a few documents in that area, and then taking a test
before being allowed entrance into the game (basically a way to make sure
you understand the underlying rules of the mud).
What is there for you to do on a mining colony? Well, mine, naturally
(along with hanging out in the pubs, gambling, finding yourself a nympho,
getting yourself a part-time job in one of the local shops, and killing
mobs). The game time clock runs the same as ours in rl, so 24 hours in rl
is a full day on Core 2651.
When you decided to come to Core, you signed on with "the Company". So
your key source of income on this mud is from mining. There are four
different mining shifts you can join, which are designed to fit different
players. The shifts run any where from an hour to three hours at a time,
and they switch on and off throughout the day, giving the player an
opportunity to be down in the mines for eight or nine hours a day (if you
have that much rl time to spare). As you mine, and bring in ore, you are
paid a percentage of the amount of ore you've hauled in that shift. You are
also paid in stocks. You are given a certain amount of stock in the
materials you've brought up from the mines, and that's where your main
source of income truly lies. So you get to dabble a bit in the stock market
also. And you will find yourself selling off some of your stocks, in order
to survive. The few credits you are paid for bringing up ore each shift
aren't enough to do much with on Core. That's also why most everyone has a
part-time job in one of the shops around the colony. You can earn credits
from commission off of your sales.
The colony is divided into four sectors (one correlating to each of the
standard compass directions). As a newbie, you start off in the north mine,
and are drilling nickel, iron, and aluminum. These are the cheapest types
of ore, and consequently, you get paid less than you do for working in the
other mines. Eventually, after having mined a certain amount in the North
mine, you get promoted to the East mine, and can start mining some more
valuable materials. (BTW - you are housed in the northern quad while you
are mining there -- and moved over to the Eastern apartments when you are
promoted to that mining area.) You are promoted to the southern and western
mines as you progress.
Have I forgotten to mention the critters you get to go after? Oh, well,
you get to head down into the sewers and hunt down there (what fun!).
You'll run across your average rats and snakes and slugs, as well as
crocodiles, waste worms, and heptosquids (among others).
The one other big part of Core 2651 besides mining, is related to
power. Without power, you can't do anything on Core. Your drills require
power cells, which you must buy and keep recharged (at a cost, of course).
And the cells are only good for five recharges. In order to communicate on
Core, you need to use your comm unit, which also takes power cells. You can
talk in person to anyone, but if you want to talk to someone not in the room
with you - it's going to cost you.
OK, so here's where things start to get drab. Why am I writing about a mud
that sounds mediocre at best? Well, first off, I spent over a month playing
here, trying to find the part of this mud that ideally sounded interesting.
Conceptually, it had a lot of potential. I think most of the Newbies saw
that, and hence, making friends on Core didn't take long. (Especially when
you're stuck down in a mine with a bunch of them for three rl hours at a
pop). There were two main cliques on Core - the coders (who were also
allowed to be active characters) and their buddies (the Core players that
had been around for God knows how long) ... and everyone else. I'll just
refer to that first group as "the elite".
Core has quite a number of strict (and sometimes absurd) rules. They
list themselves as an RP encouraged mud (not RP enforced) - though they tend
to rule the mud with the iron fist of an RP enforced mud. They won't boot
you off for not staying in character, but the elite jump all over any
newbie, every chance they get when someone sends a message on the IC channel
which isn't In Character. There is an 'rl' channel set up for such
transmissions ... and they harp about making sure that these channels are
used correctly. (Of course, "the elite" are exempt from their own
chastising and misuse of these channels). And the more the rl channel was
used, the more it would cost (in energy) to send a transmission. They even
go so far as to require you to prefix any in person conversations with 'ooc'
in order to make things perfectly clear that you are talking out of
character. You tell me ... if you're down in one of these mines for three
hours with a couple of other guys - how much 'in character' conversation do
you think you can carry on? <grin>
Watch out for a few other rules. These guys don't allow the use of
triggers - so don't use them. The coders seem to have spent more time on
designing algorithms to detect things like triggers than they have on the
actual design of the mud itself. Don't set up a trigger to mine
automatically for you, they'll detect it -- and you'll get a cave in on your
corpse. Also, they have a rule about not going AFK. So don't. Never mind
the fact that 'the elite' are AFK 90% of the time.
OK, so the room descriptions aren't terribly over flamboyant. I can
accept that, I'm on a mining colony (though it could have been done much
better). The thing about Core that made me crack was their required quests.
You needed to solve a quest to advance beyond levels 8, 12, 16, and 19.
They absolutely required that these quests be worked on alone. That
wouldn't have been so bad, if the developer of the quests, and the coders,
had a clue as to what they were doing. These quests were ridiculously
impossible (especially since some of them required you to use skills that
your character wasn't able to raise high enough before reaching the barrier
point). But the quests themselves would have been wonderful and
challenging, if they had been designed by someone such as Andy Phillips. I
think Forest Gump may have had a hand in designing *these.
What made them so frustrating, is that you would walk into a room, and see,
for instance, a shallow pool carved into the floor. There would be a bit
more information about it, but nothing outstanding. Being as how it was the
only object in the room, I would expect a character to be able to examine
the pool further, to get more details. Well, in probably 75% of these
instances, the response from "examine <object>" would be - "there is no such
I'm not even going to waste your time with the measures they "attempted"
in order to help out the visually impaired. They were too insulting (or
should I say that 'the elite' were too ignorant?).
Essentially, Core 2651 is run by a group of individuals with superiority
complexes. As I said earlier, you can have fun with the other Newbies on
Core - but expect to be treated as trash by the elite.
Because of the poorly designed quests and the requirements placed on you
to complete them - along with the attitudes of the coders, I'm only giving
Core 2651 a 2 out of 5. Give it a try if you want, but adhere to the rules!
-- Here's a brief review of a good medieval mud.
Site: nanvaent.org 23 [22.214.171.124]
Location: United Kingdom
Nanvaent is a wonderful mud in which I've only had the time to just barely
advance beyond the ranks of newbiehood. So my assessment is going to be
from my personal experiences thus far, and from the documentation I've read.
First, again, I'd recommend reading the homepage for Nanvaent before
spending much time there.
Most of the information can be found within the help files in the game
itself - but if you want an understanding of Nanvaent's geographical layout,
you'll need to visit the homepage. Everything within the game proper is
laid out via ASCII maps. On the homepage, you can get a textual description
of the realms of Nanvaent, and their orientation to each other.
Nanvaent has been around for over 11 years, so it is not a mud in
constant flux, with a group of inexperienced immortals. Like most medieval
muds, there are only a few core guilds to choose from: fighters, wizards,
clerics, thieves, and bards. But Nanvaent also has many sub-guilds within
these core guilds, so it makes playing a bit more exciting and rewarding.
When you first develop your character, you just give Nanvaent your name
and password -- and you are plopped directly into the welcome room of the
game. Once here, then you can take your time and choose your race.
Nanvaent currently has over 30 races to choose from! So, unless you are
obsessed with being a dwarf or elf or human ... you have plenty of other
options. (I chose to be a grey wolf, and am headed for the Wolf Pack
sub-guild of the fighter's guild).
The help system is extensive and is set up in a menu-style format. And
speaking of extensive - for those of you who like quests, Nanvaent is full
of them. There's a whole section of the library set up to give hints about
the quests -- all you need do is figure out what keyword to use in order to
access the file on a particular quest (a quest in itself <grin>). But it's
not necessary to read about them first. You basically are tripping over
quest hints at every turn. I see Nanvaent is listed as a PK mud, but have
yet to encounter any incidents of player killing. (That's not to say that
they don't occur).
This is a large mud (over 8000 rooms), and has all sorts of obstacles
and terrains to tackle and wander around in.
Nanvaent is not overcrowded. I've been on when there are as few as 3
other players, and as many as 25 to 30. I've never seen it surpass the 30
player character mark. Even though this mud is located in the UK, I have
had no problems with lag here in the States. (Hopefully this location will
help out those of you in the UK with lag problems).
Well, I'm going to cut off my review here, and not bore you with my
details as a newbie. It's a fun and well developed mud - give it a try!
I'm giving Nanvaent a 5 out of 5!
Korial peeks around the corner and seeing that Myrthorn is finished with his
review, decides to add one comment of her own.
I wholeheartedly agree with Myrthorn's rating of 5 out of 5. I have actually
played even less time on the mud than he, (rl always seems to interfere
with my mudding pleasure, smile) but my time there was quite enjoyable. I
was especially struck by the friendliness of the other players, always
someone willing to assist a newbie in need (from answering questions to
showing the ropes to helping to get equipment, etc.). The mud is definitely
worth a visit and a prolonged stay.
Korial starts to turn away, melting into the shadows and disappearing into a
May your adventures be many, your deeds be valorous, and may you return
safely to your home port.
Accessibility: high, no sited assistance needed.
Well this is the first revue for audisy that I've written, hopefully it
won't be my last. The game I'm Reviewing this time is an online game called
Popex. I've been playing this game on and off for about 2 years, way before
I even new there was a market for accessible games.
Popex is a fantasy stocks and shares game with a bit of a twist. You by
shares in music artists and groups. You are given an imaginary £5000 and
you have to invest in who you think the next big single will come from.
There are well over 100 bands to choose from and the great thing is that the
system updates it's self about every 5 minutes so the prices that you pay
can change very quickly.
As with most web based games you have to register but this is really easy.
All they need is your name, e-mail address and a couple of personal
interests like the last album you purchased. You are then e-mailed your
user name, which you create at sign up, and a password that is given to you.
All you have to do then is bye bye and sell sell sell.
If you really get in to the game you can set up personal team games, some
friends and I did this and we had a good laugh. Every user is also on the
main leader board and it is a great honour to say you got in to the top
1000. The highest I ever got was 998.
There are many good points to the game, the high accessibility factor is one
as well as the really easy to use interface. One extra point is the fact
that you can set the game up to e-mail you every week to let you know how
your shares are doing, so even if you take time out from the game you can
keep up to date. There are a couple of bad points though. The game is based
in the UK so all prices are in £ and there are some artists that haven't
made it on to the international stage yet but most of the time this doesn't
really make any difference. One other criticism I have to make is that once
you have played it for a couple of months it does get very monotonous but
this is where the weekly e-mails really come in useful. Normally when I
have one of these stages of low interest in the game I sell all of my
shares, get a set of good long term acts and just keep up to date with the
On the hole the game is a good one, it must be, there are well over 20000
players and you mite as well give it a try, it's free.
The web site to play the game is http://www.popex.com
If you have any comments you can e-mail me at [email protected]
Quenzars caverns is a shareware game, made buy pulse ventures ltd.
I had a lot of difficulty in locating they're homepage, and it does contain
irrelevant links to a lot of pictures and photographs etc.
The thing that interested me, however, was they're title, quenzars caverns.
What is this game?
In the game, you take on the roll of a hero who must vanquish the evil
This, unlike other titles, isn't totally multimedia based, a sort of
role-playing text adventure-game.
I should warn you that a lot of graphical symbols and other stuff clutter
If you want to play this game, note the following:
1. the room description, items, and monsters will be listed at the very
bottom of your screen, in a scrolling form.
2. your room coordinates are at the top of the screen.
3. as well as the coordinates, are your health, points, and other vital
Quenzars caverns is just a simple 10x10 map grid, with each room having
maybe items, maybe monsters for you to find.
You navigate with your cursor keys, in conjunction with the alt key.
Also, too attack, the command, alt plus A. to search, alt plus s, so your
hands can very easily be positioned.
How do I kill quenzar, then?
To kill him, you'll need to find his layer. To enter it, you'll need the
This entails that you journey around the map, looking for objects.
You will soon learn that some things are better than others, and which
monsters are best to avoid.
This game, I think, was never meant to be played by the blind/vi
community. It does, however, work.
Remember that the alt key is invaluable. You will also want to tab around,
to various items.
There is, for example,
A statistics and inventory button.
Hitting this would cause a dialog box to come up, listing all your items.
If you had, say, a dagger and a sword, you would want to drop the dagger and
keep using the sword.
That is where this dialog box comes in handy.
Where can I get this game?
This, is a good question.
If you find another source, please inform me!!
For now, however, just copy this into your run dialog box in windows, or
into your web browser.
when asked, you may like to change the name of the .zip file, that is being
I have played this game somewhat, and forgotten about it since last week,
upon when I started to hunt for a place where I can download it.
Please remember that this game is shareware, although I am not totally
certain of that fact.
and see for yourself.
I find that, though I am lazy and do not much else, playing games is a thing
I can do just as good as anyone.
In Quenzars caverns, nearly each game is different.
You enter a number, all be it from 1 to 20000; hence the replay value.
Give it a go,
What, apart from lots of time, have you got to loos?
The Game world Bbs: A review
By Shannon Heisey
The login screen says it all: "Welcome to TnT's Game world. It's
Dynamite." It shows lit firecrackers at the edges of the screen.
At the bottom of the screen is the email address where anyone
logging on can reach the sysops in case they have a question.
The sysop of Game world, Tom Klaus, is making sure that his board
is dynamite. One of the ways he is doing this is by adding
accessible games. A game must be speech friendly, or able to be
read by a screen reader, to be able to be put on his board.
Tom became interested in the bulletin board thing when he
started visiting The Game land BBS, which is a multi-node bbs that people
from all over the country play games on regularly.
Once he started logging into Game land and playing some of
the games, he suggested improvements to the board to its
sysop, known as Swampy. Due to Tom's influence, Swampy got
the quick-logon feature up and running. Now people who ask
for it can get their profile set up in such a way that
everything they want is more easily accessible. On this
quick-logon menu, as well as the regular menu, is another
feature Tom asked for: a screen-reader-friendly menu.
Games are being added to it if they are accessible with
In July and August, Tom began to be interested in creating his own bbs,
using a dsl connection. After a couple of
months and many changes, the board now runs off of its own computer, a
Pentium 350 with 192 megs of ram and a mean DSL
connection, which ensures that the BBS experience is enjoyable. It has
ten nodes, which means that ten people can be on it at once. Later, Tom
plans to upgrade his board, with the intent of increasing resources on the
computer that will host it, making Game world run smoother.
You may be asking yourself, So how do you get on
Game world? The only thing you need is a piece of software called a
telnet client. Although Windows has
one built in, it can hardly be expected to act reliably, since it will
read the ansi characters such as umlauts and grave accents that show up. As
far as I know, only the internal and external dectalk, which are hardware
synthesizers, do not cause the screen reader to crash when entering Windows
telnet. With another telnet client such as teraterm, the umlauts and other
symbols are read, but it cuts out a lot of the other stuff that makes some
screen readers crash. Teraterm can be downloaded by going to the Jfw web
going to the application friendly
page, and then to the link that says "Download Teraterm."
Okay, that's enough of the technical details about telnet. Also, it
would help to make sure you have ansi.sys loaded into your config sys.
To access game world, go to your telnet client, be it Windows telnet, or
any telnet client you have, and in
the host name box, type the following:
When you log on for the first time, you will be asked for some
information such as the alias and password you would like to use, your email
address, the kind of system
You use, and whether or not you use ansi graphics. Just follow the
prompts and put in the information that is needed.
You will be asked to verify your information with the bbs, and then you
will be sent a validation code to the
email address you specified in the set-up of your
profile. This should happen relatively quickly. The bbs gave you a
password by this time, but it will now ask you
for a password that you will remember, and will tell you to keep it
Following is a list of all the games on game world and a little bit on
what they are like:
1. Dog world: You become a dog in this game, and fight creatures in
the alley. Your object is to
catch the evil dogcatcher. It is very similar to Legend of the Red Dragon,
2. Legend of the Red Dragon or LORD: This is a game in which you
fight creatures in the forest, win over Seth Able or Violet and other
the inn, and in the end, defeat the red dragon while mastering three
3. Clans: A game which involves strategy. The object of this game is
to make sure your clan becomes the richest.
4. Pimpwars: An adult game in which you are a pimp and try to get the
biggest number of
brothels. Nobody over 18 is allowed in this game.
5. Lord 250 Fights: This is Legend of the Red Dragon again, but with
250 forest fights, as
opposed to 100 fights.
6. Usurper: a strategy game based on the Star Trek universe.
7. Afghanistan 2002: A rated-X game created by the sysops of
Gameworld and the Gameland BBS as a joint effort. The object of the game is
to blow up Afghanistan. Along the way, you fight with creatures, do evil
deeds, and more.
8. Rancho Nevada, Rated X: a game in which you try to become the most
powerful person in Nevada. Since it is rated x, only people above 18 will be
9. Rancho Nevada: The G-rated version of Rancho Nevada.
10. Wild West: a game which is set in the Wild West.
11. Forces of Darkness: A game in which you warp to different
planets, and get enough money to fight the forces of darkness at the end.
12. Mo's Mud: a mudding game in which you fight a variety of
13. Lunatics: You are a patient in an asylum for the insane. Your
object is to try to escape.
14. Planets Teos: A game in which you try to take control of as many
planets as possible.
15. Death Masters: In this game, the object is to escape hell by
fighting with and killing a lot of monsters, and it definitely helps to be
16. Lord XXX Rated: Legend of the Red Dragon with XXX rated content.
Again, those who are
below 18 will not be allowed to play.
17. Baron Realms elite
18. the Arcadian Legends
19. Falcon's Honour
20. Falcon's Eye
these games have a similar theme. You have to have the biggest city and
crush the other empires.
21. Synchronet Blackjack: A game which comes with the Synchronet
software, which runs the board, and is speech friendly.
22. Dicewar: Another game which came with synchronet and is
the object is to try to get a higher score with the dice than your
23. Sorcery: the object is to knock down your opponent's health by
attacking them and the monsters they summon to protect them. You do this by
summoning monsters of your own and casting other spells.
24. Jedi: A game with a Star Wars theme. It may require you to
doctor your dictionary so that some punctuation is totally ignored.
25. Assassin: In this game, you learn to be an assassin and develop
26. Church Wars Rated XXX: In this game, you are the pastor of a
church. You can be righteous, neutral, or evil. You can recruit
members, get involved in scandals, and collect money. There appear to be
99 levels, and you get to each level by buying a church.
Again, no one under 18 will be allowed.
27. Armagedon: a game which is set in the end of the world.
28: Trade Wars Gold 2002: A game in which you trade your way to a bigger
the order of these games may be changing as Tom adds more to the
board. Among those coming soon are Door Mud and Ultimate Universe. To
reach Tom with any questions, please email him at
If you have any questions for
Swampy, email him at [email protected]. If you want to get
onto his board, just telnet over to:
If you want to see why Gameworld is dynamite, just telnet to:
I believe you will find that it's a
really decent set-up. If you have any problems with the board, the
sysop will get right on it. Just give it a try, and you might find that
it's your favourite game arcade along the
information superhighway. I know myself that it is the perfect place to
hang out at the end of a long day at work.
Answers to Puzzles:
Answers to Puzzles and Games
1. Not so long ago, I actually tested the helium balloon puzzle in our car
using our son's helium balloon. The balloon surprisingly floated in the
direction of the turn. That is, when we turned left, the balloon floated
left inside the car, even though the passengers were thrown to the right.
The reason for this is that, like the passengers, the air inside the car
also moves to the right, creating a higher air pressure in that direction.
Lighter than air balloons will tend to move from a high pressure area to a
lower pressure area.
2. No, I didn't try this one out, but the answer is that the level of the
water in the pool will drop. No again, It has nothing to do with the cannon
ball cracking the bottom of the pool. The logic is as follows. The water
should rise since the cannon ball displaces its volume in water, but since
the boat is lighter, the boat rises causing less displacement, and thereby
lowering the height of the water. The cannon ball is denser, and thereby
heavier than the water being displaced, and so the reduction in the boat's
weight causes the water to lower more than the cannon ball makes the pool's
3. I was quite attracted to this puzzle, and I don't think it has anything
to do with the metal pin the doctors left in my leg after my last ski
accident. When thinking about the magnetic rod, note that bar type magnets
have most of their magnetic attraction at the ends, leaving the centre of
the rod with almost no magnetic attraction. Arrange the rods so that they
are positioned like a capital T. If there is an attraction between the two
rods, the bottom rod is magnetized, otherwise, the rod across the top is the
4. If you like to keep your coffee as hot as possible, put the milk in
first. The greatest heat transfer occurs when the difference between the
hotter and cooler items are the greatest. Since the milk will be added in
any event, more heat will be lost to the surrounding air if the coffee is
hotter, and so add the milk immediately.
If you like these physics type puzzles, let me know, I have lots more where
these come from. If you don't, let me know what kind of puzzles you do like.
I will use this information to decide what to include in future issues. You
can contact me at:
I can be reached in three ways. The easiest is via my Sympatico E-mail
My e-mail address is as follows:
You can also call me via telephone. I have voicemail, so you can leave a
message if you fail to catch me at home and off-line. I'll do my best to
return calls, but won't accept collect calls. My number is as follows:
Alternatively, you may correspond with me on 3.5-inch disks,
provided you be sure to send them in returnable disk-mailers. I don't have
the money to pay for postage. My mailing address is:
5787 Montevideo Road
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Postal code: L5N 2L5
This information is valid until we move into our new apartment in May. After
this point, I will still have a Yahoo E-mail account at:
Items can still be sent to the postal address above.
Adam Taylor, star of Adam, The Immortal Gamer, and our resident ADOM guru,
can be reached three ways. You can send him e-mail at:
Or, you can check out his homepage on the web:
His page is dedicated to providing help, cheats and solutions to many games.
Send him a request, and he'll do his best to find what you need. He also has
sections on ADOM and Nethack available. Also,
you can download the magazine from his page.
Finally, if you wish to contact him at home, his address is: 3082
Canada L5N 3L1
Jay Pellis is an avid fan of graphical adventures and console games. For
those of you wondering which Sega or Nintendo games are at all enjoyable to
the blind, he's the one to turn to. He can be contacted at:
Justin Fegel 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
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:
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:
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
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:
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:
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:
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:
Brenda Green is the new co moderator. Her efforts on behalf of the Audyssey
community are very much appreciated. She can be contacted at:
Randy Hammer conducts an ongoing search for worth-while mainstream games
that can be enjoyed by blind players with sighted assistance. He will also
review commercial games and shareware produced specifically for the blind,
such as that from ESP Softworks, PCS, and eventually, Zform. He can be
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: