Audyssey; Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 49: 4th quarter, 2006
Edited by Ron Schamerhorn
Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity
Welcome to this 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.
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.
>From The Editor
A decades accessible gaming
Here there be Dragons
News From Game Developers
Game Announcements and Reviews
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
>From the Editor
Here it is finally the holiday and 10th anniversary edition of Audyssey
magazine. It certainly has taken longer then I had hoped originally to get
things prepared, but I feel this has turned out to be a splendid issue for
one and all.
An advantage to this later release has been that the developer section is
not only larger, including some new names, but also includes notices about
holiday savings on some great accessible game titles.
Now that the switch has fully been made from Yahoogroups for both the
discussion and magazine only lists it's a good step forward for Audyssey.
If you haven't checked out the site
recently I'd encourage you to do so. It's now simple to view the archives
and follow a particular thread of conversation even if you aren't subscribed
to the main chatting list. Also as time goes on there will be other changes
and improvements to the site and suggestions would be welcome. Thanks Raul
for the time and effort on this undertaking.
I've tried to put a lot of good information into this one, so I'll wish
you all a wonderful and happy festive season! Catch you in the games and
Here we will have some posts taken from the gamers list They are ones
which I have found to be interesting or thought provoking.
Subject: [Audyssey] Audio Game Survey participants and play testers wanted
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
(by way of AudioGames.net, from MarkFrance)
I am looking for any blind or sighted people who are interested in audio
games, as well as audio game developers, to participate in a short survey.
Also I am currently developing a new survival horror audio game, if you are
interested in play testing it, please let me know.
The survey can be completed at: http://www.student.ljmu.ac.uk/cmpmfran
Find more info on the AudioGames.net forum:
Some of you may already have read the post about the questionnaire related
to this, but here's the full story:
Audio Game Maker: game building environment for the blind
The Bartiméus Accessibility foundation has announced the development of
Audio Game Maker, an application which enables visually impaired people to
make their own computer games. A first prototype of the application is
scheduled to be released in Feburary of 2007.
Audio Game Maker aims to increase the number of computer games for the
visually impaired, since very few accessible computer games exist. Many
visually impaired players want to create their own games but give up when
confronted with programming difficulties and other technical issues.
Creative players manage to modify existing games with their own recorded
sounds in order to make 'new' games. Despite these efforts, there is a huge
demand for an accessible tool that enables visually impaired people to make
Audio Game Maker aims to be a solution for this problem by offering a simple
and accessible game building environment. Audio Game Maker is part of
project Game Accessibility, a series of activities conducted by the
Bartiméus Accessibility foundation in order to improve the accessibility of
computer games for players with impairments. Accessibility has been
researching the accessibility of computer games over the past few years, and
participated in the development of two games for the blind: Drive, an audio
racing game, and Demor, a location-based audio-augmented reality game.
For more information, please visit http://www.game-accessibility.com
So far there are 2 accessible games around the theme of Christmas
produced. Both of them are really nice games, but its sad that both of
them feature the negative side of Santa Claus. These 2 games are Toy
Robbery from L-Works, and Bobby's Revenge from BSC games. IN the one
game the boy wants to kill Santa Claus, and in the other game the boy
wants to steal Santa Claus' presents. Don't you think that children will
learn to be naughty through these games? Say for instance a child is naughty
and he doesn't deserve any presents for
Christmas, by playing these games will it also teach him to do a similar
thing towards the persons in his family, or friends who are Santa Claus?
I think when developing games around the theme of Santa Claus, the focus
should be shifted more positively. Like the suggestion I mentioned to
Liam about the ape, protecting presents from harm.
Its just upbuilding criticism I would like to share.
A game can be developed for example where Santa Claus runs around,
giving presents. You must be quick to catch him to get a present. Each
time you catch him you get a present. A game could be developed where
Santa Claus is riding on his sleigh, each time you catch him on his
sleigh he gives you a present. It can also be a game where the
sleigh goes from left to right and if you miss him, if he gets off the
screen, then you loose the game. Just like Bobby's
Revenge, but the focus is shifted more positively,each time you catch
him on his sleigh you get a present; instead of trying to shoot him
because you were naughty, not deserving a present.
Then what about the game "Santa Claus is Back" by Code Factory
"Giftanum" by XLStudios (not available anymore
Don't worry no one is going to moderate you for giving an honest
opinion. I felt you expressed yourself quite well.
Now, as to the games you have a point a majority of the time the
Christmas games out there are negative in nature. I am not just talking
accessible games, but mainstream games as well. Many times they have
themes of robbing Santa, shooting Santa, or something else along those
lines. I guess the reason is that mankind has a downright mean streak in us,
there is something fun about beating up on Saint Nick. As far as if it
really effects how people in reality act, psychologists and interest
groups have been arguing over that point for years. It seams if someone
buys a violent game, and kills someone later the psychologists and others
want to blame the game or violent contents for persons x behavior.
Personally, I disagree, and feel a person still has a choice, and if you
do the crime pay the time.
I am basing this on my own mental state, and that is not the general
public. I love war games allot, but that doesn't mean I'd really like to
take up arms and fight, or kill people for real.
This is just a discussion thread about one of my favorite audio games, a
little gem we like to call Shades of Doom. I've beaten it on all five
difficulty levels (yes, even It's a good day to die), and throughout my
experiences with the game I noticed some similarities between SOD and a few
novels I've had the pleasure of reading. Fair warning, those who haven't
beaten SOD may wish to skip this. I won't be spoiling the actual ending to
the game but there may be some spoilers nonetheless.
Perhaps the biggest thing I noticed was that, once the experiment is shut
down, any enemies left in or outside the bosses' lair die instantly. This
rang a bell in my mind that brought to mind a novel by Mr. Dean Koontz
entitled _Midnight, which was a story about a research project seemingly
similar to the one in SOD, though not conducted by the military. This
experiment involved the injection of microcomputers into a living host's
bloodstream, a nanobot that would enhance human mental power and enable them
to change form pretty much at will. However either something went wrong with
the experiment itself or the subjects' make-ups didn't agree with it. Those
"converted" tended to regress to lower forms rather than evolve to higher
ones, usually with deadly results. The mastermind behind this experiment was
a man named Thomas Shaddock who, as a precaution in case one of his
creatures turned against him, wore a small device that was perpetually
linked to Son, the project's supercomputer. This device monitored Shaddock's
pulse and would, if this signal were lost, transmit a message back to Son,
which would in turn send a signal to the nanobots inside all the Converted
Ones, triggering a chain reaction that killed them instantly. I would assume
that the masterminds behind the experiment in SOD would have put a similar
safety measure in place in case the experiment went wrong. That way a person
would simply have to shut down the machine to prevent the outbreak from
So here's the big question. What does everybody think? I posted this to
GMA Games Talk a while back but the traffic over there seems to be extremely
light these days. I guess we can call this the SOD Theories and Ideas
thread, since that's basically what my intention was in creating it.
Ugh, that's scary! Speaking of mutant humans, and mutant dogs, I wonder how
big they are. I picture mutant dogs to be smaller than mutant humans, since
they require less ammo to subdue them, whereas mutant humans require a
little more. I wonder if the boss is the biggest monster there is, or if
it's the temporal disturbance? I picture the gelatinous blob to be the size
of a Jell-O log, I wonder what it's shaped like? Yucko! Not to be getting
off the subject, but I wonder sometimes about some rooms I go into while
playing SOD, and there's an annoying noise like some equipment. I have to
shoot it and blow it up just to concentrate. Plus, there's the fan room
on level one, and if you shoot it while you're really close it can
kill you. I just wait till I open the door at the end, and if a mutant human
or dog comes, I'll shoot, and it blows up the fan and possibly kills the
monster. I'm not saying it always works, but it shuts the fan up. Plus, I
don't understand the part of level one that has an opening in the floor. Why
is there a hole in the floor? I know that if you pull the sewer cover on
level five, then there'll be a hole in the floor, and you'll hear the water
sound on level six which means you're close to the sewage system. Also, why
does the crate on level three have a gelatinous blob? Why can't it have
equipment, like weapons, ammunition, or maybe a proximity or timed mine?
I think to constructively discuss this matter we need to come up with a
common definition for accessible and playable. One does not necessarily
mean the other is true.
To me personally accessible means that I can grab that PS2 game, pop it
in the machine, I can play it without having someone tell me what sound
x means, use the menus without having to memorise them, or have to have
someone teach me the menus. In other words the day I buy the game I can
play it without sighted help.
To me playable means it might be accessible but even if it is not 100%
accessible I can memorise the menus, sounds, and so forth and one day be
able to play it on my own after I memorise the game.
Let's play the game of assume for a second. Let's assume we whiped out
your memory of how the menus are laid out and what all the sounds mean
for a given game. Ok, how are you going to access those menus. Will you
fumble around relearning those menus on your own,or ask a sighted person
to tell you the layout, because at that very second they are usable, but
not accessible since you don't have those menus memorised.
In fact, one wonders how you learned them in the first place. You can't
tell me you baught your PS2 and the first day automaticly without
training knew every single menu by memory. You had to have some trial
and error, and perhaps some outside help to learn them.
I don't mean this as an argument, but I consider the games in which the
menus can be memorized to be just as accessible as the ones with spoken
menus. Sure it takes a bit longer for that accessibility to happen, but
doesn't change the fact that we can pretty much play these games
Just my thoughts.
The above thread went on for a few days on list, and it's always an
interesting discussion to see the variety of points of view when it comes to
the word accessible, and what it means to different people.
A Decade's Accessible Gaming:
An Old Editor's Anniversary Observations
By Michael Feir
I find it hard to believe that ten years have now passed since I published
the very first Audyssey Magazine during July of 1996. It's a lot easier to
swallow when considered in terms of accessible games progress. We've come a
very long way indeed. Text was the only medium that was widely known about
when it came to computerized fun for blind people. There were a few
relatively crude sound-based games around which served more to agonize the
player with untapped possibilities than anything else. If only they were in
stereo sound! If only more sounds could be played at a time! If only. I was
deeply involved in two epic games. My yearning for adventure and randomness
was being well served by Fallthru. I could get lost for hours in its vast
territory filled with dungeons, peasants, warriors and demons. Jigsaw also
held me in its brilliant story of history, morality and destiny. Each of
these games had a profound influence on me and I can only hope that these
older text-based games are not passed by entirely by newcomers in favor of
the auditory games we have now.
At this point, things are certainly in very good shape. We have a multitude
of sound-based games covering pretty much all genres. Sports games are still
by far the most rare. One of the most exciting areas that has just started
to be explored is the possibility of real-time strategy games. Galaxy
Rangers certainly demonstrates that such games are possible using sound. The
final level in GMA Games's GMA Tank Commander also offers a rudimentary
real-time strategy experience. I very much look forward to future attempts
in that area. The sidescroller genre could certainly stand further
exploration. That type of game just lends itself beautifully to being
translated into stereo sound.
The ground work has now been done in pretty much every genre of accessible
game. I believe we've reached a critical mass of accessible games. This
should mean that there is at least one accessible game of interest to any
potential blind gamer. We've particularly seen growth in the puzzle genre
lately. Another very positive development has been an increase in the number
of free accessible games available. I was absolutely astounded when
Topspeed2 emerged as the first multi-player racing game. I was certain that
a commercial developer would come through for all those salivating racing
fans first. Not only can people race each other but they can also race
against computer-controlled cars. The folks at Playing in the Dark certainly
cheered up a whole lot of us with their product late last year. Spoonbill
Software has also cranked out a variety of puzzle and card games. The
quality and attention to detail is very commendable indeed. Even a
non-card/puzzle fan like myself can appreciate these games for the labors of
love they clearly are. Jim Kitchen has been pumping out free games since the
very beginning and has produced some real treasures over the years. My
personal favorite is his version of Pong. Who would have thought that such a
simple game could be so very addictive.
I believe it is vital to the success of all commercial developers that a
number of completely free full games are made available. This allows less
fortunate people an entry point into accessible gaming and may encourage
some to try commercial demos and potentially make the necessary investment.
This is particularly the case with such high unemployment and low awareness
of what access technology can do to enrich the personal lives of blind
people. Games make an excellent way of learning about and getting
comfortable with computers. I'm surprised that interactive fiction, largely
produced as freeware, hasn't been used more by educators and/or those
wishing to promote reading or Braille. Most text adventures ought to work
flawlessly with a Braille display and I can't think of a more tempting way
to get youngsters to read than letting them be an active part in the story.
Despite the difficulties posed, I very much hope we also see an increase in
companies taking All inPlay's approach of designing games with graphics and
sound so that blind and sighted people can play. This area holds a lot of
promise for building bridges. Terraformers garnered accessible gaming an
immense awareness boost. I hope Pin Interactive is working on further
titles. The fact that All inPlay has survived for as long as it has speaks
eloquently of the steady demand for accessible games. Personally, I hope
they eventually take a stab at a multi-player action game as they originally
intended. They've certainly got the community building part down solidly.
Clearly, the next big frontier for accessible gaming is multi-player
sound-based action/strategy games. Board games playable over the Internet
will likely appear relatively soon seeing as VipGamesZone and All inPlay
have laid the groundwork there. It will be interesting to see how successful
results divide up between free and commercial products. As to more intense
action-oriented games, they could emerge from pretty much any of the better
established companies. It is most unfortunate that BSC Games had to give up
on its initial attempt in this untapped sphere of gaming experience.
Actually completing such a game, even a comparatively simple one, will take
extreme effort, skill and dedication. However, there's definitely a growing
hunger for such experiences and I have every confidence that successful
developers will be rewarded if pricing is kept reasonable.
Piracy is unfortunately always going to be a serious issue for commercial
accessible game companies. One danger which I very much hope can be avoided
is the erosion of the rights of legitimate purchasers of games. Some
developers still give registration keys which you can use on any computer.
This is basically the equivalent of purchasing a game in a store. You get a
full copy which you can transfer and keep backup copies of as you please. As
long as you have the registration key, you're all set. It doesn't matter
what happens to the company. The game you bought is yours forever. These
days, more companies are using online registration. This forces purchasers
to decide which computer they want to have the game playable on. Most
developers are quite willing to make special arrangements in such
circumstances as long as the customer has established a degree of trust.
However, there's also the issue of lost registration keys or unanticipated
computer problems and upgrades. Either of these can suddenly render one's
registration useless. Again, as long as developers come up with a reasonable
approach, things ought to be fine. Should piracy increase drastically, I
fear that the pendulum will swing too far towards product security and
customers will in effect be paying to have a game only so long as things are
fine with his/her computer. Shane R. Munro warned of this growing trend in
the mainstream world of digital entertainment in a recent episode of
Retrogaming Radio. Thankfully, we have the fact that compassion drives
pretty much all accessible game developers. This should allow the consumer
to come out on top.
The trend towards having demos only be useable for a certain number of days
is in my opinion a losing strategy. Producing a demo which remains
functional but limits game play or time gives people more reason to keep
demos on their computers and show them to others. These games which simply
stop altogether after days or weeks are completely removed and do nothing
for the developer besides prevent their users from getting a small amount of
free entertainment. I offer my own circumstances as an example of what I
mean here. As you read this, I'm likely either on my way to or enjoying a
vacation at the Lake Joseph Centre. This is a resort specially set up for
blind people. Assuming the week I've chosen is a busy one, there are likely
to be something like fifty to a hundred blind or visually impaired people.
There are plenty of opportunities for me to show accessible games. Rainy
days, evenings where people don't choose to partake in scheduled events,
etc, all present opportunities for me to set up my laptop and let people
have a go at a game of interest to them. They may hear me play an accessible
game and have their interest aroused. Blind people visiting other blind
people might see a similar opportunity to let a guest try a demo they kept
on their system. Word of mouth is a force powerful enough in the blind
community to make or break businesses catering to its members' needs.
Very slowly, a body of articles and coverage of accessible games is building
up in the mainstream. Sites such as the BBC, CBC, NPR, Wired, and many
others have published articles or broadcast segments of general interest
shows about accessible games. There may very well eventually be a non-blind
market for these games due to their sheer novelty. Demos can also be loaded
and kept ready on computers belonging to schools, institutions, guide dog
schools, access training centers, or the computers of new recipients of
access technology. These make a fine introduction to accessible gaming as
well as computers in general. I hope more developers choose to have less
restrictive demos in future.
In closing, I'll take this opportunity to wish all Audyssey readers new and
old a very happy tenth anniversary this Summer. Please make certain that I
can look back on another ten years by stepping up to the plate and
contributing your talent to the community. Write articles and reviews.
Produce audio reviews or demonstrations of your favorite games. Help
developers make better games by taking opportunities to help test games in
development. If you have a good acting voice and aren't afraid to use it,
contact the various developers. They may have a use for you. I plan to keep
being an ambassador for accessible games. I will contribute to, promote and
represent the blind gaming community to the best of my ability for as long
as I'm able. Ron has done a fantastic job keeping Audyssey going. Give him
the materials and he'll continue to work his magic making a whole issue
greater than the sum of its parts. That, afterall, is the editor's job. We
can only work with what we're given or can bring to the table ourselves. If
enough of us step up and do our part, we have a very fun future to look
Creator and former Editor of Audyssey Magazine
E-mail: [email protected]
A Day in the life of a game developer
By Phil Vlasak
+ This was from awhile back but I'll bet while developing Sarah and the
Castle of Witchcraft & Wizardry it might still be accurate *grin*.
6:00 wake up.
quick trip to bathroom shower, get dressed, talk to wife, make coffee, eat
7:00 walk dog, feed dog, walk dog again.
7:20 pour second cup of coffee, check email.
8:00 talk to wife, say goodbye as she leaves the house to go shopping.
8:15 pour third cup of coffee, finish reading and answering email.
8:30 answer phone, appointment with dentist tomorrow.
8:35 back to computer and finally check list of things to do in new game.
9:00 Write new function and compile program to test it out.
9:03 find new function doesn't work, so try changing it.
9:10 While testing function find another bug and add it to the list.
9:15 answer phone, driver to take me to dentist office.
9:20 back to computer room check new function where left off.
9:22 dog wants to go out again.
9:30 wash breakfast dishes and put them away.
9:45 bathroom break.
10:00 wife back from shopping, Braille can goods and put cold and frozen
items in fridge.
10:30 dog throws up on bed, strip bed and put sheets in washing machine.
11:00 make bed with new sheets.
11:15 take blanket out to dry on line.
11:00 dog wants to walk again.
11:30 make lunch and talk to wife.
12:15 wash lunch dishes and take out garbage.
12:30 bring blanket in from line and put on bed.
12:45 check answering machine for customer call but turns out to be phone
company that we don't use.
12:50 check email.
1:10 go on Internet and order sound effect cd's.
1:20 forget password to look at Amazon account.
2:00 after searching computer for password, go through procedure to get new
2:15 finish order and get ready to start programming again.
2:17 dog spots postal carrier delivering mail.
2:20 get mail and run it through scanner.
2:50 finish reading mail and shred junk mail.
3:00 check email and answer some messages.
3:15 dog needs to be walked.
3:30 get back to computer and start working on editing sound effect.
4:00 feed dog and walk dog again.
4:30 visit bathroom, prepare dinner and eat, talk to wife, wash dishes and
take out garbage.
5:30 watch news on TV.
6:00 walk dog again.
6:15 get back to computer, back up work on second hard drive.
6:30 read email, answer messages.
6:45 take garbage bags out to street.
7:00 Check out new game on web, download game and try it out.
8:00 walk dog again.
8:15 turn on talking book machine and read another chapter with wife.
9:00 watch TV show with wife.
10:00 get back on computer, read email and answer messages.
10:20 try another version of game function but realize you are too tired to
10:30 make cup of tea, play another game to wake you up.
10:45 decide to stop programming for the day, leave computer room.
10:50 walk dog, lock doors for night.
11:00 watch news on TV.
11:30 visit bathroom, change clothes, go to bed with wife.
11:45 dog jumps on bed curls up and goes to sleep.
Here there be Dragons
By Ron Schamerhorn
The parchment makes a quiet yet distinct rustling sound as it's unrolled
revealing the lay of the land. At first glance it is easy to identify the
regions which are nearest your location. Over time these areas have become
like old friends, familiar and always welcoming to you during your ongoing
journey. The names you read written by a skilled cartographer's hand stand
out among those you have heard talk of. Surprisingly there is a section
with an all too well-known legend "Here There Be Dragons".
I believe this to be an apt description of editing Audyssey. By no means
am I trying to show any negative connotations with it. More so I view
editing as embarking on an adventure, each publication having a rhythm and
unique quality all it's own.
To highlight this point I'll briefly mention about this issue. When
putting it together, initially I was concerned with how many reviews and
announcements I had to use in the section. Fortunately I had saved, and
forgotten about a couple until they had been revisited when going through
the magazine folder where I keep the submissions I receive. Obviously I was
pleasantly surprised when I made this discovery, and as it turns out that
part of the magazine developed quite well.
One other item I have some worry about and it's two-fold is the editing
itself. Primarily because, and my friends and family could back me on this
claim, I was by no means the best student in English class. Naturally who
would wish to put their name on something they wrote if it ended up being
horrible? I know my grammer and such isn't the greatest at times, but I'm
not ashamed either. I like thinking of my position as editing Audyssey, not
writing the magazine. I do enjoy being creative in an article such as this
or giving my opinions on a game in a review, and plan to keep doing just
that. I try my best and take it with a few grains of salt.
The second part has a good remmody and typically I don't worry about this
as much. It's contributions for the next issue. It's a mantra "I never can
have enough." Granted I think the ones I have been at the helm of have been
good, as editor you can't help but ponder the question of "Will I get enough
submissions for the next Audyssey?" Fate has up to this point been with me.
I've felt each magazine was a worthwhile endeavour. And with written
material from you, the reader, Audyssey will continue to flourish!
On other fronts I've recently been playing Sryth, the age of Ikthean. It's
a free [or optional membership at a fantastic price] online role playing
game. To sum it up in a few words you create a character, equip him/her
with various weapons, armour, magic items, and such. You then embark on
adventures throughout Sryth. There are several cities and event adventures
you can undertake. Like clearing the goblins from the caves near Hawklore,
closing a Shadow Gate underneath a monistary, and even one involving a
pumpkin patch. I've got two characters and have barely scratched the
surface of this game, and it's being added to all the time. In the next mag
I'm going to write a much more thorough review.
I find it somewhat funny to look back and remember a time when I knew
absolutely nothing about accessible games, not even text adventures! Now
just a few years later the realm of gaming has expanded for me drastically.
Including not only text adventures, but online play, audio games,
multi-player and more. The possibility of how far this goes is only limited
by the creativity of those excellent people we call developers. Long live
the devs! And they should, even though not every game is up my alley, I'm
only one person in an ever-growing community of players. What I may like
someone else might not, so it balances out nicely.
Perhaps one day I conceivably may write a game even. I do have an idea or
two floating around. What I'm unsure about is both the learning curve and
if programming would be of enough interest to me. I'm glad to have the
express editions of VB and C# [freely available from Microsoft] and I
suppose the next step is to boldly go and find some samples of code and/or
novice books telling me how to program. Though to an extent one need not
completely learn from the ground up as GMA's game engine can be licenced,
not to mention of a couple other companies doing similar applications for
future game creators.
I've totally enjoyed being part of this expanding community over the past
years. I'm ever ready to talk games with whoever and wherever I have such
an opportunity. One will be forthcoming as I'll be getting a new Guide Dog
early in 2007. I'll have to make up some cd's with Audyssey, some demo
games to show others, and hopefully add new voices to the call of let the
News from developers
News from All In Play
Nov 20, 2006
Greetings from All inPlay,
Whether you're warming yourself by the fire or working on your tan in the
down under, we hope this finds you well and enjoying the start of this
We have some news that should further brighten your day. The All inPlay
Sale is back!
Right now, you can treat your best friends, your worst enemies, or even
to a year of All inPlay games for the reduced price of $59.95 for a year's
of play. Is there someone new you're dying to introduce to the All inPlay
Maybe you'd like to surprise someone you haven't heard from in a while?
it easy with the All inPlay gift subscription. Here's how it works:
Log into your All inPlay account and select the All inPlay Store link from
your My Home page.
Follow the instructions to purchase a gift membership.
Send the lucky (or unlucky) recipient of your gift an email with the gift
code you will receive upon purchase. You can either forward the special
email we send you, or create your own. The recipient can then either log
into an existing account or
create a new account and redeem
their gift. Important: Don't redeem the gift from your account, unless
you're planning to give yourself a gift.
It's that simple.
If you have any problems during the process, you can give us a call at (413)
585-9690 between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. U.S. eastern time and we'll be
to help you.
We hope you enjoy being a part of the All inPlay community as much as we
enjoy bringing it to you.
The All inPlay Team
Nov 20, 2006
On the 6th we bounced a new table layout by everyone. It received, overall,
strong support. It incorporates several key features:
1. Practice tables with bots - In addition to their normal role, these
tables can serve as a *fun* waiting room. If you're low on chips and no one
a low-stakes table, you can hang here and have fun while waiting for someone
else to show up. Then you two can move off to a table together.
2. Low chip-count friendly tables - For folks under 5k, there are 3
different types of low stakes tables, each with CAPs. These caps ensure a
field for people regardless of their chip-count.
3. Mid stakes - for people between high stakes and low stakes, the new
30-chip ante tables offer a safe place to play before competing with all
4. Tons of high stakes tables.
5. A speed for all players.
So this new table layout is going beta. That means that it will be live on
the server, but likely to change in the near future based on your input. We
may need more of some tables, fewer of others, different caps, maybe a high
stakes fixed-limit table or two, etc. Only testing it live will show us
changes are needed.
So please check out the new tables and send in your feedback. Thanks!
Paul and Jeremie
News from Azabat Software
Oct 1, 2006
Bowing to public pressure, I've produced a SAPI version of my accessible
Backgammon and put it in the download section of my website:
It's a commercial product and will sell for 10 pounds (18 US dollars) but
you can download it and try it out a little for free then buy a registration
code if you want to play the full game.
I'd be grateful for comments and feedback. If it's successful I may do the
same for some of my other games.
Just to let people know that I've slashed 20% off the retail price of my
games. Full details at www.azabat.co.uk
News from BSC Games
The holidays are here and discount savings are jingling over at BSC Games!
Save 20% off of our popular titles troopanum 2.0, pipe 2 blast chamber, and
hunter... offer expires December 15!
Don't forget that you can conveniently order any of our games as a gift for
a friend or family member by using our email a gift service. You can read
about our email a gift service when you go to place an order for any game.
Happy holidays from bsc games.
Visit us on the web at:
News from Draconis Entertainment
Nov 28, 2006
We have lots of news to get through, so let's get started!
Throughout the month of December, Draconis Entertainment will be
offering a variety of holiday savings. Check back at our site often to
find out what's available at great low prices for that special someone
on your Christmas list!
new Free Game
Old Man Stanley's back . and this time, he's decided to make a little
extra money to offset the cost of rebuilding his house by playing Santa
Claus at the local department
store . But the stress of all the little brats and then having his house
destroyed by a miniature wrecking ball has proven too much for him .
when his assistant elf starts to mouth off . well, he just can't take it
Draconis Entertainment wishes all a merry Christmas with the release of
a modified version of our classic ESP WhoopAss game. You can download
Christmas WhoopAss from the Freebies section of our Download Center.
We've updated ESP Pinball Xtreme to version 1.2.6. This version corrects
some problems that could arise when registering or playing the demo
version of the game under specific circumstances. We recommend that you
download and install this update, but it is not absolutely necessary
unless you experience problems with registration. ESP Pinball Xtreme
V1.2.6 can be downloaded from our Download Center.
Please install and varify that you have the latest version before
requesting technical support for any of our titles. Up to date version
numbers are listed in both the Products and Download Center sections of
our web site.
Keeping Up to Date with Draconis
As development continues on several projects, we've made it easier to
keep up with the news here at Draconis. In addition to a new and
searchable format for our news archives, you may now subscribe to one of
our two RSS news feeds.
We are now offering a Draconis News feed, as well as a Cinema Citadel
feed. Subscribe to these for instant notifications of when these
sections of our site are updated. For
an explanation of news feeds and how to use them, visit
We recommend using Mozilla Firefox's
Live Bookmarks for the easiest access to news feeds, but there are many
other feed readers and browsers which also support this technology. To
download Firefox, visit
Sarah and the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Draconis Entertainment will be distributing the game, "Sarah and the
Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry," for PCS Games. Se the PCS press
release for more information on this new great title, from the creators
of Ten Pin Alley and PacMan Talks.
From everyone here at Draconis, we wish you a safe and festive holiday
"Feel the Power...wield the magic..."
Nov 24, 2006
It's the biggest shopping weekend of the year! And here at Draconis is
no exception! We're please to announce the second of our series of
holiday sales. Save 20% on our popular titles Alien Outback, DynaMan,
and Pinball Party Pack, Vol. 1, from now until 12/December/2006. Happy
holidays from Draconis Entertainment.
Visit us on the web at
Nov 10, 2006
Just in time for the holidays! Check out the 20% savings at the Draconis
Shop on our popular game titles ESP Pinball Classic, ESP Pinball Xtreme,
and Monkey Business. This sale will only run until December 5, so don't
delay! Visit us at
News from Dragon Slayer Games
Nov 26, 2006
If you don't know about this, I'd like to take the time to inform you about
Dragon Slayer Games, my semi-new audio games development team.
We started in December of 2005 and produced a few very simple games over the
span of about 4 months. After a computer crash and a busy summer on my part,
DSG closed for a while. Then in September or October of this year, we
Reopened. I had been working on some bigger and more complex games for about
a month before the launch of the website. Now, a month later, we have
brought some interesting games to the accessible gaming comunity.
We specialize in fantasy games(currently mostly rpgs). We have two rpgs out:
Elemental Battle and Dragon Warrior. Each is set in a prehistoric/midievil
time and both include battling to the top and improving your stats.
The story, in short, for Dragon Warrior is:
You are a well accomplished young fighter with the task of becoming the next
Dragon Warrior. To do this, you must fight your way up the ranks in the
arena of legends, until you become top ranked. All Dragon Warriors have
dragons, so you can buy one of your own and train, feed, heal, work with,
and bet on it! You can also buy potions and better your weaponry to help
your chances at completing your quest.
The story for Elemental Battle goes like this:
Billions of years ago, the world was ruled by the people of the 4 elements:
water, fire, earth, and wind. You, like any other elemental warrior, want to
achieve top rank. To do this, you must kill other elements and elements of
your own clan to achieve higher clan rank. You can bolster your attacks with
weapons purchased from the weapon shop. There is also an armor shop, a magic
shop, and a bakery.
We also have a number of smaller games: Destroy the Castle, a realtime
Game. Dueling Swords, fight against your friend or the computer in strategic
turnbased swordfights, and War, the classic card game of War designed for
We also have an audio game in development called Dangerous Waters. For more
information, visit us at
News from Kitchen's Inc
Nov 2, 2006
I have put a new file up on my web site.
File name wingcfs2.exe file size 86k bytes
70 new golf courses
The file can be found on the free windows text to speech games page.
Beer doesn't make you fat, it makes you lean.
Oct 20, 2006
I have put two new files up on my site. The files are
winmbfs1.exe file size 74k bytes
18 new Monopoly boards which are: A christmas Carol, Broadway Musicals,
Candy Land, Disney Parks, Disney, E T, Halloween Village, Its a Wonderful
Life, los Vegas, North Pole, Pirates of the Caribbean, Princess Bride,
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Simpsons, Spooky Town, Super Mario Brothers,
The Wizard of Oz, Twilight Zone
wingcfs1.exe file size 66k bytes
10 new golf courses which are: 3 of a kind, 69 on the mind, Exeter and
Country Club rating 75, from the hood to the woods rating 65, gold coast
country club, phils fans fun course rating 78, Pussle Club rating 73,
spookie greens rating 66,Stepney Green mini hole rating 45,The Crazy
Insanity rating 73
Both files can be found on my free windows text to speech games page.
Enjoy and BFN
I have found that nothing written in fine print is ever good news.
Chardon Ohio USA
News from LWorks
Nov 17, 2006
Here is the latest news from LWorks.
Judgment Day release date announced:
Our latest game Judgment day now has a definite release date. The game will
be released December 8th. The game retails for $25 and more info as well as
an audio demonstration can be found on the Judgment Day Page at
it is the year 2015, and the world is at war. This war has been the most
catastrophic to humanity. Two powers are fighting for control. The allies
and a group of nations calling themselves The Supreme Evil. Little is known
this group and it's motives, but one thing is clear. This group has advanced
weaponry. Over several months, the Allies have been slowly destroyed by
strange and lethal weaponry. The commander of the Supreme Evil known as
Supreme Commander Ather has quickly dispatched several countrys in the span
of a few
months. In one last effort to retain any hope, the allies have gathered all
their forces in one area. A defensive station was built, and plans were made
to finally lay the Supreme evil to rest. However, this task may prove to be
harder than one thinks, and this is where you come in. Your job is to fend
off the group of The Supreme Evil's forces, as well as deal With supreme
You command the only allied defensive post left. Your job is to fend off the
enemies. Compared to the Supreme evil, your weapons are primative. However,
they can be effective. You are given a machine gun with unlimitted shells, a
supply of rockets, and a small supply of sky clearing nukes. Your crew will
do their best to keep the base undamaged. If there's no damage, they may
even find time to replentish your nukes and rockets if you're running low.
the game will include.
. 10 levels of play plus a boss level where you get to take on Supreme
commander Ather himself
. 3 levels of difficulty
. a trophy system allowing you to earn awards for performing certain tasks
in the game
. 4 unlockable bonus levels
. an unlockable ending for collecting enough trophys
. an unlockable ultra difficulty setting
. online score support to post your scores to all bonus games and difficulty
. and more!
Preordering for Judgment Day:
If for what ever reason you want to purchase the game earlier at a reduced
price, this is totally possible. LWorks will start offering the ability to
purchase a preordered version of Judgment Day from the store at some point
this weekend. The benefit to buying earlier is that you will be the very
first to receive a download of the game as soon as it is released. Beat the
rush when it comes to downloading. Also, the game retails for $25, but if
you buy early, we'll knock 20 percent off the normal purchase price. I
understand there are some misgivings when it comes to preordering. Lworks
will insure that on December 8, there is a completed and bug free copy of
Judgment day for you to play.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write to
msn and Email:
News from Mardy Productions
Hello to all,
I want to tell you about the newest Mardy-Production, a Computer-Game
Mississippi is a trading simulation which starts in 1770 in the wild west
of good old America. One day you receive a letter, that your uncle who's
in America has died and bequeaths you his whole estate. That means 50
square meters of stockroom, 1000 dollars and 50 grain. After that you decide
jump at this chance. You leave your old home and emigrate to the new world.
You have to buy and sell your goods, build kontors in several towns, build
wagons, and earn money. If you are good enough at least you will be
president of America. But, as in real life, there is good and bad news,
some for yourself, some for all players. E.g. you can win a lot of money, or
all your wagons could not leave your HQ and so you won't get goods for this
You can play the game with 5 persons. And, that's a very interesting fact,
you can play it with sighted people together.
There is alot of music, and most of the news is spoken. The game itself is
self-voicing, so you need a screenreader to play it. We have tested it with
Window-Eyes and JAWS and it works properly. If not, feel free to ask, and we
will see what we can do in the code to solve problems.
The game is shareware, so you can test it for yourself, if you will have fun
with the game.
You can download this game here:
Mardy - Andrea Mackowiak
Email: [email protected]
News from PCs Games.
Nov 28, 2006
It's finished! So hard to believe. You outline, and you record funny sounds,
and you write and rewrite the code until it works, and edit and rewrite and
stress and eat chocolates and rewrite and scream, "Will this game EVER be
And then one day it is.
"No, no that's not possible. I'm not ready for it to be finished," you say.
I wonder if this is how parents feel when their children go off to college?
I've worked on the castle starting from the ground floor up to the top of
the towers, and when I finished the
Owlery it was done!
I used wet toilet paper to simulate owl droppings.
I dropped M and Ems in a glass fruit bowl to simulate giant hour glasses
filled with Gems.
I've used dry wood branches to simulate small animal bones.
Now its in the hands of my beta testers and will soon be available for
When I finished the public beta last December, I didn't realize it would
take eleven months to make the changes and develop all the suggestions that
came my way. But I did it.
Sarah and the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is very close to being
released. I've removed most of the synthesized voice of Sarah and have
replaced them with a human voice. I've fixed several bugs and added many
features suggested by testers.
The Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry transports Sarah into a world of
corridors and secret passageways. she travels all through the floors
searching for magical items, fighting creepy creatures knowing at any
minute, disaster may strike.
Take a trip to the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry and pay a visit to the
ghost's Deathday party in the dungeon, pop into the kitchen for a chat with
the sometimes helpful Dobby; go out for a spot of spelunking in the chamber
of secrets, gasp in awe at the speed of the golden snitch while flying above
the Quidditch pitch; pick up plenty of coins to buy sweets at the sweet
shop; spend some time in the library learning new spells; and finally, try
to hide from the cranky caretaker.
Always remember - the malevolent Dementors may not be what they seem!
Sarah and the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a fantasy castle game, is
inspired by JK Rowling's books.
I can not set a specific date for release but I am confident that it will be
within the next two weeks, perfect for a Christmas gift. After the game is
released you can download and try out the demo level and for $31.95 US,
purchase a registration product key that will unlock all of the other levels
of the castle.
The game will be sold and Distributed by Draconis Entertainment from their
shop web site.
As an added bonus, for those reading this far, you will be the first to know
about this special offer.
Anyone purchasing the game from the day of release until the end of the 2006
year will be put into a raffle for a magic wand. This is the officially
licensed Deluxe wand with light and sound. It is motion activated, has 3
magical movie sounds and lights up. A must have for any true fan! Requires
AA batteries, included.
You can find out what is in store at PCS Games by going to the PCS web site
If you have any questions, E-mail Phil Vlasak,
We make games that tickle your ears.
News from Spoonbill Software
Ian Humphreys from Spoonbill Software here. You are receiving this email
because you have previously requested a Blind gamers game. This is to
the release of Blind gamers Boggle 1.0 - BG Boggle for short.
BG Boggle is the accessible version of the popular word game where you make
as many words as you can from the sixteen letter cubes arranged in a four by
four grid. It is suitable for both blind and visually impaired players, and
like all Spoonbill games in the Blind gamers series, it is self-voicing.
With BG Boggle, you can generate random games, or enter a game manually.
Manual entry is useful if you are playing with a sighted friend who is using
regular Boggle set. You can also save your game to resume later.
If you would like to try a copy of BG Boggle, just email me at:
If you do not want to be informed of future Blind gamers releases, let me
know and I will remove you from my mailing list.
Albany, Western Australia.
News From USA Games Entertainment
Nov. 29, 2006
There is allot happening for USA Games customers and supporters this
holiday season. We have a couple of releases coming up as well as a
completely new and improved web site going up. So read on to get the scoop.
Star Trek Final Conflict
At last after two years of development, testing, and many setbacks we
are happy to announce STFC 1.0 is nearly complete and is ready for final
release. As most of you know the code was lost for this title, but I
managed to sort through my betas and found one stable enough to release
to the general public. There will be a few miner bugs and snags in 1.0,
but for the most part it is stable and ready to ship. All that really
needs doing is finishing the users guide, rebuild the installer, and
post it on the web site for download.
As many of you may have heard this 1.0 final release will be released as
free ware. There will be no charge for the full release, and among the
changes is the full version of the game, support for DirectX 9.0C 2006,
Microsoft .NET 2.0, and uses InnoSetup 5 for installation.
Although, we know the game will be released between now and Christmas we
aren't prepared to set a specific day and time. More information will be
announced on the Audyssey mailing list, the USA Games mailing list, or
our web site
when the announcement is ready to be given.
I'm aware many of you will be interested in venturing in to temple 2.
However, I've not been able to complete that level do to time.
I do have plans to update Montezuma's Revenge with support for .NET
Framework 2, a new manual, and other miner bug fixes, changes, and updates.
More information will be announced as the release is nearer to completion.
USA Games Web Site
As mentioned before the USA Games web site
is undergoing a major upgrade. It is not certain when the new site is
going to be launched, but we do intend to upgrade this month.
Many of the new changes will include a slightly new look and feel to the
web site. For those interested we have dropped the split frame view and
have decided to switch to a more traditional table layout for our site
navigation section. We feel not only is this a bit more accessible I am
told the appearance of the site looks better by having two rows of
organized links along the top and bottom of each page.
In addition we will be adding more to our download center besides our
own games. We will have links to download the latest Ubuntu Linux
installation disks, links for other third party software, and we will
eventually be putting up links to other places as well.
This is likely to be an ongoing project through December, and probably
on into 2007. However, when done USA Games will have more content, and
be more than just a place holder for our games and projects.
At this point we do not plan to discuss all the changes we will be doing
to the site, but when it is launched we will certainly let you know.
Nov 9, 2006 [snipped from an earlier update]
I know many of you are no doubt wondering what is happening with USA
Games, how progress is going both in my personal and professional life.
I intend to give a full progress report here on our projects, plans, and
As many of you know allot is going on in my personal life. For example,
my wife and I are attempting to relocate, but haven't yet found anything
that looks promising as far as our future housing. In addition, my wife
has taken on some day classes to improve her education, and that has
left me in charge of watching my two year old son for a larger amount of
the day. The end result both activities have reduced my time to join in
list discussions, and even less time to spend on USA Games ongoing
development projects. Never-the-less work is still going forward, but at
a much slower and reduced rate.
Before I get into the news about our titles I would like to share some
general news of what we at USA Games are doing to help speed up
development time. In fact, we feel this will probably become our primary
method or mode of development in the future.
A couple of months back a woman brought in a laptop for my dad to
repair. It was an Averatec 6200 notebook computer which was a 2004/2005
mottle. Pretty current all things considered. Apparently the woman's son
had dropped the laptop breaking the 15 inch wide-screen display, and not
to mention her family had totally trashed the Windows XP install. Well,
after finding out how much it would cost to fully repair the laptop she
decided to sell it to me for a fraction of what it was worth in working
order, and went out and purchased a new system. Fine by me since I am
able to repair the notebook myself saving myself huge savings in the
Over this past week I have reformated the notebooks drive, installed
Windows XP Pro, acquired the official drivers cd from Averatec for this
laptop, and purchased some used parts off of Ebay to repair the laptop
with. When done this laptop will become my portible development station
for working on USA Games projects. Not to mention all the extras this
system has. Here is a look at the laptop when it is fully restored to
My new laptop is an Averatec 6200 series notebook. It has a 2.4 Athelon
XP processor, 512 MB ram, 60 GB hard drive, four USB 2.0 ports, 56K
modem, both a wireless and standard network card, a dvd/cd burner, a
firewire port, a touchpad, AC97 audio, and of course a 15 inch
wide-screen display. One of the really cool things about this laptop is
that there are buttons on the front of the unit which allows you to play
dvd movies directly in the computer as a portable dvd movie player
without having to boot in to Windows XP. Simply press eject on the
drive, insert dvd, put it in, push play on the front of the unit and you
have a 15 inch wide-screen portible dvd player. Pretty slick.
In addition, to the hardware I am upgrading the software on the system
mainly to my own personal taistes. The unit came with Windows XP Home,
but I am putting on Windows XP Pro instead with service pack 2. I Am
also placing on there Visual Studeo .NET 2005, Window Eyes 5.5,
Microsoft Office, Goldwave 5, Quicken 2006, Nero 6, and will be
multibooting the system with Ubuntu Linux 6.10. All and all once I am
done reparing and restoring the system back in to working order this
laptop is going to be my primary development computer.
I have two other computers besides this new laptop, but my old laptop is
starting to show it's age. I have given that one to my wife to use for
her photos, games, and whatever and will use my new laptop for work and
play. My desktop system is pretty close to the specs of the new laptop,
but unfortunately it isn't very portible. I often used my desktop, since
it was the better computer, for working on USA Games stuff, but I am
away from home so much I never had the stuff with me when I was away.
Now, with a laptop equal to , and actually better than my desktop PC I can
take all the USA Games projects, real work, games, and anything else
along wherever I go.
As most of you know a couple of weeks ago I mentioned beginning an open
source Asteroids project written in C#.NET to teach gamers the art of
game programming using a classic Atari game as an example. This project
is doing quite well. I have been working on a sample engine framework
for the game in which all of you can use in your future game titles. In
fact, I may use the new framework myself as I made sure to do strict
error checking, and I am taking pains to be careful and debug the
framework so that those of you newbies won't make to many mistakes based
on my own blunders and or errors. As a result the new classes I wrote for
the Asteroids game are better than my own framework files which I wrote
a long long time ago without going back and making the changes I am
doing now for Asteroids. What you will get with Asteroids is a set of
classes that should be stable and a good starting point for writing new
You will first get the USA Games Audio Class. This class file contains
higher-end functions which will allow you to quickly open, close,
position, etc up to 99 DirectX DirectSound buffers. In addition the
Audio class allows you to load files in to speech buffers for speech
playback to self-voice your games.
Next you will get the USA Games Formula class. This class contains many
common math formulas you will need to write games. Most of the functions
thus far in this class are Algebra/Trig functions. This engine framework
file is used to calculate a 2d trig based game. You will have
calculations to calculate the distance between to objects, be able to
calculate next x/y coordinates, calculate percentages, randonly select
numbers, and other related type formulas and functions.
You will also recieve the World class. The World class is a class
containing a 2D array. In short a special structure which can be used to
hold the location of every object or item in the game and can easily be
accessed using the provided Encounter, Add, and Remove functions I put
in to the class. This class is especially handy for drawing mazes like
you might find in Montezuma's Revenge.
In games like Asteroids the world class is an easy way to detect if your
next x/y position will land you head long in to an Asteroid, blackhole,
Star, or similar hazard.
Over all, the framework being used in open source Asteroids can be used
over and over again in new projects. What stuff that can't be used over
again is a working example of what you might do to make your own next title.
In addition, to code Asteroids is going to be a better-than-average
clone of the classic arcade game. The sound effects and music are
expected to be as cool as I can make them, and I am adding some other
random elements like extra flying saucers, space worms, and other
enemies and dangers which were not present in the 1979 classic.
President of USA Games Entertainment
News From VIP Gameszone
Nov 28, 2006
Hot Holiday gift from VIPgameszone (software for the blind and visually
impaired people)! New game package "Super sport" is available for
download now. There are 2 new games in this package.
"Beach Volleyball" is a sports game. It will simulate Beach Volleyball with
"Funny bowling" is not a simulator of real bowling. We've designed
special rules for this game to make it more accessible and more fun.
Each game has natural human voices and multiplayer features. Please visit
to download and try these new games.
Game Announcements and Reviews:
Below are some of the new games available. Though an old treasure or
two may be discussed also. It's noteworthy that in some cases it's only
an announcement of a game, taken from the email list, and may not be a
full review, or an official notice from the developer. 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.
Azabat software game reviews
A Look at Azabat Software Games
Commercially available from:
All games fully accessible without sighted assistance
Reviewed by Michael Feir
When I returned from my week away at Lake Joseph this Summer, I was so well
rested and rejuvenated that I couldn't sleep. Over in the UK, a large
blindness convention called Sight Village had taken place during that week.
I had followed the exciting launch of the free Thunder screen reader while
on vacation but hadn't had time to investigate any other developments. I did
so that insanely early morning with the help of Google and couldn't believe
it when I stumbled across a site on the Web talking about an accessible
version of Backgammon. Early in Audyssey's history, we had a contest running
sponsored by an American woman who was an absolute Backgammon fanatic.
Sadly, none of the developers known to us at the time produced an accessible
version of that game. The contest eventually closed. My personal excitement
at having at last found a developer who offered an accessible version of
Backgammon was therefore tempered by my inability to contact her and share
the terrific news.
In 2005, Steve Crawford began working on accessible games. He has a very
different target market and philosophy than the majority of current
developers. Simply put, he's looking out for the absolute novice user who
isn't necessarily up to complicated installation and registration. There are
currently four collections of games designed to run straight off CDs that
you just stick in your drive. No registration is required either. More
skilful users may copy the games to their hard drives and keep their CDs
ready as backup. In this era of increasingly tenuous game ownership where
games are tied to the computers they're first installed on, this is an
absolute breath of fresh air. Once you buy a collection of games, you
actually <gasp> own them! They're yours for life! If your current computer
goes belly-up suddenly and you have to get a new one or reformat from
scratch, you can just stick in the game collection CD and bleed off some of
that stress playing Backgammon or Scrazabat. You don't have to worry about
that registration key you failed to back up or convincing the developer that
you genuinely need or deserve a fresh product code for your new/reformatted
computer. Some developers charge fees for such replacement codes. To be fair
about this, the developers who use more stringent security are quite
reasonable in such matters where unusual circumstances exist. A short delay
is likely all customers will have to worry about while their record is
One of the first things I did in my contact letter to him was to try to give
him an idea of the lay of the land in terms of what such seemingly high
prices and no copy protection would lead to. Even with very strong
countermeasures, piracy is a definite problem in the accessible games
industry. His response to this was quite surprising. We have here a very
kind and thoughtful man who is genuinely determined to put the customer's
rights and experience first. I fervently hope that the blind community at
large rewards his generosity by purchasing his games legally rather than
sharing them illegally. As a relative newcomer to accessible game
development, he's been learning some unpleasant lessons over the past months
that I have been in communication with him. He's eager for customer feedback
and addresses issues quite quickly. I've already received several updates to
the strategy games collection which I view as his absolute best work to
date. If you're not impressed by his other offerings, be certain to read my
remarks about the fourth volume. He has also lowered his prices by twenty
With the preamble out of the way, lets get right down to the games.
Inserting an Azabat Software CD into your drive will normally bring up a
fully self-voicing menu which lets you choose among the various games. I
have to qualify that because some people might run into some trouble if
their firewalls prevent programs from running each other without having
first received permition. My laptop is protected by the Sunbelt Software
firewall which behaves like that. The first time you run the menu and/or
each of the games, you might want to keep your screen reader loaded so that
you can deal with any firewall issues. None of the games access the Internet
at all. Assuming normal running circumstances, you should disable your
screen reader before inserting the CD. You won't need it until you've
finished playing. The games all speak using the same easily understandable
female voice. There's no way to alter the speed of that voice and this might
prove annoying for more veteran gamers. However, having a slower voice can
be a bit help to novices who normally wouldn't take the plunge and try
All games use a number of standard keys. The f1 key is the gateway to a
game's online help. Hitting f1 will cycle through one or more sections of
instructions which are read aloud. The f12 key is always used to quit a game
and return you to the menu of the collection of games being used. The f9 and
f8 keys are used to start new one or two-player games respectively. Other
keys are used as required. Everything is quite easy to grasp leaving people
free to enjoy mastering the actual games rather than the interface. Even
complete computer novices shouldn't find anything too taxing.
Each of the four volumes has a particular theme. The first volume contains
an assortment of
games which are "easy to play". These are Blackjack, Yahtzee, Klondike and
Connect Four. Right from the word "go", we run into one of the main concerns
I have with what Mr. Crawford brings to the table. In many cases, you're
paying for games which can easily be had from the Internet for free. Without
even trying, I can point you to Jim Kitchen and Spoonbill Software where you
can get excellent and even superior alternatives to three of the four games.
I'll use Yahtzee as an unfortunate illustration of what I'm talking about
here. The Azabat version is certainly done well. I didn't encounter any
bugs. It is a single player game which plays the standard version of
Yahtzee. There are minimal sound effects mainly consisting of dice rolling.
Both versions offer easy interfaces although Azabat's interface is
definitely more simplified. Jim Kitchen's version of Yahtzee offers the
ability for multiple players and also offers the ability to play double and
triple variants of Yahtzee. Other than the slightly simpler interface and
much easier installation, it's hard to see experienced gamers being very
happy having paid for Azabat's version of Yahtzee when it's compared with
Jim Kitchen's free one. This same kind of thing holds true for other similar
situations where free alternatives are out there. There are definitely
people who will be served well by Azabat's hallmark simplicity. They just
don't think they have the time it would take to learn to handle
installations and other such things. It's also good to be able to use these
games on anybody's computer and have no accessibility issues or security
limitations to worry about whatsoever. As I said before, that is a major
plus in my book. Schools, senior centers, and other places serving many
blind or visually impaired clients should definitely consider purchasing
these games. Also, keep in mind that some alternatives there are for totally
blind people won't be as suitable for visually impaired people since they
won't necessarily have graphics. Spoonbill Software definitely includes
graphics. However, Jim Kitchen's games are made strictly for blind people.
Therefore, if you're dealing with situations where there are sighted
participants, Azabat Software's work may be better suited than others for
Most collections have at least one game which hasn't been done by anybody
else either as freeware or commercially. In the case of Volume I, that game
is Connect Four. The game is quite well done and lets you play against the
computer. I surmise that this was one of Mr. Crawford's first efforts at
making board games accessible as it doesn't offer the ability to play a
two-player game. Other than that shortcoming, I didn't find anything else to
criticize about Connect Four. The interface is as simple as it gets. There
aren't any sound effects except the sound of the counters being dropped into
place. However, in this case, it's hard to think of other sounds which
should have been there. Some background music may have been nice but that's
about the only frill I can think of for this game which might have been
included but wasn't. There are three levels of difficulty which adds some
additional replay value to this title. Another bonus is that the difficulty
automatically adjusts depending on whether you win or lose a game. This will
doubtless be appreciated by novices who won't have to think about the
difficulty level but should still be challenged according to their perceived
ability. This one game certainly isn't worth the price of the whole
collection. However, you can also buy single games at a lower price. People
keenly interested in having an accessible version of Connect Four should
consider buying it. It's too bad there's no two-player option. Due to this,
others will likely find the bang not worth the buck.
The theme of volume II is word games. You have six in that collection and
five of them have no free alternatives. There are, of course, several
Hangman versions available. Azabat's rendition is certainly no slouch coming
with a large dictionary to draw words from. However, it offers absolutely
nothing over other free renditions. Countdown is a simple game where you
draw up to nine letters which can be either consonants or vowels and then
try to find the longest word possible with those letters in as little time
as possible. The computer will find numerous words and you can hear them
after you've done your best. You can read over the letters with the left and
right cursor keys. However, you can't either type in words you've thought of
or rearrange the letters to find words. You have to do all that sort of work
in your head. Another game in this collection, Numbercrunch, suffers from a
similar kind of problem. You have to reach a target number by using other
numbers. While you can review the numbers, you can't perform operations on
them except in your own head. After you've done your best, the computer can
let you hear a solution that it found using the numbers chosen. This lack of
interactivity leaves the games feeling very thin. Target fairs a lot better
as you can type in words as you find them. It also times you. Different
levels of difficulty presents you with increasingly harder target numbers of
words to reach. Wordsmiths ought to be pleased overall with this collection.
You shouldn't run into repeat words very often at all and the games are put
together well. However, there are no atmospheric bells and whistles. That's
another aspect of Azabat games which veterans of other accessible offerings
will likely find disappointing. Particularly with games like Backgammon or
other games commonly played in social environments. A lot of room exists for
creative sonic ambience, background music and so-on. Frills like that can
lend a degree of weight to the player's overall experience. As a comparable
example of this, check out GMA Games's free version of Minesweeper. The
exact same game as you'll find in the next volume of Azabat games, but the
presentation gives Mr. Greenwood's free version far greater urgency and
Volume III is the grid games volume. It includes Sudocu, Memory, Battleship
and UXB which is an accessible version of Minesweeper. This collection
suffers the most from the "available for free" problem. Versions of all four
games are available free on the Internet. As
with the first volume, the free versions are as good or better than the
Azabat versions. Again, I'll clarify that it isn't due to a lack of quality
workmanship. It's more due to the makers of the freeware games caring very
passionately about their creations and doing commercial-quality work. The
version of Sudocu is certainly one of the better ones. It allows you to save
puzzles and enter in your own puzzles or ones you find in newspapers. I had
no difficulty at all using the interface and encountered no bugs at all. I
just have no inclination or aptitude for actually solving those Sudocu
puzzles. If this inclination were to strike me one day, I have Spoonbill's
excellent free Sudocu, a free online version from Audiogames.net plus
Draconis's offering as an alternative commercial offering. Other than Space
Invaders-style games, I can't think of a game which has more quickly gone
from being inaccessible to there being almost too many accessible versions
out there to make any more commercially viable. There's a significant
qualitative difference between the free and commercial Space Invaders style
games. No such differentiation exists between free and commercial versions
of Sudocu. It's the exact same game. The Battleship game is similarly on par
with other free renditions of that game. You and the computer shoot three
times in a row which somewhat changes the feel of the game. Also, you don't
get to place your ships. That doesn't really make a bit of difference in the
game but people who enjoy placing their ships might not feel that they've
had a complete Battleship experience. The Minesweeper game is another
brain-blasting logic game which I don't personally favor. Having said that,
Steve offers all the bells and whistles like marking spots you're not
certain about and other such features. The trouble is that GMA Games's David
Greenwood has a freely available version which comes complete with sound
effects and is just as easy to use. Jim Kitchen's Concentration version and
Spoonbill's Sudocu are easily as good as Azabat's takes on the games and
they don't cost a cent. With money being as tight as it is in the blind
community, I find it very hard to imagine that many people couldn't just
take the small amount of time and effort to learn how to install and play
the free versions. Even the effort to find out about them is so minimal that
all a complete novice needs to save quite a chunk of change is a friend or
trainer with a little awareness, time, and patience.
And now we move out into brighter territory. I have high hopes for the
future of Azabat Software. This will no doubt surprise people who have read
this far into my Azabat overview. Again and again, I've had to point out how
free and often superior versions were available of much of Mr. Crawford's
work. Keep in mind that we're talking about a man who came completely new
into the whole area of accessible games. He simply wasn't aware about what
others had already accomplished prior to his arrival. Also, his focus was on
a very different target group who simply wouldn't be aware of the
competition. However, I've saved the best for last as you'll now see. These
hopes I have are founded largely on the excellent fourth volume which I'm
about to dissect for you. The fourth volume consists of strategy games. It
includes Backgammon, Dominos, Draughts also known as Checkers, and Scrazabat
which is an accessible version of Scrabble. Talk about an impressive group
of titles to nicely remedy the lack of good accessible computerized board
games! This collection is where Mr. Crawford's talents and attention to
detail shine through with a vengeance. There are no free or commercial
alternatives to any of the four titles here and I've seen request after
request for information on accessible versions of all of them. The only area
of weakness is in the area of extra frills and presentation. You often find
this in similar collections for sighted people. In Canadian dollars, you're
basically paying just under a hundred dollars for a collection of four games
when you throw in shipping. This is around $72 US according to Azabat's
handy currency conversion options on its price list. Frankly, for that kind
of money, I think people expect to get all the extras a developer can
conceive of. The comparison between production values and prices of other
very different accessible games is simply as unavoidable as it is somewhat
unfair. Making an arcade game accessible entails an entirely different set
of objectives and solutions to accessibility problems. As an example of how
this kind of thing breaks down, you can buy four titles from GMA Games for
$95 US. These four titles, for example, might be GMA Tank Commander, Shades
of Doom, Lone Wolf and Pacman Talks. These are some of the top game titles
out there. All four feature well-done sound work and lots of replay value.
However, they are, by nature, pretty much exclusively attractive to blind
people. Also, they have limited objectives. Small things such as the exact
placement of tanks change from game to game of Tank Commander. However, the
overall six missions don't change. Once you've beaten them, you're not going
to encounter anything truly unique within a subsequent game. Lone Wolf
doesn't suffer from this limitation as much since people can create new
missions. However, the point basically holds true. You have fantastic
presentation. Sounds and ambience put you right in the middle of what feels
like an epic adventure when you're really caught up in the game. After you
have completed the game once, going through it again just doesn't have the
same kind of thrill. You'll have fun and fresh moments, but you've already
had your cherry high. However, the action experience combined with the sound
artistry leaves you feeling fairly compensated for your cash. These games
exude that "larger than life" feel which leaves the gamer feeling satisfied.
What you get with the Azabat strategy games collection are four very well
done but basic versions of classic time-tested board games. There's just
the one female voice at one unadjustable speed along with minimal sounds.
All of them allow for one or two-player games between blind and/or sighted
players. Those who are after flashy sounds and pulse-pounding excitement
should definitely look elsewhere. There is no background music, alternative
AI-driven players with different styles, internet play capability, etc. If
you go in with the same high expectations that I had in terms of this sort
of thing, you might find yourself pretty disappointed. Take a step back
though and think things through as I had to. I promise it won't hurt. If
you're into more thoughtful slower-paced endlessly fresh play, you have come
to the right place. It's similar to purchasing an Infocom collection of text
adventures or one of the
new offerings from Malinche. Text adventures don't have the same endless
replay value but offer a similar kind of thrill to avid readers and
adventure-lovers. Outright game play which isn't propped up by sound and
music artistry are what's on tap here. Azabat's strategy games collection
gives those of us capable of making that mental leap a very rewarding
experience which can be shared even with our sighted visitors. Often, our
grandparents and elderly friends are left floundering about trying to grasp
the basic fundamentals of modern computer entertainment. These same people,
however, will be able to plunge right into a good game of Scrazabat,
Backgammon, Checkers or Dominoes. What these games lack in frills, they can
make up for in cultural significance and wide familiarity. Can you put a
price on the value this might have to families with blind members? That, I
think, is where Azabat games truly fill a niche which is largely untapped in
the accessible games market other than somewhat by Allinplay's accessible
Lets start with Checkers or Draughts. You can easily examine the board,
select and move pieces using the cursor and enter keys. There are six levels
of difficulty to choose from as players become more experienced. I can't
think of any way this game could have been done better. Everything you'd
expect in an accessible game of Checkers is right there for you. I mean,
would you really want noises of a children's party or cartoonish music
playing in the background? Would it add a ton to the actual game play
experience to have pieces sonically pounce on each other? You want the
actual game of Checkers in an accessible form and that's exactly what you
have. I picture a lot of parents, grandparents and children having quite a
bit of fun with this game. I have similar thoughts for Dominoes. It offers a
game of standard Dominoes for either one or two players. There are sounds
for dominoes being mixed, placed, and for when you have to knock and pass
your turn. The computer will give you lots of help. It tells you when
there's only one possible move and offers the ability to get hints by
pressing f2. You're also told when you or your opponent have three or fewer
dominoes remaining. A simple old-fashioned game done in a simple
straight-forward way. Your average senior citizen won't think it would be
easier to make a physical leap over their apartment rooftop than making the
mental leap to learn how to play a game of Dominoes with their blind
Scrazabat, an accessible version of Scrabble, is an absolute masterpiece. It
offers one or two-player games, has basic thirty-thousand word and advanced
hundred-thousand word dictionaries, can give recommendations to stuck single
players, and can zoom in on parts of the board for those with some useable
sight. Hard indeed to imagine how Scrabble could have been made more
accessible. There is certainly room for improvement here in terms of
atmospherics and options such as tournament facilities, optional time limits
on moves, more than two players and other such additions common to versions
of Scrabble for sighted computer users. However, these additions might be
viewed as daunting for some novices. Changing between the basic and advanced
dictionaries is done with the tab key. It's apparently possible to beet the
computer player since it doesn't look ahead more than the current best move.
Even English majors like me would be very hard-pressed to vanquish the
computer though. It's quite easy to examine the board and look for more
strategic options which take advantage of special squares.
Finally, we've arrived at my personal favorite. Backgammon is done in about
as perfect a manner as one could want in terms of accessibility. The points
on the board are numbered sequentially from one to twenty-four. You use the
left and right cursors to move between the points, the up and down cursor to
select the die you want to use when it's possible to use either die in a
location and the enter key to make a move. The space bar toggles between
providing three types of info. It will inform you which die values are still
useable during a move, where you or your opponent are vulnerable having only
one piece on a point, and how many pieces each player still has on the
board, on the bar, and born off. For me, Backgammon has just the right
balance between luck and skill to make it absolutely fascinating. The only
aspect to the basic game which isn't present is the doubling cube. I can see
how Mr. Crawford, attempting to keep things as uncomplicated as possible for
novices, reached his perfectly sensible conclusion not to include this.
However, more experienced players and the kind of enthusiasts for the game
that the woman who ran the contest in Audyssey was aren't going to like this
lack of the ability to play for points. I can still hear her voice in my
head going on about the doubling cube and how much it added to the game. For
the sake of completeness, facilities for playing for stakes and keeping
track of them should have been included. Along with differently focused AI
players and background soundscapes suitable to the game, I can't think of
anything else one would think should be included. It's a very nicely put
together implementation which plays a good single-player game. The
two-player capability provides for tremendous replay value and lets you
share the fun with those who are interested whether they are blind, visually
impaired or sighted.
Well everyone, there you have it. I hope this helps you make an informed
decision about Azabat Software's titles. While more experienced gamers like
myself might wish Mr. Crawford had directed his efforts more towards games
which hadn't already been done, newcomers to computers in general will
hopefully enjoy this stepping stone he provides into the realm of accessible
games. Advanced users who like word or strategy games should check out the
second and fourth volumes as these are by far the most rewarding in terms of
original games not done elsewhere. The fourth volume in particular offers
enough replay value to be well worth its price assuming you're not too
isolated from others and have people who'll enjoy playing against you. Even
purchased for play against the computer alone, the fourth volume would make
an excellent addition to a blind gamer's collection. Now that Mr. Crawford
has been introduced to the larger accessible games market, he has a far
clearer perspective. There's a lot of room for more original board games,
turn-based games with random and strategic elements, etc if he chooses to
pursue that route. These aims would certainly make good use of the skill
demonstrated so far. Alternatively, he may have as yet untapped audio skills
and surprise us all with a completely different kind of fun. Whatever the
case, he comes out of his first year with, I suspect, all the really hard
knocks behind him. I keenly look forward to seeing what he turns to next.
Creator and former Editor of Audyssey Magazine
E-mail: [email protected]
This came my way in an email awhile ago and it announces a free game
created by Jose Alvarez. This version offers some interesting differences
from the norm.
Dear Ron Schamerhorn,
I will like to publish the release of a free new game for blind persons in
next Audyssey magazine issue.
The game is called Tiflo 21, and is an inclusive version of the popular
blackjack card game.
The game can be played either in English or spanish.
The game contains graphics and is self voicing. The game is for Windows.
For more information and to download the latest version of the game, please
Thanks for your attention,
Jose M. Alvarez
Review by ? *my apologies as there was no name included*
Available commercially from Mithral Games for Windows
Game fully playable with no sighted assistance
Now for a more conventional Audyssey game review. I can still remember
trying out "Change Reaction" back several years ago. Unfortunately, I was
one of a small number of folks who actually found the game frustrating. I
figured it was difficult to navigate quickly around the game board and move
coins about on it. Subsequently, I'd thought about what it would be like if
a traditional Tetris-style puzzle game could be invented. The only options
I saw in doing this would be to have sound-emitting blocks continue to emit
sound even once they reach the bottom of the game board, which would,
needless to say, become odiously confusing. On the other hand, memory could
be used in place of repeated sound. I wasn't sure how feasible this was
until Mithril Games, based out of Poland, released just such a game this
summer. In "Haunted Factory", you control an assembly line which transfers
various types of packages. A package will start at the top of the screen
and emit a specific sound. It will begin moving down toward the end of the
conveyer belt which is the playing field. Your goal, as the assembly line
superintendant, is to move the package to the particular column on the
assembly line which you feel is most likely to help you earn large sums of
money, which represent a player's score in the game. You accomplish this by
pressing the left and right arrow keys on the keyboard. Like in "Tetris
Worlds" for the Play Station 2 (which happens to be a personal favorite of
my wife's), pressing the up arrow speeds up the motion of the conveyer belt,
thus propelling the package toward the end, where it will sit temporarily.
Not to worry, though. The people opposite you on the conveyer belt will
only load one package onto the conveyer belt at a time. When a package
reaches the bottom, one of two things will happen. If a package is in the
same column or row which is identical in type to the package currently in
play, the two will be wiped out and you will earn some money. If not, it
will remain on the belt until a mate is found for it.
As you can see, the game takes good memory and some deduction to be
successful, as the game is billed by the designers. One must remember what
types of packages are where on the conveyer belt. This can become
disorienting at times, as the belt may be four, five, or six columns in
width, and is seven rows deep. As if this were not enough, more difficult
game modes equals a more diverse and wider range of packets and a wider
conveyer belt. For instance, the trainee mode presents you with a
four-column assembly line and six types of packages to transfer. On the
"director" mode, the most difficult skill level I've unlocked, the line is
six columns wide and you are responsible for fifteen, count 'em, fifteen
different types of packages.
I make no jokes when I speak of "different" types of packages. One error
that Mithril Games made, in my not-so-professional opinion, is that to the
untrained or inexperienced ear, the possibility is not entirely remote that
one may confuse two or three package types with one another. One would have
to play the game to understand my meaning. Suffice it to say that some
packages do not sound diametrically different. I am only successful because
my ears are trained to distinguish fine shades of sound quality. This may
or may not be true for every user. This observance is neither in favor of
or opposed to other users. I simply believe it is the one thing Mithril
Games might have done a bit differently. As for unlocking difficulty
settings, it is actually rather easy to accomplish. One need only earn one
hundred dollars on any difficulty level except trainee to unlock a higher
difficulty mode. On the other hand, this is no easy feat in manager mode,
where you unlock director mode by earning one hundred dollars.
To spice things up a bit, you have a Mr. Slate-esque foreman who's never shy
about keeping you in line. Huh? Did.did you like that pun.was.was that
funny? Naw, it sucked, I'm sorry. Your foreman doesn't have time for
jokes, either, as you'll find out. Just brace yourself if you decide to
quit in the middle of a game. Even directors aren't immune to managerial
Okay, so it's not all shards and heedless words and Dante's Inferno. There's
always Bob the friendly ghost.or something. He's always one hundred percent
behind you, and in front of you, and beside you. I mean, he's a spirit, so.
Anyway, pause the game at some point and listen to his whacky stories. I
haven't checked any of them out, but if any of you wish to, simply press the
space bar for that. Press escape if you're bold enough to quit midstream.
Menu navigation in "Haunted Factory" is a bit nonconventional. I surmise
that part of this stems from the game's creation via the Klango development
application, which is still undergoing changes and improvements, but may be
available to beginning programmers in some months. One navigates the menu
by pressing the left and right arrows to highlight a menu option and by
pressing the enter key to select the highlighted option. The options are:
beginning of work, tutorial, training department, best workers, and founders
of the factory, with an option to the far right to exit. If you choose
beginning of work, you will be asked to select a skill setting. To start,
only trainee and stiff are available. The tutorial will unlock an audio
lecture about game play. The training department opens a submenu, with
introductory training, which is the same as the tutorial in the main menu,
directions for use, which is a guide to the game's controls, a sound index,
two options which describe various skill settings, and an option to return
to the main menu, one which is found on every submenu. The best workers is
fairly straightforward, listing high scores on the local machine. Founders
of the factory is a credits option which introduces you to the game's
creators. Or, you can exit altogether.
I would rate this game at nine out of ten. I find myself confronted by the
question whether one can really keep fifteen different package types in one's
head at once, and whether some will not be confused by certain packages.
Barring these two minor shortcomings, Haunted Factory serves as a stunning
puzzler for VI gamers, and certainly worth a look for those who are
interested. Gamers must be prepared to pay $22.90 for the game, however,
This game certainly forces the mind through a pretty challenging regiment,
and Mithril Games' staff is to be commended for a most brain-teasing trip
onto the macabre side of puzzle gaming.
Fantasy Golf Course
I've just started building a game on frappr maps. It's a fantasy golf course
game where you create your own course by choosing one hole from 18 real
courses. I have just created the space for people to come and play so this
is the first invitation to come and try it out. Create a free account to
join the map members and away you go.
Hope you'll help me build this fantasy golf game and make it a success.
Please spread the word too if you will.
I'm interested in the idea of maps as game facilities. Please share any
other ideas for maps too. I'd be interested.
Commercially available from
Reviewed by JOHN SNOWLING
You are Freddie. Your sister has been collecting information for a book.
At some point, she goes missing. It is up to you to solve the clues and
I enjoyed this game because it got you thinking.
The first time I played this game I was stuck on a particular part for
months until someone gave me a suggestion.
With this game, you need to listen to the clues very closely.
I also liked the attack scenes where you have to fight the witch, werewolf
The only down side to the game for me was the bug collecting, was a bit too
I would give this 8 out of 10 and can't wait for Chillingham 2.
GRISLY GULCH WESTERN EXTRAVAGANZA
Commercially available from
Reviewed by JOHN SNOWLING
You are in the town of Grisly Gulch. You can go to the saloon, play games,
and do bounty missions for the marshal.
Out of the two games from Bavisoft, this was my favourite.
It had plenty of twists and different story lines.
I found the shooting effects very realistic. There were times during the
robbery or shooting scenes nothing would happen for a couple of minutes then
it would happen all at once.
I'd give this 8 out of 10 as an audio game.
Net Systems Solutions have created two Hangman-games in Flash, which were
made accessible for screen reader and keyboard users using different
methods. Adobe (who recently took over Macromedia, the company that
developed Flash) encourages screen reader users to try these games to see
what people's reactions are to each of these versions. Please give these a
try, with a screen reader of your choice or with just the keyboard, and let
us know what you think. Response content will be shared for all to see on:
Here are the links to the two versions of the game:
Example 1.1: http://www.n-syst.com/hangman1.htm
Example 1.2: http://www.n-syst.com/Hangman2.html
Online poker sites
Yes, I brought this up some while ago, but I better tell you what sites I
have tried. I have tried them with Window-Eyes, and not JAWS.
With the help of the mouse keys I was able to sign up for a playMoney
I had difficulties selecting play money or real money tables.
Once I managed to select a table I could view the ongoing game. The cards
are shown as text on the table,I dont think that your own cards are shown
though. The cards are shown as 10C for ten of clubs, 8H for eight of hearts,
and so on.
There are hot keys for folding, calling, and raising. I was not able to take
a seat at the table either. I clicked on every graphic but with no luck.
it had to do with the fact that i was at a real money table.
They have keyboard shortcuts for most functions but Window-Eyes crashed with
their client, but it was some time since I tried it so maybe it will work
has no keyboard access so it's not possible to use.
Also, some of the installers are not accessible at all. I have tried a few
more but with simular results.
I really hope that someone else is interested in maybe testing and telling
us how it goes. I have also written to most of them, but their interest is
big. I have also posted to several online forums, and have recieved some
comments but nothing that makes it possible to play as of yet.
All the best and thanks,
Available online at www.popomundo.com
Just to let everyone know, I found this cool game, popomundo from
If you like Hattrick, it kind of has the same stuff VIP, etc, but
it's bands, and it's cool because unlike project rockstar [if anyone's
played that before], you don't just create a band. You have two
options. One, create a band. Be the actual band leader. Or, have your
friends sign up and join a band that they create. Either way, your
band needs members, and the members are actual players because in
this game you have a character and the best one, it doesn't reset so
all that hard work isn't lost at the end of the month.
In fact, the creaters of this game, apparently to people on wikipedia
are the same as Hattrick, and the summories of shows, concerts etc
are, well, not all that detailed, but they put different messages in
there so it's not just numbers, as the matches are detailed in
hattrick. The reports that is.
I've only seen one show, so I don't know. Perhaps they get even more
detailed as you progress through and get more fame.
So I like these two games both Hattrick and popomundo. Yeah I'm doing
a bit of comparing here between the two games, the forum layout is
the same, links are similar and the design of the popomundo website
is easier to navigate than hattricks.
So I play a character named Anthany Woodcock so if you search for me,
cool. i'm in a band called Bandage as well, so you can look us both
up. I say both because there's only two of us. So, if anyone wants to
join, we have slots open, though I won't get into much detail here,
just because I don't really wanna make this into a guide.
See you in the Popo world!
Games at asmodean.net
Raul Gallegos's website containing various audio reviews
I have an audio game page located at http://games.asmodean.net where I
talk about my favorite games which are mostly for blind people. In this
section under the game audio link there are many audio recordings of me
playing my favorite games. These recordings feature me by myself for the
most part but also occasionally feature my kids as well. Some are just
games that I've played whether I win or not. In those I just talk about
what ever comes to mind and maybe give a hint or three in the game.
Others are actual audio walkthroughs. I have the first 17 stock missions
of Lone Wolf available as well as walk throughs for Super Liam, and GMA
Tank commander arcade mode. Of course the Shades of Doom walkthrough I
did last year is still there.
Second part. I'd like to tell the gaming community about my son Tristian
who is now ten years old. He's been playing Troopanum from BSC games
since he was 6 and has gotten better and better. In the summer of 2006
he beat the game for the first time. I believe Justin from BSC games
said that Tristian is the youngest player he knows of who has beaten
Troopanum 1.6. The game he won was also recorded and is featured at my
Raul has been a member of the community for quite some time now, he
possesses a good knowledge of a variety of games. I encourage people to
take a look at the above mentioned section of Asmodean.net
OK, you can now download the game SelfDestruct here:
Freely available from pb-games
Reviewed by JOHN SNOWLING
This is the blind version of table tennis.
You have to get the ball into your opponent's goal to score two points while
if you hit the ball out of the table you give a point to your opponent.
At first when I downloaded this game, I couldn't play it for love or money.
After I'd heard a review from the Blind Cool Tech website, I began to play
the game and now get much enjoyment out of it.
I'd rate this game as 7 out of 10
Commercially available from Nintendo
A member of the AudioGames.net has submitted a nice review of SoundVoyager
on GameFAQs.com. You can read it here:
"Space Channel 5: Part 2"
Reviewed by Bryan McGucken
Game commercially available for the Play station 2 game console
Fully playable with almost no sighted assistance
In recent years, dancing simulations have enjoyed a good deal of success and
trendiness in the gaming community. Games such as "Dance Dance Revolution"
and "Bust a Groove" have enjoyed popularity with most gamers. I say most
because, unfortunately, these games rely heavily on a player's ability to
perform dance moves based on visual cues, such as arrows or the like.
Obviously, blind gamers would have a difficult time playing such games
without extensive sighted assistance, especially since rhythm and timing are
crucial. One must have fast reflexes and good hand-eye coordination to play
It should come as a pleasant surprise, therefore, that AgeTec, who is also
known for the "Armored Core" series of games, has produced a title for the
Play station 2 game console that, with a few easily remedied exceptions, is
fully playable with absolutely no sighted assistance. "Space Channel 5"
only cost me $8.99 used at Gamestop in the summer of 2005, two years after
it was released in North America. The game itself is actually a "special
edition" which collects the original game released for the Sega Dreamcast in
North America in June of 2000, itself not nearly as accessible, with Space
Channel 5: Part 2, the subject of this article. As if this weren't enough,
"Space Channel 5", unlike many dancing simulations, has an actual story
line, albeit one which is, at times, on the campy side. In "Space Channel
5", you play Ulala, voiced by live action anime sensation Apollo Smile,
just about the hippest fashion reporter this side of the Andromeda galaxy.
Our scantily clad heroin is, as it turns out, also one heck of a dancer. To
guide Ulala on her adventures are Fuse, played by Kerry Shale, who won't
hesitate to crack the whip if Ulala's dancing starts to flounder, and Noise,
played by Alan Marriott, always behind Ulala one hundred percent and with an
encouraging word every now and then. Throughout her adventures Ulala will
be joined by other goofy characters, and the player will alternately control
these at various points during the adventure.
In "Space Channel Five", the basic object is to have Ulala copy the dance
moves of her opponents. This is done using the four directions on the
directional pad of the Play station 2 controller, as well as the x and
circle keys, located on the bottom and right-hand portion of the diamond
formation of buttons on the right side of the controller, respectively.
Throughout the game, instructions of an audio nature are given to the player
about what buttons perform what functions. A dance sequence is performed,
with the directions spoken aloud, followed by a magical noise, and the
player repeats them. If she repeats all moves in a sequence without making
one mistake, a doorbell style sound is played and the next sequence is
started. If one or more mistakes are made in a sequence, a buzzing noise is
played, and the next sequence is initiated. If enough mistakes are made,
the player's game is over and she must choose to continue, restart the
level, or exit. She can do this in any event by pausing the game to bring
up the menu. For instance, when the player hears choo in a given sequence,
he can have Ulala perform that move by pressing the x button on the
controller. When the player hears hey, she presses the circle button. So,
for instance, if the player hears the sequence "left, right, left, right,
choo, choo, choo" she would repeat it with the sequence "left, right, left,
right, x, x, x".
That's not all, however. One has to perform these moves in the exact same
rhythm as they are performed by the opponent. The game makes use of
syncopation in many cases to challenge the player at repeating the rhythm.
Syncopation involves notes or sounds not exactly played on the beat.
Sometimes the rhythm can be oblique, in other words. Additionally, Ulala
has the chance to jam out on an electric guitar, play the drums in a jazz
number, and shout it out with Space Michael, played by a man who never quite
grew up. Then again, how many of the Jacksons ever grew up? As an example,
Ulala is challenged by rival reporter from channel 42 Pudding, played by
Larissa Murray, to a test of dueling guitars. Ulala must mimic Pudding's
licks, and the player helps her accomplish this by pressing down on the
directional pad in the same rhythm as that of Pudding. Suffice it to say it
takes a while to take Pudding down. The same rules apply to Ulala's dueling
drums test with Pine, or Texas as she will later be known, and her
shout-it-out contest with Space Michael.
There is one small issue in the game that is actually easily worked around.
The game, divided into six levels, or "reports" as the game refers to them,
has a few sections which would require visual acuity to play. Generally,
the rhythm sequences are spoken aloud, as are other additional instructions,
for the benefit of the player, who then repeats them on the controller. In
two parts of report five, however, the player is required, at least in part,
to perform sequences based on visual cues. These can be avoided by pausing
the game, holding down the R1 and R2 keys, and pressing, in order, circle,
triangle, and square keys. Triangle and square are located top and left on
the diamond formation, respectively. Resume game play, and Ulala will
perform the moves herself without input from the gamer. For those who are
not satisfied with this, a walkthrough of these sections is forthcoming.
Note that the visual elements occur in the first section of Report Five and
the last one, where one must distinguish the real president from the fakes.
The game has two modes, campaign mode and challenge mode. The campaign mode
is the default menu choice when the game starts. It is called "1 player
game", although the menus are not spoken aloud. Press down on the
directional pad twice to reach "1 player Ulala's dance", a challenge mode in
which the player must complete a set number of rhythm sequences without
making a single mistake. The campaign mode is more liberal in its margin
for error, but not by much. There is also an optional settings submenu, for
which interested players should seek sighted assistance. To access the main
menu, players should wait until they hear the phrase "ladies and gentlemen,
this is space channel five", and then press start. There is some
introductory audio at the beginning that may be heard or skipped by pressing
start. In the challenge mode, instructions are given because different
dance moves are performed that yet use some of the same buttons from the
Our story begins with Ulala delivering a report about an unidentified dance
troop. The troop turns out to be working for President Purge, who's bitter
about who-knows-what, but by golly he's gonna teach those humans how to
boogie! Yes, that's right kiddies, you have to dance President Purge to
death! As the game progresses, Ulala meets and interacts with many
different friends and foes, and some of the latter become her allies when
she defeats them in dancing tests. President Purge will develop a ballistic
groove gun, which he plans to use for universal domination. Ulala's not
about to let him pull it off. It's just too bad that the more she slugs it
out with Purge, the stronger he seems to become. The game ends with a final
showdown between Ulala and Purge and, you willing, she'll put him out of the
galaxy's misery once and for all. Okay, not really. You actually have to
play through six reports twice to win altogether. Your progress is
automatically saved if you have a memory card. To continue from the last
report you ended on, select the story mode, wait a few seconds, and press
left on the directional pad once to highlight the last report you left off
on. It will be useful to have a sighted friend calibrate the game to
automatically save progress to the memory card when you play the game for
the very first time.
Think you can dance, dance, dance your way to glory and into the hearts of
the galaxy's biggest Ulala groupies? If so, you'll see a whacky ending
where strange midgets parade across the screen to the unique, unparalleled
stylings of musical sensation Danny Ishio? Naw, I don't know who that is
either, but "This is My Happiness" is a really upbeat tune.
In the interest of full disclosure, SC5 has a fairly high learning curve,
especially if you're not a musician, even an amateur one like I am. Even I
had to work through a few sections of the game a few times myself to get the
hang of it. The game is brilliantly designed, and receives high praise, a
ten out of ten from me. There are even some quasi-ethical sections in the
game as well. For example, President Purge uses his kidnap victim,
President Peace, as a human shield during report four. The catch is that
the gamer must perform the opposite moves of her opponent to avoid hurting
President Peace. For example, "left, right, left, right" would be followed
by the user inputting "right, left, right, left". Folks, this game has
something for everyone. I'd highly recommend this game to anyone who's
always wanted to try a dancing simulation or likes a good, heartfelt story
line. In the end, there's one life lesson to be gleaned from the game:
never give up, no matter how hopeless things may seem. The music is, all
around, upbeat and catchy, even though some of it makes me feel like I'm
stuck in the seventies. The plot twists are unexpected in many cases, at
least the first time one plays the game. The game has some replay value,
although once you've played through the game, you've done all the move
sequences you'll ever perform, since they aren't random. This might prove
an interesting innovation if a sequel is released, as is currently rumored
and hinted at by the game's designer. Even considering this, the game is
still a challenge for me even now, and most of you will agree, I think. The
game is rated T for suggestive themes, but who's gonna notice? Okay, I
guess some of you will. *grin* The voice acting is goofy at times in the
anime sense, but well-done. All in all, if one can look past the sometimes
stilted dialogue, this game is definitely worth a look by novices and
hardcore gamers alike.
Freely available from pb-games
Reviewed by John Snowling
In this game, you have to pick up as many pieces of fruit as possible.
The only slight problem is that you have to avoid hitting the walls
otherwise, you will be destroyed.
This game is based on a mobile phone version that sighted players play. In
the sighted version, I am led to understand that every time you pick up
fruit or items you grow.
In this one, however, you move faster and as some of the fruits are close to
walls, you have to get the fruit without touching any walls.
I like this game because it does get very tense as it gets faster.
I'd rate this one 9 out of 10. Thanks to Pb-games for inventing this one.
Trade Wars®: Tournament Newsletter from Sylien Entertainment<?
Welcome to the first newsletter edition of our exciting new project, Trade
Wars®: Tournament. EIS and Sylien Entertainment have been working very hard
to get this far in developing a brand new graphical version of the 22 year
old classic. We will use this newsletter to give you news on any upcoming
project, promotions and interesting partnerships.
Want to be involved?
To start off, we are excited to tell you that we've created a new web site
where you will not only be privy to the most recent information on this game
and its development, but may also actually become involved in the
development itself. The Club's intent is to serve as a community of
who want to be involved in designing Sylien games including the new Trade
Wars® product, as well as being creative with their own projects, whether
musically, in development or design, as well as creating a space where
interesting partnerships can spawn freely.
The new site is called the <
Game Club and you're welcome to take a look by clicking on this link:
To celebrate our reaching this milestone, we've decided to give away some
free or reduced price Trade Wars®: Tournament registrations. Registration
would be handed out when we reach our next big milestone, which is when the
product is close to completion. This is a way to hold a registered copy at
reduced price (or totally free if you have your own TW2002 License key). It
is a limited time offer as we'll want this place to be dynamic and catering
to the member's whims.
>Check out our new site and let us know how we've done!
>Sylien Game Club Team
TWT Development news
Right now, Sylien is involved in creating a brand new video that will show
how Trade Wars®: Tournament will be played, full with graphics and drama
It will be posted first on the <
web site to get some advice and guidance from the registered members,
afterwards we will probably distribute it throughout the Internet to see
what other people might think of this "old" game remade. Sound cool? Wait
'till you see the game layout!
We are planning on releasing a first version of the game as soon as the
first quarter of 2007. If we can get it out sooner, we will, but we want
make sure the game works, is fun, and worth your valuable time to play. I'm
sure you will want to get in there and run a server or play a game with new
graphics and a brand new interface, just as we do, ASAP.
>After our initial work is done, we'll strive to provide options that you've
>never seen associated with Trade Wars® before, like wireless/handheld
access to games, a 2D MMOG casual aspect where you get to play around with
an Avatar inside StarDock (a famous Trade Wars space station), and play
ranked Tournament games as well. Lots of good stuff. But these will take a
few months to develop after the first bit is released.
The good news is that even though this product is commercial, we managed to
keep Trade Wars®: Tournament play and hosting of games FREE. You would only
pay for added value items, upgrades and services.
Thought you might like it.
On other news, you should be aware that Sylien Entertainment is not a
one-trick poney. Trade Wars®: Tournament is just the first product of a
products we have designed and have planned for release next year and beyond.
Plus, if we have sufficient input from the community through great game
ideas, proposals and a good success with this initial product, we might even
develop several other games within the next 12 months.
We have an original 3D MMOG in the pipeline as well as another completely
free to play and totally accessible product designed. We're also tinkering
a few other great ideas for the future.
The question we're asking ourselves is whether or not YOU will be involved
in our journey to success? How? As a player? Or as a designer,
artist, storywriter, partner? Everything is possible through the Sylien
Game Club and the other resources where you can connect with Sylien
Speak with you again next month where we will give you development news and
perhaps even show you a few things from Trade Wars®: Tournament development
as it unfolds.
Sylien Entertainment information guru
>From an earlier post regarding the Trade Wars, and the survey is still
available to fill out if you are interested.
Oct 14, 2006
This message is being sent to you on behalf of EIS Online the developers and
owners of Trade Wars 2002.
Dear Trade Wars fan,
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the original release of Trade Wars
(December, 1986), I am pleased to announce that I have reached an agreement
With Sylien Entertainment to develop a long-overdue graphical remake of this
classic game. But before we can proceed, we need your help. Because Trade
Wars is 20 years old, I have lost touch with all but a small percentage of
fanbase. Unless we can reach out to this fanbase and prove that interest in
Trade Wars still exists, we will be unable to secure the funding necessary
to complete this project.
To accomplish this, we are running a small survey to estimate the number of
people who have played or hosted Trade Wars over the years. By answering
this one-question survey, you will enable us to demonstrate the great
of a new Trade Wars project. Nothing else will be required of you, but if
you choose, you may request to receive a monthly Trade Wars newsletter with
updates on our progress. And if you really want to help out, you can
complete an optional, more extensive survey. We would love to learn more
experience with Trade Wars.
The survey is located at
For this effort to succeed, I need you to forward this email to anyone who
might be in contact with a past Trade Wars player or game host. Most of
them have been away from the game for many years, and this is our only hope
Thank you for helping us to update this classic game for a new generation of
John Pritchett, EIS
Top Speed 2
Please download the new Cars from the Vehicles folder. They are:
Ambulance.zip, Plane.zip, Prop.zip and Train.zip.
Here's a reminder on how to get to my ftp:
+Remember no passive mode on DJC's ftp, and it can also be accessed using
All material for inclusion in upcoming issues of Audyssey should be sent
to me at the following address:
1180 Dorval Dr. #303
Oakville On L6M 3G1
Or if you would rather email your contribution to me:
and to chat find me at
for Windows/MSN messenger only, no email to this one please.
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
This magazine is published on a quarterly basis, each issue appearing
no earlier than the fifteenth of the publication month for its quarter.
All submissions to be published in an issue must be in my possession a
minimum of two days before the issue is published. I use MS-Word to
produce Audyssey, and can therefore accept submissions in pretty much
any format. They may be sent either on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via
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
* 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. From now on, this is official policy
of the Audyssey community.
This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always remain
so. 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 cd or 3.5-inch disk in a self- addressed mailer if you want your
media returned to you. 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. If you can, I recommend that you send e-mail.
I can send and receive attachments with ease. This way, no money will
be wasted sending me a game I already have, and you'll get my reply
more quickly. You are responsible for shipping costs. That means,
either use a disk mailer which has your address on it, and is either
free matter for the blind, or is properly stamped. I can and will
gladly spare time to share games and my knowledge of them, but cannot
currently spare money above what I spend hunting for new games. I
encourage all my readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will
appreciate it. Up-load it onto web pages and bulletin board systems.
Copy it on disk for people, or print it out for sighted people who may
find it of value. The larger our community gets, the more
self-sustaining it will become.
Due to Audyssey now having it's own official domain
is where you can go to sign up for either of the two lists.
The magazine only list is just that. Extremely low traffic as all that
comes through it is issues as they are published.
The second list is the discussion list. This list can often be rather
high traffic as topics come up. Sometimes it's an announcement of a new
game title or discovery, and other times it can be discussing issues about
The former lists at Yahoo groups are going to be shortly discontinued.
The discussion list itself has been deleted. The archives are still
viewable and can be located from the Audyssey.org website. The magazine
only list [email protected]
Will also be deleted from the Yahoogroups site. I hope by including the
above information that this transfer to our own lists goes without any
snags. The discussion list has changed problem free and all is set up for
the magazine only distribution list as well.
I feel this is a step forward for the community as a whole.
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. 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. There are two moderators
keeping things civil and orderly. Be certain to read the Audyssey
Community Charter as all list members are expected to follow its rules.
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, go to the Audyssey.org site and follow the links.
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 our home-page. 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.
Darren Duff also provides a home for Audyssey.
Where the issues can be read, downloaded individually or one zip file
of all the issues. Thanks Darren!
Another location to find Audyssey current and back issues is
Thanks to Richard and those at Audio-games!
We extend our gratitude to Kelly Sapergia who has provided a place for all
the issues of the magazine. . You can find them at