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Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue :  53 1st quarter, 2008
Edited by Ron & Sylvia Schamerhorn
Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity


Welcome to the  53rd 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.
In this issue we have some great contributions from people discussing 
memories of Nintendo, game ambience, copyright issues and game development. 
Also the format of the magazine has been slightly changed, read below and 
see From the Editor for further details on what's happening.
Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Four plus signs 
are used to denote featured content such as Articles, and the Chatting with 
Creators sections.  Three
plus-signs are placed above any regular articles or sections like the News 
from Developers, or Reviews & Announcements. Within these
sections, two plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section like the next 
letter or game nnnews. 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 if there is a response will have a single plus-sign before them.
From The Editor
Hi Q
Phil's Funnies
Word Puzzles and solving them
Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax
Copyrights and Commercial Games
The eminence of ambience.
News From Game Developers
Chatting with creators
Game Announcements and Reviews
Contacting Us
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
Resource Guide
From the Editor
Hello and happy spring to all the readers of Audyssey magazine.  As you have 
probably already taken note there have been a couple of format changes to 
Idealy make navigating issues easier.
  The first modification is the introduction of a four plus sign marker. 
These are going to be used to note special or feature sections of the 
magazine.  All articles such as "A Trip Down Memory Lane" will have four 
plus signs, "Chatting with Creators" also.  This was requested by the 
discussion list as some of the content has been derived from that list. 
Thus the four plusses are the new, never read before material.  The three 
plus signs will appear
over the usual items such as "News from developers" and "Phil's Funnies". 
Subsequent signs will remain as they have always been.
  Next at the very last page of this issue is the "Resource Guide".  A 
suggestion was made to basically have a quick reference page or two in the 
magazine.  The section is by no means finished but will continually be 
checked and updated as needed.  There are currently only a few devs listed 
[as a sample layout], and the games they offer.  I'm hoping to get feedback 
from Audyssey folks to find out if the format of company name, website, and 
game titles is good.  Also I'm thinking of extending it to more then just 
game creators, For the people is presently included.  My reasoning being 
that it is an active voice chatting forum, about gaming, both talking and 
playing, though not necessarily Audyssey related.
  Finally as for the changes, with the News from developers segment, I've 
ensured to list the particular website of say Kitchens Inc along with the 
date and appropriate gaming announcements.
  I'd like to say thank you to those who have aided me in putting this issue 
together.  It wouldn't be as superb as it is without you!  Those would 
include but not limited to my wife Sylvia, Jim Kitchen [our chatting creator 
this issue], Charles, Ari, Thomas, and Dark for their submissions making 
this a excellent reading issue.  Also to everyone who reads and enjoys 
Audyssey, I strive to turn out an entertaining, informative, and worthwhile 
publication.  Both myself and those who take the time to write in put a 
sincere effort into what we do.  I'm grateful for the help with articles, 
letters, and game reviews sent my way at anytime for a current or upcoming 
issue.  I'm always willing to reply to emails and assist or even just chat 
about gaming in it's various forms with anyone.
   Lastly in putting some thought to the job of editting I remember when 
Mike had a few staff members.  Having people to regularly contribute 
material is a fine idea, I'm not sure how well it would fly over time 
presently.  I'm by no means pointing any fingers at anyone, but at times I 
do indeed feel the strain of piecing together a good mag, and being able to 
garantee a couple submissions sounds right on.  The gaming community here 
combined [the discussion and mag only list] is about 500 or so, it would 
stand to reason that more folks might take up the perverbeal torch by doing 
a write-up.  There is a wide range of games that haven't ever been on the 
pages here.  Off the top these include Spoonbill Sofware, numerous online 
games/muds, and 7128 to name a few.  Not that I mind doing my fair share of 
writing though.
All in all I hope the work pays off.  As long as people like reading then 
it's well worth it, and happy to say this colaboration creating the first of 
2008  appears to have been a terrific endeavour.
  In this section the content is taken from the list primarily, but may also 
include something I receive directly.  Generally these are of course game 
related, but perhaps not a review or announcement as such.  Sometimes it 
might just be someone’s thought’s about a game or genre of game.  I hope 
these prove interesting and informative.
Gareth White garethrwhite@gmail.com
Volunteers Wanted for Research : Second Life for theBlind
I'm a researcher at the University of Sussex in the UK, and I've been
looking into the accessibility of Second Life for blind and severely
visually impaired users.
For the next stage of our project we want to conduct a round of interviews
and are now looking for volunteers to participate, who must be 18 years or
older. We'd like to take 30 minutes of your time for a voice chat to hear
about your experiences of getting around in the real world, and any
experiences you have of doing so in virtual worlds such as computer games.
The aim is to direct our further work developing interaction techniques for
blind users in Second Life.
For more information please read the Explanatory
and Consent Form
If you'd like to participate please send an email to G.White@sussex.ac.uk,
confirming that you've read both of these documents and agree to the
conditions listed in the consent form.
You can read more about the project on our
thanks to Orin for mentioning it!)
Hi Ron.  I think you should read this.  I would like to perhaps put out a 
call to the AG community to see if someone is willing to pick up the 
 I, or someone else, can probably get the design document from Igor, but we 
would, of course, have to get the project going from scratch.  I hope you 
be of assistance, Ron.  Thanks.  Bryan
Subject: Re: A plea
Hello Bryan!
Unfortunately it is impossible to get only Beach volleyball from the package 
of Super sport, because both of the games are using the same registry 
system. I haven't an install package for only one game.
Now I've stopped new game designing. The reason is to much work on my main 
full day job. I've started 4 new projects, but I didn't complete any of 
I hope I'll continue new games designing, but some time later.
Best regards
 Hi All,
 In January, we launched a new web site called Assistive Gaming (
 This site provides information on how people with disabilities
 can enjoy the latest and greatest games on Mac OS X. The initial
 focus is on people with physical impairments, but if there are
 enough vision impaired Mac users who are willing to contribute
 articles on their favorite games and game accessibility issues we
 would love to add a section on access to games for people with
 vision impairments.
 Assistive Gaming has been created together with a team of assistive
 technology users. The site is updated regularly with new articles,
 reviews and short game descriptions. We can always use additional
 contributors so if you use assistive technology and play games on
 the Mac, please contact us about becoming a contributor to this
 site. Ultimately the success of a site like this depends on lots of
 people getting involved and contributing their gaming experiences.
 Even though the site is currently focussed on users with physical
 impairments, we also welcome articles from people with other
 impairments. It does not matter what special access hardware and/or
 software you use or what games you like to play. All contributions
 are welcome as long as you use a Mac...
Hi all,
I have emailed the editor of Spag magazine for players of Interactive
Fiction. I got a reply, but, because of some attachments, which I don't know
how exactly to remove because it would go over the size of messages for the
list, I have forwarded the message to Thomas. Anyway, the point of this
message is that Spag magazine would like an article about us as blind
players playing interactive fiction, the next issue is coming out in a
month's time. I am quite an amateur in IF, and still haven't tried out many
interpreters and so on, so could someone who has more experience then I do
with IF write the article about playing IF from a blind person's
perspective, maybe saying what interpreters don't work well, how it's done,
I don't know, just a general thing to make people more aware of us. There
are some things I'd like whoever writes the article to highlight, though,
like the, if we put in that we're still having problems getting these Pocket
Interpreters to work on the Pac Mate, maybe someone would in the IF
community would be prepared to modify them a bit, as the Source Code is
freely available, and maybe other issues if there are still accessibility
problems or just anything.
OK then, here's the editor's address. It's Jimmy Maher, and the add is
Hi all,
If some developers can work on this, this could be a huge success and
project for blind gamers, as it will open up a type of game to us. Maybe
some developers could contact the olpc and arrange something? See below
Hi Ari,
It would be helpful to quote the title of the article so people can decide
if they want to read it.
It is,
Blast from the past: SimCity open sourced
By Charles Rivard
This game is totally playable by a blind puzzle solver who wants to test 
their ability to think logically.  It can be found in numerous puzzle 
stores, online, and can even be made yourself, as I will discuss later on. 
It is a good game for when you’re on a trip, waiting for a meeting, or just 
killing time wherever you are.
You begin with a game piece on each square on the board except the centrally 
located square.  The object of the game is to jump over game pieces (as in 
checkers) and removing the jumped piece.  You win the game if you finish 
with only 1 piece remaining on the board.  If you really want to test your 
logic, one of the pieces is generally a different color than all of the 
others.  Try to place this odd colored piece so that, if you play right, 
this odd colored piece is the only one remaining, and it is in the center 
hole on the board.
The board arrangement.
The grid consists of 7 rows of pieces.  From top to bottom, they are 
arranged as follows:
First and second rows: 3 pieces.
Third, fourth and fifth rows: 7 pieces.
Sixth and seventh rows: 3 pieces.
All rows are centered across the board.  So, the leftmost piece of the 
first, second, sixth, and seventh rows are lined up with the third piece of 
the other rows.
In most of the games I’ve ever seen, the board has holes drilled through it. 
Golf tees, or pegs, are the game pieces.  So, all a blind player has to do 
is to tactually mark the odd colored peg or golf tee, and then begin the 
play.  Place the 32 pieces into the holes, leaving the fourth hole of the 
fourth row empty.  Of course, your first move would be to jump a piece into 
this central blank square, removing the piece you jumped over, and play from 
there.  Remember to always leave yourself a move, because when no more jumps 
can be made, the game’s over.
Getting the game.
You can do a search with your favorite search engine for “hi q” or for a 
store that specializes in puzzles.  Some stores where you can buy souvenirs 
may also carry them.  If there is a Cracker Barrel restaurant in your area, 
they might sell them, as I have seen them on the tables where you dine, so 
you can mess with them while waiting for your food.  The boards can come in 
other shapes as well.  One of the other fun variations is one that has 15 
holes, arranged like a rack of billiard balls or a rack of bowling pins with 
an extra row of 5 behind the other 10.  It is an equilateral triangle.  You 
begin this game with one of the points removed and try to finish with only 
one piece remaining, in the hole that was originally vacant.
What if you cannot find one to buy?  They’re easy and inexpensive to make. 
Just take a board and drill the holes into it in the right configuration.  I 
would think you’d want it to be about half an inch thick, and about 8 inches 
square if you want the holes to be an inch apart.  Use a brailed ruler or 
some other means of measuring the distances to determine where you want the 
holes to be.  Remember to center them along the horizontal line.  Place a 
piece of tape where you want each hole to be.  When they feel right, use a 
drill press, electric drill, or brace and bit to drill the holes.  Make them 
large enough to accept whatever you’re going to use as game pieces.  I would 
make them too small on purpose on your first drilling.  Then, gradually 
increase the size of the bit until the pieces fit snugly, but are not too 
loose.  Golf tees are easily gotten from a sporting goods store where golf 
equipment is sold, and they make good pieces.
If this is too involved, here’s another idea if you’re not going to be 
moving around very much.  Use a piece of Braille paper and a Braille writer. 
Make the borders of the 33 squares on the paper.  Use dots 1 and 4 of each 
cell for horizontal lines and dots 1, 2, and 3 for vertical lines.  Make 
them large enough to accommodate coins.  Use quarters for all but 1 piece, 
and a dime for the odd one.
Give this game a try, and see if you have a “hi q”  If you don’t solve it 
right away, keep working at it.  It can be solved.  If you don’t think so 
after a load of fun, read the next issue of Audyssey.  Or maybe the one 
after that.  The determining factor of when the solution will be given 
depends on the orneriness of the editor of the magazine.  Before you bug him 
to death for the solution, though, consider this:  I have not sent it to him 
yet, so, maybe, he is still puzzling over the game, too.  I sure hope so.  I 
like to be ornery, too.
Phil's Funnies
Games we'd like to play.
Phil reading about the list comparing the Star Wars series with Harry
Potter, included below, is inspired to create a new game...
Princess Leia and the palace  of Jabba the Hutt
There is an intruder in the most famous gangster palace in the land.
The game transports Princess Leia and you into a world of fantasy filled
with secret passageways and hidden chambers.
she explores the opulent if sand-scarred palace  searching for Han Solo
frozen in carbonite, fighting the kingpin of crime  knowing at any minute,
disaster may strike.
So, take a trip with Princess Leia to the palace of Jabba the Hutt and pay
a visit to the scantily-clad slave girls chained
in the dungeon, pop into
the kitchen for some Kessel spice,
slide down a pipe and meat the terrible rancor monster living beneath
Jabba's throne room,
spend some time in Lightsaber practice against remotes,
try to use the chains to strangle  the repulsive worm-like slug,
and finally, hold on tight as you escape from the palace on a T-16 Skyhopper
while trying to stun  the womp rats.
this article lists ten ways the two series are similar,
10. "Orphaned by a Dark Lord" Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter both grew up
wistfully curious about the parents they never knew.
9."Relative Obscurity"As children, both Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker
lived under the hidden protection of an aunt and uncle, longing for a better
8."V" for Villain The main villains of the Star Wars and Harry Potter
universes often change their names, personalities and even appearances upon
turning to the dark side.
7 "Who Wants to Live Forever?"The Emperor and Voldemort were both obsessed
with immortality, eventually returning from death to continue their quest
for eternal life and unlimited power.
6. "Romancing the Stars"Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter both had a male
friend and female friend who initially annoyed each other and bickered
often, but ultimately fell in love and got married after hiding their true
feelings for years.
5. "Dead Mentors, Dementors and Frozen Friends"Being associated with either
Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter can be hazardous -- both had teachers who
were murdered, both had friends who were frozen by the enemy and both had
family members who were caught in the crossfire
4."Like Father, Like Son"Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker, like their fathers
before them, were both gifted pilots who displayed special talents long
before they knew of their hidden abilities.
3."Love Hurts"Both Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter suffered a string of
physical injuries that left them permanently scarred.
2. "Size Matters Not"Star Wars and Harry Potter both featured a wide variety
of height-challenged characters and species -- and Warwick Davis portrayed
many of them.
1. "Your Father Wanted You to Have This"Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker both
received mystical heirlooms left behind by their late fathers, presented to
them by elderly mentors.
Games we'd like to play.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
In this fast action, classic side-scroller, you Are Indiana Jones, a daring
treasure hunter, willing to risk everything to find and recover the
Crystal Skull, a secret treasure of the Mayan civilization.
In this demo you will be able to explore dark and eerie under ground temples
in the jungles of Peru, searching for treasures, trying to overcome such
creatures as sword wielding skeleton warriors, giant spiders, and at the
end, a throng of lawyers from LucasFilms attacking USA Games Interactive for
copyright infringement.
Thomas War'ds Tribute
to Acefire
I am Sam. Sam I am. Tel me, tell me, do you like Acefire?
I do not like Acefire. I do not like it Sam I am.
Will you play it here or there? Will you play it anywhere?
I will not play it here or there. I will not play it anywhere. I do not like 
Acefire Sam I am.
Will you play it in a house? Will you play it with a mouse?
I will not play it in a house. I will not play it with a mouse. I will not 
play it here or there. I will not play it anywhere.
I do not like Acefire Sam i am.
Would you, could you, in a car?
I would not, could not, play it in a car, not in a house, not with a mouse, 
not here or there, not anywhere. I do not like Acefire Sam I am.
Would you, could you, play Acefire in a box? Will you play it with a fox?
I would not, could not, play it in a box, not with a fox, not in a car, not 
in a house, not with a mouse, not here or there, not anywhere. I do
not like Acefire Sam I am.
Will you play Acefire in a tree?
I will not play Acefire in a tree, not in a box, not with a fox, not in a 
house, not with a mouse, not here or there, not anywhere. Sam won't
you let me be?
Will you play Acefire on a train. Will you play Acefire in the rain?
I will not play Acefire in the rain, not on a train, not up in a tree, not 
in a box, not with a fox, not in a car, not in a house, not with a
mouse, not play it here or there, I will not play it anywhere. I do not like 
Acefire can't you see?
Would you, could you, play Acefire in the dark?
I would not, could not, play Acefire in the dark. I will not play it in the 
rain or on a train. I will not play it in a tree. Won't you let me be. I 
will not play it in a box and not with a fox. I would not, could
not, in a car. i will not play it in a house or with a mouse. Do not like it 
here or there. I do not like it anywhere. I do not like Acefire Sam I am.
Will you play it with a goat? Will you play it on a boat?
I will not play it with a goat, not on a boat, not in the dark, not on a 
train, not in the rain, not in a tree, not in a car, not in a box, not with 
a fox, not in a house, not with a mouse, not here or there, not anywhere. i 
do not like Acefire Sam I am.
Try it. Try it. You will like it. You will see. You will like Acefire just 
like me.
I will try Acefire if you let me be.
I like Acefire. It is so fun to play. I will play it with a goat. I will 
play it on a boat. I will play it out in the rain, and I will play it on a 
train. I would, I could, play it in the dark. I will play it in a tree. 
Acefire is so good you see. I would play it in a box, and I would
play it with a fox. I would, I could, play it in a car. I  will play it in a 
house, and I would play it with a mouse. I like Acefire here and there. I 
will play acefire anywhere. I do, I do, like Acefire Sam I am.
By Ari Damoulakis
This is an article about the joys of gaming on the old Nintendo 
Entertainment System, even as a totally blind gamer. I recently found a 
Nintendo Entertainment System machine, and this made me able to dig out and 
play those wonderful old games that are still now such a part of my life.
Before I got the NET, I still played handheld games belonging to my brother. 
I would always die very soon, but, as a young child I just loved playing 
them because of these wonderful sound effects. On the TV, ads were appearing 
for things such as the Sega Megadrive, and I loved hearing the sound of the 
cars as they roared over the race tracks, Sonic The Hedgehog as he was 
inside that huge Pinball machine not to mention the cool arcade-style music 
in the background. I don't know if this is the experience of other very 
young blind people who were exposed to these game ads, but to my naive young 
mind, there was no question about whether or not I could play these games. 
Somehow, for some weird reason, the fact that you actually needed to see to 
play these games successfully just never occurred to me at all, I just took 
it for granted, just like I was playing my brother's handhelds that I wanted 
to buy these consoles, maybe it was just the enjoyment of hearing these 
sounds and the fascination that I could make these sounds happen by pressing 
buttons, and with each button I pressed, this would give rise to a new 
sound, and so, wasn't I also playing games? I used to hear the sounds of car 
racing on the ads, and think that I would like a megadrive, the question of 
whether I could even play such a game didn't somehow occur to me, I just 
loved the sound of the cars. My parents never stopped me, or excluded me 
from mainstream gaming. If there were arcade game machines in the shops and 
other people were playing them, they'd also let me have a go, never mind the 
fact that I probably died quite quickly, or stood for ages on one spot 
pressing the buttons being fascinated by the sounds. It was when my brother 
got a computer, and I played it, that I gradually learnt to associate 
different sounds with what was going on in-game, and to play accordingly, 
meaning that I actually began to know when I was putting, and that that put 
had to go into the hole, or that I was batting in cricket, and learnt to 
listen to the bowling sound and try to time my pressing of the keys to hit 
the ball.
I loved playing games on the computer, but I soon discovered that there was 
a lot lacking. Our computer, even at that time, was an extremely slow model, 
the 286. I was very into watching sports such as boxing, snooker and soccer 
on TV, and I desperately wanted to play these on the PC, but I could not 
find such games anywhere. It was about this time that I made friends with a 
guy at the school for the blind where I was studying who told me about this 
wonderful machine he had called a Nintendo, and that, with the help of his 
brother, he had learnt to play games such as boxing, and that he also had 
soccer and snooker games. Being one of only two schools in the country for 
blind people, my friend and I lived far away from each other, so it took me 
months to arrange for a weekend visit to his house to play this magical 
machine of his. While I was waiting, I had dreams of replaying all these 
wonderful matches that I had seen on TV: I was the Wits University goalie 
who'd save the penalty in the crucial shoot-out, I was the wonderful South 
African boxing champion who'd fought in a tough twelve-rounder, retaining my 
title narrowly on points, or I was Liverpool or Leeds United playing against 
Coventry City or Tottenham in a league match. The fateful weekend arrived, 
and it was one of the best experiences in my life. I remember arriving at my 
friends, his brother and him were waiting, and they showed me this wonderful 
Nintendo with the game I'd heard him talking about for months, World Champ 
Boxing. They decided to let me fight against an easy opponent, so that I 
could hear the different sounds of the punches. Then they sadistically 
decided to let me fight against the champion, and, of course I lost. We 
played soccer, Snooker, wrestling, and we had loads of ice cream. I was 
upset when I had to leave, but I decided then and there that I needed a 
Nintendo. I eventually got my Nintendo for Christmas from a Reggies toy 
shop, I'll never forget that either. We went in, and my parents bought it, I 
was absolutely excited. I had to choose between two games, there was the 
four-in-one with soccer, or there was a 24-in-one with Athletics. I remember 
that I wasn't at all interested what other games were on the cartridges, 
just what sports games were on. I chose the 24-in-one.
We went home, and my dad connected my machine to the TV, and, for the rest 
of the evening, we sat going through each game in the 24-in-one, my mom and 
dad explaining patiently to me what each game was about and working out the 
controls with me. From then on, I have never looked back. I played my 
Nintendo endlessly, and I do still have all of my games. Many people think 
that game playing is just some sort of phase that you should grow out of, 
but I've happily defied them all. Although I'm at uni, I still get that 
wonderful thrill when I play those Nintendo games and hear the magical 
sounds. I still love the sound of me diving and swimming in the Olympics, of 
the javelin and the high jump, of the pole volt and the gymnastics. I still 
enjoy one of the greatest games ever to appear on the Nintendo, the 
table-tennis, with its talking ghost umpire, and, in my opinion, the only 
ever game that actually gave the totally blind player total equality with a 
sighted counterpart.
There are, however, more observations which I feel need to be made. I would 
never have been able to learn to play these games without sighted help, and 
I still feel that any blind person wanting to play mainstream games needs 
sighted help to get them started. Whenever I got a game, I needed sighted 
friends or family to help me learn the menus, and to explain to me the 
meanings of each sound, what the buttons did, the layout of the game, 
example after you fight the third guy in Double Dragon, you have to always 
try and go right and up to find a ladder, and, if it was a complex game, to 
work out a strategy for a blind person to have a chance of playing a good 
game. An example of this would be the American Football on the Nintendo, 
where my friend and I worked out that if I passed and immediately ran 
diagonally, I could actually make quite a bit of ground. Sounds on the 
Nintendo were so primitive and obscure, that it was absolutely possible to 
put a game on, try and listen to its sounds, and have absolutely no idea 
what it was about, or, as once happened, think that it was another type of 
game! Sounds were so deceptive, that when I heard a sound which sounded like 
something shiny like a ring falling on the floor, I asked if this game had 
something to do with jewels, only to be told that I was throwing blocks 
around! And, have you ever heard that appalling kicking and punching sounds 
of Spartan X? If my dad didn't tell me that those sounds were kicking and 
punching, I probably still wouldn't know what Spartan X was about, and maybe 
have imagined something really stupid. Another really obvious observation, 
but one which should be said, is that only a small percentage of games are 
playable by totally blind people, but, if you do find a game which seems 
unplayable, first ask other blind people if they've had success in playing 
it. There have been many times that I've felt that I'd never be able to play 
a certain game, only to learn from a friend that there are ways of getting 
round certain problems. This might also sound contradictory, but just 
because a game isn't accessible, it does not mean I don't play it or am not 
capable of enjoying it. I sometimes just put a game on and in some sort of 
randomly maniacal thrill run around shooting. Of course I know that I'm 
going to die, or that I'm not going to get far, but it's just that thrill of 
hearing myself shooting down a few planes before I die myself.
The really sad thing that comes to mind about gaming these days, especially 
console gaming, is that you don't get game compilations anymore. When you 
now go into a shop, the games are all so expensive that you need to be sure 
that what you're buying is actually accessible or playable, you can't just 
buy a compilation and have some games be accidentally accessible. 
Unfortunately for sports titles, so many sounds have been softened or left 
out to make the games more realistic, this, together with faster game play 
and improved AI has made it much harder for us to play soccer or many of the 
new sports games successfully. I haven't had a newer games console, missing 
out on the whole era of the PS 1 and 2, but I am now definitely saving up 
for a Nintendo WII, as from what I've heard, many games on it are playable 
by blind players, not to mention its wonderful atmosphere of 
family-friendliness and fun, not to mention the exercise I'll be getting 
swinging its remote about.
Just one funny story to close off this article, after many years of me 
playing Nintendo, before audio games, someone came and showed us text 
adventures. He was saying that these are games that you as blind people can 
enjoy. After being quite thrilled hearing the speech tell me my surroundings 
and exploring fantasy worlds for a few minutes, I actually stopped playing 
them, I was totally bored by these supposed games for blind people, as, for 
me, they still don't have the wonderful, thrilling sound atmosphere that is 
embodied in "normal" games.
Your comments about this article are welcome, you can email me at
Word Puzzles and solving them
By Ron Schamerhorn
  This began as just the usual idea of including a word or logic puzzle in 
the current issue of the magazine.  After writing out the puzzle with the 
five houses however it soon became more of an article or better yet somewhat 
of an undertaking.  It seemed somehow wrong to quickly include the answer in 
this issue, so there will be time to work out who owns what pet and such.
I have always  enjoyed word puzzles or those which require some good old 
brain power to solve.  Admittedly I don't always come up with the answer, 
sometimes even completely stumped but the house problem got me intrigued and 
looking into these kinds of games for the mind.
  What I've decided to do with the aid of the internet and I'll certainly 
give the appropriate credit is to introduce a few inigmas.  The first 
examples I'll include the explanations on how to solve them.  As I mentioned 
I'll leave the final one for those who wish to work on between now and the 
next publication.
A grid is recommended for helping to solve the larger word puzzles but I'm 
not sure how easy that will turn out to be but I will try and come up with a 
substitute.  I guess using an xl spreadsheet might work as a viable 
  Okay to start let's take a look at an easy problem.    I found the next 
three on
Read the sentence below and count the F's in that sentence.  Count them ONLY
ONCE. Do not go back and count them again.
Puzzle 1
Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the 
experience of years.
Puzzle 1 ends.
  Seems straight forward enough, but can be slightly trickier then you may 
believe.  There are a total of six "f's" in the sentence.  There is no catch 
in this one.
Many people forget the of's.  The human brain tends to see them as V's and 
not F's.
The scoring for those who might be curious a person of average intelligence 
finds three of them,
if you spotted four, you're above average, if you got five, you can turn 
your nose at most anybody
and if you caught six, you are a genius!
  Now we've figured out that one we'll move on.  This one is a little harder 
though.  After looking at the various ones it does seem as if there is a 
distinction between what you could say is a word puzzle such as the prior 
example, and a logic puzzle such as the below.  It's also been around for a 
number of years and is easily solved.  Here you go!
Puzzle 2
Farmers problem
A farmer is standing on one side of the river and with him are a wolf, a
goat and a box with cabbages. In the river there is a small boat. The farmer
wants to cross the river with all three items that are with him. There are 
bridges and in the boat there is only room for the farmer and one item. But
if he leaves the goat alone with the cabbages on one side of the river the
goat will eat the cabbages. If he leaves the wolf and the goat on one side
the wolf will eat the goat. The farmer can only seperate the wolf from the 
and the goat from the cabbage.
How can the farmer cross the river with all three items, without one eating
the other ?
Puzzle 2 ends
  A little hint before giving the answer is that it doesn't limit how many 
trips he can take in the boat, or that something has to be left on the other 
side of the river at all times.  Just remember to seperate the wolf from the 
goat and the cabbages.Pausing now might be good if you'd wish to take a few 
minutes to ponder how the above is accomplished.
Puzzle 2 solution
Farmers problem
First the farmer takes the goat across the river. He goes back to pick up
the wolf. When he is across he leaves the wolf and takes the goat. Back
on the other side he leaves the goat and takes the cabbages with him. Then 
picks up the goat and all three items are on the other side.
Fairly easy right?  Let's go for a short one then.  I present the next logic 
Puzzle 3
Burning rope
There are two lengths of rope.
Each one can burn in exactly one hour.
They are not necessarily of the same length or width as each other.
They are not of uniform width (they may be wider in the middle than on the 
thus burning half of the rope is not necessarily half of an hour.
By burning the ropes, how do you measure exactly 45 minutes worth of time?
Puzzle 3 ends
Provided with the information above,this is the answer I didn't quite get 
the solution but it's completely sensable.  .
Puzzle 3 solution
If you light both ends of one rope, it will burn in exactly half an hour.
Thus, burn one rope from both ends and the other rope from only one end.
When the one rope (which is burning from both ends), finally burns out (then 
you know a
half hour has elapsed), you also know that the other rope (which is burning
from only one end) has exactly a half hour left to burn. Since you only want 
minutes, light the second end of the rope. This remaining piece will burn
in 15 minutes. Thus, totaling 45 minutes.
Puzzle 3 solution ends
It's certainly a quicker one to finish then some I've seen before.  But 
speaking of, how does one go about solving those more complex brain teasers? 
I went looking and discovered a good explanation from the website
which I will include here and hope it will serve for ease of illustration. 
Here we are presented with a bunch of clues and need to figure out using 
those clues what month, and day of the week  each sister was born.
*snip from website*
Tips on Solving Logic Problems - a logic problem
Five sisters all have their birthday in a different month and each on a
different day of the week. Using the clues below, determine the month and
day of the week each sister's birthday falls.
1. Paula was born in March but not on Saturday.
Abigail's birthday was not
on Friday or Wednesday.
2. The girl whose birthday is on Monday was born earlier in the year than 
Brenda and Mary.
3. Tara wasn't born in February and her birthday was on the weekend.
4. Mary was not born in December nor was her birthday on a weekday.
The girl whose birthday was in June was born on Sunday.
5. Tara was born before Brenda, whose birthday wasn't on Friday.
Mary wasn't born in July.
The grids provided to help solve logic problems are useful for identifying
what you have learned from each clue. Where the vertical and horizontal
squares meet are your possible answers and these will be crossed out as each 
proven to be false. When you find a true match, draw a black dot in the
appropriate square. When you prove a combination false, draw an 'x' in the 
Clue 1: The first clue states that Paula was born in March so put a black
dot in the square for "Paula" and "March" as shown. Since Paula was born in
March, none of the other possibilities are valid, so the rest of the row and 
can be marked with an 'x' as shown. The clue also states that Paula's
birthday is not on Saturday, thus "Saturday" for "Paula" can also be crossed 
out as
shown. The second half of the clue states that Abigail's birthday is not on
Wednesday or Friday so you can mark Wednesday and Friday for Abigail with an
'x' in the right section of the grid as shown.
Clue 2: According to the second clue, Brenda and Mary could not have been
born in February since the girl whose birthday is Monday was born earlier in
the year. Likewise, Brenda and Mary didn't have a birthday on Monday. So 
squares can be crossed out. Also, in the bottom part of the grid, the Monday
birthday cannot happen in July or December because both Brenda and Mary had
birthdays AFTER the girl whose birthday is on Monday so these two squares
can also be crossed out as shown.
Clue 3: Tara was not born in February and so that square is crossed out. Now
the only square in that row that isn't crossed out is Abigail. By
elimination therefore, Abigail was born in February. Put a black dot in that 
square and
cross out the rest of the horizontal row. In addition, since you know from
clue 1 that Abigail's birthday is not on a Friday or a Wednesday and you
know she was born in February, you can cross out Wednesday and Friday in the
bottom block of the grid for February. Also, from the second half of Clue 3, 
birthday is on the weekend, so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are crossed out
for Tara in the right section of the grid as shown.
Clue 4: Mary wasn't born in December so cross it out as shown. Since her
birthday isn't on a weekday, you can also cross out Wednesday and Friday for
Mary in the right-hand section of the grid. From Clue 2 you know that Tara's
birthday was on a weekend too. So in the right section of the grid, Saturday
and Sunday can be crossed out for Abigail, Brenda, and Paula. This leaves 
Monday for Abigail to put a black dot in this square and cross out the rest
of the column for Monday. From the last part of Clue 4, in the bottom
section of the grid, put a dot for June and Sunday, crossing out the rest of
the column and row respectively as shown. Also, in the upper grid, cross out
Brenda for June because you know her birthday wasn't on the weekend.
Clue 5: Since Tara was born before Brenda, cross out December for Tara since
she couldn't have been born last. This leaves only December for Brenda so
put a black dot in that square and cross out the rest of the row. From the
second half of the clue, you know that mary wasn't born in July so by
elimination Tara was born in July. Put a black dot in that square and cross 
out the rest
of the row. Also put a black dot in the square for Mary and June since it's
the last square open. You've now determined all of the months in which
everyone was born. Also, since you know that June goes with Sunday and Mary
was born in June, her birthday is on Sunday so mark that off in the right
section of the grid. This then leaves Tara for Saturday so mark that too.
Lastly, from the clue, Brenda's birthday wasn't on Friday. So by 
Brenda's birthday was on Wednesday and Paula's birthday was on Friday.
You've now completed the logic problem. You should have a full grid that
looks like the one below. Or in summary, you should have the following
. Abigail, February, Monday
. Brenda, December, Wednesday
. Mary, June, Sunday
. Paula, March, Friday
. Tara, July, Saturday
  Now that I've either got you all thinking and ready for a challenge or 
prepared to throw in the towel and go to the next section of the magazine 
here's the big one.  It's similar to the previous example and I've got the 
solution but won't be using it yet as I want to try and workit out on my 
own.  What sounds scary is that it took the person about 5 hours to work it 
through.  Going to show that it's solvable but takes some time and patience 
to do so.  This one I discovered on
website and was submitted by Don Barrett so my gratitude is extended to him 
for being totally responsible for me putting this article together for the 
entertainment of everyone.
Puzzle 4
There are five houses in a row.  Each of a different colour, and inhabited 
by five people of different nationalities.  With different pets, favourite 
drinks and favourite sports.  Use the clues below to determine who owns the 
monkey and who drinks water.
1 The Englishman lives in the red house.
2  The Spaniard owns the dog.
3 Coffee is drunk in the green house.
4 The Russian drinks tea.
5 The green house is immediately to the right of the white house.
6 The hockey player owns hamsters.
7 The football player lives in the yellow house.
8 Milk is drunk in the middle house.
9 The American lives in the first house on the left.
10 The table tennis player lives in the house next to the man with the fox.
11 The football player lives next to the house where the horse is kept.
12 The basketball player drinks orange juice.
13 The Japanese likes baseball.
14 The American lives next to the blue house.
Puzzle 4 ends
 As you can plainly see some of the word puzzles are indeed rather daunting 
at first glance.  This one certainly looks to be tough.  I'll leve it here 
for now regarding these types of mental exercises, so if you would like give 
it a go and see how well you can do with getting it solved.  The solution 
will be forthcoming in the next Audyssey and hopefully it will be enjoyable 
and not a cause of stress for people.
Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax dies at 69
Mar 5, 2008 at 7:41 AM PST
Story Updated: Mar 5, 2008 at 7:41 AM PST
By Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons &
Dragons and is widely seen as the father of the role-playing games, died
Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.
He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an
abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.
Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval
characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice
became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned
into video games, books and movies.
Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans, many of
whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55 miles
southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he
hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she said.
"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about
how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he gave
them," Gail Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."
Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their
adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek
pass time, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole
genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.
Born Ernest Gary Gygax, he grew up in Chicago and moved to Lake Geneva at
the age of 8. Gygax's father, a Swiss immigrant who played violin in the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, read fantasy books to his only son and hooked
him on the genre, Gail Gygax said.
Gygax dropped out of high school but took anthropology classes at the
University of Chicago for a while, she said. He was working as an insurance
underwriter in the 1960s, when he began playing war-themed board games.
But Gygax wanted to create a game that involved more fantasy. To free up
time to work on that, he left the insurance business and became a shoe
repairman, she said.
Gygax also was a prolific writer and wrote dozens of fantasy books,
including the Greyhawk series of adventure novels.
Gary Sandelin, 32, a Manhattan attorney, said his weekly Dungeons & Dragons
game will be a bit sadder on Wednesday night because of Gygax's passing. The
beauty of the game is that it's never quite the same, he said.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is survived by six
Copyrights and Commercial Games
by Thomas Ward
March 14, 2008
When I first began writing my own accessible games in 2004 I had many
dreams of creating games like Tomb Raider, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc and
selling them. I honestly hadn't thought much about the copyright issues
involved in making my own versions of Tomb Raider, Star wars Jedi
Knight, or Star Trek Elite Force. All I knew is I wanted to create my
own games, and do my best to clone the games I use to love to play.
However, soon after completing my first game, Star Trek Final Conflict,
I attempted to legally obtain the rights to publish, sell, and make
games based on Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. As it turned out contacting
the parent companies involved was a very difficult task. Even when I did
make contact with the parent companies who owned the copyrights it was
made very clear to me that if you don't have millions of dollars to
license the copyrights, a team of lawyers working for you, and you
aren't a major company you might as well forget it. People like
Paramount, Lucas film, etc tend to only deal with major companies with
money and legal power to license their trade marks for toys, games, and
other products. So I began researching U.S. copyright laws to see if
there were any legal way to get around paying millions of dollars to
company x to use Lara Croft, Darth Vader, or the starship Enterprise in
my next game title.
Before we can actually talk about copyright law we need to first
understand what can and can not be copyrighted by an individual or
company. Under U.S. copyright law a copyright can only be granted if the
copyright is an original work or creation, the copyright is unique, and
is fixed in a medium such as a motion picture, audio recording,
photograph, painting, book, etc. Certain elements of a work may not be
copyrighted if it is not an original work, if the creation is common, or
it is an idea. If that all sounds confusing here is some real world
examples of what can and can not be copyrighted in a commercial game.
Let us assume that you want to create a cops and robbers style game.
Under U.S. copyright law you can not copyright generic game characters
such as policemen, robbers, and prostitutes. You also can not copyright
everyday items such as police revolvers, police cars, police radios,
etc. You can not copyright actual places such as New York, Washington
DC, Boston, etc.
Now, let us assume you name your detective Dick Tracey and the crime
boss Big Boy Al Caprice. You decide you want your cops and robbers game
to be set in Chicago. Now, do you have something you can copyright yet?
Not exactly. Just because you have named your characters and set the
story in Chicago doesn't make it an original work you can copyright. In
order to turn your cops and robbers game into a copyrighted work you
must create a unique story and profile for the characters that will
qualify it as an original work. For example, in the chart below I will
create a profile that will make my Dick Tracey character an original
Name: Dick Tracey
Age: 35
Height: 6 ft.
Weight: 165 lb.
Race: white
Clothing: brown pants, trench coat, and hat
Reads: murder mysteries and true crime
Music: opera
Employment: Chicago police detective
Girl  friend: Tess Trueheart
Home: Chicago
Weapon: 357 Magnum
At this point we can obtain a copyright and trade mark for Dick Tracey
as we have created a unique identity for our game character. While
individually none of the items in the profile are unique as a whole they
create an established character. We now know that Dick Tracey wheres
brown pants, trench coats, and hats. He carries a 357 Magnum, has a girl
friend named Tess Trueheart, works for the Chicago police, is a
detective, etc. If we come up with some photographs and images for Dick
Tracey the game character for all intents and purposes is an original
creation, and now falls under copyright protection as well as any
supporting characters such as Al Caprice and Tess Trueheart. The more
details a character or creation has the more likely it can be copyrighted.
One of the most difficult questions I have had to research is once a
character, story, game, song, etc has been copyrighted can I use it in
my own games? Well, it is actually a difficult question to answer
because current U.S. copyright law is not clear where copyright
protection ends and fair use begins. There are, however, some general
guidelines in the copyright laws on fair use that helps give us a
clearer idea of what we can and can not do with accessible games based
on movies, books, and commercial games that are copyrighted.
Under current U.S. copyright law there are some provisions for fair use
of copyrighted works including commercial games. A copyrighted work may
be used for criticism, research, news, advertisement, non-prophet
educational instruction, etc. In addition any copyrighted works used
under the fair use provisions must come with a disclaimer or citation of
the original copyright owner and their copyright rights. A copyrighted
work can not be resold, traded, transfered, or recopyrighted without the
original copyright holders permission.
As I currently understand the U.S. copyright laws if a game developer
such as USA Games, PCS Games, GMA, etc wanted to make a Harry Potter,
Spider Man, Dick Tracey, Tomb Raider, or Star Wars style game it would
have to meet
the following provisions. The game would have to be free, be
redistributed as educational or research software, and have to include a
disclaimer of the original copyright holder/holders. Basically, in short
we are talking about a totally free, probably open source, game that
gives the original copyright holder/holders full rights to the game and
story line.
One question most people ask about is fan fiction. Everyone usually
wants to know if they can use Star Wars, Tomb Raider, Star Trek, and
Harry Potter in their own stories, games, etc if it is done as free fan
fiction. Under current copyright law the matter is usually determined by
the copyright holder's end user license agreement for the copyrighted
work in question. Some copyright holders are more open to fan fiction
than others. Some have no problems with fan fiction, and others are
known to be fanatically protective of their copyrights.
For example, in my research I discovered Universal the
copyright holder for such TV shows as Xena Warrior Princess, Hercules
Legendary journeys, and Battlestar Galactica are very open to free fan
fiction. There are a number of Xena Warrior Princess fan fiction sites
that have been awarded approval from Universal. On the other hand there
are also copyright holders such as Lucas Film
LTD which are extremely fanatical about their copyrights for Star
Wars and Indiana Jones. In reading their copyright agreements any and
all fan fiction is forbidden and offenders could be sued by Lucas Film
for damages. This obviously makes it difficult for anyone to legally use
Star Wars or Indiana Jones trade marks in any stories, games, or fan
fiction work available to the Audyssey community.
In short if you are thinking of something Dick Tracey, Harry Potter,
Spider Man,
Super Man, Xena, Star Wars, or Star Trek for your next game the first
place to start is read the end user license agreement related to the
material on the copyright holders web site or supplied with the product.
If the copyright holder is extremely strict about copyrights, even if
you claim fair use, there is a possibility of being sued. If the
copyright holder is alright with fan fiction or indifferent to it then you
can probably legally make accessible games using your favorite
characters, stories, and so on provided they are free and meet fair use
What happens if you are sued for copyright infringement? the court can
issue an injunction to stop production of your work, order your work to
be destroyed, and possibly award the plaintiff monetary damages from
$200 to $100000. However, in order for the copyright holder to sue for
monetary damages it must prove to the court that they have suffered
financially do to your copyright infringement. As fan fiction has proven
over the years to help sales, not hurt sales, most court cases involving
fan fiction never go to trial or never go passed a simple injunction to
stop production of your work.
Finally, I've heard a lot of people on the Audyssey list ask what about
accessibility. Why can't we make a copy of Jedi Knight since the
original game is  not accessible? Why can't we adapt something to our needs?
I've been doing some research into this area, and the U.S. copyright
laws are still unclear about where we stand as far as adapting
copyrighted materials for accessibility purposes. What I can say if a
game developer were to attempt to adapt Tomb Raider, Jedi Knight, Halo,
etc to an accessible format they would probably stand a good chance in
court under the fair use copyright provisions. Especially, if the game
was free, designed in a specialized format for the blind only, and a
disclaimer acknowledges the original copyright holder of the work.
For example, under the fair use provisions, U.S. Public Law 9-22, states
that written materials such as books, magazines, articles, may be
reproduced in a free and specialized format such as braille, audio,
digital, etc. While Public Law 9-22 has nothing to do with games it does
show how the fair use provisions of the U.S. copyright laws could be used
as a mottle for games, descriptive video, and other forms of
entertainment that is normally denied to us through inaccessibility.
However, until the matter is settled in court writing accessible games
using copyrighted game stories, characters, etc is still a complicated
and tricky business for accessible game developers. I suggest a lawyer
or some other form of legal advice should be consulted prier to
releasing copyrighted game material.
For the purposes of this article I primarily referred to the current
state of U.S. copyright law. If you live in a country other than the
U.S.A. you should review your own country's copyright laws. I've
discovered there is no such thing as kooky cutter, one size fits all,
copyright laws that applies world wide. The European Union has a much
stricter view of copyright laws and rights than does the U.S.Under
France's copyright laws certain license agreements such as the General
Public License agreement used for Linux and other open source software
is not applicable in France. This has made things difficult for
companies such as Novel, Sun, Red Hat, etc that use open source G.P.L. type
licenses on some of their software products. So just because it is legal
to do one thing in one country it may not be legal in another. Each
country has its own regulations on what is and is not acceptable use of
The eminence of ambience.
By Dark
Back when I first ran into shades of doom, and by extension audio games in 
general, in late 2005, after the initial shock (and some of those mutant 
humans and gelatinous blobs were! pretty shocking), as I looked over more 
and more titles, I found myself making some assumptions. "yes" I thought, 
"These games are okay" I thought, "sometimes even fun" I thought, "but 
slightly limited in the game play department".  I found myself imagining 
audio games as some pretty fluffy little sheep in a field, ---- albeit 
occasionally mutant zombified sheep of horrible doom, as I'd encountered in 
shades. But still always stuck in said field behind the large thorny hedge 
of limitations in game play which they could never cross.
Now, two and a half years later, those sheep have stampeded through the 
hedge and are running wild, like a raging tide of woolly unstopableness!
Recently we've seen exploration and puzzles galore in Sarah, online 
multiplayer real time strategy in sound Rts, track creation and real-time 
online competition in rail racer, and the first audio side scroller to 
feature a major vertical element and exploration in tom Ward's work.
and more projects, more new developers and more innervation is on the way. 
Those metaphorical sheep are definitely going on a metaphorical rampage of 
metaphorical doom and destruction, and will probably metaphorically end up 
taking over the metaphorical world of metaphor if their not metaphorically 
but despite this new host of game play additions, there is still one 
particular area of audio games which does not seem, in my humble opinion to 
have received anything like enough attention , the area of audio ambience 
and game atmosphere.
there are many computer games, ---- of every sort from audio to graphical to 
text, which make no pretence of being anything but an exercise for the 
player. they may be a test of spatial logic, as in lap, memory as in Simon, 
reflexes as in bop It, or vocabulary as in hang man. Even now on modern game 
consoles, games like Tetris are still played.  Games that exist simply for 
their own sake and have all the subtlety and hidden meaning of a pickaxe 
through the head. However such games are dressed up, ---- more elaborate 
text, more complex graphics, more music and sound effects, their essential 
purpose is after all to exist as, and be played as tests or challenges for 
the player's abilities and nothing more. Even an incredibly shiny, hand 
crafted, designer pickaxe from hackum and leggit of London, "designers of 
quality pickaxes since 1832" is still at rock bottom a pickaxe (even a 
metaphorical one).
At the other extreme there are games which exist as entire virtual worlds. 
the player is given the roll of a character in that world, ---- much as they 
would be in acting in a play, and it is up to them to fulfil that 
character's task, or explore that character's world, interact with it's 
elements and do what their is to do in that world. this most obviously 
applies to role playing or interactive fiction games, but not 
necessarily, ---- after all following a career in racing or being the lone 
gunner defending a star base from an oncoming alien hoard are both possible 
tasks for characters in different virtual worlds. In these sorts of games, 
accomplishing the task isn't merely a test for the player, but a way of 
interacting in, and dealing with a situation in a virtual environment set up 
by the developer. Fail to stop the alien hoard, and it doesn't just mean 
game over, it means the end of humanity as we know it!
Of course, most games will fall somewhere in the middle of these two 
extremes. A complex fps game rich though it might be in atmosphere and story 
may still employ a points system for how well you dispose of the monsters, 
or hidden bonuses or endings that are only rewarded to the most skilful 
players. While we'd expect a computer version of battleships to have some 
sort of navel theme in it's graphics or sound, explosions when the ships get 
hit etc.
As I said, in audio games I think we've seen a lot of fantastic and 
intriguing challenges to the player, particularly recently, but it's this 
second aspect of gaming, creating a convincing world and atmosphere as a 
context in which those challenges happen, immersing the player however 
briefly into an alternate universe of the developer’s imagination, which I 
think has often thus far been neglected in audio games. So for the rest of 
this article, ---- Assuming your still reading this pointless stream of 
randomized drivel, I'll try and consider different elements of games and 
suggest a few ways that might be used in future to increase the level of 
immersion in each area for audio games. Of course, there are cases, ----  
like the recently released Bg Uno, where none of this will apply, and that's 
absolutely fine, sense a bit of harmless brain flogging never hurt 
(especially when it's someone else's brain your flogging, buahahaha!), but 
hopefully some of these ideas will apply to those developers working on 
games with some kind of world or story, ---- everything from space invaders 
and racing, to a full on 3D adventure game.
the first and most obvious factor which I imagine people's minds are already 
leaping to is the matter of in game audio objects. Obviously if your alien 
spaceships sound neither alien nor spacey you've already strayed from the 
correct course, and are drifting towards the dreaded black hole of bad 
gameage! This is though an area often discussed in audio game reviews so 
probably needs no further waffling about from me.
One suggestion I do have in this area, (you didn't expect me to let it 
escape entirely free of waffle), is to do with variety. In real life, we're 
used to detecting lots of similar but different objects. take a cup, some 
are large, some small, some are plastic some are pottery some are metal, but 
all are recognizably cupscious. to use the correct metaphysical jargon, all 
different cups are tokens of the same type.
It's this aspect, having recognizably different tokens of a similar object 
type within a game which I think could contribute a lot to the game's 
atmosphere, and thus far hasn't I think been explored in audio games. After 
all, in real life, all dogs, cars, voices of inept and clobberable guards, 
and other such things do not sound the same, ---- so why should they in a 
Many graphical games used a concept called pallet swapping on enemies or 
other objects to indicate that though they were the same type, they were 
different tokens. This involved either slightly altering the enemy's 
appearance, ---- E.g. giving a similarly dressed thug in a fighting game 
sunglasses and a bald head instead of a pony tale, or just painting the 
enemy a different colour.
In the original Mario brothers game for example (one with which I know many 
people are familiar), the generic goomber enemies are orange in the over 
world stages, blue in the caves, and grey in castles, ---- though of course 
they're still as stupid and easy to stomp as ever!
In audio, Developers could slightly alter the pitch or repeat rate of 
enemies or other object sounds, not enough to be vastly different, but just 
enough to show that this particular barking dog, is a different one from the 
one encountered on the last level. This would add the concept of variety to 
the world, keep the player on their toes, and altogether make things more 
another possible tweak that has already made it into several audio games 
such as shades, monkey business and Sarah, is the idea of area specific, but 
unnecessary sounds. these could be a dripping tap your character walks 
passed, a tree blowing in the wind, or a fall of sifting sand in a 
subterranean passage. Of course there is the risk that in some games, ----  
such as monkey business, these sounds can mask the important ones, but by 
the use of object scanning and good navigation keys such as in the GMA 
engine or Terraformers, I believe this problem can be gotten around. In 
graphical games, often the background to the playing area changes dependent 
upon where the character is, ---- even within one level location, and I see 
no reason why audio games couldn't do the same. This is however one area 
where some games have made some great progress, though others perhaps could 
benefit from including something like this.
then, there is the matter of general background ambience over an entire game 
or location. This is something most games include to some extent or other, 
but often perhaps not as much as could be done, particularly when including 
different general background for multiple similar locations within the same 
game or game world. after all, in reality, even similarly sounding locations 
will always sound slightly different to some extent. I do understand though 
that perhaps more than in any other area, this is where the lack of 
resources in audio games really kicks in, since sound libraries are 
expensive things. One way around this problem however, which can preserve 
the variety, give the player the sense that they are really progressing 
through a world that's to some degree diverse, and also contribute to the 
impression of an ongoing series of events, ---- such as racing in different 
locations over a tournament or exploring different areas, or the set of 
events in a full blown story, is to use in game music.
It's been common practice in graphical games for years, ---- even in 
freeware games produced on the internet to use different in game music for 
different environments of the game. the first round of a tournament style 
game for example will have one background track (and if it's a racing 
tournament, probably a foreground track as well),  , the second another, and 
the final another. While obviously this doesn't increase the sense of 
realism, it does give the player a sense of the atmosphere the developer 
wants to invoke in that particular world or situation, ---- pumping 
adrenaline, a life or death epic struggle, or horrible mysterious terror!
this is also perhaps an area where members of the audio games community 
could get involved with and contribute to the work of our dedicated 
developers, ---- since after all it's just as much in the player's interest 
to have a good game to play as it is in the developers to create it 
(probably more in fact).
Finally, there's the matter of in game audio which is intended specifically 
for the setting or story, things like cut scenes, speaking npcs (including 
sporting or racing announcers), and even some status effect indicators 
should the developer whish to include them in the world or setting, ---- as 
was done with the reports from your tank's crew in GMA Tank Commander. This 
is also an area where some very nice work has been done and a lot of benefit 
for ambience can happen, ---- just look at the audio cutscenes in the 
interactive fiction games produced by 7-128 software. Obvious though, this 
is also something that gets heavily run through in reviews (often with 
daggers), so I won't go on about it here accept to say that this is perhaps 
somewhere else where audio game players, ---- particularly those with voice 
recorders (such as myself), could probably help out our devs.
So there are my thoughts! I definitely hope this is an area people will 
think about in future game creation, and an area players will get involved 
with as well, since it can offer so many rewards to the player and turn what 
initially seems a basic reflex based shoot the baddies or win the trophy 
game into something much more fundamental.
take for example the game rail racer, ---- a game which as I said earlier, 
is a regular big friendly giant on the game play end of things. We know that 
the game happens in the near future after most of the world's population has 
become blind, but what is such a world like. Where are the racing tracks 
actually set up, in the desert? the mountains? beside the sea? Through 
cities or factories? it is these sorts of questions that I'd love to here 
answered in the game and other games produced in the future. Since I think 
the rewards to the player experience in answering those questions would be 
And after all, that metaphorical sheep rampage always needs new recruits!
News from developers
The Accessible Learning through Entertainment and Recreation Tools (ALERT)
In February of 2008, 7-128 Software delivered a project designed to help
educators and care givers select and apply accessible computer games to
The objective is to tell these professionals:
1. Where to find these games
2. How to select them
3. How to apply them
4. Whom to go to for help
The ALERT project consists of a set of resources available at
<http://www.7128.com/>www.7128.com. These resources include:
The ALERT Game Book, which identifies 7 Accessibility Needs, including
blindness and vision impairment, uses 8 games to demonstrate specific
Accessibility Accommodations for those needs, and suggests specific
criteria for selecting accessible games.
The ALERT Experts List, which gives contact information for experts in
accessible gaming who have volunteered to respond to questions about
accessible games.
The ALERT How To Suggestions, a growing series of articles written by
Eleanor Robinson, a former college instructor health care professional, and
current accessible game developer, on how to apply accessible games to
learning objectives.
The ALERT Resources Grid, annotated links to developers, resellers,
reviewers, and forums (such as Audyssey) where educators and care givers
can get accessible games and information.
All of these resources are available totally free of charge.
John Bannick
7-128 Software
News from BrailleSoft
PB-Games and BrailleSoft are proud to present to you
Showdown for PAC Mate 4.1 and earlier
 and Showdown for the PAC mate Omni 6.0 and later
Thanks to Phillip Bennefall for giving me permission to port this awesome 
Ping-Pong like game over to the PAC Mate. Please read the readme file before
playing the game for full details on how to play and what your PAC Mate 
needs to run this software successfully! You can also send mail to
if you have any questions regarding the PAC Mate version! Audiogames.net 
should have a link to the Windows version in the not too distant future for 
those of you still wanting this game on your desktop.
This, and other awesome games can be found at
Also feel free to email me with any questions, comments, and suggestions you 
may have. Enjoy!
Hi all gamers!
I'm Louis Bryant from BrailleSoft, INC!
I know in the past people have wanted games for the Smart Phones! I am proud 
to announce at braillesoft.net there are lots of them now! However I don't
have a Smart Phone so please please let me know your findings and if they 
work. Also for PAC Mate users, there are more games located at
! Enjoy and let me know what you all think!
News from Dan Z Games
What's New
Due to other time commitments, DanZ Games will be closing in June 2008. In
the meantime, we have released our game products as freeware. You can
download the following self-extracting archives:
Super Deekout, Chainlink, and Search Party.
You should first install the game demos from the games' product pages. Each
archive above contains one file that should be extracted to the respective
game's directory (a subdirectory of program files, unless you changed it 
during install). The games will then function as registered copies. Limitted 
email support will be provided. Thanks for your support over the last four 
News from Lighttech Interactive
dear gamers,
lighttech Interactive is proud to anounce Bop It Ultimate ; our first ever 
multi player game!
not just simply another lame remake:
Play against the computer on 2 different game themes including a classic 
version of Bop It, and an insane Trick Bop theme invented by us.
and the best part: connect to another gamer from anywhere across the globe 
and have a raging Bop It competition while the rhythm gets faster and 
Features Include:
" Online one on one gameplay against a partner!
" 16 cool rhythms to unlock as you play!
" Play the game on 3 themes: Bop, Trick Bop, and 1on1.
" two different game modes: BeatBop, and VoxBop.
" unlockable Ping - pong bonus game!
" 3 voice settings to choose from.
" the ability to send your score to the Lighttech Interactive score server
go to http://www.lighttechinteractive.com to grab a copy!
Happy gaming!
Lighttech Interactive
News from L-Works
I'm working on creating a patch for judgment day to address a few long 
standing issues.  Is there any suggestions or ideas anyone has?  Try and 
avoid new feature requests like more levels or new kinds of weapons.  I want 
to tweak the game and squish any bugs, or fix things that don't work right. 
If there's small improvements I can make like navigation keys, and other 
misc features, let me know.  this is the kind of stuff I want to work on.
Sapi speech was one of my ideas.  are people opposed to this?  it would make 
my life easier in the long run.
Hey Hey!
I'm in a great mood.  I just happened to get bored and decide it was high 
time to update everyone with what was happening in the not so sunny land of 
 How many game programmers will send random messages like this at 1 in the 
morning to say they have something for you to listen to?  And to make it 
better, I'm not going to say what this audio is of.  All I'll tell you is, 
it's part of a new engine I'm working on.  No specifics about the game have
been released, but you can always guess if you  want.  and no.  it's not 
super Liam 2.  grins.
you can hear it at
I have been programming all night, and I'm extremely excited.
News from Kitchen's Inc
I have put 3 new files up on my web site.
File Name wintgf8.exe File Size 90k bytes
Four new trivia files, Canes and Cane Travel, languages, lord of the rings 
and presidents
File Name wingcfs3.exe File Size 70k bytes
Six new golf courses which are, Deer Lake rating 67, harry potter country 
club rating 61, joeburg country club rating 75, pacific putters paradise 
43, Spring Fever Links rating 64 and Thunder Nationals rating 75
File Name WinHHv4.exe File Size 2.3m bytes
Homer on a Harley version 4.
In version 4 I fixed the practice mode save game conflict etc.
All 3 files can be found on my free windows sapi5 text to speech games page.
Kitchen's Inc, for games that are up to 100 percent funner to play.
(440) 286-6920
Chardon Ohio USA
News from RS Games
Our website (
has been successfully hacked. I have
not checked any details yet and am in the process of doing that now.
Please refrain from going to that website.
Thank God for Back-Ups!
Thank You.
Hello All,
RS Games is super-r s tastic to present Shoot Da Me Beta 3 with more
features than I can think of! We added alot of features, most which you'll
like (I hope!)
• Enhanced UI
• Many Bugs - All Known Are Fixed
• Score Posting
• A Simple Boss
• Improved Layout/Design
• Improved Size/Compression(Reduced by a mega-byte)
• Enhanced Support For Sighted Players (Title Frame)
• One Copter sound using Direct Sound Panning Technology
And the one bad feature:
• I wrote the readme as always [image: sad]!
And some more features....
We have some features we will be adding on the RSG page.
We would like to thank X-Sight Interactive and Mike F., for letting me use
there wonderful score posting system! (Applause!)
You can as always get it at www.rsgames.co.nr with our newly re-designed
website now with Valid HTML/CSS
We will be holding special contests throughout the year of who can get the
highest score and the best health, etc, as we upgrade everything. It is
programmed in standard PHP and Visual Basic 6.
Thank You Audyssey, I hope you enjoy this one.
-Ryan Smith
Head of RSG/Dev at X-Sight
We welcome your feedback,
Sound RTS
SoundRTS 1.0 beta 10a (unstable version) is available in English at
the following URL:
Windows installer:
Multi platform:
This unstable version is only meant to test the new multiplayer
architecture. The single player part is probably broken (for example:
the restore feature will not work).
The main change is the way the clients and the server communicate in
multiplayer games: only the orders are sent to the server, and each
client simulates the game. This way the game should be faster and
allow more units, and a server can host more games. New bugs might
appear, though.
Known bugs:
- sometimes, the multiplayer game doesn't start (check this by
pressing control shift f3: you should hear the heartbeat of the game);
if you have this problem, ask to quit twice (the second time will
work) and start a new game; feel free to report this problem, though.
- if you start a server and stop it, and start it again without
closing the program, the server will not start the second time; close
the program if you have to restart the server.
About the reaction time of the game, you will find that there is a fixed 
between the moment where you give an order and the moment where you
have the confirmation. This delay is necessary because of the latency,
so every player plays in the same conditions even if some of them have
higher latency delays. Later, I will make this delay adjustable,
probably automatically, so the delay is near zero in a LAN game, while
it will be higher in an Internet game, depending on the actual
If you find a server called JL, please use it, so I will be able to
check if, for example, there are synchronization problems between the
SoundRTS web site:
SoundRTS development log:
SoundRTSChat mailing list:
USA Games News
Greetings gamers,
There is a lot going on here at USA Games Interactive. I can not begin
to tell all of you how stressful and busy life has become for my wife
and I over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, there have been several
disruptions to our current game productions including a vicious hacker
break in on the USA Games web server, and a grievous disagreement over
the copyright issues over Montezuma's Return. As a result I am
attempting to single-handedly get things straitened out. Which isn't an
easy job considering both the web site and games need urgent attention
as well as my daily duties as a husband, parent, contract developer,
etc. Basically, very busy addition to the afore mentioned issues I've
been strongly looking at taking USA Games in an entirely different
direction development wise. There are a lot of different factors I need
to look at before I eventually decide one way or the other where to go
with our new development projects. One of the biggest questions I am
personally dealing with is weather or not to remain with C# and use the
XNA Framework, which is not very accessible, or move all our games to
Java. Either way I do feel that a change in direction is necessary in
order to stay on the cutting edge of software development.
One final note before I get down to the real news I'd like to announce
USA Games new developers initiative. On Feb. 22, 2008 USA Games
officially launched
which is a wiki specially setup and designed for those of you interested
in learning how to program your own accessible games. As of the time of
this writing there is still a lot of work that needs to be completed
such as a frequently asked questions section, Getting Started Guide, and
of course adding several tutorials and training materials to the web
site to research. Obviously, as strapped as I am with everything else
the site isn't going to be completed soon, but I do hope to have some
definitive guides, tutorials, and articles  for accessible game
programming sometime in the future.
Changes In Development
In January 2007 Microsoft released its latest operating system, Windows
Vista, with many new features, technologies, and has transformed the
industry standards for how game programmers design games for the new
Windows platform. In the past someone with a little C++ or Visual Basic
know-how could create Windows games using the Win32 API as well as the
DirectX SDK.
In 2001 Microsoft introduced the .NET Framework for Windows developers.
Sometime after that Microsoft released DirectX 9.0 with a new technology
called Managed DirectX. Managed DirectX is an optional DirectX upgrade
that allows C++ .NET, C# .NET, and Visual Basic .NET developers to add
DirectX to games and other multimedia applications. In 2006 Microsoft
announced they were going to release Managed DirectX 2, but later
reversed their decision and canceled the release of Managed DirectX 2.
Soon after releasing Windows Vista Microsoft announced the release of
the XNA Framework.
The XNA Framework is a new set of gaming libraries and APIs from
Microsoft specially targeting new games for the XBox 360, Windows XP,
and Windows Vista. Like managed DirectX XNA is based upon the .NET
technology, and is specially designed for C# .NET game developers. That
would be fine except for a big problem. I discovered in order to use the
XNA technology in my future games I would have to pack my game sound
files using a tool named Xact. As luck would have it Xact is very
unaccessible with Jaws, Window Eyes, NVDA, or any other screen reader I
have tried.
To add insult to injury in August 2007 Microsoft announced in their
DirectX release notes that Managed DirectX was to be phased out of the
following DirectX SDK release. True to form the November DirectX SDK had
no official support for .NET developers putting USA Games in a real bind.
The situation is simply this. If USA Games is to continue using C# as
our development language of choice we will either have to stick with the
DirectX August 2007 release, find a way to work with Xact, or find some
alternative language and APIs to use. Luckily, we are not without
options and choices. Just a very time consuming issue when we are
already behind on two games already.
At the time being USA Games is looking at the possibility of moving all
our source code to Java. While it would be a major undertaking there are
several good reasons why USA Games is looking at switching. Those
reasons will briefly be discussed below.
First, Java is one of the most flexible, highly portable, platform
independent languages used by programmers today. Since Java relies on
its own libraries, shipped with the Sun Java runtime environment, a Java
based game can potentially be created on Windows, but be made to run
with very little to no modifications to support Mac, Linux, Sun Solaris,
etc. It all depends on how many operating system specific dependencies
the developer uses.
Second, as of Java 1.4.x  Sun has been adding more functionality to Java
to handle the demands of commercial games. For example, the javax.sound
package has been upgraded to allow for the playback, looping, mixing,
panning, etc of game sounds. While not DirectX Sound quality it is a
pretty good package if your needs aren't too advanced such as 3D audio.
As for USA Games we are currently looking at a Java runtime update
called java.media. The java.media package seams to have all the bells
and whistles required to produce top-of-the-line 3D FPS shooters, racing
games, etc.
Another recent discovery is the JInput package. The JInput package is a
nice game developers input package which allows a Java game developer to
include keyboards, mice, game pads, and force feedback game controllers
to any Java game. The advantage of this is that USA games doesn't have
to worry about dropping support for racing wheels and other devices in
games like Raceway if we decide to go Java.
Finally, for years Java has been notorious for having accessibility
issues with screen readers. A lot of this is because the swing toolkit
requires the presents of an accessibility bridge, and of course the
screen reader needs to support it as well. Miss anyone of those
requirements and your Java application days are over. However, recently
I have discovered an accessible alternative to swing.
The Java Eclipse IDE, used for developing Java applications, offers an
alternative toolkit called swt. What is nice about swt is that it wraps
the native operating systems widget toolkit exposing the window elements
in the operating systems native API. What this means in layman's speak
is that swt will create a window with buttons, edit fields, check boxes,
etc similar to ones created by traditional Windows applications written
in Visual Basic or C++. Screen readers like Jaws, Window Eyes, NVDA,
Hal, can read swt Java applications without requiring the Java access
bridge which is a good thing. In addition, swt isn't limited to Win32
applications. It is also supported on Mac to wrap Mac's Cocoa graphical
toolkit and Linux's GTK+2 toolkit.  With swt I feel very sure USA Games
can begin building Java based applications insuring maximum access out
of the box.
Another popular advantage of Java over other programming languages is
that Java has been designed to prevent certain common programmer errors
that all programmers make from time to time. For example, one very
common error programmers make is failing to initialize variables as the
create them. In many programming languages you can declare a variable like
int myVariable;
with no default values. As a result when the program is run there is a
tendency to crash or run into some sort of runtime error. Java is
different at minimum you must do something like
int myVariable = 0;
which sets the default for myVariable to 0 unless new values have been
passed to it. This makes safer, cleaner, and more error free code.
Java also includes what is known as the garbage collector. In languages
such as Visual Basic 6 and C++ it is pretty much left up to the
programmer to use good coding practices and clean up memory leaks,
dispose of unwanted objects, and game performance is usually based on
how well the game is written. In Java its garbage collector is like a
built in vacuum cleaner. The garbage collector keeps track of what is in
memory, and as soon as it sees something that is no longer of use to the
program it removes it from memory. This is often helpful as it places
the responsibility on the Java JRE rather than in the hands of the human
programmer. Not to say that the human programmer has no control. There
are ways to call the garbage collector manually in Java to clean up a
huge section of code you just completed for especially time sensitive or
memory critical point in your application. As a result with the garbage
collector Java isn't usually prone to such bugs as memory leaks and
waisted CPU power as is the case with many games written in C++ or
Visual Basic 6.
While Microsoft has done its best to mottle C# .NET and Visual Basic
.NET after Java there are still a few things Java can do better than any
of the .NET programs. One of these areas happens to be networking. Java
was designed from the beginning to work as server side and client side
applications communicating  over large and small scale networks. What
this means, surprise, Java is well suited to networked games with
multiplayer game play in mind. Which is another advantage to think about
when considering Java.
With all the advantages and possibilities Java has to offer I am certain
Java is where USA Games is heading. There are of course going to be
issues getting our new games launched, but in the end it will probably
be worth it.
Mysteries Of The Aztecs
Formerly Montezuma's Return
Over the last couple of weeks or so some of you have been emailing our
info address asking about Montezuma's Return now known as Mysteries of
the Aztecs. Do to recent copyright legal issues USA Games can not and
will not offer old downloads of Montezuma's Return Beta 9 and earlier.
We formally request that others do not pass around and share old copies
of the software either as it would be a violation of our agreement with
the copyright holders. As a result USA Games is working on a replacement
game with a similar theme called Mysteries Of the Aztecs. Mysteries Of
The Aztecs is the first in a new line of games called Tomb Hunter
featuring daring adventurer Angela Summers. For a description of the new
game visit
and read the Mysteries Of the Aztecs home page for an overview of the
new game.
First, many users have asked if their product keys for Montezuma's
Return will work with Mysteries Of The Aztecs. Our answer is yes.
Weather we stick with C# or move to Java we plan to use the exact same
authorization system to make the new game backward compatible with
registration keys purchased before the copyright issues came up. The
internal way that it works might be different, but your keys should
still work.
Second, a few have asked about refunds. Unfortunately, once keys have
shipped we can no longer offer a refund for the product. However, we
have used some of your money to purchase new sounds, music, etc to make
Mysteries Of the Aztecs hopefully a better game than Montezuma's Return.
Third, many of you have asked when will Mysteries of the Aztecs beta 2
be ready for download. Unfortunately, we can not give any release dates
as we don't even know ourselves when it will be ready. We have decided
to convert the code from C# to Java, which will take a few months, and
will be designing an all new platform independent engine extending
Mysteries Of the Aztecs to Mac OS Leopard and Linux operating systems.
Finally, some time ago I had polled the community weather or not
Mysteries Of the Aztecs should go FPS or remain a side-scroller. The
majority of those polled were in favor of a side-scroller format so
Mysteries Of The Aztecs will remain a side-scroller. Though, the levels
and weapons will be a little different.
One of the new changes is the game will definitely have a bit of Tomb
Raider and Indiana Jones type elements appearing in the game. As Angela
explores the Temple of Death she will be able to pickup lost or dropped
items from Romo's failed expedition such as guns, etc.
The new game will also feature some new traps such as a spinning blade
trap Angela must duck under or jump over. She must also avoid rolling
boulders, lava pits, fire pits, and cross underground streams and lakes.
All on her way to meat the Aztecs king and queen of death in armed combat.
USA Raceway
Some of you have asked of late what is the status of Raceway.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot to report since our primary focus has
been on Mysteries Of the Aztecs, building our developer center, and
trying to get the USA Games web site back up and running after a hacker
hacked into our web hosting company and completely deleted the USA Games
web site as well as everything else on the web server.
However, one decision we have made is that USA Raceway is definitely
going to be converted from C# to Java. We are still testing and trying
to figure out JInput, but once we get racing wheel support  figured out
there is little reason not to make the switch to Java. We would like to
see Raceway, as well as our other games go multiplatform, and we are
making breakthroughs everyday to solve issues in making the switch.
Though, there is one decision yet to be made.
In the current C# .NET version of Raceway we had planned on creating a
cfg file you could edit in notepad so you could change such information
as driver name, sponsor, car, etc. In addition you could create your own
seasons by editing the season.cfg file and putting the tracks in
whatever order you wanted to play them. As a result of such editing you
would be able to create the exact season races for Nascar 2008, 2007,
2006, or whatever year you wanted. While it is still possible in Java
the question is not if it can be done, but how it should be done.
When it comes to the matter of making a custom engine, as Raceway
currently is, something like Sapi 5 is extremely helpful. It allows new
or changed data to be spoken aloud, and it doesn't matter if the driver
is your own name or Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, Mickey Mouse, Donald
Duck, Sponge Bob Square Pants, etc. the use of Sapi in a game like
Raceway will adapt to new data, and allow the Nascar fan to do whatever
with the game. There is a commercial SDK for Java developers for Sapi 5
engines, but then the game would become tied to Windows. Frankly, that
The alternative is to find a human to record everything, that would
sound more like Nascar Thunder 2006, but you would lose the total
customization ability of changing driver names, cars, and sponsors.
Though, personally I think the second choice is slightly better than the
If I go with the second option one way to reach a compromise is to use
common everyday first names such as Richard, Jeff, Kyle, John, etc. If
you are racing you might be able to pretend that the guy in the car next
to you with the name Richard is Richard Petty without having to use the
guys full name. You can see how that might work.
Anyway, Raceway is for all intents and purposes going through a
rethinking process. I have not forgotten about the game, am still
working on it, but it isn't my primary focus right now.
Please note that with all developments with MOTA it will continue to be a 
side scroller treasure hunting game.  For further details keep watching the 
USA Games website.
Chatting with creators
In this section of the magazine we find out more information about the 
people behind the games we all enjoy playing.  Our developer this time is 
none other then Jim Kitchen.  I'm pleased Jim was willing to participate and 
lend a hand with answering my questions about himself and the numerous games 
he's created and we've all, I know I have, spent many hours of fun with over 
the years.
Ron: All right, I think to begin we'll start with some background info about 
yourself.  so how about just general info about you?  We'll get into gaming
Jim: My name is James Herman Kitchen just like my Dad's.  Last June eleventh 
I turned fifty.  I live in a beautiful HUD apartment building in Chardon 
Ohio USA.
 The building has 76 units, is a single level building and is shaped like a 
large square C.  As of March first I will have lived here for 21 years.  I
am single.  February twenty eighth it will be two years since Marcie passed 
away.  Other than creating and playing computer games I like to socialize 
play with toys like my remote control cars and trucks.  I also like to spend 
time out doors when the weather is nice.  I also have bought and watched 
and lots of described movies,  I am a big fan of The Simpson's.  And I 
appreciate that they are also described.  You can also check out my personal
page on my web site.
Ron: Next what was your first gaming experience the title, system etc? 
Computer or console styles you've played over the years?  Favorite titles 
and so on.
Jim: The first two video games that I ever played were in a pinball arcade. 
One was a cowboy shoot out game where there was a cowboy on each side of the 
screen and cactuses in the center that you could hide behind and had to try 
to shoot around to shoot your opponent.  The other game was an Eval Kneval 
game where you had to get and keep your motorcycle up to the correct speed 
to jump the buses.  Later I bought an Atari 2600 and later an Atari 800 XL 
home computer.  My favorite games on those systems were games like Pole 
Position, Bowling, Space Invaders, Pong, Missile Command, Star Wars, Popeye 
and Pacman.
Ron: How difficult did you find converting your games from their original 
dos to windows then the current text to speech versions?
Jim: Actually I only converted two of my dos games to windows games with 
recorded speech.  Those being the casino games and golf.  It took allot of 
time and work to record, cut and edit all of the speech files and to try to 
get them to speak and sound good for the games.  I also converted Trucker 
and Bop it to windows text versions.  The Trucker game would only work with 
certain versions of Jaws.  Converting and programming with the free 
Microsoft sapi5 text to speech engine is very similar to putting text on the 
screen like in the dos versions.  So I like working with it very much.  The 
only real differences are that when putting text on the screen you want to 
try to keep it organized and looking nice.  With the text to speech engine 
since I do not put text on the screen I want to be sure to have keys that 
will repeat the information.  One very nice thing is that the sapi5 engine 
has become so popular and there are allot of very nice voices out there that 
people can choose to use with my games.  Also I program in Visual Basic 6 
very much like I did in the dos Quick Basic languages.  So really I have had 
allot of fun converting all of the games and adding better sound support 
which the DirectX and TegoSoft allow.
Ron:    What got you interested in developing audio games?
Jim: I took a one semester computer programming course in High School.  That 
was back in 1974.  The programming language was COBOL and the school didn't 
even have a computer, but I knew right then that I loved computer 
programming.  Then when I played those first two video games I knew that I 
wanted to create video games.  Which I did do on my first home computers the 
Texas Instruments 99 4a and then the Atari 800 XL.  I got my first talking 
computer in December of 1989.  It was a NEC 286 running Jaws For Dos version 
1 and an Accent SA synthesizer.  I set right out making accessible games and 
other programs.  The
first program was a braille reference guide.  I wrote it while I was 
learning braille at the Cleveland Sight Center and my braille instructor 
helped me
to make sure that it was all correct.  Of course the dos games were more 
about the text on the screen that all dos screen readers would speak.  The 
to play sounds in windows games has really changed that to being as much if 
not more about the sounds, which has really been allot of fun.  Especially
since the games can be live action and interactive with the sounds.
Ron: Which game or games have been the most fun to program?  Which the most 
Jim: I really like the live action games such as Mach 1, Pong and Homer on a 
Harley.  Mach 1 was pretty challenging because the whole idea of a live 
action interactive sound based game was new.  It sure was fun when it 
started coming together and working correctly.  I am not so good at the 
artificial intelligence programming stuff, so it was challenging to write 
all of the code to try to make the computer player in Monopoly give people a 
good game.
Ron: This one might sound silly but which of your games do you enjoy playing 
yourself and why?
Jim: Actually I still play all of my games.  Some of them more than others, 
but allot just depends on my mood or how much time I have.  Of course I 
spend one heck of allot of time test playing the games before I release 
them.  Allot of times I am tired of playing them for awhile by the time it 
is done.
But I am still playing allot of Homer on a Harley, Golf, Mach 1, Master Mind 
etc.  Some of the most fun was when we used to have organized Mach 1 races
and Golf tournaments.  Like wise it is fun to play games like golf, Monopoly 
etc on line in the voice chat rooms.
Ron: What title would be the most popular with people?
Jim: I really don't know for sure which has been the most popular.  I know 
that Golf is as well as the other sports games like Baseball and Football. 
But so have some of the board and dice games like Monopoly, Skunk, Snakes 
and Ladders and Yahtzee.  And so have the casino games.  It is hard to tell 
because different people like different games and I never have had a down 
load counter.
Ron: What made you decide to come up with the Winkit file first, and by 
doing this does it make creating the other games an easier task?
Jim: The Microsoft Visual Studio 6 install maker wizard program is not that 
speech friendly or easy to use.  It also adds over a meg to each install 
file.  So when a friend told me about the WinZip self extractor and that it 
could be set to have a default unzip folder, I just thought that it would 
work out nicely. You know I wouldn't need to wrestle with the install wizard 
and it would save me allot of web space, down load time and band width.  And 
then I wrote the Kitchen's Inc game menu program to tie all of the games 
Ron: With the new TTS have you found it's shorter writing a new game such as 
Homer on a Harley?
Jim: It is definitely less work to use the text to speech engine rather than 
using recorded speech.  Probably about the same as putting text on the 
screen like back in the dos days though.  Homer on a Harley went a bit 
quicker for me than some because I used many of the same concepts that I had 
learned and used
for Mach 1.  One thing that did take longer was all of the work that I did 
for the sound files to get the Harley to sound realistic.
Ron: What was the first game you programmed?
Jim: I don't remember for sure which was my first game.  It would have been 
back in the early eighties on my Texas Instruments 99 4A.  It might have 
been the five card draw poker game.  The cards slid out across the screen as 
they were dealt.  Or it could have been a simple reaction game where the 
word reaction was on the screen and it turned from red to yellow and then to 
green and it tested your reaction time for pressing a key when it turned 
green.  But I did spend allot of time first just learning all of the 
programming commands, learning to put text and pictures on the screen and 
playing sounds before I could start creating games.
Ron: Any hints at other game ideas you are currently developing or thinking 
Jim: I will be putting Homer on a Harley version 4 up very soon.  After that 
I would like to learn to code for a joystick.  But am not sure what kind of 
I might try to create for the joystick.
Ron: With a couple of your games there's shall we say an adult option like 
in Hangman.  Was this put in just for the fun of it?
Jim: Yes, but I do more often play the adult versions of Hangman and 
Concentration.  There is also spanker.  Which I still play as well.  I do 
like adult entertainment and would make even more adult type games if I had 
good ideas and sound files for them.
Ron: How many times if you would know have your games been downloaded?
Jim: I really do not know since I have never had a counter on my site or 
counter for each of the files.  Past providers did indicate that they did 
get down loaded quite a bit though.  And back in the dos slash FidoNet days 
the files just got passed around the world via the planet connect system of 
Bulletin board systems (BBS).
Ron: do allot of people call or email regarding your games with suggestions 
or asking technical help?
Jim: Yes, very much so.  It has been very rewarding receiving phone calls 
and Email from so many people all over the world thanking me, asking 
questions, giving suggestions and making comments about the games.
Ron: How long does it take you to finish a game from the idea to final 
Jim: That is really pretty much impossible to say.  For instance I have 
wanted to do an accessible version  of Homer on a Harley ever since I 
started doing
accessible games.  I had done a video version way back when.  I just had to 
come up with the sounds and a way to do the input and wait for the DirectX
sound support thing.  Mostly though I just get an idea for a game, try to 
see if I can find some sounds for it and just start programming it.  I just
work at it until I think that it is the way that I had envisioned it.  Of 
course once I put it out most often people give me suggestions for it that I
hadn't thought of and if I like them I will try to add them to the game.
Again I'd like to say it was great of Jim to take time to respond to the 
questions about himself and his games.  Is there a dev you'd like to hear 
more about?  Perhaps a spacific inquiry about a particular part of a 
favourite title?  Chatting with Creators is the right section to get the 
answers.  Anytime send me suggestions of which developer you'd like to have 
interviewed, or send those questions along and I'll keep them for upcoming 
creators to have them answered in a future chatting section.
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.
Hi all,
Well, it seems I've found that game that Dark calls "An RPG." This
game has a storyline so complex that, after I finish the tutorial, I
don't know where to start. It operates like a gamebook.
I haven't gotten into the "story" elements of the game questing etc,
but it sure does look like a pretty big world. What's more, there's a
soundtrack. Why it plays out of the left channel only for me, I don't
know, but as you explore, new tracks apparently get unlocked.
Go and register at: http://www.azoundria.com
Basketball pool
The fourth annual accessible
Men's Championship Basketball Tourney called
"Ruffle the Buffalo" is now open.
To fill out your brackets go to:
Bat Racer online racing simulation
Hi Orin,
the BAT racer URL is
Racing Manager Game
Play as a driver competing to win the drivers championship
Work with your team mate to secure the constructors championship
Various car sets and race series, race in several series at once
Paint your car and helmet!
Setup your car for optimum speed
select driving style and race strategy
Changing weather conditions
Different car, tyre and engine attributes
Safety cars
Practice, qualifying and race
Complete breakdown of the race results including commentary
Circuit maps showing car positions at race end
Championship analysis between teams, drivers and team mates
Lap by lap track map replay
BATracer is more graphical orientated than other web games. There are
interactive track maps for each lap of the race, graphs, charts, paintable
cars, helmets and more.
Boulderdash or Wadnerer
Maybe some of you are familiar with the game Boulderdash. It's a strategy 
from the 80s in which your objective is to collect diamonds while digging 
way through earth and avoiding falling boulders. You had to think 
strategically so as not to corner yourself.
Well, there is a text-mode game called Wadnerer that's got similar gameplay.
The main difference is that this game is turn-based with a limited amount of
moves for each level, rather than being timed.
All the diamonds, boulders, arrows, ramps etc ar represented by symbols on 
screen. The player is an @-sign.
In the version I'm running in Linux there are 61 levels included. There's 
a built-in level editor.
I can run the game with braille without any problem. There are two screen
modes, and the mode you want is fullscreen mode. I don't know how playable 
this game might be with speech though.
The game's homepage can be found at
I imagine that one or both of the DOS versions might work in Windows. It 
be worth a try. I find this game highly addictive and quite fun.
Brain Training
Hi all,
Here's a site which us braintraining enthusiasts can investigate, it gives
links to braintraining games, some free, some paid-for, maybe some of you
guys together with me can investigate if any of these are accessible, as
there are quite a lot.
Cthulhu Nation
Hi all,
Has anyone played this game and had any luck with the map? I find it a
bit confusing, and was just wondering if anyone had tried it out.
The game is set in the 1920's, and this organization known as "The
Group" wants you to go out and kill all types of creatures, I don't
know how the storyline goes but I will say that it does sound complex.
You can find the game at:
Hopefully a few of you can try it out and let me know if it's
playable. I have already tried it, and as I said found it quite
confusing, but if I do indeed learn how to play this I'm gonna
continue doing it, it looks huge. It's set in a horror setting.
Forum Warez
Hi all,
Well I don't know about extremely funny, but it's funny. I heard this
from Jick from KoL Radio again, which is the same way I heard about
twilight heroes. and, this game has kind of the same concept, meaning
that instead of adventures, you get forum visits, etc. Basically what
you do is PWN, otherwise known as flaming, fake forums. It's rather
funny when you start the game because it comes up with a blank edit
box with a search button. I had trouble with this at first. Answer:
just put in any word, any word at all. When you hit the search button,
bogus search results will come up with your keyword, and, well, don't
you see what that fake page looks like? Guess. Yes, that's right,
Half way down the page you'll get the start of your first mission. I
won't bother with spoiling it, because it would probably put you off
from playing. Another thing is, when doing the tutorial, I think at
least ten images will come up, showing you everything visually. Just
hit continue about 11 times and eventually you'll come up to something
that makes sense.
But yeah, this is the internet itself. You got stores, special
services, forums, a fake IM client that you can add players to if
they're online you could probably chat and you also get NPC contacts,
and so much more. And I don't even wanna go into the titles of the
player classes, the names themselves would get me banned from the
list. Well at least one of them I believe.
Check it out at
and stalk me at Orinks. Heh, if
that's even possible, not exactly sure yet.
Enjoy, I think I'll be. The humor probably won't get stale as it's
interesting while you're in battle the kinds of replys they make in
the forum threads about you to lower Ego.
Talk to you in-Game hopefully,
Frets on Fire
not sure if anyone's seen frets on fire.
it's not really accessible, but it is open source.  don't expect me to even 
touch it.  I don't know the first thing about python.
you can check it out at
fretsonfire.sourceforge.net/my main interest came from the fact that 
existing guitar hero songs can be imported if you own the playstation copies
just figgured I'd share.
Guitar Hero
commercially available from Nintendo
  I have guitar hero for the Nintendo Wii, and it is pretty cool overall.
  Once you memorize the menus, you can navigate to the different areas you
need, and you can select the song you want easily, as it plays the first
part of each song as you navigate through the selections.
  You will probably need to have a sighted person help you memorize the
sequences for each song though, at least that is what I had to do.   Once
you get in the rhythm of the song, especially the easy ones, it isn't that
  Also, you can go into practice mode where you can slow the song down and
practice it, which is quite helpful.
  For those of you wondering what the heck this game is, it comes with a 3/4
scale guitar that connects to your game console.  The guitar has 5 buttons
on the neck, and a bar that you strum on the body.  Notes stream along the
screen, color coded to the buttons on the neck of the guitar, and you have
to press the correct button and strum at the exact right time for the note
to register.  Play enough notes in sequence correctly and you get bonus
points, get too many wrong and the audience will boo you off the stage.
  The game comes with lots of songs from the seventies and eighties that
will be familiar to any classic rock fan, along with some hits from the
nineties.  The game producers went back and found the original recordings
and seperated the guitar tracks from the rest of the recordings, so if you
play correctly everything sounds groovy, but mess up a note or two and it is
quite noticeable.
  There is a similar game out there called Rock Band, where in addition to a
guitar, you play drums, bass and have a singer on a wired microphone.  My
cousin has played this one and says it is a blast.
  I would give guitar hero a 7 out of 10 for accessibility, as you really
can't wing it as the sighted can because you have to memorize the notes.
  All in all though, it is a lot of fun, and your friends and family will
absolutely love it.
  Happy strumming,
X-Auror  [Harry Potter online game]
there's defonitely something
didn't play much, but it's really cool. you do a test to see which house is
the right one, you go buy a wand, try it and register it at the minister,
there are diagon alley shops, classes, lessons, pets, quidditch matches, and
alot more
Mac gaming software
Some new Macs come bundled with board game software from another
company, not Apple, which are not accessible.  The accessible game
pickings for Mac are scarce at present, but I will say that the
interactive fiction interpreter called Zoom for Mac, which runs
Infocom, ZMachine, Tads, and a few other formats is the best and most
accessible interpreter I've ever used.
Yahtzee for the Mac
Hello Ron.
Posting a message here, because I figured it'd be the best way to
reach everyone who cares. :)
There's (to my knowledge) the first accessible mac platform game
written with accessibility in mind.
It's softcon yahtzee, and can be found at (http://www.softcon.com/
games/ (not uploaded there yet, but should be by the time the mag
comes out) or the alternative site http://homepage.mac.com/windowbridge/)
If you like, you can simply dump the documentation to the program in
as an article if it works, or let me know, and I'll see about getting
something a bit more audyssey related written by publication time.
Hope this helps get those mac users at least a little bit focused on
the adaptive games market for their platform.
SoundRTS Review
By Thomas Ward
available from http://jlpo.free.fr/soundrts
As long as I can remember I have always especially liked strategy games.
Some of the major strategy games I can remember playing as I grew up
were Battle Masters, Risk, Chess, and Checkers. Recently, I have began
playing SoundRTS, and have found it to be a very fun, challenging, and
excellent accessible real time strategy game. The kind of addictive game
that can keep you up playing hours after your normal bed time.
One of the great features of SoundRTS is its built in tutorials. Weather
you are unsure how to play real time strategy games, want to learn to
use the game's hot keys, or work your way slowly up to more complex
missions the games built in tutorials are a good way to start. Here is a
little description of the tutorials that are included with SoundRTS Beta 9.
In the first tutorial your object is to mine a nearby gold mine, build
some farms, and build a barracks for your soldiers. To accomplish your
objectives you have been given a town hall, a peasant, two footmen, and
an archer.
As far as tutorials go this one is pretty easy. You have to put your
first peasant to work on the gold mine while you set up a patrol using
the footman and archers. When you have mined enough gold you will need
to hire another peasant from the town hall to begin gathering wood from
the nearby woods. Once you have enough gold and wood you can hire more
peasants to mine, gather wood, or begin building your objectives. As
soon as you complete all assigned building projects SoundRTS will
announce you have completed your objectives, and announce tutorial 2 has
been unlocked.
Tutorial 2 is a little harder. Your mission objective is to simply
resist enemy attacks. I can say from personal experience sometimes that
is harder than it sounds. However, SoundRTS will still go pretty easy on
you at this point, because this is only a tutorial.
As with tutorial 1 you are given a town hall, a peasant, two footman,
and an archer to begin building your work force and army with. Be
careful as enemy soldiers and peasants will attempt to invade your
territories quite often in this tutorial. So your first order of
business is to setup your own troops where they can offer the best
protection for your peasants as they gather gold, wood, and build
buildings and farms. Then, begin obtaining as many peasants as you can
to rapidly gather gold and wood.
Now that you have some gold and wood your first order of business
should be to build a new farm and a barracks. You will need the extra
farm so you can feed more peasants and troupes. You will need the
barracks so that you can recruit more troupes such as knights,  footman,
and archers to defend your territory or to capture territory from enemy
Once you have a barracks you can begin creating an army. However, to
effectively build your army you may require other buildings to equip or
recruit some of the types of troupes. If you plan to recruit footman you
should have a blacksmith to make armor and swords. If you wish to
recruit archers you will also need a wood mill to make arrows, armor,
and better bows. If you wish to recruit a knight you will also need a
keep and a stable. So keep this in mind before you begin building
buildings and recruiting soldiers.  A major part of SoundRTS is managing
your gold and wood resources wisely while at the same time creating the
best army to carry out your objectives.
For the purposes of this review I am not going to tell you how to play
the tutorial, because that is all apart of the fun of learning to play
the game. However, I can say different troupes offer their own unique
strengths and weaknesses to the game you might want to think about when
playing this tutorial. Below is a short description of the kinds of
troupes the game offers.
Archers hold a very special strategic strength in that with all
available upgrades they can attack and defend at great distances.
However, their primary weakness is that they have little to no armor,
and can not stand up to lots of enemy troupes or enemy archers for long.
Footmen are the basic soldiers of SoundRTS. Their biggest strength is that
they generally come cheap, you can recruit a lot of them, and with all
available upgrades they are  useful to fill the ranks of your army.
Especially, if you want to defend more than one part of your territory.
Their weakness is that they have to fight close up, and they don't do as
well against knights and archers.
Knights are definitely the most useful type of soldier you can recruit.
They are very fast, well armored, and do very well in combat against
enemy footmen and archers. However, they require a lot of gold, and food
to maintain. As a result you might only have three or four knights at
most with the rest of your army made up of archers and footmen.
Once you have recruited a reasonably sized army you can do something
with it. You can use that army to guard strategic points of interest
like gold mines, woods, farms, and other buildings, or invade enemy held
territories. Personally I agree with General George Patten that a well
planned offense is better than a defense. So at this point I call my
entire army together with the control-s command, and carry out a full
scaled invasion in enemy territory.
Once you beat tutorial 2 SoundRTS will unlock tutorial 3. Tutorial 3 is
much like Tutorial 2 except that your objective is to destroy all enemy
buildings. If you followed my advice in completing tutorial 2 by using
an invasion strategy for beating the game then tutorial 3 will be pretty
much the same as tutorial 2 except a little harder since SoundRTS will
throw more enemies at you, and you must invade and destroy enemy held
buildings and farms to win.
After you have completed the tutorials you are ready to graduate to the
real game play. In addition to the computer based play SoundRTS offers
the ability to play others in multiplayer mode over the internet. Unlike
the stand alone games against the computer a multiplayer game against
human opponents is much more challenging and fun. In the full
multiplayer version of the game you may encounter enemy knights, mages,
dragons, catapults, castles, etc. You also can build a similar army
consisting of knights, dragons, footmen, archers, mages, catapults, and
so on. The one with the strongest army and best strategy usually wins.
What I really like about SoundRTS is not the combat, strategy, but the
civilization style management it requires to play the game. It is more
realistic in that you have to learn how to manage your resources
carefully, recruit people to work for you, and build yourself a town and
farms to support your workers. I have seen games such as Galaxy
Civilization that do much the same thing, and I find this style of game
play more fun and addictive than being given an entire army to command
right away like in Battle Masters, Futile,  or Chess. Part of the
strategy is commanding your army, but most of the strategy is in
figuring out how much gold you need, how much wood you need, and what
you can afford to build on your lands.
If you are interested in trying SoundRTS for yourself you can find it at
and install it. Currently, SoundRTS is available for Windows, Mac, and
Linux provided your computer meets the proper system requirements to
play the game. Enjoy!
Kitchen's Inc games
I thought I'd include a review of some of Jim Kitchen's games since he was 
featured in this issues Chatting with Creators section of the magazine.  So 
here are a few of his games using TTS, and my thoughts on them.
Hangman: The traditional hangman game of having to guess the word before all 
the parts of your person have been used.  There are 3 difficulties, and the 
number of guesses change accordingly.  Also there are two word lists to 
choose from when beginning the game.  The normal word list, and an adult 
list.  Obviously the adult list is just that, words for adults.  I do wonder 
though as I've played the adult list which I normally do and have even found 
a word or two and have no idea what they are doing in the list.  An example 
of this is "Roman".  There are various helpful keys such as f3 to read the 
word and blank spaces left, used letters and so on.  It's a great little 
game for those times when you wish to fill a few minutes of fun.
Life: This game was derived from the original board hgame.  Which very welll 
might be why I find it difficult to comprehend.  I've played against the 
computer a handfull of times and still can't figure it out.  I understand 
that you have to get to the finish with the most money, but sometimes it's 
funny how both players will go over the same square but not necessarily have 
the same thing happen to them.  A case in point is gaining money.  Sometimes 
it can be $160 thousand, and for the other player it would be $300 thousand. 
Overall I do find this one to be somewhat confusing.
Trivia: Here again is a really good little game and the only downside is 
when you've reached the end of the question set!  The interface is quite 
easy only needing a few keys to choose your answer with the numbers, and 
carry on to the next question.  It's great that people have sent in their 
own created sets for Trivia.  This includes but not limited to General 
Knowledge, Music, harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars and many others.  Lots 
of entertainment for those like myself who like trivia games.
Homer on a Harley: Take the role of becoming a Harley davidson stunt driver. 
Attempt to jump as many school busses as you can.  In this game the 
objective is to rev and maintain your motorcycle up to the correct speed 
enabling you to jump the most busses.  It's not as easy as it may sound 
however.  You need to keep off the guardrails, have your engine revving 
correctly with the gear your in, and not overdoing it with the length of 
your jump.  Each successful jump will add one more bus to your total. 
Meaning you will need to go faster to get a longer distance on your jump.  I 
certainly have no bragging rights on this game yet, but have some 
spectacular crashes to my credit.  Definitely an amusing game.
Starmule: Travel the solar system and attempt to make big money while 
avoiding the space police.  Buy and sell various narcotics to make alot of 
profit.  In this enjoyable game of galactic money making you get to visit 
different worlds.  Some can be industrial, cultural, mining and such, 
sometimes the world might be two types like a industrial and mining as an 
example.  Keep in mind not all items sell for the same if at all on some 
types of planets.  Also you need to make enough to pay docking fees and your 
crew.  Ah the time I've spent with this one barely scraping by making enough 
to pay the debts.  Alot of good times with this game.
Monopoly: I'll skip the description since everyone should be familiar with 
this classic board game brought to the accessible community.  This seems to 
be a full featured version.  You can auction properties which are not bought 
by the player landing on them, decide how much starts in free parking, make 
trades with other players, and design your own custome themed board.  The 
one current draw back with the last option is that at this point the tokens, 
currency, Chance and community Chess cards stay true to the original board 
game version.  However it's still loads of excitement.
To conclude Jim has written a wide range of games that should indeed fit all 
tastes.  The important note is that you will require the Winkit.zip file to 
use the TTS games, then all the others run through it.  I like all the 
games, they are all entertaining, fun and easy to play.
Second Life
Ok replying to my own message here, which I normally never do. There's
another web-based second life client called AjaxLife. It was developed by
Katharine, a teenager in the UK. You may wanna check both out and compare.
Here's the link to her blog.
Smugglers 3
    This is one of those games you stumble onto
completely by accident.  At least, I do--I'm not sure if others do the same 
not.  Anyway, it's quite accessible and has the potential for hours of fun, 
I'll explain:
    The game is set in a science fiction universe.
You play a ship captain, for one of four different factions in the game who 
are  in more or less constant war with each other.  Your objective is quite 
simple:  to rise in the ranks, however you can.  You can do this by trading 
goods back  and forth, by going on missions for your faction, by becoming a 
pirate, and a  lot of other things besides.
    The thing I like most about this game so far is
that the story is not scripted.  It's influenced a lot by what you do in the
game.  Also, there's the potential for a lot of replay value: you'll 
not have the same game twice.
    To anyone who is familiar with the game Trade
Wars, for old BBS systems, this is similar in some ways. The trick of it is 
that  it's single player, and something you have to buy, though there is a 
free trial  available.
    In terms of accessibility, the game has a lot
of controls which I found I need to navigate with the Window-Eyes mouse 
cursor.   I think Jaws should be able to do similar things with its cursor. 
There are no  realtime elements to speak of.  The combat, traveling, etc. is 
all  turn-based.
    The one obsticle which might get in the way of
enjoying this game is the music.  You can turn it off in the options menu, 
it's quite loud initially so hearing the options menu in the first place 
be tough.  However, it's not impossible.  The sound effects in the game will
tell you enough anyway.
    I think that I'm sufficiently impressed with
this game to buy it.
You can download the trial at:
    The trial lasts for an hour of gameplay, which
is enough to get the general feel of things, even if it will cut off in the
middle.  This is an hour only, and once it's up, it's up.
Enjoy, and do let me know what you think or if you
have questions.
All the best,
Stargate online game
just in case you haven't heard about it, there is a new stargate M M O RPG 
game that just came out this month. It is a turnbased online game with 4 
classes of characters. It is free but there does seem to be something about 
paying for some things. Kind of like sryth. For more info you can go to
I don't know how accessible it is. I plan on joining in the future, but not 
now. If anyone tries the game , please report back what you find out.
Happy gaming.
Shockwave online games
Hi all, While visiting a website, I found a site with shockwave based games 
for the blind. The site is www.accessiblewebgames.com. Please note that 
shockwave player is required, as well as the SAPI5 tts engine. Both of these 
are free. There are many games to play and I can't mention them all, but 
it's worth a look. If you have any questions, please contact me privately if 
you need to.
Happy Gaming!
Vista Installed Games that are accessible
Since Microsoft's release of Vista, on January 30, 2007,
many blind folks have gotten it.
Here is a review of Windows Vista Installed Games that are accessible,
partially taken from Features at GameSpot
You can hear Rick Harmon  demonstrating the accessible games in the podcast,
Vista With Jaws
He comprehensively outlines the use of Vista with Jaws in this presentation
that first appeared on Main Menu, 84.2 MB.
The following six games are accessible for the blind in Vista:
 Solitaire, FreeCell, Spider Solitaire,
Hearts, Minesweeper, and Mahjong Titans.
The three games, Chess Titans, Purble Place , and InkBall , are not 
Solitaire offers the same core gameplay mechanics that was in the Windows XP
version, but it also supports Windows Vista's new Games Explorer display 
window, which features game box shots and vital stats such as publisher, 
developer, and ESRB rating.
FreeCell still retains the core gameplay first introduced to players in
Windows 95. One major change in the Vista version
is a new "undo" command that lets you take back moves, which you can abuse
to go all the way back to the start of the game if you want. The undo
function appears in several of the other card-based games, as well as
Mahjong Titans.
With Spider Solitaire, you can select your difficulty level and take
advantage of the new "hint" option if you get stuck. Many of the games
feature a hint option that will highlight open moves for you to take in case
you get stuck. Using hints in Spider Solitaire will make sure you've
exhausted all of your options before dealing out another layer.
In Hearts, you try to pass hearts to other players and avoid the queen of
spades at all costs. Be careful when you attempt to shoot the moon (gather
all the hearts and the queen of spades)--the undo menu option isn't
available in this game. Hearts, like the other Vista games, offers robust 
saved-game options and advanced game statistics.
Minesweeper is largely the same, but the new animations add some excitement
to the desktop classic. Now when you accidentally uncover a mine, the game
reveals all the remaining bombs and detonates them sequentially starting
with the closest mines. The whole explosion sequence is much more dramatic
than the simple unhappy face in Windows XP.
Mahjong Titans is based on the Mahjong solitaire tile-matching game, not the
four-player gin-rummy-like game played in many Chinese and Jewish-American
households. The game offers six different game layouts, with tiles spread
across the table several layers deep. The goal of the game is to remove all
the tiles from the board. Match two exposed tiles to remove them from play.
Exposed tiles have empty space to the left or right and mostly lie along the
edges of each layout. The rules are fairly basic, but there's strategy
involved in selecting which tiles to match. Poor decisions could lead to
locked boards without any available matches.
That's when you use the undo option. Mahjong Titans is only available in the
non-Home Basic versions of Vista.
Contacting Us
All material for inclusion  in upcoming issues of Audyssey should be sent
to me at the following snail or email address:
Ron Schamerhorn
1180 Dorval Dr. #303
Oakville On L6M 3G1
and to chat find me at
for Windows/MSN messenger 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
e-mail to:


  Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your
fellow readers. This magazine should and can be a
highly interesting and qualitative look at accessible gaming. To insure
that high quality is maintained, I'll need your
written contributions. I reserve the right to unilaterally make changes
to submissions if I deem it necessary to improve them grammatically or
enhance their understand ability. I will never make changes which will
alter the spirit of a submission.
All submissions must be in English. However, people need not be great
writers to have their work appear in Audyssey.
Many of our community come from different countries. Others are quite
young. Where possible, I try to preserve their
different styles of expression. The richness that this adds to the
Audyssey experience far outweighs any benefits
gained from having everything in prose so perfect as to be devoid of
life. Audyssey is a community and magazine built
on the need for blind people to have fun. There are no formal
structural requirements for submissions. Within reason,
they may be as long as necessary. Game reviews should all clearly state
who created the game being examined, where it
can be obtained, whether it can be played without sighted assistance,
and any system requirements or other critical
information. Although profanity is by no means banned, it should not be
used gratuitously. Submissions not published
in a current issue will be reserved for possible use in future issues
if appropriate.

* Those who are on the Audyssey  discussion list should be aware that I
often put materials from the list in the "Letters" section if I feel
that they warrant it.   Anything posted to this discussion list that in
some way stands out from the common and often lively ongoing  discourse
will be considered fair game for publishing unless it contains the
author's wish that it not be published. 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.
Those who want to receive issues of Audyssey as they are published
should send a blank E-mail to:

The Audyssey discussion list facilitates discussion about games
accessible to the blind between the publication of issues of Audyssey.
All are welcome as long as they respect their fellow community members
and keep in mind that the topic of the list is supposed to be games.
Other topics are allowed within reason as long as they don't begin to
monopolize the list traffic for too long. Newcomers should be advised
that  traffic is frequently fairly heavy.  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, send a blank message to:

Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for
easy on-line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to
visit 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
Resource Gaming Guide
You do need the Gamebook to play their titles.  6 Inspecter Cyndi in Newport 
games,  5 Woople word games, and 9 Tyler games.
Ace Games
Dragonslayers audio rendition of Super Mario Brothers.
Audio Game Maker
The beta enabling people to create their own audio games.
Blind Adrenaline
Rail Racer with language packs and user created tracks.
Dreamtech Interactive
World of Darkness a text adventure, Enemy Attack, Wrecking Ball, and Air 
Hockey Alpha version.
Lighttech Interactive
Bop It Ultimate, Treasure Mania, Blank Block, Light Cars, Light Locator, The 
Horse Racing Game, and Num Crunch.
Judgement Day, Super Liam, and LWorks Arcade.  Along with some free games 
Duck Hunt, Super Egg Hunt, The Great Toy Robbery,
And Lockpick.
Kitchens Inc
Dos, Windows, and TTS games.  Including Homer on a Harley, Life, Golf, 
Monopoly, Hangman, Trivia, Starmule, Mach 1, Pong, Baseball, Snakes and 
Ladders, Concentration, Mastermind, Casino, Trucker, Yahtzee, Bop It, 
Spanker, Skunk, Jim’s NFL Football, Battleship, and Simon.
PCS Games
SCWW [Sarah and the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry], Pac Man Talks, Super 
Dogs Bone Hunt, and Ten Pin Alley
RS Games
Shoot Da me currently beta 3.
Singapore gaming MIT GAMBIT Game Lab
Experimental game Audi Odessey.
Sound RTS
RTS a real time strategy game.
Spoonbill Software
Blind Gamers series of self voicing games Cribbage, A few versions of 
Solitar, Lap, Uno, Boggle, Word Target, Yahtzee, Sudoku, 15 Puzzle, and 
Hearts.   to request the games by email. games@spoonbillsoftware.com.au
USA Games Interactive
Tomb Hunter I: Mysteries of the Aztecs, and Final Conflict.  Also USA Games 
mirrors some abandoned games from PB games and XL Studios.
For the people
A free voice chatting service.  With the Games people play room and various 
scheduled game related events. 

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