University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN20 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 5491-5501
ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2020.1439
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
As technology advances, we can see that companies come up with different solutions for different problems. Blind and visually impaired people are a category of people that require help from technology to complete daily tasks. Whether it is to read and navigate on a computer or walk around, technology plays a big role in these people’s lives. But surely enough, all people need some form of entertainment and thus we turned our attention to computer games. Games are very popular nowadays with a large percentage of young adults and adults playing them. From the release of the personal computer to the wide public, games were developed and people could compete in playing them. Online games are maybe the most popular type of games. Considering the fact that games are meant for people that enjoy the company of other players or have a competitive nature and a desire for escaping from reality, it is understandable why the motivation for playing exists. Therefore, the motivations for playing games are quite clear and it is understandable why visually impaired people would want to indulge in the act of playing games as much as other people. Game development is a difficult task as it requires creativity and the ability to come up with new stories and themes, not to mention the public desire for realistic and pristine graphics. Unfortunately, the vast majority, if not all developed games, in the last few years were not accessible for visually impaired people and were, therefore, not playable. Blind people make use of screen readers to navigate on smartphones or other devices. If an application is not screen reader accessible then it is impossible for the person to use it without help from a sighted person. Taking this into consideration and the fact that it is mostly impossible to play games without visual feedback, they are out of reach of blind and visually impaired people. This leads to them feeling overwhelmed and having a sense of helplessness, two words that should not be associated with a game. Games that are developed having this disability in mind are often childlike and too easy to even pose a challenge for an adult. Therefore, in the following paper the problem of developing games for the visually impaired and the difficulty of such a task will be discussed. For this it is mandatory to analyze the different types of audio only games developed until today and whether the ideas present in these games are worth taking into account. Moreover, as this paper will lead into the development of a game, it is compulsory to find out the opinions of the people which it is meant for. Considering the development of audio games, things are rather complicated because a balance is needed between novel mechanics, good audio feedback and great storytelling. Because it is difficult for a sighted person to perceive the important aspects of an audio game, an online survey and one-on-one interviews with some visually impaired participants were conducted. These people have the advantage of playing video games in their spare time thus knowing the faults in the game industry nowadays. Their feedback will be discussed and analyzed thus bringing light to the problems present in the game development area regarding accessibility.
Visually impaired, gamers, audio games.