It is challenging to make entertainment accessible to as many people as possible, especially for video games which rely on visuals. The International Game Developers Association estimates that around 10 to 20% of people do not play video games because of disability.
The concept of making a video game for visually impaired people may sound unrealistic and unusual, but the idea is being accepted by game designers including West Aussie indie game developer Brian Fairbanks. Brian’s rescue dog adventure game called Lost and Hound is accessible for visually impaired people.
It features the dog Biscuit, who is created from real-life search and rescue dog situations, such as sniffing out survivors in rubles after earthquakes and collapsed mines. The player follows an audio trail that reflects a dog’s powerful sense of hearing to complete the rescue mission. Even a scent trail is represented through a low hum.
Brian’s goal was to create a video game that was accessible to the blind gaming community but at the same time visually appealing enough to entertain the rest of the gaming community.
“[Vision impaired people] are the only segment of society that we as game developers have done such a terrible job at trying to meet their needs,” Brian says.