As a developer putting yourself in the position of someone with a disability can be extremely difficult  You can use your common sense to try and figure out what it would be like or try to reproduce the problem for yourself with hitech or low tech means – for example you could put a filter on the screen to reproduce colour-blindness or try playing with only one hand.  No matter what you do it is unlikely that you would be able to get it exactly right.  At best you can reproduce the problem but you will not have the learned ability to compensate for it.


What you need is the thoughts and insights of someone who lives with the issue and is able to talk about it.  An interview done Jordan Verner at Abilities.ca gives the perfect impression of gaming with no vision.  Jordan talks about his favourite game, the unintentionally accessible Legends of Zelda:Ocarina of Time from 1998.  Jordan detailed how the fact that every important element of the game had stereo sound effects meant that he could play most parts of the game via the audio.

Less happily when he started looking online for extra help online on parts of the navigation he got a surprising bad response – people did not believe that he was a blind player.  He was just too good.  He eventually managed to find someone to help learn the parts he was having issues with and still counts Ocarina as his favourite gaming experience.  The interview goes on to talk about audio games and to talk to other blind and partially sighted gamers such as Zack Klein in Oregon.

The full interview is well worth a read both for developers and those interested in the subject.


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