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Video Games in The Dark

Editor's Note: Mike Hambly lives in Calgary, Alberta, where he is a social worker with the Independent Living Resource Centre. He is married with two children.

Have you ever played video games before or hung out with other people who play video games? Have you wondered how you could play video games as a person who is blind?

Stop wondering and start playing!

I lost my sight in a car accident a little over ten years ago. I got introduced to computers and I was absolutely blown away that I could type a letter or move around on the screen with a voice talking to me--namely JAWS.

But this became boring very fast. I thought there must be some kind of entertainment aspect to computers for a blind user, mustn\'t there?

I spoke with some of my sighted friends, and they said, "Why don\'t you play video games?"

I thought, "Yeah, right. How the heck am I going to move a guy around the screen to go and shoot something when I can\'t see the screen!"

So I started to search the internet, and I found a few very simple games of text adventure, Battleship and a few memory games.

Again, I was blown away!

I had a hunger for more, so the search continued. I finally found Phil Vlasak\'s website: Phil Vlasak put this site together. It is really wonderful and I still use it today.

There is a list of many, many game developers on this site. I just love his description: "We make games that tickle your ears."

This is great! Games where you drive a car or motorcycle around a track, Packman, ping pong, card games, adventure games, a Star Trek game, Monopoly, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Duck Hunt, darts, Dungeons and Dragons, pinball, Tank Commander, a submarine game, a game where you are a blind person walking through a village, and much more!

So as you can tell, there is a wide variety from which to choose.

Can you imagine being able to play a computer bowling game without having sight? Now you can--it is all here!

What is nice about most of these games is that you can download a free trial, or sometimes even the whole game is free. With being able to download a trial, you can get a taste of the game to see if you like it or not. This also allows users who can\'t afford to purchase games access to entertainment as well.

If there happens to be a computer in your home that your kids or other family members use and you are unable to afford a screen reader, no worries! Some of these games don\'t require a screen reader because they have their own built-in speech capabilities!

One of my favourite games is called "Grizzly Gulch". This game is set up like an old western town, where you go around and gather various things and shoot the bad guys. Actually, no one really dies in this game; once you are shot, you have to just go back to where you last started from and then try again! I think this is really cool!

Another option is that some of these games you can play against other people over the internet. These games have given us some of the same choices as sighted gamers.

So I really encourage you to go to Phil Vlasak\'s website and check it out!

If you would like further information or if you have questions, please feel free to email me at:

Please put "video games in the dark" in the subject line, as I get a lot of Spam and I don\'t want to delete your email.

Happy playing, and don\'t forget to leave your computer monitor off when playing these games so you can really blow your friends and family away!


Playing aarp games would be a fun experience and it will help strengthen your memory power.