Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Descent into Madness: An Audio Adventure for the Blind

The entertainment industry is primarily geared for sighted people. TV, movies, and video games are all visually-focused, leaving blind kids out of the loop. Some blind kids play Grand Theft Auto using only sound and the rumble pad. Think about how frustrating that must be! But they are eager to play so they suffer through it. There are not many after-school activities available for kids with impaired vision, so they play games intended for sighted kids by trial and error.

Descent into Madness is a horror-themed adventure game from the team of students of the University of North Carolina who name themselves "Sounds Like Fun".

You awaken one day to find that you have been kidnapped! Starting with no idea where you are, you slowly piece together clues that you have been the test subject of a scientist trying to find a cure for his wife's maddening disease. However, the experiments have had the unfortunate consequence of driving their subjects mad as well. Now it's up to you to find a cure for yourself and escape before you experience the same fate of the 51 test subjects before you.

There are no visuals - the game plays like an elaborate spoken story. The gameplay is similar to old computer adventure games. There are three actions a player can choose: Move, Use Item and Examine. The player solves puzzles and unpieces the story through voice recordings left behind by the scientist. The only controls are the arrow keys, the space bar, and the esc key, which are all relatively easy to find for a blind user. The game contains over 300 sound files.

Click this link to visit the Sounds Like Fun website: http://www.cs.unc.edu/Research/assist/et/2005/SoundsLikeFun.html.

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