This morning I met with Derek Rutherford at the RNIB offices in Edinburgh. We had a chat about how games could be adapted and he showed me the range of products they sell (more on one of these in a later post!). Together with the expected array of tactile chess, draughts, and backgammon; and large print playing cards, bingo and Scrabble, were some matching pairs games based on weight and sound rather than pictures. I’ve not really considered weight before as a way of differentiating between pieces, let alone as a game mechanic, but I think it is quite an elegant solution to making matching games accessible to visually impaired people without the game being marked in any way – in other words, this is an example of a game which is experienced in almost exactly the same way regardless of level of sight.
I have also been invited to speak to two completely blind teenagers about their use of tablets and their opinions and desires in regard to video gaming, so I will be returning to the RNIB in the near future to attend one of their Wednesday evening socials for young people. In the much closer future, I will be back in Edinburgh on Thursday, to speak to members of the visually impaired gamer group Derek put me in touch with a couple of weeks ago when I first emailed him.