The Blind Gamer That Relies On Sound Design
Terry Garrett is a blind gamer that uses trial and error along with audio cues to help him progress through a video game. This will surely get you thinking about the significance of our work and how important it is to have clean and unique sounding assets.
“Garrett’s current challenge is mastering one of the most beloved games of all time: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He plays the Nintendo 64 game on his PC using an emulator and an Xbox 360 controller.
After listening intently as friends played through sections of the game, Garrett asked them questions and researched Zelda, based on text and video walk-throughs. Actions that require pixel-perfect precision, like shooting arrows or finding targets with the game’s grappling hook, still stymie him.
“I have been trying to pass [Zelda] for over a year,” Garrett said. He can make it to the Water Temple, roughly halfway into Ocarina of Time’s sprawling adventure, with no help at all.”
I can tell you what, being able to get up to the Water Temple without seeing anything is pretty incredible. But man, I can’t even get past the Water Temple with completely healthy vision! Here’s another video with Terry playing Oddworld Inhabitants.
So all you sound designers out there, I encourage you to think about this situation when developing your next title. How you create your assets and use multiple channels will not only help people like Terry but will also more than likely make for a more interesting and better sounding game.
What does the future hold for Terry? Take a peak:
Still can’t get enough of this dude? The Oddworld devs have an interview with him up on their site:
“8. In the video, you mention the red and green lights for the bombs. Do you get occasional help for particularly mysterious sections?
My brother told me that the bombs flash red and green, but you can totally do it by sound. It’s a low pitch for when it is red, and a high pitch for when it is green. Every bomb has a rhythm of beeps, and if you can pick up on it, you can press it as soon as you hear the high beep of the green.
9. How long roughly do you think it took you to play through Abe’s Exoddus the first time around?
With trying to figure out the puzzles and everything…I would say about a month (lol).
10. What kind of equipment do you have at home for your gamesplaying needs?
The biggest thing is good computer speakers. They not only have to produce good sound, but they must be in stereo. At home I have a chair where I duct-taped speakers to the arms exactly the same distance from me so they form a stereo sound environment while sitting in the chair.”