why you want us in your game

hello everyone and by everyone of corse I really mean all 5 of you, this is my long overdue third blog entry. In my last attempt at blogging I made an obvious statement, that the table top gaming industry is in a decline this I am sure is not news to anyone, so I am going to address that issue here today. For those of you who are now expecting some treaties on what we need to do as gamers and producers to revitalize the hobby I recommend you read my mission statement again because that is not what I am here for, no in this entry I am goingto address a very small demographic all be it one that I personally am a part of but remember every person or group we bring in to the hobby the more we strengthen it and perhaps if we as gamers and producers work to include more groups we can turn the tide, also summon captain planit or something but I digress. I am going to explain today why you as a gamer and then you as a producer want a blind person in your game and in a larger sense in your hobby.
The first reason I will get out of the way now so we can all dismiss it right off and move on to the ones that actually might sway your opinions. Helping the blind and indeed any other group to participate in something is the right thing to do. Did this change anyones mind? I didn’t think so, if it did good for you. I will now ask the question why did this not occure to you sooner? For the rest of us we can move on to the important self interest stuff.
We read, ok this needs a little clarification to make sense. First I will not bother to point out the obvious that reading provides great inspiration to those of us who participate in what amounts to group storytelling and instead point out that with travel being difficult and television and films only having limited appeal most of us blind folks read a lot. And due to the failure of most schools to provide a rounded education we tend to focus on the arts. And if you can’t see the benefit of a flud of artists joining the game then perhaps you want to take a moment to think about the fact that you may actually have found the only way to play dungeons & dragons wrong.
The next we tend to think descriptively. I am sure I don’t need to explain that the blind experience the world a little differently, we go through the world with much less sensory input then everyone else. This tends to make us descriptive we may not spend forever describing how blue someone’s eyes were but because we go through life with out sight it forces us to lern to form mental pictures of everything. If nothing else this may actually give us an advantage in a hobby where a lot of the action lies in the players ability to imagine and then explain an action to others around a table. Just take a moment how often does a GM describe a dragon as no more then a bit of the descriptive text and then some tripe about his impressive size and then show you a picture or in the worst of cases a simple painted or unpainted mini. While I can reasonably say that very few blind players will present you with some bit of art to give you an idea of what that dragon looks like and can with little reservation say he or she will not be painting a mini that person if given a chance may explain how the dragons scails are chipped from meny previous incounter with adventurers how its face is marred by the collected soot of a thousand jets of flame and it’s breath reeks of a charnel house. Note like anyone else however it may take some time for a blind player to come out of there shell enough to share there mental images with the group. Further note if a blind player produces a highly detailed painted mini that they claim to have painted themselves there is a good chance they are not blind.
My next point Is for both players and developers remember MUDs we do hell we are still playing them. For those who don’t know what a MUD is I recommend you go find out, go on we’ll wait. Ok there takeing to long someone fill them in when they come back I have better things to do. Well MUDs are still around and a very large part of the reason for that is us. I will not go so far as to say the only reason but it is no secret that the blind make up a very large part of the MUD community and in most cases tend to be the top players in any given game. We are helping to keepit alive in short and we can do the same for table top with just a little help.
And now to the developers we can help to keep your industry afloat we as a community represent millions world wide meny with little else available for active entertainment and if you can tap into any part of that it can only help your company and really the best part is you don’t even have to market specifically to us just make your materials available we will do the rest. You will find us to be a surprisingly large and devoted customer base and really the first person to take advantage of that will reap the most from us
Ok well that is it I have not covered all the reasons you might want us around but I think I have hit on most of the big ones in my longwinded and rambling sort of way and as by the time I say good by I will have written well over 1000 words with far to little punctuation. I will leave you with my request if you feel that the game developers should work to include the blind a little more please contact them and let them know this is an issue you feel strongly about.
You know what tell them even if you don’t, it is the right thing to do.

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About theblindgm

i am a totally blind table top gamer
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7 Responses to why you want us in your game

  1. Matthijs says:

    This is interesting stuff. I have limited experience playing with blind people, but I once ran a one-session course on roleplaying for a youth organization for the blind.

    You say: “You will find us to be a surprisingly large and devoted customer base and really the first person to take advantage of that will reap the most from us”.

    What should and shouldn’t game designers do to appeal to blind gamers? Are there any RPGs that are more or less popular among blind people?

    • theblindgm says:

      Believe it or not little has to be done to appeal to blind gamers beyond the basics I laied out we just want access to the materials this may mean something like a pdf that is searchable with OCR done on the text or a online rules database like the d&d 3.5 srd sites. As to what is popular amongst us right now nothing really it is taking some work to bring this hobby to our community because for so long it has been inaccessible to us. But games like pathfinder fate and d&d 3.5 have the most potential right now simply because of rules that can be easily viewed online. we are hesitant to spend money on something we are not sure we will actually be able to use.

  2. Joseph Le May says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say that thanks to a link from Story Games, I am now following your blog. I hope to read more stuff along these lines in the future. Do you intend to lobby R P G manufacturers for plain text access to their rules?

    Joseph

    • theblindgm says:

      honestly i used to think that was the solution but with some recent advances in software that is really unnecessary. what we really need is the same searchable pdf everyone else has the problem is the pdf in some cases is just an image of text or when it is not the copy protection that keeps people from just copying and pasting the document to something else keeps our screen readers from reading it. now this is not always the case but me personally am not willing to spend money to just find out i can’t use something. so i suppose at least on this front my campaign is to find a solution to the pdf access problem that everyone can be happy with. or at least have some indication before purchase that a screen reader will be able to access the file

  3. K-E says:

    Hi, I’m also blind and would like to get inot the rpg scene, are there any other noteworthy games that you’ve had success in accessing? You mentioned DND and Pathfinder, but those two are quite similar already. I already spent some money on a White Wolf pdf, but it wasn’t readable (they’ll be getting an email). Anyway, thanks in advance.

    • theblindgm says:

      hay sorry for the delay, I have been really bad about checking up on this. Sadly I don’t have much to suggest in terms of accessible games out of the box. My financial resources are severely limited . so I buy very few RPGs. I have had some luck with the dragon age products though. For the most part I usually have to use an ocr program though to access books. I really hope white wolf helped you out with your problem. I have never been able to fine a good pdf from them. Not through there online distribution. Or through other options.

  4. vegviseren says:

    FYI: I’ve used Nuance’s OmniPage OCR to convert pdf gamebooks with pretty good success. It’s fully accessible by Jaws, you may have to check for updates for the script. A license costs around $150 last I checked, but it also has a trial period.

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