Accessible Gaming articles from the Ukraine

Jr. Pac-Man - in more accessible mode on the Atari 2600

Lady Eklipse, from Odessa in the Ukraine, has recently posted some excellent articles on game accessibility. Her History of Accessible Gaming blog post takes knowledge from my 2005 Pioneers of Accessible Gaming and other existing sources fleshing it all out into a very fine read.

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The land at the bottom of the sea...

Delia Derbyshire with Barry Bermange, 1964 uneasy listening from The Dreams.

"This programme of sounds and voices is an attempt to re-create in five movements some sensations of dreaming—running away, falling, landscape, underwater and colour. All the voices were recorded from life and arranged in a setting of pure electronic sounds."

Baseball star wars (on-line)

One-switch accessible Baseball star wars from Specialbites.

Baseball star wars from Specialbites is a likeable and hugely accessible one-switch baseball game. Great on a cause-and-effect level as for those developing timing skills. Click the picture above to play.

I recommend taking a look around the site, as there's a good range from the likes of Farting star wars to some nice slide shows you can trigger from one press of a switch.

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eyeCharm for Kinect: Kickstarter

Fancy an eye-gaze unit that is the price of an Xbox or PC Kinect and $60? Sounds good doesn't it? The NUIA eyeCharm from is looking to be just that.

The device will come with developer tools including a scripting language to set-up controls that will interface with other main-stream eye tracker units. There's three weeks to go to help them reach their goal of $100,000.

Link with thanks to Techni Myoko.


Catch A Penny (on-line)

A cross-hair target focussed on a 2 pence piece (UK money).

A screen-shot of the Specialbites game Catch A Penny, reading "The adult in the room will give you.... 10p" with a visual line-up of your 9 attempts to hit the coin, X's for misses, and 2 pees for hits.

David Vincent's Specialbites switch activities site goes from strength to strength. I rather like the idea behind his latest one-switch accessible Money games. The idea (with agreement) is that an adult in the room has a pocket full of change. As pennies (or alternatively cents) pass from left to right, pressing your switch on-target, rewards you with 2p from that adults pocket. 

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Digitiser Archive

Teletext Digitiser - front page from the mid 1990s.
Teletext Digitiser - Tips with Dennis the man of Zinc
Teletext Digitiser - Not a Real Advert - Dance, Doggy, Dance! It's... Dog-a-Rhythm - The new Doggie Dancing Implants.
Digitiser - Special Star Pin-up: Hugh Grant
The History of Teletext Digitiser - January 1st 1993 launched on ITV Teletext page 370. Billed as the "World's Only Daily Games Magazine".

The teletext preservation project has just uploaded 125 editions of Digitiser from between 1995 and 1998. Amazing recovery of what I assumed were lost for ever pages. Brilliant stuff from Rob and Ant.


RRODE (on-line)

RRODE screen shot. Text reads "LEVEL 5: The rescue 2. Not all stars are so easy to collect..." A purple orb stuck to a blue orb in space, adjacent to a smaller blue orb. A star floats in space at an awkward angle.

RRODE by Emanuele Feronato is a simple one-switch game requiring immense patience and skill. Thankfully, this also features a Pop Cap style Relax Mode, enabling you to retry a failed level until you beat it or it beats you. In an ideal world there would be speed control options on this, but sadly not. I did try slowing this down with CPU Killer, but it's a jerky mess when you do.

Left-click to play. SPACE bar to reset a level. Click on the image to play. More to follow...

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10 Years since Digitiser

Various characters from Teletext's Digitiser, including the Snakes, Sincere Dave, Turner the Worm, Phoning Honey, Mr. T and his bins and more.

The game magazine Digitiser, on Channel 4's Teletext channel was a wonderful thing. It ran for 10 years from 1993 to 2003, and for the main part was bonkers fun. Completely up to date before most people had the internet whilst using 1970s Teletext graphics. You had to be there (and probably be of a certain age range) to have fully appreciated how good it was. The following links may give a small taste.

The Teletext Preservation Project have a 'carousel' of Digitiser pages from 1995. The Way Back Machine has archived pages from Digi's early parallel web-pages (not nearly as good though for some reason).  Disposable Media ran an interview with Paul Rose who ran Digitiser. Super Page 58 is the main tribute site. Update: Great Wiki site here too and amazing upload of 125 original editions to the Teletext Preservation Project.

Digitiser letters at the end in 2003.

Silent Skies (PC)

Screen shot from One switch / One button game Silent Skies: A vectorised floating city with solid red trains with carriages circling round and round, whilst a solid white plane flies over head.

I've got a simple idea: Post up a one-switch playable game for people to try once a week. I remember back in 2003 how rare it was to find such games, but there's an unmanageable amount now. I'll try to sift through some and pass them on, especially if they don't require pin-point timing as many do. If I treat it as research for the later stages of my "One Switch 100" book, I might even stick to it. Anyway.... to Silent Skies....

Silent Skies (free download for PC) from Michael Todd is a short flying game with four levels to complete. I first learnt of it about three years ago from the Kokoromi Gamma IV competition, but I gave up checking Michael's web-site when it didn't appear. Well it's there now.

The first level is the most peaceful, with the aim being to collect a batch of floating stars. Things get more violent from level two on, with shooting and bombing runs and a demonic end boss level. Apart from level two, you get a helpful arrow pointing you in the direction that you need to go. It looks great and plays nicely. It does require held presses (of the SPACE bar or "A" button on an Xbox 360 pad or you can most other USB joypads using the likes of JoyToKey), and pretty good spatial awareness. It also made me feel a bit motion sick, which could be an issue for some players. Makes me think how nice a one-switch sky-writing game might be.

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High Rise by JG Ballard - Penguin book cover




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