so, I am not really sure if this has been discussed elsewhere on this forum with a single devoted topic to it. Please excuse me if it has been done before.
A little background from me. I grew up blind all my life, without knowing about audio games at all. This has a geographical reason for being so (see my location before this post or on my profile)
I actually did not know about many, many things for the blind, especially software. The only screen reader presented to us was jaws for windows, and i came to know it through organizations for the blind ever since version 3.2. I used it but did so every time I visited their centers. A friend of mine helped me contact the distributor in here that was selling jaws and I bought it. I was amazed, thrilled and very happy that I could open up some programs and was able to use basic, very basic functions of a computer!
That was enough for me. Then came the notetakers. A family relative of mine who lives there contacted fs, and we did buy the latest of that technology. A braille 'n speak. My school work was turning out to be facilitated so, so much more! You just cannot imagine the relief. My parents no longer had to grind their eyes transcribing braille. The institute that tought braille to the techers finally was free to go and teach that elsewhere to those who could not even dream of a note taker. I was able to print my work and that was it. I moved to the united states later, much later in hopes of studying, ETC. I eventually finished my high school and started university. Later on, immigration stuff went sour and I have returned to my home country. However, I learned a great deal of things for the blind. A whole bunch! I learned that jaws was not the only one, and that nVDA was starting to develop. It was like a dream come true because there were so so many things that exist for the blind like brailled everything, talking everything, tactile everytthing. Magnifiers, services, transportation acomodations or even specific services too, the talking books, the nls, the podcasts, ETC ETC! And then, audio games. I think if I remember correctly the first or very first type of games I played were educational ones. The school got them for me. Math flash, talking typer, you name them. They even bought a copy of grizly gulch although my english was not at all mature so i never enjoyed it simply because I never understood it. But then I found this site, on 2004 or thereabouts. So believe it or not I have been following this site for a really, really long time even though I decided to create an account for myself all the way forward to 2013.
This site told me about every single game that existed. I enjoyed the popular successful jim Kitchen's games a whole lot, and we even exchanged communications back and forth via email. And then I was ready for my first buy. That was, hunter from bsc. Even though it was not the super intense arcade game, it was too fun for me. I also bought the old pipe because blast chamber was not even an idea yet. And then all of those companies started coming. Draconis (or ESP Softworks), l-works, GMA, bpc, pb games (or blastbay), pcs, vipGamesZone, and on and on and on! the whole thing was unbelievable. I think the market was really starting to rise up. There were interesting ideas, more concecpts, there was and still is innovation. Games became more complex (I did play the demo of monkey business) and way, way more vast and its unbelievable that all of the amazing bk series are free (I did gladly buy the translation pack even though I have some japanese relatives just to support the work) and oh yes. I also liked the castaways concept a whole lot so still do have an account on aprone's site. I also donated to Oriol Gomez, who I had long ago met in person at one of those blind conventions. (there you go, another thing I had no idea existed). I also bought metris, which is still for sale but its no longer being supported but still needs activation (I was e-mailed a key recently) just because I liked the game a lot being a musician. I donated to Oriol because his beatStar plus game is unbelievable and I did a soundpack for one of his older versions of the game, simply called beatstar. Being a proffessional musician, those were among my very favorite games.
Of course, now, things dealing with my use of software have changed. For one, I do not use jaws anymore, even though my country did acquire a national license so that people that coudl certify they are blind can use it. I was tired of the way fs did their business and on how eexpensive the dollar is here and I came across performance hogs. Plus, not being able to use the latest of the latest and some other things made me switch to NVDA. I did not have faith in it. But then a few projects came and I decided to become a monthly donor to nv access. I have devoted my time to documenting as much as I can about osara at www.reaperaccessiblity.com (most of that is my work) which I consider is only a small small gesture in apreciation of what others have done because those programs and things have helped me to lead my own, musical proffesional life (you can check some things I have done at www.soundcloud.com/belloj or from my profile page).
But anyway, enough of me. All of This was just to prove the point to you that in developping countries, and especially in the latin american ones many, many blind people do not have much choice on anything for them. Brailled books, magazines or anything of the sort is rare, hard and expensive to come by. The only talking books you can find are now at audible and if you are lucky a few of them are in your language. I you want adaptive games, or adaptive cooking things, or adaptive anything, either use your brain to make some solution for yourself or ask a friend, or bring all of those things from Canada, the U.s., or probably Spain And that costs a whole bunch of money. I have saved to bring some stuff here that I had considered pretty useful. Even though the notetaker I had is not dead, because it got burned (wrong power supply was plugged in once) I have to say that it was an important part of my life. Now, comes the juicy part. The part that i want all to discuss. Audio games.
I was lucky that 1. I found this site, 2. I learned to write, read, and speak English and as a result, 3. Found about those games and am really thankful to be able to enjoy them just as much as most of you do. Audio games are not easy to come by in Spanish or even in other languages. SO much of the world is locked out of the comodity of enjoying them.
Recently i have started to read some discussions on a lot of things. And they all come over and over and the trend repeats. One company, or whatever, or one game, or one disagreement and the whole thing turns towards the audio game market, if there is even one anymore, and I have seen very interesting points and ideas, but none truly come to be done or sought after. I have found and seen posts that talked about the piracy of the audio games and was even once offered a copy of hunter, which I still have original because I bought the package from bsc when it was closing out.
Seeing those things happen made me think a few things:
1. Most people are not even thankful or enjoy what they get, they take all for granted.
2. Many of those companies are going out of business, because there is no sustainable model. There is simply no support. No people want their games because they are being pirated or can be obtained for free. I applaud and am amazed at the ones that still cling to even exist. Now we have more single independent kind of developers which you guessed it, may produce lower quality audio games, and this is due to:
3. When developers ask (and sometimes in an almost apologetic, very shy manner) for donations the backlash is generally impressive and this is simply because of the reason outlined on number one. So the results are silly, childish, non-valuing excuses like:
*I don't have a credit card (why don't you ask your mom for one, I did that when I bought hunter)
*I do not have enough money (yet you spend that with beers ot with friends or.. depending on your age, on candy or whatever else)
*I think that such and such is way way expensive and it really does not deserve that kind of price or that price at all, it should be free, this is not at all fair. Well, beats headphones were a piece of crap, eventually talks for nokia ended up being a piece of that too, and so are some of apple's computers in terms of usability, hardware and specs (of course this is personal judggement) yet people of all types, sighted, dumb, smart, deaf, you name them! spent their oh so precious money on those pieces of trash. They desperately wanted them, did not make excuses and posted them to their faces, and simply just bought them. True proffessional customers, even if they did not realize they were being so. They saw value for what they bought. They realized that it takes effort and materials to do stuff. In case of audio games, This is put in the form of learning or applying something you are an expert at like programming, buying or having people design the sounds, maybe a story or a concept, taking time to write the documentation, maybe making others take of their time to test and run the game, and actually taking more time out of their personal lives to fix those errors. And at the end what do they get? not even a thank you or a gesture of apreciation for their work, instead they often times get rejection. which is a bit disrespectful and sends a very clear message.
So, with all of this where do you think the audio game market is going next? what will actually happen to audio games?
are we going to have to create more archives and more kirky ways of running them just because greed and lazyness (I actually forgot how to spell that word sice I haven't written much English in a long long time) takes over and prevents the community from supporting the developers of audio games even though the prices are really low?
when is the first or even the last time you have seen a single audio game for, mm, I am not sure, the same price as for a retail, mainstream one (fifty dollars or more?)