About the stereotyping: It is true that after the first episode many of you thought it was happening. I suppose I could have reacted like you did if I would be on your skin. I don't know.
But perhaps one of our "errors" was to launch the game in episodes. We did like that because it was the only way to publish at least something and check the situation. Did anyone thought, that perhaps the idea was going a bit further, and that the other characters in the game will quite soon understand that there was not reason to talk about blindness? Did anyone thought, that perhaps Soren and Maria have had a love relationship before the accident, and that this was the reason why Soren wanted to touch for a moment her face? And we were not planning to talk about that until the forth episode!
Here's the reason why it bothered me. So, as a sighted person, you will know that it is socially unacceptable to go up to someone and touch them. The face is really an intimate thing, it's not like a hand shake or a tap on the shoulder, something that has no meaning beyond what you can take from face value. So when Soren did that in the game, it basically is a way of saying that blind people have no concept of what is socially acceptable or not. You will come across blind people who have issues in social situations, they might behave oddly in one way or another that a sighted person would immediately see, but not all blind people are like this. So this stereotype is something we encounter quite often. I've been asked by strangers if I want to feel their face, not often, but it has happened. So out comes this game that is basically telling people hey blind people touch faces, blind people don't know any better, etc.
Now, that being said, was it a knee jerk reaction, yes. The thing is though, it seems like anyone who is making audiogames outside the blind community has to involve characters as blind somehow. I think they do it to simplify fitting narrative with game mechanics, i.e. an audio environment. I think a lot of us are tired of seeing blind this and blind that and so forth all the time. It is just unoriginal at this point. Rather than forcing blindness to the forefront, if the character is blind, it could be expressed as just one of many of their traits rather than the dominant one. It would be like if someone took one of the aspects of your appearance, or a character trait and threw it out there all the time, but instead of just doing it to you, they did it to a whole group. Like, if you have a big nose or something, they'd be like David, the big nosed game developer. I think the najority of people are OK with their blindness, and while of course we realize it sucks from time to time, and we do face struggles that others do not, it's not like it's an overall negative thing. But no one seems to want to see past the blindness to the other things we can do. It's always Mark, the blind woodworker, Jennifer, the blind writer. George, the blind musician. Tina, the blind developer.
So every time an audio game comes out that does this, it's kind of like sigh, this again?
Anyway, not trying to beat a dead horse, just putting this out here to try to justify maybe a little bit why the reaction was so strong, even if in hindsight, it got blown out of proportion.
WThis signature was updated from my iPhone.