2018-04-08 20:22:54

Hello guys,

as blind gamers I thought we ought to turn things on their heads a bit and instead of talking about blind gaming, we instead talk about the blind in games, both audiogames and actual games in the mainstream.

There is no restriction on media, and in fact most of my examples I'm starting with are tabletop or card game characters, so if you know of a tabletop rpg character or something, feel free to share.

Here's what I've got to start.

Kenshi from the Mortal Combat series: This guy is a blind swordsman with telekinetic powers. In the first game I remember him from "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance" I think he wore a bandage over his eyes. One of his fatality moves was that he would telekinetically dismember his foes, popping their eyes out onto the ground as the first step. His blindness in what little story there is is never presented as a handicap and I'll tell you he could be pretty nasty if you fought someone who knew how to use him. I think the character is actually based on a Japanese legend but not sure.

Now onto the D&D characters I know of.

1. Grimlocks: If you've ever heard of eyeless cave fish, imagine eyeless cave people instead. These creatures, I believe most likely heavily inspired by the Morlocks of the Time Machine, became lost in the underdark (an enormous realm of caverns that extends for thousands of miles below most D&D worlds) and were enslaved by mind flayers. Like most captives of the mind flayers, they were experimented on until they were inexorably changed, made permanently mad and rather wild and bloodthirsty. After the mind flayer empire fell, the sub-intelligent creatures continued to worship the mind flayers as gods, often serving as slaves for more intelligent, more powerful peoples of the underdark. In terms of power, they are a weak, low-level threat, however, they have some interesting skills surrounding their blindness. They have blindsense over 60 feet. This means they can't be affected by the blind status and also automatically detect any object within 60 feet of them, including invisible enemies. However, if they are caught in an illusion that makes a lot of noise or are deafened, they gain the negative effects of being blinded as well. The Six Swords Alexxa game features these monsters here and there.

Detrechans: another bizarre predator of the underdark, Detrechans are sort of like four-legged giant featherless ostriches. Though they are more monstrous than that. They hunt by echolocation and can even harness their  sonic cries to launch blasts of sound that are basically hammer blows on their enemies. They are actually highly intelligent though they are pretty evil. Though they are very much a serious threat and could easily murder a low-level party.

I'm not going to go into oozes and all the creatures that obviously are blind from having no eyes at all by the category of monster they are. but there's two unique characters of relatively recent date that appear in published D&D adventures, one more or less good and one evil, though they are very similar to one another in terms of stats and basic archetype.

Uller: (guessing on spelling of the name as I haven't seen the adventure in nearly 10 years) A githzerai monk in the "scales of War" adventure path published in Dungeon Magazine, Uller appears in an early portion of the adventure when Githyanki pirates (githyanki are sort of an antagonistic cousin race of the gitzerai.) attack his monastery while the heroes and players are there. The players can't stay together and win the fight because the monastery is enormous and the pirates are attacking on several fronts, so they have to split up and run several simultaneous fights in several places. Uller can come with the heroes or go elsewhere, as he's the grandmaster of the monastery. However, along with blindsight, he has among the highest stats of any monster in that adventure and wherever you send him, he's well-equipped to take care of the threat wherever he goes pretty much by himself. Also there are some social encounters with him in the adventure and he's not only incredibly powerful, he's very wise and insightful as well.

and then the flipside of that character.

Mirili: or a name similar, appears in the adventure "Princes of the Appocolypse" as the chief Martial artist in the Sacred Stone Monastery, a weird group of monks that are actually a front for the cult of the black earth, a group dedicated to an evil prince of elemental earth who seeks to utterly destroy the world with his element somehow. She's sort of the boss monster for that part of the adventure. She's the trainer of the monks, though her training mostly involves quite literally beating her students to within an inch of their lives. The whole group wear gilded gargoyle masks, but hers has no eye holes. She is pretty tough, and she's got both blindsight and tremorsense. Deafening her will get rid of her blindsight but she'll still keep her tremorsense. Tremorsense is that she can automatically detect something moving on a surface she is in contact with if it is within 60 feet. The only way to bypass that one is to either attack her from somewhere she isn't in contact with or beyond her reach, or by suspending her off the ground or wall such as with telekenisis or similar tricks. She's a stereotyped bitter blind woman who lived a tough life who takes out her frustration by beating everything and everyone she comes into contact with without mercy.

They both channel the "blind kung-fu master" archetype, but thought I'd share them anyway.

What do you guys think of these characters? and please share your own if you know any.

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2018-04-08 22:50:06

#My problem bookrage is so often in media (games included). Blind characters are either super awesome ninja assassins of doom! or utterly useless helpless little tiny Tim knockoffs, indeed frequently both. Look at Dyna from the Langoleers.
Whichever guise they fall into, the blindness is always the central part of their character. They aren't just characters who happen to be blind among many other traits they are always blind! characters! with a capital blind.

They rarely if ever have relationships, they always fumble around and either work so hard to be awesome and enspiring "despite!" their blindness they might as well not be blind at all, or spend so much time being blind and useless you honestly wonder what the hell else they do.

This is why Jordi laforge was the least developed character in startrek Tng, because he spent so much time being a blind engineer, that he was never anything else.

going along with this dichotome, it is also interesting to note  blind characters, even sighted characters who become blind are either not affected at all by their blindness due to some superpower, piece of technology or shear awesomeness to the point that their blindness doesn't matter at all (look at Kenshi as a great example), or they are so blind! that you literally wonder how they dress themselves.

Its odd, there is a lot these days about "Positive representations of disability in media" people with physical disabilities (in wheel chairs), have been through the phase of being helpless, been through the phase of being enspiring! and now can be pretty much normal characters who just happen to use a wheel chair.
The same is rapidly becoming true of autism, and deafness indeed a paper I read recently on "representing the disabled identity in literature!" listed several examples, of "positive protrayals oof disabled protagonists" all of them either autism or deafness.

Blindness, along with pretty much any other disability that alters someone's appearence on a basic physical level, for example making them slightly deformed or have an odd limp or a facial diplegia never get a look in.

When you raise this point to people, people will point to the likes of Kenshi and dare devil and say "look! there are awesome blind characters" and yet if you ask them to tell you about a blind character who has relationships, or makes friends  does other character stuff they struggle badly.

Whats worse, is this keeps happening. One of the many! things that appauled me in starwars rogue one was the blind jedi guy who spent the entire film mumbling koung fuu, backflips his way across a beach through laser fire, then fumbles his way along a console to find a bomb disarm switch!

both awesome, and incompetent and blind! with a capital blind.

Even good writers do this, I waas shocked that in the fools assassin, trilogy, robin Hobb keeps discussing how the fool has become blind and yet "gropes blindly for things" or Can't use his knife and fork" or "faces the wrong way when speaking to someone", and yet this is supposedly someone who has crossed half a continent with assassins trying to kill him, survived for six years on the run, and whats more is supposed to be amazingly good at blending into different environments, ----- yet make him Blind! and he can't stop being blind.

I will say there are a few actual blind characters in literature I've noticed. Justin cronin's passage trilogy has a couple, one an arsy guy in charge, one a liscivious old man which is awesome! since when is the last time a blind character got to be either (just becaused people should be characters doesn't mean they should be nice ones), he also had a really awesome deaf character as well.

the other that occurs to me immediately is Toth in Avatar the last airbender.

Like the monk you mentioned above, she is able to pick up the environment around her  picking up tremmers in the earth since she is an earth bender. However this doesn't make her automatically awesome. She can fight extremely well and wins many earth bending championships, but the second Ang hits her with an air bending attack she's lost since she can't pick up where its coming from.

Similarly she is cocky, smart, and self reliant to the point of aragance, ---- and yet her family just see her as a tiny blind helpless twelve year old girl.

She even develops a crush on Socka, the main boy of the series, and though she loses out (socka being 17  very firmly with someone else at the time), its nice to see that people remember that blind people, ----- mmmmm, have a libido!

So it has been done, I just damn well wish it was done more, and that blind characters could get away from being either super aweosme not really blind or completely useless, and indeed do something more in most games and books and films than sit around and be blind!

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-08 23:47:44

I know what you're talking about. What's worst in some of those portrayals is the "positive" portrayals of the blind that really aren't. Though I was meaning to talk about game characters, since I know you're doing your doctorate on defining disability and such, look into Wilkie Collins' "Poor Miss Finch" It's 19th century and it's a love story but the positive portrayal of the blind Wilkie Colins himself talked about doing in his works isn't really there, though in truth she isn't much more vapid than most 19th century romance heroines. He has another with a deaf character in somewhat a similar plot that is earlier but I can't remember the title.

All I can say about Uller, the githzerai monk above, in his defense, is he only exists in D&D lore for about 5 pages as he is just an incidental NPC in one small part of one small adventure and the way the game is set up, the players show up there briefly once and will never go there again. In a way, although his blindness is mentioned, it doesn't really mix in with how his subordinates view him or how he acts. Perhaps it was either a terrible grasp at a straw of diversity or just to show off what could be done by sticking certain abilities together and how to make a blind creature actually more dangerous (if you were blind in that edition of D&D you also were immune to gaze attacks like the stare of a medusa or the mesmerizing gaze of a vampire.)

I've also found sometimes the blindness in games is shoehorned in. In some of the premises of even some of the games here, the reason of the blindness is sort of contrived. Or in some other backgrounds, I've seen situations specifically set up to put the blind character in a situation where they are advantaged.

In the 1980s Thundercats series, there was a character added at one point called Lynx-O who was blind. There was a part of the planet shut off by a cave system filled with thick fog that also defied radar and other lazer and light devices. Lynx-o was the only one who could fly the jet through there with the aid of sonic devices and this horrible contrived computer device called the "Brailleboard. At one point villains capture him and try to get the blueprints for the device, only to get a complete blank in their visualization-mindreading device because Lynx-o doesn't think about it visually.

I'll have to say the one thing I liked about that character, though he was actually very capable, was actually the time he counted on what seemed to be a contrived advantage for his blindness that for once the writers thought through and realized the plot-hole. There was a villain who could cast a light that had will-breaking properties and he could hypnotize people with his voice when he used it. He's taking out the thundercats one after another and Lynx-o is basically 'I can't see his light so I'll be fine" only basically YOU CAN STILL HEAR HIM, GENIUS.

not sure if this counts as a game, but I'm running an rpg thing on Storium in a world called Hell's Harbor with some friends. One player has created a clairivoyant Noblewoman who is also blind. The setting is meant to be a gallows-humored swashbuckling supernatural and demonic adventure in Hell and the player actually plays her blindness as a weakness, which it largely would be for her character in most of the setting she's in, she's not skilled in fighting and normally she hangs around some familiar zones in the capital city rather than going out to exotic islands anf fighting monsters in Hell's oceans. Thing is, though blindness was the primary weakness card she started with, she doesn't throw it in your face all the time, but she doesn't let you quite forget it either. But you see her Belinda character more as an ambitious, power-grasping noble rather than as someone helpless, though she doesn't have super-blind senses or anything. She is clairivoyant but she has to go completely immobile and actually fall asleep to do that, something she almost never has time to do. She can't sword-fight by sound alone or leap from ropes just by hearing where the wind blows off the rigging or hear a heartbeat to know if someone is lying or anything like that. She's actually the worst fighter in the group narrative-wise, but that isn't the narrative role she was meant to fill. She more fills the role of "The smart one" in the group.

That's on Storium by the way. The original use of the blind card in that setting is for the black iron monks, who paint a paste made of angel blood on their eyes, which blinds them but gives them divination abilities that they can use while in a trance. They also wear holeless cubic boxes as helmets once they enter the order of the black iron monks. but I like the way my friend took care of it too.

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2018-04-09 00:02:02

I don't know too much about games with blind characters, but look at daredevil for example. He's blind, but he's not. He still jumps rooftop to rooftop and takes on thugs in hand to hand fights. At least in the netflix show he's not completely helpless.

I am the blind jedi, I use the force to see. I am the only blind jedi.

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2018-04-09 00:21:26

I think that is the point Dark was trying to make. Daredevil isn't a realistic depiction of a blind person. Yes, he's not incompetent and useless, but he's so super-enhanced by his other senses his blindness isn't really a character trait that matters anymore.

He's very much a "I'm an awesome blind Man, look at what Blind me does in spite of being blind!" blind still is the key word to him, even if it is a negation.

I love daredevil myself and although the modern show has him with a lot of real relations, real drug problems, and real compentence as a lawyer, in a lot of stuff he is "blind-superhero" and even if you ask someone, "who's daredevil," they'll tell you "isn't he that blind superhero?"

Few people remember that Man-bat (a batman villain who later reformed" is deaf, or that Pied Piper (a reformed flash villain" is also deaf, Man-bat is a big werebat monster while pied piper, depending on who you ask is a guy with sound-based weaponry, a guy with sound-based powers, or one of the first openly-gay comic book characters. A lot of people know Pied piper is deaf, but they think of a lot of other things first.

I think I'd want that for other blind characters. I identify personally as blind, but that's pretty far down the list because there are a lot of things I identify as before that.

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2018-04-09 05:50:13

But media in general, at least books etc are escapism, fantasy if you will, it's supposed to pull you out of every day life if you pick up a romance novel. Same for comics and movies based on comics though. Daredevil was written a certain way for a specific reason howwever.

As for games, again, escapism. Nobody who pays $60 for a AAA game would want to play a realistic portrayal of a blind character. Realistic realism does not sell copies, aceptable breaks from reality happen in games to make them fun to play really...Even the hardcore simulators do not simulate everything because who would actually want to, say, drive or 20 hours to get somewhere versus 2 in a scaled down map, or who would want to.....say......in GTA deal with running out of gas in the middle of a mission, or in FSX not be able to instantly reset a flight or teleport to any place on the planet or instantly switch aircraft. Realistic realism is, I'm afraid, overrated. Yes there's things like ARMA that do it to a degree, but even those hav breaks from reality. Same with any genre, there's breaks from reality because realistic does not always equal fun. End of the day publishers have targets for games to hit so devs have to make a game that sells as many copies as possibble. If that means not being realistic to get extra sales, they'll do it. Been there, done that, having to cut features that weren't fun is a part of big game development really

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2018-04-09 08:21:10

@Bookrage I'll have to check that 19th century author.

I actually did rather like the clairvoient character Tsubaki in the anime future diary. This is basically a program about how various people, all with diaries (or mobile phones or other devices), that predict the future are on a contest to try and kill each other off for the rule of the universe.

Each diary had its own quirk, for example one diary only ever predicts future crimes, another only the events in one small location.

the clairvoyant character was a priestess who's diary came in the form of a scroll. The catch was her diary could only tell her what happened to her as her followers saw her, meaning that when her followers were hypnotised, or saboutaged she couldn't see the problem. Also she had to have someone read the diary since it was in the form of a scroll.

Despite this she was amazingly fun, pretending to be a helpless damsel, and actually luring in three other contestants planning to kill them in the temple where she not only had her diary to predict events, but also knew the layout.

She turned out to be a really vile villain, but a distinctly fun one, especially with how she played with the blindness stereotypes.

@Jase K, the problem with "its just escapist" as when applied to things like sterriotypes is that you end up in a loop. people see the stereotype or unrealistic view and just accept it because "its just escapist" without actually considering how it stacks up in real life or reflects upon people they know.

This is why people can go "ooooh! dare devil is so awesome because he does all this cool stuff and is blind!" and yet not notice that Dare devil isn't actually blind at all. When they run into a blind person in real life, they will still see that person as alien since that person is so divorced  from the idea of blindness in literature and film.

Either that or they'll assume the person is just incompetent since after all "if daredevil isn't bothered by being blind, why is this real blind person!"

The helplessness stereotype  is even worse.

after all you wouldn't watch a 1960's style damsel film now where the helpless little woman does nothing but look after the house and get kidnapped and say "Well that is okay because it is just escapist!" You'd probably say "my god she's a really shallow character!"

not only that, but the best games, films, literature etc, tends to be those that can at least impart a feeling of reality.
Lord of the rings was such a major departure from the likes of Conan the barbarian that had preceeded it because tolkien based the hobbits on real characters, and the idea of people struggling under burdens.

Personally, the reason I hate most superheroes, is that they are nothing but! their powers, their  identity, conflicts, morality etc is based on the idea they fly and punch things and are trying to nebulously save the world from some sort of threat, or are dark and broody but somehow still knock out the even nastier bad guys.

yes, you can have a flashy action sequence, and that is fair enough, but its not the flashy action sequences that tend to make long lasting stories or ones that people care about, its the complexity of the characters and the world, and as part of that complexity, characters should deal  problems that have at least some sort of grounding in reality.

For example, nobody in reality has a magic ring that makes them invisible and threatens to consume their mind, but lots of people know about addiction, loneliness and persistance under horrible, horrible pressure.

If you asked me what the bare essence of speculative fiction is, and why i spend so much of my time reading, debating and discussing it, I would say its seeing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations.

Its throwing someone out into the dark who does not have super strength or awesome fighting skills and does not know what to do, but who tries anyway because that is where they are.

Those are the stories that tend to matter, and those are the stories that tend to rneed realistic depictions of disability, because as we are all aware, disability is a pain in the arse to deal with, and you get a much better story out of someone trying to deal with a real pain in the arse then someone who is just successful all the time and shrugs everything off like it is nothing.

I actually discussed a lot of this in This article I wrote on formulae in fiction for fantasybookreview.co.uk.

they also had This article on disability in fantasy with a couple of extra comments by muggins, which was a good read, albeit I don't exactly agree for the points I've raised here.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-09 08:55:17

None of mine are form video games, but I really enjoy a blind character named Sarah in Samurai Champloo the anime.  She starts out as the blind person trope, but in her 2 episode story arc she grows into this multi dimensional character that was really interesting. 

Spoilers for The Lunar Chronicles book series below!
So in Cress, one of the characters gets blind, and stays blind for a majority of the book.  I thought the author handled that really well, and depicted how someone who was dealing with blindness would be treated by their friends and how they'd interact with the world around them.  Granted this is a sci fi world, so his sight was healed by stem cel eyedrops later...but still a good depiction of blindness in media.

End of Spoilers

Never seen Avitar, but I always hear about Tof being a cool blind character.  I do agree that I dislike when a blind person is not effected at all by their blindness, or "Blind" is just used as their character tag and there is no dimension what so ever to them.  I also  agree with Dark:  I wish we could pull away from the blind with a capital B crap in media, because you know, we're all just people who happen to be blind, and it doesn't define us.  Anime is the worst with blindness though, Samurai Champloo is the only good example I can think of lol.

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2018-04-09 09:26:44

@CrystalD, this reminds me of the plinkit test for characters.

Plinkit is an internet reviewer who does rather long, very sarcastic but quite ensiteful reviews of films, notably starwars and startrek.
In one review he said the way to tell a complex character, is any character whom you can discuss without mentioning any details of their appearance, profession or actions, in other words, just! discuss their personality.
it'd be interesting to see how much you could  about blind characters without actually mentioning their blindness.

my brother has Samurai Champloo, but I've only ever seen the first episode, likewise I'm not sure who wrote the Luna books you mention.

i was actually amazingly disappointed in big finish for representations of blindness, since for a company who make audio dramas and thus deal with representing a world in sound on a regular basis  you'd think they'd have a little more understanding, and yet all the examples from their doctor who stories I can think of fall into one sterriotype or the other, for example whispers of fear features a blind old man who takes care of a futuristic audio archive (yeah how stereotyped can we get), while in Gallifrey season 5, when Leela the fourth doctor's assistant becomes blind she of course just shrugs it off Leela being such a damnably awesome super jungle tracker like she is big_smile.

Actually this one particularly disappointed me, since usually Leela is really well written, and I love the way her more instinctive way of understanding the world as someone who grew up in a primative society contrasts against the time lords and their technology, but of course make her blind and she just ignores it because she's that awesome!

I think the absolute worst I came across was in the fourth doctor story last of the colofane, about a scientist who had found a way to make himself invisible.
the idea that someone invisible would also be blind because  eyes would reflect rather than absorb light is a really interesting one, but Bf's use of the idea was absolutely ridiculous.

At  one point the doctor actually says "Wait! if we don't talk to each other he won't know where we are!"

yes, this scientist who had supposedly made himself invisible, killed off his entire race and built a doomsday weapon was confounded because when he was blind he couldn't tell where people were if they didn't speak out loud big_smile.

Its a shame, I sort of like the idea of a blind villain, but that  done so badly it was laughable! plus of course we didn't really learn much else about him besides the fact that he was blind and eeeeeeeevil!

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-09 13:35:26

I'm going to take us further afield with my next example as it is from a book, but a blind villain I have come closer to liking than any other in classic lit is "blind Jake" from Edgar Wallace's "The Dark Eyes of London."

Again, he has some major stereotyping, but sadly, as far as blind villains go in my experience he's still probably the best, which is really sad.

"The Dark Eyes of London" is an early 20th-century book by Edgar Wallace where a clue in a seeming murder is a piece of paper in the man's pocket written in Braille. The heroine of the story used to work at an asylum for the blind (yes they actually call the thing an asylum.) and so she can read it. Over the course of the story, They find that a series of murders is being perpetrated by a set of criminals, one of them an infamous thug called Blind Jake, who works out of the asylum for the blind but who is basically a mob enforcer in terms of how good he is at beating the living crap out of people. It is never explained how he gets around, other than that he is actually very mobility-skilled as he usually does his dirty work alone.

They eventually find out he's working with two other people connected to his asylum, in a weird twist one of them is pretending to be blind and runs the place. Something about him extending a hand too early when he shakes hands, before others have made an intention to do so, directly reaching and grasping the right hand of the detective tips them off to that his isn't actually blind.

Jake has disgusting childlike devotion to his boss  which gets him shot after he's outlived his usefulness. But he captures the heroine on his own at one point (threatening to throw vitriol in her face (because that's what sick melodramatic sensational novel bad guys do at this period) and even beats the detective to within an inch of his life. He is cornered in an attic that he knows well by the detective. There is a low-hanging lightbulb and the detective is yelling for Jake to surrender. Jake is wearing gloves, feels the heat coming from the bulb and reaches up and crushes it. In the sudden darkness the detective is disoriented and Jake comes down on him like a ton of bricks, beating him to a pulp before making his escape.

Again, sadly one of the better representations. They have the childlike mind, though he shows surprising cunning frequently, the calling attention to his blindness with his street name, and the view of many characters he could only get his living selling matches or begging, which is what most of the asylum inmates do. However, he is a credible, often cunning, and in some ways more realistic evil blind character threat. He is capable  but Edgar Walace doesn't turn him into evil daredevil as his blindness saves his ass a few times but it is a hindrance to him as well, ultimately resulting in him not seeing his boss pointing a gun at him.

To be honest, I hate both the childlike super-innocent  and the super-bitter sadistic blind psychopath  stereotypes, but I hate the childlike innocent much more.

Also, wish I could remember, there's a book from I think Isabelle Ister from the 1920s that features a very capable blind detective called Mr. Gaunt. I can't remember what the book is called but because of the time period  I was very surprised as to how competent he was.

He frequently used other senses to investigate crime scenes (contaminating them by today's standards but I'll let it slide) for example he touches a spot of blood he is directed to at a murder and knows that this blood near the window is spilled much more recently than the actual blood that came from the murder itself, thus leading him later to find some of the crime scene was staged. Also as the movements of several women throughout the story in this house becomes important, he comes to recognize their perfumes, and by smelling remnants of it in places where a couple claim never to have been he is certain a couple are lying to him.

He also is super-smart so he's able to put his senses to best use and also interrogate really well, also being able to pick up on things like if someone answers too quickly or too slow (something a detective with sight could still do) which helps him check the sincerity or completeness of who he interviews.

He isn't daredevil though. For one, when he enters a building for the first time to perform an investigation, he does have to be shown the layout of the place and where major things are. He also notably misses visual signals made between characters trying to hide a secret from him which he doesn't  pick up on directly at any point though evidence he gets over the course of the investigation allows him to get what he missed, though it takes him a while.

The only thing he does that I think is too hard to swallow is he claims he can tell the color of a person's hair by touching it. This might be a ploy but he finds a hair at the murder site and wants to match it to someone, at one point testing a temptress character's hair. I can't remember if she announces that it is red or he does, though he finds a match I think either way. I think it also might have been an excuse to get Mr. Gaunt in close proximity to an attractive young woman who drives him crazy, oddly with a lot of description that never goes into visual details but involves non-visual details I tend to look for as well, which either says Istor had help or she was just very insightful.

Sadly like most Blind characters in old books (can't say much for new ones)  Mr. Gaunt doesn't "Get the Girl" in the end. Seems no matter how brilliant, kind,  and wonderful a blind character is, at least if they're men as Miss finch mentioned above does get the guy,  they tend to continue to be alone at the end of the story.

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2018-04-09 14:28:30

Interesting bookrage, though the asilems thing is very true, what's worse is that it was assumed blind people could not appreciate "the light of God" so were more morally backwards and so needed "useful work"

Actually the history of blindness in Britain and america is pretty appauling, despite some notable counter examples such as John Milton.

In terms of characters though its interesting what you say about blind people never ending up with anyone romantically since I've noticed that as well.

I will say the 1998 Quest for camelot film, plot summary here was a pretty terrible semi disney knockoff, but did at least have a blind character who actually got the girl in the end, and was at least moderately competent rather than being a super awesome ninja, I particularly liked the first scene where he met up with spunky generic heroin girl Kaly, where she'd fallen into the river and got tangled in his fishing net, and he was at the bank pulling up his net and worrying that there might be something caught in it while she thought he was beint intensively rude for not noticing she was stuck in the middle of the river then was quite embarrassed to find out he literally hadn't seen her big_smile.

I'll also say the filme at least gave a partially realistic  of Garrett's ninja fighting abilities given that he had a rather impressive guide bird who would fly at someone and then cheap showing him where to aim his sword, ---- though how he'd actually block anything goodness knows big_smile.

As far as blind villains go I also admit I rather did like Usui in Ruroni Kenshin, because that was one incident where a super human blind character's super human abilities actually worked against him and just made him quite pathetic.

usui is a swordsman who  was blinded in a fight with big evil badguy Shishio. He joined shishio's special bodyguards, the jupon gatina (which I'm probably horribly missspelling, it means the ten sowrds), on the condition that he was allowed to try and kill shishio at any time he wanted, however he never actually does this.
he has super human hearing, which he calls "eye of the heart"  basically just uses to show off, hearing people's heartbeats and assassinating them in the dark with a single sword thrust, however when he actually has to fight someone head on, he uses a huge tortus shell shield that he holds in front of his opponent's face and then stabs at them with a spear from around the shield so they don't know where to block.
what is amusing is he comes up against the police officer Sait Hajime who proceeds to absolutely destroy! him since Sait basically is focused on one thing, slay! evil! immediately! so isn't intimidated at all by any of Usui's tricks, he just goes for straight forward slayage! chops Usui's spear in half and then stabs him and proceeds to taunt him mercilessly for not actually knowing anything about people if he really thought he could intimidate someone as dedicated as Sait with all his psychological enhanced hearing mallarchy, since blind or not, Usui had to go big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-09 15:51:05 (edited by FamilyMario 2018-04-09 15:53:08)

Really, the only blind character I can think of at the top of my head from a mainstream game or otherwise is Lilly Satou, a character from a 2011 PC game known as Katawa Shoujo, which when translated from Japanese, literally translates to "Disability Girls". Indeed, the story of the game tells about a young man and five girls living with varying disabilities. It's a visual novel game which takes place in a fictional school known as Yamaku High School for disabled children, located in an unnamed city somewhere in modern, northern Japan. After a trip to the hospital due to a heart attack, the main character, Hisao Nakai, is forced to transfer to a school specialized in providing education and healthcare for disabled students. Over the course of the narrative, Hisao has the opportunity to come to grips with his condition and adjust to his new life. The game itself is choice-based, where you read through text, and occasionally get to respond to prompts with some preset responses. The choices you make impact the rest of the storyline. Depending on the choices picked, the story chronicle Hisao's deepening, and eventually, he has a romantic crush on one of the five female characters, depending on, of course, the choices picked throughout the game, with each of the girls having different routes, similar to another visual novel that was released in 2017, Doki Doki Literature Club, which even though they're running on the same visual novel engine, RenPy, DDLC has a completely different story, but let's not get too off-topic.
Certainly back to Lily, her bio on the official website reads, "Blind since birth, Lilly is caring, responsible and friendly - the perfect foil to Hanako Ikezawa, her best friend, whom she shares an almost mother-daughter relationship with, in addition to her free time often being spent drinking tea alongside her companion. In class she is a diligent student, with her sense of confidence serving her well in her role as class representative of class 3-2."

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2018-04-09 21:09:55

Nice that someone in Japan wrote a romance game with a blind character, though I sort of wish that she wasn't a girl.
For some reason its more acceptable to be  a disabled girl in media than a boy. This probably goes with the hole business of the man asking the woman out and all the sexist man as protector crap, and is likely the reason I recently saw one study which noted that in couples with one disabled and one none disabled person, in five out of every six cases it was a disabled woman with a none disabled husband.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-09 21:28:53 (edited by FamilyMario 2018-04-09 21:40:17)

@Dark, it's actually a Western produced game. That's pretty common for Western indi game developers to have Japanese or foreign titles in their names, especially games with anime influences in them, as is also the case with another very popular visual novel, Doki Doki Literature Club, released on September 22, 2017, Doki Doki being a Japanese term commonly associated with a heart beating very fast.

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2018-04-10 09:10:49

There was recently a pole to have a blind character   in the adult appocalyptic game flexible survival. Since unfortunately new content is always based on poles among the game's patrion backers I don't know if this one got in but I liked the concept, a spider called Charlot who'd got the infection and found that it  improved things for her since she could pick up more about the world around her through her long and sensitive hair, (erotic goings on included).

I hope she made it in though theoretically if not people could club together and get her added via donations to the game.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-11 07:35:55

@Dark Champloo is a really good anime, would totally recommend watching it.  Sarah doesn't show up til near the end, though.  The Lunar Chronicles is by Marissa Meyer, and is...alright lol I like the characters more than the actual plot.

Totally forgot to mention Kaname from Bleach.  I always thought he was cool because he acted all unassuming and chill then turns out to be one of the major villains in the show.  His Bankai made everything completely dark for the other person, so he equalled the playing field for himself and disoriented the person, and that's one of my favorite things to see in media - when someone uses their disability to their advantage to screw someone else over.  Why my favorite fight scene in Daredevil is the one in s1 where Matt turns off the lights and wails on everyone lol.

Is the Disabled Visual novel accessible?  I'd love to be able to play it!  Sadly Doki Doki Literature Club isn't even remotely accessible, tried playing it and it doesn't even let you turn self voicing on in ren'py.

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2018-04-11 10:51:49

@Crystal D, I know Marissa Mire, indeed if you go over to fantasybookreview.co.uk you can find a review of her book Heartless that I wrote.
I have her other series and will likely start reading them sooner than later.

In terms of the disability turning into advantage thing, it has worked on occasion, but unfortunately all too often it turns into a hymn to the "awesome blind person" syndrome mentioned earlier, just like that dreadful tng episode with the deaf negotiator.

Actually that one was kind of wrong, since it basically seemed to prove that if you were disabled you needed three other people to work for you and tell everyone how awesome you were and couldn't function without them big_smile.

Again there are circumstances I can think of where disabled characters and even blind characters have some sort of advantage through their disability, but most of the time unless its very understated it  feels artificial to me in the extreme.

Actually this was another area where Toth impressed me in the Avatar series, since one skill she learns which no other earth bender in the series has is bending metal, since as she senses the world around her by vibrations she can do what other earth benders aren't able to  and pick up on the trace amounts of earth and impurities in metal and so be able to bend it as she wants, ----- since metal is also how a lot of the bad guys control earth benders this is also sort of amusing since there is nothing cooler than seeing  tiny blind 12 year old girl punch her way out of a metal box then stand atop it yelling "I'm the best earth bender ever!" big_smile.

That was one reason I thought having a blind character in Flexible survival who actually benefited from the infection would be sort of cool.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-11 16:45:52

@Crystal D: No, Katawa Shoujo is not accessible, since it too also uses RenPy, which to my knowledge, was pretty common for indi visual novels.
The only way I see it is to use NVDA's OCR function. That's how I've been playing the game, mainly because, let's just say the color scheme used for the dialog box in DDLC, with white letters on a pink background, doesn't work well for low vision players. It hurts my eyes, lol. Invert colors didn't help either, so I had to use NVDA's OCR function. Same goes for mods of DDLC like Monika After Story. The poem minigame where you pick a total of 20 words is fine though, since it's basically black letters on a white background. Katawa Shoujo is a similar boat here, since you also have to use NVDA's OCR for reading the dialog, though actually selecting the predefined responses is a nightmare. So really, NVDA's OCR is mainly used for reading dialog boxes, if anything.
I didn't know that RenPy had a self-voicing function in it.
Certainly back to the discussion at hand, @Dark, I'll have to check out the book you mentioned, it sounds pretty cool.
As for the whole using your disability to your advantage concept, I haven't watched that much Bleach, but I did hear about that part of the anime from reading the Bleach Wiki articles. I really need to watch it again, but from what I heard, it sounds pretty neat.

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2018-04-11 17:22:52

zado-ichi. this blind samurai has been popular in Japan since the early 20th century appearing in several films. there was even a western take on the character in Blind Fury which I think starred Nicolas Cage as the blind character.

watch my brother's twitch stream here:

2018-04-11 20:23:01

Since the discussion has strayed from purely games... I love Zatoichi. He has been popular since his conception in 1962, so not quite the early 20th century... but he is one of the best people who does the best job of walking a fine middle ground between amazing blind person and helpless disabled beggar. He has no supernatural or enhanced powers, unless you count his ability to hear loaded dice while gambling, or track the footsteps of enemies coming in from behind him, which is possible with enough real training... He's always seen at first as a harmless masseur, until he has to defend himself. Then the sword hidden in his cane comes out fast and quick. No drawn out fights with this guy, he kils everyone who attacks him quickly. The films always focus on his helping a village to rise up against some oppressor. He doesn't have any abilities that wouldn't be believable of someone who has had extensive martial arts and swordsmanship training. I'm at work so unfortunately can't write too much more, but his balance of amazing abilities as well as a very real sense of being human is what I like about him. Any blind person who does martial arts for long enough could potentially do many of the same things. I have nevr seen the American remake featuring Rutger Hauer, but western media tends to go to either end of the extremes... either they are beyond this world amazing, or helpless, bumbling characters. I will write more later.


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2018-04-12 04:25:05

I've heard of zatoichi but don't know that much about him specifically, though I was a little worried from the portrayal that he'd  just another superhuman blind person, nice to know that isn't the case in at least some of his iterations, though I'd be interested to know in term of realism what he does if someone actually swings a weapon at him, then again with how samurai fights are usually represented he probably doesn't have to worry, just sit around and wait for his opponent to yell out whatever attack they're using big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-12 05:55:59 (edited by assault_freak 2018-04-12 06:06:37)

You're thinking the fights in anime, not samurai cinema. Samurai Cinema is usually more famous for one person against multiple people, duels, or mass group battles... noone yels out technique names in Samurai movie battles. That type of thing is typical of only anime and video games, not other Japanese media... lol

Zatoichi's battles, at least, in the few films I've watched, usually start with him having his sword sheathed. From this position, he usually allows enemies to get close enough to him before he can attack and overcomes them with his speed when drawing and cutting in the same motion, using techniques from a martial art which is now known as Iaido and still practices these techniques all be it for different reasons. When his sword is already out, he usually relies on footsteps and other sounds to sus out where his enemies are before going after them. A few more memorable seens have him standing stock still and listening and listening to where his enemies are coming from before cutting them down as they all rush at him. Apparently one of his movies shows him in a seen duelling in a more prolonged fight, but most of the time he's skilled enough to defeat opponents quickly with one technique. Lots of it is exagerated for film and entertainment, obviously, but it's not out of the realm of plausability for someone to get this good, especially if they are blind and are used to using their sense of hearing. And I can say that with at least a bit of confidence, having done some training in Japanese swordsmanship and now training in Aikido, where listening for my training partners is crucial to anticipate angles of attack, or at least where they may be attacking from. Zatoichi, imo, is a lot more realistically imaginable than daredevil. Not to mention less superhuman a character.

From the wikipedia article on him

Zatoichi at first comes across as a harmless blind anma (masseur) and bakuto (gambler) who wanders the land, making his living by chō-han (playing dice) as well as giving massages, performing acupuncture and even, on occasion, singing and playing music. Secretly, however, he is very highly skilled in swordsmanship, specifically Muraku-school kenjutsu and iaido along with the more general sword skills of Japan, as well as Sumo wrestling and kyujutsu.
Little of his past is revealed, other than that he lost his sight as a child through illness. His father disappeared for undisclosed reasons when Zatoichi was about five years old. He is described by his swordsmanship instructor as having practiced constantly and with extreme devotion when he was a pupil in order to develop his incredible skills. Zatoichi says of himself that he became a yakuza (gangster) during those three years he spent training (which immediately precede the original The Tale of Zatoichi) and killed many people, something he later came to deeply regret. This is reflected in his willingness to involve himself in the affairs of others—chiefly, those suffering from oppression/exploitation, or some form of corruption. Despite that moral re-assessment and his new perspective and remorse (and most often because of them), he usually has a bounty (sometimes quite large) on his head from one source or another throughout the movies and series. However, because of his earnestness, wit, and natural sense of empathy, many people who encounter him during his travels grow to respect and even care for him.
Unlike a bushi, he does not carry a traditional katana. Instead, he uses a well-made shikomi-zue (仕込み杖, lit. "prepared cane" or cane sword), as the use or possession of true fighting blades was formally outlawed for non-samurai during the Edo period. The decree was virtually impossible to enforce, however, as evidenced by the Yakuza enforcers being shown wielding katanas throughout the films.
The principal recurring thematic formula of these films and the television series is that of the ever-wandering and sentimental drifter who protects the innocent and the helpless from oppressive or warring yakuza gangs, stops the worst of general injustice or predation and aids the unfortunate, and often, through no fault of his own, is set upon by ruffians or stumbles into harm's way. Zatoichi's saga is essentially one of an earthy but basically good and wise man almost always trying to do the decent thing, to somehow redeem himself and perhaps atone for past failings. Nevertheless, he believes himself instead to be a stained, corrupted and evil man, irredeemable and undeserving of the love and respect that some show and rightly have for him. This self-described "god of calamities" is routinely a magnet for troubles of one sort or another. Death is his only constant companion, as he pragmatically doesn't allow other people, especially those he loves or thinks highly of, to get close and stay there for long; such would lead to eventual tragedy. Death does seem, like a shadow, to actually follow an often reluctant Zatoichi almost everywhere he goes, and despite his mostly compassionate nature, killing appears to come entirely naturally to him.
His lightning-fast fighting skill is incredible, with his sword held in a reverse grip; this, combined with his unflappable steel-nerved wits in a fight, his keen ears, sense of smell and proprioception, all render him a formidable adversary. He is also quite capable with a traditional katana, as seen in Zatoichi's Vengeance and the bath house scene in Zatoichi and the Festival of Fire. Similarly, he displays considerable skill using two swords simultaneously, in Musashi-like Nitō Ichi style in Zatoichi and the Doomed Man. Almost preternaturally dangerous with blades, he is fully capable (whether standing, sitting or lying down) of fighting and swiftly defeating multiple skilled opponents simultaneously. Some, however, have come close to besting him in combat, in particular during the final duel in Zatoichi Challenged, where extenuating circumstances played a role.
A number of other standard scenarios are also repeated through the series: Zatoichi's winning of large amounts at gambling via his ability to hear whether the dice have fallen on even or odd is a common theme, as is his catching loaded or substituted dice by the difference in their sound. This frequently culminates in another set piece, Zatoichi's cutting the candles lighting the room and reducing it to pitch blackness, commonly accompanied by his tag line "Kurayami nara kocchi no mon da"|暗闇ならこっちのもんだ (roughly meaning "Darkness is my advantage") or "Now we are all blind".

But this is supposed to be blind charactes in video games, not about my love for a very specific character who is blind. But he is the fairest illustration of a blind person I have ever seen in media, though there are probably other ones I don't know about. He just happens to be my favourite. No portrayal has completely satisfied me, especially from western film and video games, but this comes the closest.


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2018-04-13 05:30:35

@Family Mario guess I need to see how NVDA OCR works, that would be interesting to play both DDLC and Kitaway Shojo. 
@Dark I've been meaning to check out Heartless, I listened to the audible preview of the book and the main character being a baker was a really cool concept.

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2018-04-13 10:48:13

@Crystal D heartless was very cool, especially if you know your alice in wonderland, see My review of it here

I need to read some more of Mire's stuff since I did enjoy heartless, despite its lack of blind characters big_smile.

@Assault freak yeah I admit the yelling attacks thing wasn't too serious, though it is always a trope that sort of amused me. I wonder if you could actually formulate a game based on that idea? Something like blind swordsman but with people yelling attacks that you had to do different things to block or avoid.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2018-04-13 21:26:00

Well, in theory, every fighting game does that... and while that premis would be col, that would make for another hear and react game.. which I'm starting to get tired of when it comes to audio games and combat. haha.


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