The Geeky Gimp Riots: Video Game Accessibility

screenshot of Geek Girl Riot website with headline number seventeen, the geeky gimp riots, video game accessibility with a screenshot below of access options in Uncharted 4

You knew I couldn’t stop podcasting, right?

I’m proud to share that I am now part of Geek Girl Riot, where awesome gals record short clips on everything nerdy. My segment, The Geeky Gimp Riots, focuses on disability in geekdom (surprise!).

The first one is on video game accessibility.

Transcript is available on their website. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and suggest future topics you’d like covered!

Until next time, keep rioting ūüėČ

Easy Roller Dice Co. – Tabletop Review

Easy Roller Dice Co. Product Review. Below text are three d20 dice, blue, purple swirl, and sparkly pink

shiny blue dice with varying side counts d10, d20, etc Imagine dice rolling across the table, landing on a number that seals the fate of your latest in-game decision – how does that moment make you feel? For me, it’s this inspired burst of energy and excitement – the same visceral reaction when I crack open a new book. Dice not only remind me of good times with friends, but they bring out my creative side with all their possibilities. With just a few d20s, I could design a game; add a pencil and paper, and I could imagine a whole world and its heroes.

My dice collection is fairly small, but I’m always on the lookout for pretty ones at game conventions. My five-year-old niece is getting into the hobby as well, which couldn’t make me happier. So of course I was delighted when Easy Roller Dice Co. offered to send me some products of my choosing to review. When I saw their clear-with-pink-sparkles set, I knew a kid who would love them.

Inside dice bags, aerial shot, black exteriors and blue, purple, red satin interiorsAppearance alone, Easy Roller Dice Co. dice and bags are gorgeous. The dice all have a nice weight and shine, feeling like polished, cast acrylic. Each die is hand-inspected before shipment, and there were no blemishes or chips on any of them. The small dice bags have a black velvet exterior, and a vibrant satin interior that comes in four different colors: blue, purple, gold, and red. Each bag also has the logo sewn on a small tag, sturdy pull strings, and some sort of stiff fabric inside to hold their shape. My mom wants to steal them to store her jewelry, so they’re multi-purpose too!

The 7-piece dice sets include one each of the following: a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and a percentile 10-sided die. … Read more…

The Narcistick in You: Why We Should Embrace Selfie Sticks

Technology assists disabled people every day, whether it’s for activities of daily living, or for our passions and hobbies.¬†Thanks so much to my friend Noemi and her daughter for sharing their experiences with us in this guest blog post.

Noemi's daughter using a camera, her walker in front of her. She is wearing a tie-die shirt.
Noemi’s daughter snapping some pics.

Noemi Martinez is a poet-curandera and writer with Mexican and¬†Caribbean roots living in South Texas. Her poem+photo collection “South Texas Experience: Love Letters” can be purchased¬†on¬†Hermana Resist Press’ website.

As technology advances, so does society’s dependence on technology; and with it, a phenomenon of shaming. It’s not a new response, from society, to changes in the way we traditionally ascribed to do things. The horseless carriage of the late 1890s was an invention used by the elite and super wealthy. When the Model T came along in 1908, it was the most affordable automobile being produced. Before that, automobiles were extremely expensive and a luxury beyond our wildest dreams. There was the expected backlash, of course, of new and unknown technologies, as happens when one industry is replaced with another; the push from the railway industry and those that made a living from horse-drawn carriages.

The same can be said for the use of electricity, telephones, and media; the debate of newspapers as a dying form of media, or the debate on how print is dead.

But with new breakthroughs and advancements come societal benefits.

In the Age of Tech

Read more…

The Geeky Gimp Presents #6 – A Podcast with Chris!

Chris (@preiman709 on Twitter)¬†and I chat about Daredevil, blindness portrayed in¬†Star Trek, RPGs, and dating¬†while disabled. You can subscribe to my podcast by searching for “The Geeky Gimp” on iTunes, or using the subscribe button in the right menu.¬†As always,¬†English subtitles are available¬†on the YouTube video, and the transcript is below. Enjoy!

Thank you to Todd for providing us with this transcript and subtitles. Please support him by visiting his blog at http://boardgamemadness.blogspot.com! … Read more…

Tabletop Game Review #9 – Mining Maniac

CoverMany thanks to Andrea for sending me this to review. Her design is a unique game that is just revving up on Kickstarter, so check out my thoughts to see if this is something you want to pick up! As always, leave your comments below to let me know of any questions or concerns you may have. Enjoy!

Overview:

Game: Mining Maniac

Designer: Andrea Tsang

Artists: Chung Fong and Vincent Tang

Publisher and Date: X-Axis Production, 2014

Players: 2 to 4, but up to 6 with a future expansion

You’ll like this if you like: Harbour and other market manipulation games.

In Mining Maniac, players act as executive officers of their own mining companies. The object is to amass the most cash by the end of the year, sabotaging your competitors and dodging their attacks along the way. Choose from among your best workers to go out and mine for precious gems, coal, copper, and gold. You can sell the minerals at their current market price, or hold out until next month¬†when they‚Äôll be worth more money. But watch out for unexpected events like collapsed mines, taxes, labor strikes, market crashes, and landslides; these obstacles will hinder your progress and affect the profits of your company!¬† … Read more…

Tabletop Game Review #8 – Pleasant Dreams

Pleasant Dreams box artHave you ever woken up¬†from a horrible nightmare, covered in¬†sweat, your heart beating out of your chest? Do you remember the frightening images that flashed before you, waking you from an otherwise peaceful slumber? Designer Aerjeen Tamminga created a game centered around this theme, and¬†was kind¬†enough to send me a copy for review. It’s¬†one of the most unique games I’ve played, both in theme and mechanics. The fact that all the¬†cards are tarot-sized certainly drew me¬†in. But don’t let me spoil the review – read on to find out what I thought!

Overview:

Game: Pleasant Dreams

Designer/Artist: Aerjen Tamminga / Wayne Dorrington

Publisher & Date: Aerjen Games, 2014

Players: 1 to 2

You’ll¬†like this if you like:¬†Press-your-luck games with a twisted, dark theme … Read more…

The Geeky Gimp Presents #5 – A Podcast with Steve Way

Steve Way is a¬†comedian and actor¬†with Muscular Dystrophy. We discuss his awesome web series¬†Uplifting Dystrophy, disability representation in media, the inaccessibility of NYC, and more.¬†You can visit Steve’s website at thesteveway.com!

As always, thanks to my friend E, the transcript is available below and the video is closed captioned.

Read more…

Lift Off! Interview with Eduardo Baraf

Cover of Lift Off!

Greetings, earthlings!

I’m excited to present to you my new YouTube channel, titled The Geeky Gimp Presents! I’ll still be blogging here, but this is just a way for me to branch out, challenge myself with a new creative outlet, and engage my subscribers. For my very first video, I interviewed designer Eduardo Baraf. We discuss he new game, Lift Off, which is quickly becoming a hit on Kickstarter. We also talk about accessibility in gaming, his design process, and his previous game, Murder of Crows.

Transcript is available here in PDF, or below the video. PDF: LiftOffTranscript

The video also has subtitles.

You can watch the video below, or click on this link. Subscribe to the channel and receive updates on new videos! I will still be writing here, of course, but I’m just branching out into vlogging!

I hope you enjoy.

Read more…

Computer/Video Game Review #2 – Grail to the Thief

Grail to the Thief is an interactive audio adventure game that is currently on Kickstarter, and produced by For All to Play. It simulates text-based adventures, or pick-your-own adventure games, and adds audio (including ambient sound, narration, and dialogue) for blind¬†accessibility. I was able to play the prototype, currently available for Chrome and¬†Opera¬†users, and absolutely loved it. The story is engaging¬†and humorous, while giving the player a lot of variety¬†and freedom.¬†Unlike other text adventure games¬†where you must type in commands, Grail to the Thief offers you multiple choices to advance in the quest. Also, the sounds included in the prototype are not complete yet, but I really liked what I heard so far – the character voices are not dull, and made me feel like I was really interacting with them. The story itself is amusing, and I can’t wait to see what other adventures will be¬†created for subsequent games!

Grail to the Thief logo
Grail to the Thief Logo

The creators of Grail to the Thief, Elias Aoude, Anthony Russo, and DJ White, were kind enough to answer some questions for me.

1) Can you tell us about yourselves and how you got into game design?

Elias: I’ve been playing video games my whole life. I can still remember going to the local toy store with my parents to purchase my first video-game console, the Nintendo Entertainment System. I brought it home and played Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt with my parents, siblings, and cousin all night long. I knew at a young age that I wanted to be working in the video game industry in some capacity, and now, I’m finally doing that.

Anthony: Games have always been, and will continue to be, a huge part of my life. I started playing games at a very young age, probably around two or three, on NES and later, Sega Genesis. I cannot remember a holiday, birthday, or trip outside the house that I didn’t ask to buy a game. I have wedged games into my life in every way that I possibly could. At a young age, I started learning how to produce 3D art for games. I wrote papers all throughout high school on the design and psychological effects of games. Even my Eagle Scout project was related to games, as I donated a Wii to a retirement home so the residents could get up and bowl once in a while and have fun as a community.

I am a lucky person, in that I have always known what I wanted to do and why. I want to make games because I want to deliver the sense of community and enjoyment that games have given to me my whole life to others. Whether it‚Äôs yelling at friends over multiplayer games, comparing times in a racing game, discussing story beats of a well-written narrative game, or talking about the intricate mechanics of the latest strategy game, I have yet to see a more social, engaging, dynamic medium than games. I have always wanted to be a part of its production, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

DJ: I’ve always been really interested in video games. My parents owned an NES before I was born, so some of my earliest memories are actually of watching my mom play The Legend of Zelda. But I never really considered working on games until I was at WPI. I had already decided to head towards computer science, but as I thought more about what I was planning on doing after school, I realized that game design was where I was really headed. … Read more…

Computer/Video Game Review #1 – World of Warcraft

This is the first in a series of articles I will be posting about video and computer-gaming accessibility. Today’s post is by a guest blogger, and I’m very excited about her contribution. I’ve been watching her YouTube videos for a while, and they’re super interesting and helpful to disabled gamers. I hope you enjoy! Also, I’m always looking for more guest bloggers. If you have something to share, please contact me – you can find my e-mail on the About page, or just leave a comment. Now, on to introductions and the review!

My name is April, and I am a disabled gamer.  After years of thinking outside the box to find strategies to get around roadblocks in video games, some friends convinced me to start a website to share my tips in hopes of helping others. I started Ability Powered in early 2013. Now, I post articles, guides, and tips on my website, and have guides and accessibility first-look videos on Youtube. You can check us out at www.abilitypowered.com, or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/abilitypowered. 

April's AvatarWorld of Warcraft is Blizzard’s popular MMORPG. Players are challenged with the task of questing and defending the world of Azeroth from invasions of all kinds. With villians and injustice at every turn, you and your fellow gamers quickly become heroes!¬† Sounds fantastic, right? But what about accessibility?
Mobility in Azeroth is, honestly, as good as it gets. There are multiple options allowing players to choose how they wish to move their character. You can move with traditional keyboard movement, which is fully remapable in the keybindings menu. You can also move with your mouse in multiple ways. By default, you can move by holding down both mouse buttons simultaneously. Want to only press one button? You can do that by enabling the Click to Walk option. Click to Walk allows you to right click a point for your character to automatically run to. Need to walk with your right mouse button, or need an on-screen jump button? That’s also an option! The addition of Move Pad made it possible for disabled gamers to click an on-screen menu to move their character with simple presses of a button. That’s four movement options available to meet players’ needs.