2018 has certainly been the great year we all cracked it up to being, and it took us one step closer to seeing integration between the mainstream and the more niche gaming markets. The XBOX Adaptive controller released this year and I have seen more and more discussions around ways the blind can play conventional video games.
Microsoft is taking this one more step further in 2018, and I do wonder how much this is just a sign of the times changing as we move forward towards ever greater integration. Sure, it’s a garage project, something they put together with an intended goal. However I must also remind you that some of our greatest tools (like Soundscape or Seeing AI) started out as these smaller-scale projects which later culminated into what we know today.
In a December 19th Blog Post the project was unleashed, and you can read some fascinating background there. What’s wild is their use of conversation from gamers at CSUN, as well as the use of Microsoft’s HRTF spatial audio engine for Unity. That’s right, an audio game with Unity. Not that this hasn’t been done, but only a very few titles can boast of being written in something other than BGT or Visual Basic 6 in our little market. Oh. And Daniel Kish, one of the pioneers of using echo-location, had a hand in shaping this project. All in all, these are some astounding aspects which leave me with more and more intrigue. It also has graphics, high-contrast mode, and you can use it with an adaptive controller if you wish. In short, if you want to see what 2018 was all about, playing this game might get you there.
You can download the app from the Microsoft Store worldwide now
and enjoy it on Windows 10-compatible devices, which may or may not include the XBOX. Although the game requirements tab list the console, Twitter and other parts of the community are reporting that they are unable to obtain it from the XBOX store — so perhaps it just has not been published there yet.