From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An audio game is a game played on an electronic device. It is similar to a video game save that the only feedback device is audible rather than visual. The game itself exists in sound.
Audio games originally started out as 'blind accessible'-games and were developed mostly by amateurs and blind programmers. But more and more people are showing interest in audio games, ranging from sound artists, game accessibility researchers, mobile game developers and mainstream videogamers. Most audio games run on a computer platform, although there are a few audiogames for handhelds and video game consoles. Audio games feature the same variety of genres as videogames, such as adventure games, racing games, etc.
Audio game history
Before graphical operating systems like Windows, most home computers used DOS or another text-based operating system. Being text-based meant that they were equally accessible for users with and without a visual impairment. This also meant that games such as text adventures were also equally accessible. However, computers became more powerful resulting in more visually enriched games. This caused a huge gap between the video games for the seeing and games for the blind—a gap that is actually growing. While seeing gamers venture into 3D gaming worlds such as Myst and Final Fantasy, blind gamers are forced to play more mundane games such as Blackjack, Battleship or Memory.
But as videogames started to flourish, several amateur game designers started making videogames accessible for the blind by adding sound. Soon they started developing their own games, not so much based on existing game ideas but based on the possibilities of sound.
Current State of the Market
Most audio games are now developed by several small companies (consisting of only a team of 1 to 4 people). The main audience is still mostly visually impaired users. But commercial interest is growing steadily. In 1999 a Japanese company called Warp developed a game called Real Sound: Kaze no Regret. It was released on the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast and it featured no visuals at all, just sound. Methods of the game have found their way into games like D2 and Enemy Zero to enhance gameplay.
Audio games are also very interesting for the mobile gaming market since no screen is needed. Artists and students are already experimenting wildly with audiogames to explore the possibilities and limitations of audio games. The game market is gradually taking more notice into audiogames as well because of the issue of game accessibility.
No longer can audio games be considered to be 'just' games for the blind. They're games 'for the hearing'. Up until now, game challenges have been presented using dice, cards, boards, balls, a computer monitor, etc. Audio games expand this range with presenting a challenge in sound.
- List of gaming topics
- Rhythm video game
- Video game music
- Video game genres
- AudioGames.net, an online research and community website which hosts the biggest online archive of audio games
- Bavisoft, a developer of several audiogames
- SoundSupport.net, developer of several audiogames
- PCS Accessible Game developers List, a big list of blind accessible games and audiogames
- AudysseyMagazine, an online magazine on games for the visually impaired
- BSC Games, a developer of audio computer games
- IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group, working to make mainstream games accessible for all disability groups
- Terraformers, graphic 3D game accessible by blind
- AudioGame.com, a VRML project from 1997 where a player navigates with spatialised sound
- Demor, a location-based 3D audio shooter
- Klango Environment, a unified software solution for developing and running of audio games and applications
- KlangoGames.com, a place where authors of audio games present their works (created with Klango Environment)
- Game Accessibility Project, website of the Game Accessibility project
- Mithril Games, developer of several audiogames