Not Alone In The Dark: Blindside

By John Walker on October 19th, 2011 at 4:11 pm.

I Have No Eyes And I Must Scream seems like the other obvious reference here.

Something that most games tend to have in common is images. I’m the best at being egalitarian. There have been a few exceptions of course, and Blindside, due out January next year, is the latest. Created by indie devs Michael T. Astolfi and Aaron Rasmussen, the plan is to make an survival horror with no graphics at all. Take a look listen of the trailer below.

Rasmussen experienced blindness for a short time when at high school, which seems to be the inspiration behind the experience of what is, despite there being no graphics, a fully 3D adventure. It’s a horror, in which you use audio to navigate, trying to solve the mystery of why you can no longer see.

The video below is from the game’s Kickstarter project, so I want to add our usual caveat that we’ve not played the game, so cannot tell you whether we think it’s good or not, and as such, we aren’t suggesting that you donate to the project. You can do what you like, clearly, but understand at this point this is not an endorsement – rather it’s our being intrigued by an intriguing-sounding game. To see the “in-game” clip, skip to 1:50.

(It’s not, of course, the first game that visually impaired gamers can play. Not even close. It’s a rather odd claim for them to make, really. Beyond the very obvious, like Interactive Fiction and text adventures, there are a great many audio games out there. Audoigames.net, for instance, have a list of over 100 of them.)

But if what they’re doing works, this could be very interesting. I love the idea of scraping hands along surfaces to identify where you are. That and orientating via environmental noises seems a good use of 5.1 sound. I also like the amount of work that’s going into this – it looks like they plan to take this very seriously. We’ve nagged them for a playable version, so we can experience it for ourselves, and they promise us we’ll be the first to know.

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39 Comments »

  1. vash47 says:

    So is this a spiritual sequel to Doom 3?

  2. Torgen says:

    Well, as a hearing impaired person, this leaves me right out! It’s probably the reason I didn’t find Amnesia scary either.

  3. Wizardry says:

    So sort of like navigating a dungeon in an old dungeon crawler without lighting a torch or casting a light spell? The screen is entirely black and you can listen to the sounds to determine if you’ve fallen down a pit, walked into a trap, walked into a wall or encountered enemies.

    It specifically reminds me of those “dark” areas in The Bard’s Tale in which your torches and light spells are extinguished and you are forced to navigate either by sound or text descriptions. I hated those areas.

  4. Jedimus says:

    Sounds like Papa Sangre for iPhone, so, not the ‘first’ such game as they claim.

  5. fuggles says:

    Or like shades of doom, which has been out for aeons and was on a PCG coverdisk. Indeed, you could almost say that the genre of FPS for the vision impaired has become overcrowded and no-one noticed.

  6. noom says:

    Better watch out for them grues.

  7. Leverpastej_ says:

    Half life 2 mod that does this as well.
    http://www.moddb.com/mods/blind-monks-society

  8. Shazbut says:

    I wish it was like the Virtual Barbershop. I’ve been waiting for a game to use that tech since I first heard it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

  9. Jake says:

    Sounds like Knightmare – the TV show – except instead of being told where to go by flustered nerdy children you have just forgotten to take the dungeoneer helmet off when you are home in your apartment.

  10. Unaco says:

    So… Not really going for accessibility then, for the hearing impaired? Shame. I would have thought someone who experienced visual impairment would understand about accessibility.

  11. Tomo says:

    They are two of the most irritating people I’ve seen in a video in a long while.

  12. Ergates_Antius says:

    Whilst this does sound* like a cool project, it’s not really the first game that can be enjoyed equally be visually impaired people. IF has been doing that for years.

    *(no pun intended)

    [EDIT] Errr, which was said in the post. Gues I somehow missed that bit!

  13. Qwentle says:

    The Computer Games Tech course at Abertay actually has a module that, in order to teach various other technical things, has the students create a game completely without graphics, concentrating on audio (at least it did when I was there). Mostly it was a ‘Marco/Polo’ style thing for the min-grade, but some people went much more in-depth.

  14. strange_headache says:

    +1 for Harlan Ellison reference.

  15. zhmmpp says:

    top good games item,welcome to http://top4biz.com

  16. Chandos says:

    I wonder if this will work with my ATI card. Should have bought nvidia dammit

  17. Edward F. says:

    I hate to be the downer about interesting indie projects, but this game could clearly use a boost in vocal talent and direction. For what is supposed to be a horror game, the seriousness and tone of the voices don’t really seem to carry. Is this planned down the line with their Kickstarter?

    • Aaron says:

      In answer to your question: yes, we intend to re-record all the audio at higher quality, etc. That’s part of the reason we need the funding on Kickstarter. It’s also important to note that this is a clip from the very beginning of the game before the main character finds out he’s blind (he thinks its a blackout in the clip) and before he hears someone get torn to shreds by a monster. The tone changes drastically after that, as you might expect.

  18. DOLBYdigital says:

    Gah… I had an idea when I was a kid to make a game based solely on sound where you explore the world as a blind person. There have been a few mods that tried this (blind monks and a few others). I’m still intrigued by the idea since it would be a unique experience but hard to make a ‘full’ game out of. Thanks for the link to audiogames…. some of those sound awesome!!

  19. McCool says:

    Boots of Blinding Speed equipped. Ready to go!

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