See No Evil: Three Monkeys Is A Game Of Blindness

By Craig Pearson on October 1st, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Graphics!
The last game I played that was just based on the player’s hearing was The Blind Monk’s Society, which I hilariously chose to play because it has no graphics and RPS was protesting SOPA at the time. It was a torturous joke on the blackout, see? The concept was good enough for me to hope that something of its ilk comes along properly, to take sound and build a world with it. I’m happy to report that it Three Monkeys does just that, picking up the notion and running with it. Trailery bits and dev chat beneath.

The game is set in Byzantia, a world cursed into darkness by an evil witch (we need more evil witches and wizards in games). As the hero Tobar, who was born blind, the curse hasn’t affected you. It means… well, I don’t actually know what it means, other than you’re a confident hero in a land of those that can’t see. To help you with the quest, you’re followed by a foul-mouthed Irish pixie. I expect this is a game that needs to be played in order to fully understand what it’s attempting to do. They’re attempting to make it interesting to sighted people, as well as those who’re impaired.

Here’s the background.

And here’s a snippet of the game.

Blind Monk’s Society worked for a couple of reasons. It was a short game that required a lot of concentration to hear your route through the levels, so if the concept is going to work for a full game then it needs to be a lot more precise, and come with a few more challenges. It was fun to play, but exhausting. The other thing that kept me playing it was the whimsical writing and lovely acting. Three Monkeys is going to need plenty of well-crafted words to keep the player hooked.

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20 Comments »

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  1. Gryz says:

    This is gonna be pretty hard to play for any non-UK-born player. My English is pretty good for a non-native English speaker (if I may say so). But understanding the actress is still not easy. Throw in a few more heavy accents, and the game will be incomprehendable for me.

    • Harmless Sponge says:

      I was wondering if that was going to be the case. I’m Irish (Up the Dubs!), and I can tell you that it could get annoying for me, never mind those abroad. I know people have a hard time understanding me when I’m travelling, even if it is just the speed of speech, but I’d imagine they have this under consideration, it being a game focused entirely on sound.

      Also the faerie says “bollocks” far too much, they need some variance to her curse words at the very least. Clearly loutish people up north (where’s she from, Donegal?) :)

    • hemmer says:

      As a non-native speaker myself I actually found it rather easy to understand her, albeit I’m not sure if I’d want to listen to her for several hours.

    • The Random One says:

      I can only hope they are not so desperately in love with their idea of a game entirely without visuals that they’ll forego subtitles.

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    particlese says:

    This is pretty intriguing. I don’t know what proportion of non-visual games are not designed to scare you in the dark, but I would love to play some, so I’m pretty excited about one!

    As a sighted person who would this game, I thought about how I could avoid opening my eyes and spoiling the world: Play in a closet. Wear a hat over the top of my face. Pop on an Oculus Rift. Hey, it already has Rift support! …and now some will think I’m a jerk. But then I got to thinking more seriously: The head orientation tracking seems like it could be really helpful for maintaining the player’s sense of orientation within the world, and I’d guess it can help the blind, the sighted, and everyone in between, short of those with certain inner ear deficiencies. Since the game isn’t trying to scare and disorient the player, it could be an interesting thing to try if the development resources are available. Is anyone aware of any graphics-free Rift games/demos?

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      LTK says:

      Head-tracking is an interesting suggestion but it seems like a needlessly complicated feature when you can achieve exactly the same thing with the mouse.

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        particlese says:

        At a quick glance, it does seem like mouse motion would be equivalent (or better, since you can turn full circles with ease), but don’t forget that the inner ear does wonders for helping your brain monitor changes in orientation, assuming you don’t have something like vertigo and haven’t been spinning in circles very recently. Sighted people can rely heavily on their eyes do most of that work while watching a monitor, and good directional sound (which not all games have) can also be quite useful, even if sighted. It seems to me, though, that in a game with no visual stimuli, or in a visual game that goes unseen, the inner ear stuff would be even more important.

        Perception varies from person to person, of course, and I only know enough bits of the science to know I know little, but I do have simple anecdotal evidence of it being important in games: Forcing myself to not use the mouse at all in Rift-HL2 is better for immersion than using the mouse with or without head orientation tracking. It takes a little time for me to mentally switch gears between these modes of turning (disorientation when starting to use the mouse and unenhanced orientation when going back to just the Rift), but it does seem consistently better once I’m mouse-free for a minute or so.

    • Emeraude says:

      I’ve kept thinking about the concept and really, depending on how good the tactile feedback really happens to be, I could see that new Valve controller being put to *great* use for a game with such a starting premise.

  3. DuneTiger says:

    If you’re an evil witch, I will punch you for fun!

    Sorry, could not resist. Carry on.

  4. Perjoss says:

    I got a chance to play this at the Eurogamer Expo on saturday, I had never played an audio only game (apart from that one at birthday parties where they blindfold you and you have to catch people) and it was very interesting.

  5. Emeraude says:

    Just can’t play this, after five minutes, my distaste of human voices is going to kick in, and I’ll turn the game off.

    Sad because I love the idea of it. I’ll always have old-school text adventure games I guess.

    • zebramatt says:

      Agreed.

      I’d much prefer if I could play a version with canine voices. Or crustacean voices. Oo, or marmoset voices.

      Much more pleasant.

  6. Freud says:

    Can you play it with keyboard and mouse?

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    Gap Gen says:

    And this is what happens when you use up all the graphics.

  8. squareking says:

    *knock knock*
    Who is it?
    It’s the Kerning Police. Sir, we’ve received word that a terribly kerned logo was being held on these premises. Something about a game called Three Monkey S. If you would please open this door…

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      particlese says:

      Gah! You never expect them to show up in your own neighborhood…

      Edit: The logo 30 seconds into the first video is much better. I’m not sure what to think now!
      EditEdit: 59 seconds in…AGH!!! :D

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    yhancik says:

    What happend to the 9 other monkeys?