Blindfold Tic Tac Toe: Teaching Grid Concepts

Creative educational apps help students learn core concepts. Blindfold 3D Tic Tac Toe was created specifically to provide students with visual impairments and blindnesss an opportunity to practice digital grid concepts through a familiar game. In this iOS game, the Tic Tac Toe board is basically a grid; the rows and columns are announced so that the player can identify where the red and black checkers (“x” and “o”) are located.

Students who are visually impaired or blind often struggle with spatial concepts, which can impact math skills and orientation and mobility skills. Both of these are highly spatial in nature. Traditionally, students learn many spatial concepts through hands-on activities and tactual graphs and maps. In our digital classrooms, once a student understands the basic concept, the next step is to able to glean the same information from digital materials. Transitioning to digital math materials – specifically grids – was discussed In a previous Paths to Technology post, Digital Transitions #2: Math Grid Activities.

For students who are learning about grids, start by playing a tactile version of Tic Tac Toe. You can purchase tactile Tic Tac Toe games in many stores – including dollar stores – or you can easily create your own Tic Tac Toe boards using raised lines or Wikki Stycks and simple objects such as checkers, counting bears, or even candy pieces! The Tic Tac Toe board is a simple 3 X 3 grid. When using a tactile Tic Tac Toe board, be sure to name the grid columns and rows the same as the digital Blindfold Tic Tac Toe board. Blindfold Tic Tac Toe game is similar to a Coordinte Grid with the Columns A, B, and C, and the rows  are 1, 2, and 3, starting from the ‘orgin’ in the bottom left corner.

Teacher Hint: If appropriate, use math terms, such as X axis (Columns) and Y Axis (Rows), Coordinate Grid, and Origin (where the X and Y axis intersect in the bottom left corner of the grid). With Blindfold Tic Tac Toe, ‘A,1’ is the origin and is located at the bottom left corner of the grid. It is important that students understand that some grids start the numbers and letters in the top, left corner; Coordinate Grids start the numbers and letters in the bottom, left corner.

Coordinate Grid with the the numbering starting at the Origin (bottom left corner); Y and X axis both run 1 - 6.

To play Blindfold’s traditional (1 level) Tic Tac Toe game, select ‘Flat Board, Practice’. While there is a visual Tic Tac Toe board available, Blindfold games are designed to be audio games. This game has built-in audio and can be played with or without VoiceOver. Be sure to listen to the instructions as the gestures used to play the game may vary slightly from the typical gestures used with VoiceOver. For detailed instructions, select ‘Help’. Level 2 and level 3 are 3D Tic Toc Toe games.

Blindfold 3D Tic Tac Toe is a mental game of the classic Tic Tac Toe – with a twist!  Instead of one board, there are three levels, A, B and C (bottom, middle and top). The object of the game is to place three checkers in a line. The line can be all on one level or across all three levels!

Game Instructions

Blindfold Games are played in Portrait Mode – be sure to turn the iPad to Portrait Mode. Students play against the computer and always go first. Student checkers are always red and the computer’s checkers are black. The cursor always begins in A,1. If playing 3D Tic Tac Toe, the cursor begins in the Bottom Level A, Column A, Row 1. As the student makes a move, the game announces his/her location by Column then Row.

  • Swipe one finger up, down, right or left to navigate around the grid
  • Swipe two fingers up or down to move between levels
  • One finger double tap to place your red checker in a spot
  • Three fingers swipe up to go back to the previous screen

Teacher Hint:  You must swipe right, left, up or down; the screen does not react when you drag your finger.

To download the game, press here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-3-d-tic-tac-toe/id1231870210?mt=8

 

 

 

Blindfold Games: Got a story?

Many people contacted me about Stuart Beveridge’s experience with the boy he helped with Blindfold Games, and asked if the games have helped any other people.

I’ve blogged about a few of them over the past 4 years; here’s one I remember well:

Now that I have mastered most of your bowling game, I need to tell you a story I think you will enjoy.  Your game is so life-like, and brings us the reallity of a live bowling alley.

I am totally blind, and I started bowling in 1966. I carried an average score of 136.  My high games were 148, and a 197. Other than that, I had the occasional game of 160.  I bowled until 1985, when I was in a terrible auto crash. It left me with a shattered left leg from the knee down.  I would never bowl again. I really missed the game.

Since I have your game, I can now relive my dream of bowling.  It was my favorite hobby.  Many thanks to you, for bringing us a lifetime product.  This game just works.  It is just wonderful to use my fingers to aim at the pins and get a strike, and then throw the same kind of throw, and get fewer pins.  I am so happy.

If you have a story you would like to share, please contact me: marty@blindfoldgames.org

 

 

 

 

Blindfold Oppoly: Making it playable

In a prior post, I discussed how I took someone’s master’s thesis on Monopoly and turned it into a strategy for the computer opponents.

Blindfold Oppoly Icon

Initially, I created the game with a different gesture for each and every action you could do in Monopoly, and it was a complete mess.  None of the testers could remember which gesture accomplished what.  So I threw everything out and started again.

I needed a different way to give you as much information as possible without overwhelming you, and not require you to memorize dozens of gestures.

When I analyzed how I play the game, on each turn, I first explored the board to know what’s ahead of my token, then decide if and where to buy houses, spin the dice, move, and then either buy something, or pay rent and possibly mortgage property.

That means the game needs a way to explore, a way to find out property details, and a way to pick from several actions.

The first step was to let you explore the board by swiping left and right.   When exploring a property, you hear a short musical phrase to identify which color group the property is a member of, and you hear if it’s owned, mortgaged or available for purchase.

When you need more details, tap with 2 fingers.  Up comes a voice-over enabled screen that has every property detail you could hope for: it’s purchase price, rent, mortgage value, cost of each house, and so on.  This screen also has buttons for each action you may want to do with the property based on what’s allowed at that time: buy, trade mortgage, un-mortgage, buy houses, sell houses, and so on.

When you turn starts, you can buy houses on any of your properties.  To do this, swipe up with 2 fingers to bring up a list of your properties, pick a property, and buy as many houses as you want.  Then spin the dice and your token is moved.  You’ll hear where your token lands, and you can get property details with the two finger tap again, and use the buttons to buy or trade the property.

Keeping the soundscape interesting was harder, since an Oppoly game make take several hours to play.  Someone suggested that I create a feature where people can listen to their iTunes music while playing.  That’s not an easy thing to do for apps on the iPhone, but I figured out a way, and made that an option within the game.

Since it’s initial release, I’ve added about a bunch of features to match some of the variants that people play at home: winning the jackpot when you land on free parking, changing how much cash you start with, or rules about getting out of jail.

You can download Blindfold Oppoly here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-oppoly/id1175945148?mt=8

Blindfold Color Crush: Over 20 Gem Packs

At least once a month, Blindfold Color Crush fans suggest new sound packs.

huong-dan-choi-game-kim-cuong

Color Crush is an audio version of Candy Crush, and is one of the most popular Blindfold Games.  You try to remove as many similar gems as possible – where each gem has a unique sound –  by swapping adjacent gems, to get 3 or more similar gems in a row.  The more gems you get in a row, the more points you score.  Once you’ve scored 50 points, you move up to the next level.

Initially the game had 4 categories: gems, colors, numbers and animals.  One player wanted dogs, another wanted cats and a third asked for flowers, so I created a Pets and Plants Pack.

Each month, over the past two years, I’ve added another pack: Sports Teams Pack (football and baseball), Science Fiction Pack (Star Wars and Harry Potter), Fun Sounds Pack (bells, funny sounds and musical notes), Fantasy Movie Pack (Transformers, X-Men), Everyday Sounds Pack (such as opening a door or an alarm clock),  Candy Pack (popular candies), Funny Voices Pack, Months and Holidays Pack, Animated Movies Pack, Olympic Games Pack, Bird Songs Pack, Minerals Pack, Vegetables Pack, Fruits Pack, Fabrics Pack, Royalty Titles Pack, Merry Christmas Pack, Vehicle Sounds Pack, Musical Instrument Pack, and the Ducks, Geese and Swans Pack.

Since each pack has dozens of sounds, and a level uses only 7 of those sounds, you always get a random selection of sounds on the level.  You can set the game to pick the pack for each level randomly; as you move from level to level, the sounds you must match are always a surprise.

Based on advice from game fans, you can now restrict which packs to use.  Some people purchased many of the packs, and they wanted to customize the game to use only  the newest packs.

To download the Blindfold Color Crush, press here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-color-crush/id1062421079?mt=8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blindfold Games: One Boy’s Story

I received this email from Stuart Beveridge. who works with visually impaired children in Scotland.

xBox control

In April, I began working with an eleven year old boy who had lost his sight last year. He was playing soccer with his friends, fell while chasing the ball and was rushed into hospital.  He had suffered a brain infection from the fall and was in a coma.

When he woke up, he had lost his sight and speech. After several months of speech therapy, he regained his language skills, but his sight would not return. His favorite activity – xBox video games – was no longer possible: those games are not accessible to blind people.  The boy’s parents contacted me for help, and I immediately thought of the Blindfold Games.

“I first showed him Blindfold Dominoes; he was struggling to master the basics of VoiceOver on his iPhone, and was often lost when he was trying to navigate the different screens.  The challenge was to find a simple way of teaching him the basics and giving him the confidence to perform the gestures more accurately and effectively. “Blindfold Dominoes, come on down!”

We did a full lesson on Dominoes, encouraging him to play the game when he could. I emphasized that this game, once learned, would give him the grounding he needed to enable him to navigate and use basic VoiceOver gestures successfully.

Two weeks later, the change in him  was unbelievable. Not only did he master the game, but now listens to YouTube for entertainment, sets reminders for his school work and hospital appointments, and uses FaceTime to keep in contact with his friends.

Another element of Dominoes is the two finger double tap gesture, which is used to “pass” when you can’t play a domino. VoiceOver uses this gesture to play and pause music and is a quick way to answer or end phone calls. Without Blindfold Dominoes, I don’t know how he would have managed; in his words: “it makes the iPhone less boring!”

I have just introduced him and his visually impaired friends to Blindfold Bowling. It’s a step up from Blindfold Dominoes, and he’s learning the sounds, audio cues and feedback from the game. Within ten minutes of playing, they were competing with each other for a bag of Mars Bars.  All went home with smiles on their faces.

Your games have transformed his life.  He realizes that he can still have fun playing games and participate in social activities with all his friends: sighted and visually impaired.



Blindfold Word Search

Most people played word search puzzles when they were young; in a square grid of random letters, you have to find words.  For example, in the following, you have to find the words DOG, CAT and MICE:

B E C D M R

U D O G I A

C A T S C E

T A O G E B

The word “DOG” is found in the second line, starting at the second letter.  The word “CAT” is found in the third line, starting at the first letter.  The word “MICE” starts at the fourth letter of the first line, and reads down for 4 lines.

I was asked to create a Blindfold Word Search game of varying complexity, allowing people of all ages and skills to solve the puzzle.

The simplest variant of a word search puzzle is to only hide words from left to right, since people normally read from left to right.  The words “CAT” and “DOG” are hidden in the above puzzle that way.  A little more complex is to hide words left to right, and right to left, like the word “GOAT” in the bottom line.

Once you get good at that, the game gets more complex by including words that are hidden vertically as well as horizontally.  The word “MICE” is hidden top to bottom in the fifth column, and the word “BEAR” is hidden bottom to top in the last column.

In all of the examples so far, letters were only used in one word.  To make the game a little more difficult, some words can share letters.  For example, the letter “C” is used twice: once for the word “CUB” in the first column, reading up, and the word “CAT” mentioned before.

The highest difficulty is where words can run diagonally, from the lower left to the upper right, or from the upper right to the lower left, or from the lower right to the upper left, or from the upper left to the lower right.  In the about example, The word “SIR” starts in the third line, fourth letter, and reads up to the right.

In Blindfold Word Search, you are told which seven words to find; your task is to find them in the grid.  You can adjust both the number of words to find, and the maximum length of a word.

Each month, we create another theme-based word puzzle.  The basic game comes with numbers, months, dogs and cats.  In May, we created a food theme including vegetables, candies and fruits, and numbers.  In June, we released a sports pack for baseball, football and hockey, and a geography pack including countries, states, state capitals and world cities.

To download Blindfold Word Search, tap here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-word-search/id1227112282?ls=1&mt=8

 

 

 

 

Blindfold Hearts and Spades

After I created Solitaire, Crazy 8’s and Uno (called Blindfold Wildcard), I started getting requests for every type of card game.  Since I had played both Hearts and Spades in college, I created those two games first.

picture of card suits

I think back fondly to having a major test in my 8:30 AM class, and realizing I needed only 3 hours to study.  I would join a hearts game at 9 in the evening, knowing I still had 11 and a half hours to study.  At 2 AM, I glanced at the clock and kept playing, trying to “shoot the moon” or somehow win the next round.  After all, I still had about 6 and a half hours to study.  By 3:30 AM, I knew I needed to quit soon, and start studying.  By 5:00 AM, I stopped playing, opened the book, and promptly fell asleep.  I awoke 15 minutes before class, ran to the classroom, and hoped for the best.

Hearts is a trick taking game, which you want to win hands with as few Hearts as possible, unless you “Shoot the Moon” by winning every heart and the queen of spades.  There are several strategies for winning at Blindfold Hearts, including Bleeding Spades, Defending Spades, Maintaining Hearts, Achieving Voids, and, of course, counting cards.  Your computer opponents use one or more of these strategies, and it makes for a fun game.

Spades is a bit more complex than Hearts, in that there is a bidding phase, and a trick taking phase, and your opponents try to stop you from winning the number of hands for which you bid.  Blindfold Spades offers game varieties including Rule 3-B Spades, No Over Spades, Quicksand Spades, 7 Tricks or higher Spades, Cut-Throat Spades, Whiz Spades, Mirror Spades and Fredieu Spades.

To get Blindfold Hearts, click here:

https://itunes.apple.com/mg/app/blindfold-hearts/id1025505899?mt=8

To get Blindfold Spades, click here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-spades/id990432030?mt=8

Blindfold Games: June 2017 update

I often get asked for a list of all of the Blindfold Games available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod.

Games are listed with the newest games first.  Click on the game to go directly to the iTunes download page.  All games are designed for rapid audio play and have been built with the help of dozens of visually impaired gamers.

Blindfold Home Run Derby – Baseball game just like Major League Baseball’s Annual Contest.

Blindfold 3D Tic Tac Toe – Tic Tac Toe but in all three dimensions.

Blindfold Clues – Detective game – who did it and where did they do it.

Blindfold Word Search – Find words in a grid of letters with increasing difficulty.

Blindfold Invaders  – Just like Space Invaders video arcade game, but this is an audio game.

Blindfold Connect  – Just like Connect 4 – get 4 checkers in a row.

Blindfold Feud – Inspired by the TV Game show “Family Feud”.

Blindfold Road Trip– Be the first player to drive 1000 miles in this card game similar to 1000 miles or Miles Bornes.  Now with car, sailboat and trains.

Blindfold Words From Words – How many words can you create from one word?

Blindfold Oppoly – Inspired by Monopoly.

Blindfold Euchre – Trick-taking card game, much easier than spades.

Blindfold Fireworks – Tap and swipe to conduct your own audio fireworks show.

Blindfold Seven Words – Similar to seven little words.

Blindfold Word Biggle – Inspired by Boggle – Find words in a 5 by 5 grid of letters.

Blindfold Trivia Match – Just like TV Game show “Jeopardy”

Blindfold Snakes and Puzzles – Snakes and Ladders but with trivia or arithmetic puzzles

Blindfold Soccer Kick – Soccer – European Football – Kicking and Blocking.

Blindfold Cat and Mouse – Just like Skipbo.  A two player card game similar to  Solitaire, but much easier.

Blindfold Sound Search – More Sound Packs added.  Matching game using Common Animals, Asian Animals, National Anthems, Musical Instruments and Everyday Sounds.

Blindfold Color Crush – Many more gem packs added: A cross between Bejeweled and Candy Crush.

Blindfold Barnyard – New barnyards added: Move your animals from the barnyard to the fence to the barn.  It’s addicting!

Braille Spin and Solve – Practice your braille contractions. Inspired by Wheel of Fortune, spin to guess a letter or a contraction in the phrase and win.

Blindfold Greeting Card – Create and send your own audio cards to friends and family.

Blindfold RS Games – 21 different multi-player games, played by thousands of people on Windows and Mac, are now available on the iPhone and iPad.

Blindfold Sound Search – Matching game using Common Animals, Asian Animals, National Anthems, Musical Instruments and Everyday Sounds.

Blindfold Basketball – Grab the ball and start shooting.  Great sound effects!

Blindfold Bird Songs – Find that Bird and Match that bird – two great games for learning bird songs.

Blindfold Checkers – Play checkers with easy, medium or expert opponents.

Phrase Madness – Famous as a windows game, now on the iPhone and iPad.  Match the phrases and laugh your socks off.

Blindfold Pinball – Play pinball on diffferent pinball machines.

Blindfold Pool – Play pool by hitting your cue ball into the other balls, and landing them in the pockets.  Hours and hours of fun.

Blindfold Spin and Solve – Inspired by Wheel of Fortune, spin to guess a letter in the phrase and win.

Blindfold Shuffleboard  – Slide your discs into the scoring area, and push your opponents discs out of the way.

Blindfold Bingo – Play bingo with lots of patterns. Win coins. Record yourself saying Bingo and share it.

Blindfold Crazy Eights with Friends – Crazy Eights card game with with other people, via Game Center or in the same room.

Blindfold Word Games– Hangman, Word Ladder, Scramble and Word Flick.

Blindfold Horse Race– Race against other horses by walking your fingers on the screen.

Blindfold Juggle– Juggle animals on earth and other planets.

Blindfold Rummy – Gin Rummy card game – collect sets and runs of cards.

Blindfold Tile Puzzle – Tile games including 2048 and Threes, with several variations.

Blindfold Vee Ball – Just like Skee ball: Roll a ball up a ramp to land in the highest point hole.

Blindfold Craps – Dice game where you bet on the outcome of a dice roll, just like in Las Vegas.

Blindfold Air Hockey – Air Hockey – use your mallet to shoot the puck into your opponent’s goal.

Blindfold Breakout – Breakout game where you smash bricks with a ball, similar to the arcade game.

Blindfold Bowling – Ten pin bowling just like at the bowling alley.

Blindfold Roulette – Play roulette just like in Las Vegas.

Blindfold Hopper – Inspired by the old video game frogger.

Blindfold Pong – Pong game similar to the classic arcade game.

Blindfold Dominoes -Dominoes game where you play until you are out of tiles or blocked.

Blindfold Hearts – Hearts card game where you avoid collecting hearts or you can shoot the moon.

Blindfold Simon – My Simon type game where you follow patterns based on gestures and sounds.

Blindfold Spades – Spades card game where you bid and collect tricks as you win each hand.

Blindfold War – The classic war card game where you try to collect all the cards.

Blindfold Solitaire – Solitaire card games including Klondike, Spider, Free Cell, Golf and many others.

Blindfold Wildcard – An Uno type card game.

Blindfold Crazy Eights – Crazy Eights card game with several variants of play.

Blindfold Video Poker – Video Poker just like the machines in Las Vegas.

Blindfold Blackjack – Play Blackjack against the dealer.

Blindfold Sudoku – Audio Sudoku in a 9 by 9 grid, with easy, medium and hard levels.

Blindfold Sudoku Mini – Audio Sudoku in a 4 by 4 grid, lots of fun and great for people who never played Sudoku before.

Blindfold Cryptogram – Decode famous quotes and phrases in a letter substitution game

Blindfold Racer – Drive your car using your ears, not your eyes.  The original game that started all of this.

Blindfold 3D Tic Tac Toe

Dianne Brauer,  who writes the Perkin’s Path To Technology blog, asked me about which games were best for teaching grid-like concepts.

tic tac toe board

She wrote: “I really like Blindfold Search, Blindfold Word Biggle and Snakes and Ladders; however, these games do not encourage spatial concepts and mental mapping as the locations are not labeled and students are randomly moving through space without truly identifying where they are in space. Snakes and Ladders is closer to knowing where you are (as the game tells you the number of your spot and players have perimeters because they start at 1 and go to 100).  However, players do not know where the ladders or snakes are unless they land on a ladder.   Mental maps are not developed with this game, as the players do not have enough spatial information and they do not need spatial information in order to be successful with the game.”

Dianne suggest I create a 3D Tic Tac Toe game.  Quoting her, “Tic Tac Toe is very easy.  I used to challenge my students to play a mental game of 3D tic tac toe.  Ironically, my blind students quickly learned the game but my sighted friends had trouble getting the 3D part!”

Blindfold 3D Tic Tac Toe is now available.  It’s played on a 3 row by 3 column by 3 level board, and you can get three-in-a-row on any of the levels, or between levels, such as the same position on each level, for all three levels.  For example, the A1 slot on the top level, middle level, and bottom level.

You can vary the skill of your computer opponent based on how many moves “ahead” your opponent looks, and at the higher skill levels, it becomes quite challenging to win.

To download Blindfold 3D Tic Tac Toe, click here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-3-d-tic-tac-toe/id1231870210?mt=8

Blindfold Pinball

When the first visually impaired person asked for a pinball game, I didn’t understand why he would want such a game.  By the tenth request, I started thinking it was a good idea.  After 25 people asked for it, I decided to do it.

24-pinball-machine

From what the blind testers told me, a pinball machine is fun because the sounds are interesting, and, except for knowing when to push the flippers, sighted people have no advantage in playing pinball.  Ball movement is random, and except for trying to tilt the machine, you have very little control.  I knew that when I built the game, I would need to give audio cues so a blind player knows when to push the flippers.

I started by creating a pinball machine with about 8 bumpers, and a left and right channel for the ball to fall into, that leads to the left and right flippers.  To fire the ball, you drag one finger from the top to the bottom, as if you are pulling the launch plunger.  You hear clicks as you pull the plunger, and the ball is fired to the top of the machine, and bounces around for a while.  You hear the clacks,  clangs, dings and dongs, as the pinball hits each bumper and scoring points.

When a pinball rolls into the flipper channel, and is headed for the flippers, the game counts down for you, so you know exactly when to press the flipper button.  Just prior to the flipper, the game says “three”.  When the ball touches the flipper, the game says “two”, and when its at the tip of the flipper, the game says “one”.  You tap the screen, and the flipper shoots the ball back up to the top again.

Just like a real pinball machine, the more you score, the more extra balls you earn.  If the pinball is rolling down the middle of the machine,  just between the two flippers, there’s nothing you can do.  And if the ball gets stuck, just shake the phone a little, to nudge the ball back into play.  If you shake the phone too much, you get a TILT, and you lose the game.

I created several pinball machines, where the overall bumper layout is the same, but the bumper sounds were different.  As of this blog, the game has 13 different machine sound packs, such as animal sounds, outer space sounds, rude body sounds, scary sounds, sailboat sounds, wild west sounds, and funny voices.

You can download the game here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-pinball/id1093319916?mt=8