Blindfold Poker

For some reason, the  video poker game I created several years ago is now one of the most popular casino games in the Blindfold Game series.

poker hand and chips

I first created Blindfold Video Poker – it emulates Las Vegas style video poker machines.  One fan wanted more of a poker experience, so he sent me a link to an online poker site. At this site, instead of playing poker against other players, you play against a computer dealer with very strict rules, in one of 7 different games.

For example, in Three Card Poker, you start by making an initial bet.  Next you and the dealer are dealt three cards each, face-down.  After you look at your cards, you can either fold and lose the bet, or bet the same amount again.

Then you and the dealer show your cards.  If your hand is better, you win.  If the dealer’s hand is better, you lose.  If you won, and you had a good hand (like 3 of a kind), you can win several times what you originally bet.

There are two  side bets you can make in this game that makes it more interesting.  Regardless of who won, if you win one of the side bets, you can get a lot more money.

The side bet called “Pair Plus” pays you (even if you lost to the dealer) if you have a pair or better in your hand.  The best payout on Pair Plus bets is 40 to 1 for a straight flush.

The side bet called “6-Card Bonus” combines your three cards with the dealer’s three cards, and the best 5 cards out of those 6 cards determines the payoff.  A royal flush pays off at 1000 to 1.

When playing Three Card Poker included in Blindfold Video Poker, you must consider about 3 different strategies at once: beating the dealer, winning the Pair Plus bet, and winning the 6 Card Bonus bet.  We’ve added several Dealer Poker games like Three Card Poker to the Video Poker game, and we’ll be adding more.

Click to download Blindfold Video Poker:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-video-poker/id955043508?mt=8

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Blindfold Bop Gesture Game for TVIs

A TVI is a teacher of a visually impaired person, and I hear from TVIs often to create games to make teaching orientation and mobility skills easier.

finger gesture on screen

Blindfold Bop Gesture Game – previously named Bop – was discussed in a recent blog, was originally suggested by Ben P. of the Braille Institute in Los Angeles.  One of the missions of the Braille Institute is to help the local community become more familiar with mobile technology.

First, Blindfold Bop Gesture Game you through some initial practice making gestures.  In Learn Game, each time you time make a gesture on the screen, it tells you what the gesture was.  For blind person who has never used a mobile device, Learn Game removes a much of the anxiety of using this new technology.

Luke D., one of the blind testers who also works with newly blind students, suggested a major improvement for the app.  Since people new to the iPhone are not familiar with many of the voice-over gestures, he wanted a way that someone could play the game before they mastered voice-over gestures.

Now there’s a setting in the game to use the Student Mode, which can be set up by a TVI.  Once in Student Mode, you are given instructions on exactly what to do at each step.  For example, as the game starts, it says “Pick a game by swiping up or down with one finger, then tap twice with one finger”.

The student, working with their TVI, will continue with Learn Game until a handful of gestures are well understood and then moves to the easy practice game.  And since the Student Mode menu is so easy, the student will practice on their own.

We are starting to get requests from school get a copy of the game for all the teachers.  To train your clients with Blindfold Bop Gesture Game, tap here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-bop/id1272873004?mt=8

 

 

 

 

Blindfold Sea Battle stories

A week ago, I wrote about Blindfold Sea Battle, a variant of the Battleship game.

Since then, it’s been written up in several blogs, include Diane Brauner’s Path’s to Technology hosted at the Perkins School.  She will be writing several more posts about how to use Sea Battle for educational purposes as part of her “conference season”.

Sea Battle logo

I also learned that people have created their own variants of Battleship, and I just added those to the game.  In the normal game, you and your opponent alternate turns, trying to guess where each other’s ships are located.

In the “Shoot Till Miss” variant, you get to shoot again if your missile hits your opponent’s ship.  It makes the game go a little faster and helps you sink a ship faster once you’ve found it.

In the “Shots For Ships” variant, you get one shot for each of your ships still floating.  For example, at the start of the game, both you and the computer have 5 ships, so you can take 5 shots.  Once one of your ships are sunk, you can then only take 4 shots.  This variant makes game play even faster.

Here’s a typical email for game improvements:

By the way, I’m really enjoying Sea Battle.  I have just a few tiny suggestions if you don’t mind.  First, at the end, I’m often curious as to where my opponents ships that I missed were.  Could you have it tell us?  Also, could you give us a feature that tells us which squares are open in a particular column or row?  Could this be certain gestures so that we can use it when we want to instead of it being automatic, or could we have a setting so it could be either auto or manual?   I know it sounds like I’m criticizing, probably, especially when I put this at the end of my email.  I don’t intend that at all.  Just asking if it’s possible.  I really like the game, especially when I sink the computer’s ships!  Hahahahahahahahahaha!  Thanks for reading, and keep up the good work!  (smiles)

Some of the sounds she was refering to can be heard here:

 

or here:

http://qormagic.com/blogsounds/seabattle-sound.mp3

You can download the game here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-sea-battle/id1273870713?ls=1&mt=8

Demostración del juego Blindfold Gesture Bop

About a week ago, I was contacted by Gerardo Corripio, who publishes a blog on accessible apps for the Spanish speaking world.  He wanted to demonstrate some of the Blindfold games, and was especially intrigued by Blindfold Gesture Bop.

Here’s a link to his Spanish blog:

https://actualidadaccesible.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/bopit-evolucioma-resenamdo-blindfold-bop/

And here’s his recording of a 4 minute audio demonstration of the game, in Spanish:

https://www.spreaker.com/user/6942838/demostracion-del-juego-blindfold-bop-par

Gerardo said that even though the games are spoken in English, many Spanish visually impaired people play them.  I told him that we may translate the games to other languages in the future.

You can get Blindfold Gesture Bop here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-bop/id1272873004?ls=1&mt=8

 

 

Blindfold Battleship

After I built Blindfold 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, several teachers of visually impaired students wanted more games to improve grid navigation skills.

One person suggested the game Battleship, which is played on a 10 by 10 grid.  Our version is called Blindfold Sea Battle.

You and your opponent have 5 ships to place on your board, and ships vary from 2 to 5 spots long.  For example, the largest ship, a carrier, is 5 spots long, and can be placed horizontally or vertically, such as in position A1 to A5, or in A1 to E1, where rows are the letters A through J and columns are the numbers 1 to 10.   Once both you and the computer player have placed ships, you alternate turns trying to guess where each other’s ships are.

When you guess a location, such as E5, you hear a missile launching and either a splash in the water if the missile missed, or an explosion when it hits.  Once you hit all the ship’s spots, it sinks.  The player who sinks the opponent’s ships first wins the game.

The first major enhancement requested was for faster ship placement.  While the computer player’s ships were automatically placed, you had to move to a spot on the grid, and swipe left or down to place your ship.  We added automatic random ship placement for you as well; now game is much faster.

About 20 years ago, Nick Berry, a technology consultant and president of DataGenetics, a data mining company based in Seattle, had meticulously laid out several strategies that improves your chances of sinking your opponent’s ships before she sinks yours.

His methods are battle-tested: Berry created computer algorithms to employ his strategies in hundreds of millions of simulations so he could calculate their respective success rates.   He found that the optimal way to play is to only guess at alternating spots.  For example, if you check spots A1 and A3, and both are misses, then a horizontally placed ship cannot be in spot A2.  Likewise, if you check spot A2 and C2 and both are misses, then a vertically placed ship cannot be in spot B2.

 

Using this strategy, you can eliminate half of the spots when searching for a ship.  Once you have hit a ship, you need to check that spot’s neighboring spots in all directions, to figure out where the ship lies.

You can get Blindfold Sea Battle here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-sea-battle/id1273870713?ls=1&mt=8

 

 

 

Blindfold Games: What game next?

Once or twice a year, I send out a survey to all of the game fans to help me decide what games to build next.

suggestion-box1

The survey I sent out in 2016 lead to games based on Monopoly, Clue, Family Feud, Baseball, Soccer, Space Invaders, Word Search, Snakes and Ladders, Pool, and Bop-It.  In 2015, the survey lead to games based on Bowling, Pinball, Uno, Bingo, Checkers, Dominos, Skee Ball, Roulette, Craps, Simon and Pong.  In 2014, the survey lead to Solitaire, Crazy 8’s, Blackjack, Video Poker, Hearts and Spades.

If you have an idea for a game, please take the survey, and include your suggestions.  If you are interested in collaborating on a game and have ideas on exactly how the game should work, email me.

Here’s the survey link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z2Q867H

Blindfold Hopping

Blindfold Hopper is an fully accessible audio game that’s a similar to the old video game Frogger.  We created it a few years ago, and it continues to be a favorite of many.

cartoon frog

In the game, you are a frog, and you are sitting on your lily pad.  You hear the sound of a river rushing by in the background, and your lily pad makes a sound.  You can move your lily pad back and forth on the river by swinging your arm left and right.  The sound of your lily pad is a short music loop, and the sound of another lily pad that you must jump to is a different musical loop, similar to these:

Or these:

http://qormagic.com/blues-harmonica.mp3

http://qormagic.com/latin-fire.m4a

The other lily pad is moving; either from left to right, or right to left.   When your lily pad music loop is aligned with the other lily pad’s music loop, you tap the screen to jump to that lily pad.  If you miss the other lily pad, or the other lily pad moves off of the screen, you lose and you splash into the water.

During testing we found there’s no need to give sound to your lily pad – it’s sound is always in the center of your head, as you are sitting on that lily pad.  The trick to successful jumping is to move your arm left or right until the other lily pad’s sound is in the center of your head, and then tap the screen.

Each lily pad moves faster than the prior one, so the challenge is to get better and better at centering on the target lily pad and jumping quickly.  If you stand still for a second or two, an alligator sneaks up on you, and eats you.

We launched this first version to determine how popular a game like this would be, before we starting enhancing it.  Both kids and grown-ups really like it, and we’ve  enhanced it with more levels, more power-ups, more prizes, and more danger.  For example, in one level, an eagle may swoop in and eat you if you aren’t careful.

To download Blindfold Hopper, tap here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-hopper/id977279164?mt=8

Braille Wheel of Fortune

About two years ago, I converted Blindfold Spin And Solve – a variant of Wheel of Fortune – into a braille game.  It’s now going to be featured in a book.

braille alphabet

In braille, there are 6 dot positions, where each letter corresponds to a different combination of dots.  For example, the letter “A” is dot position 1, and the letter “R” is dot positions 1,2,3 and 5.  Because braille takes up much more space than printed letters, books may be 5 to 10 times as large.

To solve that, contracted braille offers a shorthand for commonly used words or word fragments.  The single word “AF”, represented by the braille dots for the letter “A” followed by the braille dots for the letter “F” translates to the word “AFTER”.  The braille dots 1,2,3,4 and 6 translates to the fragment “AND”, which can be used in the word CANDY.  The contracted braille for CANDY is: dots 1,4 for the letter “C”, dots 1,2,3,4,6 for the fragment “AND” and the dots 1,3,4,5,6 for the letter “Y”.

As you swipe from word to word, the game tells you how many letters in the uncontracted word, and how many cells in the contracted form. The contracted form of the word “CANDY” is the letter C, the dot pattern for the fragment “AND”, and the letter Y.  As you swipe on the word CANDY, the game tells you the contracted form has 3 cells, and the uncontracted form has 5 letters.

The game also gives you hints to make it easier.  If you guess a letter that’s not in the contracted word, but is in the uncontracted word, it tells you.  With the contracted form of the word “CANDY”, if you guess the letter “N”, the game tells you that the letter “N” is in the uncontracted form of the word, but it’s not in the puzzle.

I’ve been collaborating with Anna Dresner to improve ithe game; she’s writing a book on educational apps and will be mentioning several of the Blindfold Games, including Braille Spin and Solve.

To download the game, tap here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/braille-spin-and-solve/id1147298251?mt=8

 

 

 

 

 

Blindfold Bopping

In many schools for the blind, you’ll often find the Bop-It toy out on a table, or in a closet.

Original Bop-It Toy

The Bop-It toy is an audio game where you follow the commands spoken by the toy – such as pulling a handle, twisting a crank, spinning a wheel or toggling a switch – with game pace speeding up as the you play.

While there’s already an accessible game in the app store based on the Bop-It toy, I had a lot of requests from teachers of the blind to build a Bop-It game.  They wanted a game to enable blind people to learn and practice  iPhone and iPad gestures.

Blindfold Bop starts out with easy mode where you are told to make one gesture every 20 seconds, for a total of 5 gestures.  The gestures are simple: tap with 1 finger, tap with 2 fingers, swipe in any direction, or shake the phone.  You get one point for each correct gesture, and the game is over after 3 mistakes.    If you didn’t make 3 mistakes, you move to the  next level, where the gestures come a little faster, about every 15 seconds, and you get two points for each correct gesture.  Each level is a little faster than the prior, and the points go up.

Once you get good at the easy mode, medium mode tests you on gestures such as tap, tap with 2 fingers, swipe up, swipe down, swipe left, swipe right and shake.  These are the most common gestures to control many apps, and performing well in Blindfold Bop translates to using the iPhone very effectively.

Hard mode trains you to perfect more 2 finger gestures such as swiping left and right with 2 fingers, and making a twisting motion.  Twisting is placing your thumb and forefinger on the phone, and twisting the two fingers in a circle, either clockwise or counter-clockwise.  The twist gesture is identical to operating the iPhone rotor – a key part of iPhone accessibility.  Many actions, such as copying and pasting are done with the rotor.

Similar to Blindfold Simon, Blindfold Bop lets you compete with another player, by passing the phone back and forth.  First you complete a level, then your friend completes that level, until one of you makes 3 mistakes.

Thanks to all the Blindfold Bop testers, who gave me ideas on which gestures to include in each level, and how to make the game more challenging.

To download Blindfold Bop, tap here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-bop/id1272873004?mt=8

 

 

 

 

Blindfold TV Game Shows

One of the difficulties in a building TV Game Show game based on trivia  (such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire) is finding trivia questions.  There are commercial vendors who sell questions, but they cost about $1 per question (about $1000 for 1000 questions).  For games that are used by sighted people, recouping that investment is probably easy.  However, Blindfold Games appeal only to people with visual impairments, so the audience is much smaller, and recouping several thousand dollars to pay for the games is almost impossible.

Instead, I rely on “open source” questions – trivia questions that are in the “public domain” and are free to use.  Unfortunately, these questions comes with the correct answer, but not a set of related wrong answers.

That means you would have to type, or dictate, the correct answer, and you would have to spell it perfectly.  Consider the question “Who sketched a design for a helicopter hundreds of years ago”.   You might answer “Leonardo de Vinci” or “Leanardo de Vinci” or “Lenardo Vince”.  Most people aren’t perfect spellers, so the game needs a way to know if something is slightly misspelled.

This problem was solved by Vladmir Levenshtein in 1965, who came up with a formula to compute the distance between two words.  The distance scores for the above three answers are 1, 2 and 5 respectively.  Any distance under 8 is usually considered a close enough answer.

The problem gets a little more complex if the answer has more than one word.  In this example, while you would be correct if you said “da Vinci” or “Leonardo”, the distance score is in the range of 15 to 20, which would make your wrong.

To solve that problem, some of the Blindfold TV Game Show games will tell you how many letters or words are in the answer.  Knowing there are three words in the answer, some variant of “Leonardo da Vinci” would be correct.  Giving an answer such as “Christopher de Columbus”, which also has three words, scores 19, making it wrong.

Now that this problem is solvable, I can begin building more TV Game Show games.

To get Blindfold Trivia Match, similar to Jeopardy, click here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-trivia-match/id1162281244?mt=8