A very, very, very big iPhone

When the iPhone 6S came out, people were talking about how big the screen was, and how much more you could do on the phone with such a big screen. Larger screens means that games can display a bigger environment, and they would be more fun.

Having designed audio games for the past year or so, these new screens are tiny compared to the image you can maintain in your brain. I stumbled onto this idea when I was building the cryptogram game.

When I design an audio game, I first design the screen, so that I can see how the game operates. For example, with the Sudoku game on a 9×9 board, I create a board on the iPhone screen, and the start programming the game. The position for row 1, column 1, is in the upper left corner of the phone, and the position for row 9, column 9 is in the lower right corner of the phone.

When the audio game is completed, and all the blind gamers that have tested the game say the game is ready for the App Store, I modify the app to make the screen dark. That way sighted gamers playing the game have no advantage over blind gamers.

When a blind gamer plays, she flicks her finger right or left, up or down, to move around within the puzzle. The screen could be one inch by one inch, and the flicking would still work. The screen could be 1 foot by 1 foot, and her flicking would still work. Screen size is completely irrelevant.

When a game designer builds an audio game, the playing field is your brain – not the screen. That gives the game designer an infinite space to layout the game. In a visual game, the screen is a tiny window into a virtual world, and the gamer must move the window to play the game. In an audio game, you are in the virtual reality of the game, and not restricted by a tiny window. Your ears tell you what the virtual world looks like, and you use your body – your hands, your arms, which way you are facing- to move within this world.

If you’ve never tried an audio game before, check out Blindfold Racer and keep your eyes closed. You’ll appreciate how immersed into an alternate reality you can be while playing a game.

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