Blindfold Blackjack

Thanks to an idea from Joanne at the Perkins School, we created an audio Blackjack game.

Like our other “Blindfold” games, it is designed for rapid audio play, and doesn’t need voice-over to use. First you tap with 1 to 4 fingers to place your bet: 1 finger is $1, 2 fingers is $5, 3 fingers is $25 and 4 fingers is $100. Then you swipe up to confirm your bet.

ss-bet-640-960

You hear the cards being dealt: two to the dealer, and two to you. The game tells you what cards you have, and what card the dealer is showing. You can draw more cards by tapping the screen, or stand by swiping up, or split or double down. Once you hand (or hands) are played, the dealer plays his hand, and either you or the dealer wins.

ss-start-640-960

When the game was originally titled “Blindfold Blackjack”, my friends in Boston thought this game would be great for playing Blackjack while driving. They could play without looking at the screen. I didn’t think that would be a good idea, but I did see how the game could be fun when if you were riding the the bus, or walking, or watching TV. So I renamed it “Audio Blackjack”.

Then another marketing colleague in Miami started playing the game, and he thought it would be great for people at boring jobs that want to practice their Blackjack skills without their coworkers (or boss) finding out. I added a feature to the game where, by tapping the screen twice, the screen becomes black (as if your iPhone is off). The dealer continues to talk to you, probably through your Bluetooth headset or ear-buds, and you can continue playing.

We came up with the name “Bored-At-Work” Blackjack, and almost all of my blind game testers liked the name.

Then we tested that name, and listened to our fans, and went back to Blindfold Blackjack.

It’s free at the app store, and has some in-app upgrades for purchasing more chips.

You can get it here: Blindfold Blackjack App

Blindfold Cryptogram

Back when I was visiting with Brian Charlson, the Director of Technology at The Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts, Brian and others at that meeting asked for a cryptogram game designed for visually impaired people. Working closely with Judy Dixon and Doug Wakefield, I am happy to announce that an audio-only cryptogram game that was just approved by Apple, and in available via iTunes.

Politicians and military strategists have used simple-substitution ciphers to encode their secret documents for thousands of years – even back to the time of Julius Caesar! The process is simple: change each letter in your document to another letter in the alphabet, so that your new document is completely illegible. Your new, encoded document might look a little something like this:

Picture of a cryptogram

It looks like a whole lot of nonsense, right? Well, to many people, for many hundreds of years, it was nonsense – and the simple substitution cipher worked just fine to keep secret documents just that: secret. But eventually people started to realize these ciphers could be broken quite easily, using nothing but simple pattern recognition, frequency analysis and a general knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Soon enough, simple-substitution ciphers were no longer enough to keep encoded documents safe from prying eyes, and those who wanted to keep their secrets secret moved on to more complex encryption methods.

While no one uses cryptograms (a type of simple-substitution cipher) today to encode their secret documents, they have survived to become a wildly popular puzzle, available in thousands of books and newspapers… and now – in Blindfold Cryptogram.

Blindfold Cryptogram is free and comes with five encrypted quotes from famous people including Mark Twain, Maya Angelo, Emo Phillips, Thomas Jefferson and Nelson Mandela. It’s designed for rapid audio play, and doesn’t require that you see the screen. It supports several different ways of entering your solution, and gives hints and includes a table of the frequency of letters.

The frequency of letters is often used to solve a cryptogram; the most common letters are E, T, A, O, I and N and the least common are K, X, J, Q and Z. So if the encrypted quote has many letters “P”, it probably means that the letter “P” should be decrypted into one of the letters E, T, A, O, I or N.

After you’ve solved the first five quotes, you can purchase an in-app upgrade for 40 more quotes from notable people, such as Ronald Reagon, Budda, Shakespeare and Mae West. As Blindfold Cryptogram becomes popular and people want more cryptogram puzzles, we’ll create more puzzle sets.