6 Hours playing Blindfold Breakout

About a year ago, I just received the following tweet: “I have not found a game that kept me entertained for 6 hours straight before, until I found Blindfold Breakout”.  I guess he likes the game.


We built Breakout at the suggestion of several blind gamers that liked Blindfold Pong, but wanted something more challenging. If you read my prior posts about using a physics engine, once we got over the learning curve of using the engine, there were lots of games that we could easily build.

I was about to re-create Pong with the physics engine, but decided that it’s not really worth the effort.  Pong, by itself, is pretty good, but there’s not much reason to improve it since the game is so simple.  Instead, I started looking at all of the variants of Pong, and decided Breakout would be a fun but challenging game.

Breakout is Pong with bricks that you hit with the ball that bounces back and forth.  As long as you can keep the ball in play by moving your paddle – controlled by moving the phone – left and right to you’ll smash more and more brick.  After you’ve smashed all the bricks, you move onto the next harder level, usually with more bricks.  Many of the blind gamers who test my games made suggestions on varieties of the game, prizes to win, and how to make the levels harder. I implemented all of their ideas, and released the game last year.

The next step with the game is to improve it the way we did with Pinball and Color Crush – add lots of new sound packs to make the game more fun: body sounds, bird sounds, animal sounds and more.

You can download this game at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-breakout/id1051805064?mt=8



Blindfold Barnyard – Now with a Pond

Last year, I was watching my daughter play the iPhone game “Goat Evolution” while we were on vacation, and thought a variant that would be a fun audio game.  The idea of Goat Evolution game is to drag two similar goats together, and that produces a newly evolved goat that was worth more points.  You repeat the process with the more powerful goats, until you create the ultimate goat.

animals in barnyard

The basis for the audio equivalent would be where you use finger to explore the screen to find the first goat, then use another finger to find a second goat, and then drag the two goats together.  As you explore, when you  first finger passes over a goat, you would hear the goat, and the goat would then follow that finger; the gestures would be the same for the second goat.

I prototyped this game, and found that locating goats was extremely difficult, and dragging them towards each other almost impossible.  Not only was the game hard to play when I was looking at the screen, getting the app to switch quickly between one finger and two finger dragging is unreliable on the iPhone.

I modified the game to use just one finger, and instead of combining with another animal, the goal of the game was to drag the animal to the edge of the screen.  That turned the game into Blindfold Barnyard: drag barnyard animals to the north, south, east or west fences.

To earn points, once you have a bunch of similar animals at a fence, swipe with 2 fingers to move those animals into the barn.  The more animals that are hitched and moved, the higher you score.  For one animal, one point.  Two animals, three points.  Three animals, six points, and so on.  But if you attempt to hitch a different animal to the fence, all of the animals run away from the fence.  New animals appear in the barnyard every few seconds.

The testers really liked the game, but had trouble finding animals.  I added two methods to locate the animals: compass and clock directions.  With compass directions, the game tells you where the nearest animal is, such as “Horse to the north east”.  With clock directions, the game tells you “Sheep at 3 o’clock”.

I’ve been told some people are scoring as high as 2,000 points in the 3 minute game, and the instructions are quite funny.

Recently, I added more barnyards, including one with a pond in the middle that you must avoid.

You can get this game at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindfold-barnyard/id1069200628?mt=8

Blindfold Pinball

While I was creating an audio game similar Skee Ball, which is called Blindfold Vee Ball, I asked the blind testers why they enjoyed playing that game.  Several of them couldn’t remember what skee ball was, until I described it in detail.  Skee Ball is a bowling like game where you roll a wooden ball up a ramp, and then it lands in a hole in one of several concentric circles.  The harder the shot, the more points you get.  You get one paper ticket for each point, and the tickets can be traded to get prizes.

The testers told me they liked that game since the sounds were interesting: the sound of the ball rolling and the sound of the paper tickets being ejected from the machine.  They also mentioned they liked pinball for the same reason – lots of cool sounds and by pressing the flipper button again and again, they kept the ball in motion.

And, of course, once the conversation shifted to pinball, several requested a Blindfold Pinball game.cartoon person playing pinball

To build a pinball game, you need several components:

  • A physics engine, or simulator, so the ball on the screen bounces off of the bumpers and rolls just like a real-word pinball machine.
  • Interesting sounds when the ball bounces into a bumper, with different sounds for each type of bumper.
  • Flippers, so you can flip the ball back up to the top of the machine to keep the ball in play.
  • A scoring system, so the more bumpers you hit, the higher the score you get.
  • A pinball shooter, to first launch the pinball.

The pinball shooter was the easiest to create.  As you drag your finger down the screen, you hear the following sound:

Once you let go, the ball is fired up the narrow channel and into the main pinball game area.  Gravity, emulated by the physics engine, lets the ball roll down towards the bottom of the pinball machine until it either leaves the playing area, or you hit it with one of the flippers.

I’ll go into more details about the bumpers in the next blog.  You can download the game for the iPhone or iPad here: Blindfold Pinball

Blindfold Game Popularity

I was curious as to which of the Blindfold games have been the most popular since Blindfold Racer was created back in 2014.

bar graph

I use a service called App Annie, that interacts with the Apple iTunes store, and keeps track of downloads and purchases.  We are never told who actually purchases the games; only the number of app downloads and in-app purchases.  Apple keeps your identity and purchase history confidential.

The top 10 games based on downloads are:

  1. Blindfold Racer: 13,153
  2. Blindfold Bowling: 6,865
  3. Blindfold Word Games: 4,902
  4. Blindfold RS Games: 4,806
  5. Blindfold Bingo: 4,400
  6. Blindfold Spin and Solve: 4,371
  7. Blindfold Solitaire: 3,634
  8. Blindfold Simon: 3,555
  9. Blindfold Blackjack: 3,528
  10. Blindfold Color Crush: 3,316

The top 10 games based on in-app upgrade purchases are:

  1. Blindfold RS Games
  2. Blindfold Bowling
  3. Blindfold Spin and Solve
  4. Blindfold Travel Cards
  5. Blindfold Color Crush
  6. Blindfold Blackjack
  7. Blindfold Solitaire
  8. Blindfold Video Poker
  9. Blindfold Word Games
  10. Blindfold Wildcard

The least popular games based on downloads are:

  1. Blindfold Fireworks: 276
  2. Blindfold Cat and Mouse Solitaire: 714
  3. Blindfold Snakes and Puzzles: 888
  4. Blindfold Soccer Kick: 1,032
  5. Blindfold Phrase Madness: 1,259

The least popular games based on in-app upgrade purchases are:

  1. Blindfold Sudoku
  2. Blindfold Fireworks
  3. Blindfold Juggle
  4. Braille Spin and Solve
  5. Blindfold Soccer Kick

There are three “multi-player” games: where you play with someone else, either in the same room, or via Apple’s game Center.  The games are Blindfold Wildcard with Friends, Blindfold Road Trip with Friends and Blindfold Crazy 8 with Friends.  All three games combined were not even downloaded as much as the least popular game (Blindfold Fireworks).

Any of these games can be download from: http://Blindfoldgames.org

Blindfold Games: January Update

Happy New Year.

I often get asked for a list of games that we’ve built.  Here’s the current list, from the newest to the oldest.

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.

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 Trivia Match – Just like 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 – 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 – Now with 21 different multi-player games, played by thousands of people on Windows and Mac, are now available on the iPhone and iPad.

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 Road Trip– Be the first player to drive 1000 miles in this card game similar to 1000 miles or Miles Bornes.

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.