I was invited as a featured speaker at the ICUB – Iowa Council of the United Blind -Convention and Conference in Des Moines over the past few days. I was supposed to fly in for the three day conference , and run several sessions, but circumstances prevented that, and I attended via Skype.
ICUB is a consumer-run organization whose educational, advocacy, support, and other activities are based on the contention that blind and visually impaired people can and do fully participate in their families, communities, and jobs.
For each session, we prepared several iPads with a handful of games for people to play with, and I talked about a couple of games: how they were built, what’s unusual about the game, and how they are tested. People played with the games for the remainder of the session.
In the first session, I demonstrated Blindfold Blackjack and Blindfold Bowling. As usual, about 10% of the people knew and loved my games, and the rest were introduced to them for the first time. The most common question I received was: “When I’m playing Blackjack, who is Bob and why does he always win? I think he cheats”.
Actually, Bob is one of the four people that you play against in most of the games, and you can vary your opponent’s expertise. I picked the four opponent names; it’s easy for you to change those names. I used two male names, and two female names; the male names are friends of mine; one of the female names is a family member, and the other female name is similar to another family member.
In the second session, I demonstrated Blindfold Sound Search and Blindfold Bird Songs, and talked about how they were built: Bird Songs was a collaboration with students of a birding class at the Hadley School for the Blind. We also played with Blindfold Spin and Spell – a variant of Wheel of Fortune – and I described how the Braille Spin and Spell helps people practice their braille contractions.
I had more volunteers for game testing, and revealed some of the new games coming out, including Blindfold Invaders and Blindfold Clues.
The final session was focused on Blindfold Greeting Card and Blindfold Racer, and how they were created. Blindfold Racer, the flagship game, took over 6 months to build, working with sighted students in 5th, 6th and 7th grade as a S.T.E.M. project at my daughter’s school, and Blindfold Greeting card took several weeks, and was tested for several months.
When I mentioned that thousands of people participated in the Blindfold Racer World-Wide Championship that we ran last year, many attendees requested another Championship in 2017.
You can get a full list of the Blindfold Games here: BlindfoldGames.org