Blindfold Games: Too Stupid?

During the last week, I received a handful of nasty emails, and politely responded to many of them.

star of mr.robot tv show

Some thought the games are too expensive – I asked a blind colleague to post an article to AppleVis.com explaining the economics and business model for the games.

One person said “Your games are stupid and too easy.  I still refuse to purchase and will prove the point later.”

My only response is that if the games are too easy for you to play, you should invest your time into learning how to program a computer.  Several of the testers for the Blindfold Games are programmers and IT experts, and they can tell you what it’s like.

Building an app is not unlike playing a game, but far harder.  First, you need to conceptualize in your mind how the game will be played, and then you need to turn that into instructions for a computer to follow.  That’s the easy part.

Next, you must ensure the game is playable, and that all the gestures to operate the game make sense, and all game actions are consistent.  That’s a little harder; for example, I maintain a chart on my wall of all of the gestures of each of the games, to make sure they are consistent across games.

Now the fun part – debugging.  There are studies that indicate there are between 15 and 50 defects, called bugs, for every 1,000 lines of code.  My average game has about 10,000 lines of code.   Some of those bugs are easy to find – the app does the wrong thing, and it’s obvious.  Or the app crashes.

Some bugs won’t get found until hundreds of people play the game, and one person encounters unusual situation, such as resuming the game after not using it for weeks, and a new version of the game was just released.  Most of the game behavior can be recorded in the cloud, and I can look at the diagnostics log and investigate what caused the problem.

Finally, you need to keep enhancing the game based on the feedback of dozens of people, all with their own ideas and agendas.  And, if you want the game to be popular, it must have a “wow” factor and “playability”.

The “wow” factor means it must make a good impression in the first 90 seconds.  If it doesn’t, your users will reject it.  Playability means the game is as much fun in 12 months as it is now.  Not all Blindfold Games do that perfectly; but it’s always a goal.

But, to get back to my point, programming an app is much like playing a very complex RPG game.  You need to keep in your head exactly how the game works, what problems may be lurking somewhere, and have the patience and diligence to find and fix problems.

So again, my advice for you, if the games are too simple, learn how to create apps.  It will be challenging, inspiring and exciting, and it may even lead you to a new career.

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8 comments on “Blindfold Games: Too Stupid?

  1. As someone who has done both work and testing in the audio games market, I have found that many people who complain about how easy or hard a game is have no clue as to the amount of time and work that goes into these things for little to no return. Most of the game devs who will be bothered to make games for us are little one or two man outfits who are doing this in whatever spare time they have. It can very often take months or sometimes even years to finally end up with a playable game assuming they do at all. Then after all’s said and done you’re lucky if you sell a few hundred copies assuming this is a commercial game and not freeware. Another thing to keep in mind is that games are needed for all levels. I have students who have no experience at all with audio games and if I turn them loose with something like the old Audio Defense game for iOS they will quickly get slaughtered and give up. For these kinds of folks the simpler games are actually better to start with. Yes, I’ve been playing audio games for years so many of the Blindfold Games are very simple for me to play and I probably won’t play them forever but this in no way means that the games are not good. On a personal note my favorite one is probably the air hockey game, probably because I’ve always liked the actual arcade game but don’t have room for a table in my house so this is the best I’m going to get. I wish your games were available on other platforms e.g. Android or Windows mobile devices however I understand this would require yet another hellacious amount of work so I understand why they are not.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. You tell me blackjack also has 10000 lines of code? Well, there are blind people that are excellent programmers and aren’t stupid to believe in this. Sorry, if that’s really true it just means you suck at coding.

    • Objective C tends to be a very wordy way to build apps; Swift is far briefer. Separate from the infrastructure, which has tens of thousands of lines of code, Blackjack probably has about 7,000 lines of code. Blindfold Racer has over 25,000. I just checked.

      Having released about 80 apps that have combined received over 400,000 downloads, with some of the games topping over 20,000 downloads, I find your comments amusing. I wonder how many other programmers managed to launch this many apps, have garnered as many fans, and be considered to suck at coding.

  3. These games are not stupid! Anyone who holds that opinion, put your money where your mouth is and create more accessible games for the blind community than Marty. These games are ingenious and give me many hours of enjoyment.

  4. I completely agree. I can’t master most of them. I love all of the games that I have gotten. Yes, they can get expensive. But that is a small price to pay. Either you want the games, or you don’t. But keep your awful thoughts to yourself. There aren’t a lot of developers that care about us. I wish I could get more free games like everybody else that I know that plays a lot of games, but that just can’t happen. I’m thankful for these apps, and really appreciate all that must have to go into making and keeping them updated. Thanks for great games. I have 9.

  5. I was talking with a friend of mine who has published electronic gaming magazines, and he says that it’s often the games that have the simplest game play that are the most addicting. (Think Space Invaders or Pong). Case in point: my current addiction to Blindfold Barnyard. Granted, with the new fence rotation option, it did get a little bit of a charge for me, but I was still playing it off and on just months ago. Thanks for the explanations of development and marketing. Thanks for these games. I really enjoy them.

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