essay, playing, video games

My Audio Misadventure (BlindSide)

This needs to start with some history. And then probably an apology.

You see, I first read about this game while it was a Kickstarter campaign. I came across it via a Boing Boing story, checked around to see if any other sites were running it, and then wrote it up on Bitmob. The first comment on my post basically dismissed the game as copying another one I had never heard of.

I then promptly forgot about it. And nearly a year went by in the meantime.

Out of nowhere, as far as I was concerned, I got an e-mail from the developer with a code to download the game. It was finally out and, as one of a few people who had written anything about the game, I was offered a chance to play it for free. I ignored the code.

I didn’t mean to. It arrived during the Nightmare Mode hiatus last year and during a period when I wasn’t doing much with videogames at all. I had come out of a rough few months of trying to balance a full-time summer school schedule with working part-time. I was very close to swearing off writing about games at all.

At the time, I wasn’t in contact with developers. I had a hope of continuing to make small games myself, but here was a direct connection to a completed and commercial product. I didn’t know what to do about it. Even after deciding, ultimately, to buy my own copy of the game on iOS, I still didn’t play. No, for that to happen, several more months needed to go by before I finally did.

It was last week. I’ve had the game with me for all this time. It’s been on my iPhone as I’ve been walking around, typing up my thoughts on other games, and even making them myself now. I’ve had it with me and all it took was for me to play it was someone to ask what the “B” icon was with all my other games.

So, I apologize, Michael T. Astolfi, for not getting around to playing BlindSide sooner. As many people can tell you, I normally respond to every e-mail I get, but never got back to you about the code. I’m sorry about that. This is a public apology and recognition that your game is, indeed, pretty cool. I can’t write that I am any good at it though.

I’ve played it on iOS and now on PC via Desura. Each time, I’ve gotten a bit farther in the game, but mostly I’ve been frustrated. Not by the mechanics, but my inability to function as a blind person in this virtual world. I’ve become too accustomed to having visuals, to playing videogames.

However, despite the fact I haven’t managed to finish it yet, I thought would try to find some way to represent how this game can get into your head and help, through immersion-as-identification, what it must be like to suddenly go blind and then need to navigate a space. What I came up with was, and I do admit it’s a bit ironic, but, well, a video. I recorded a run up to my first death.

It works best if you listen rather than watch too, not that there is much to see anyway. And if, afterwards, you are interested in checking out BlindSide yourself, you can find it on many different platforms now.