Today's post was written by Sam Sanders, Special Events Intern at Easter Seals Crossroads.
Today there are few options when it comes to games for people who are blind and visually impaired. A few of the big game retailers such as Uno, Monopoly, and Scrabble have games that are accessible but unfortunately they cost about two to three times the normal retail prices. That is where 64 Ounce Games comes into play.
Creators of 64 Ounce Games, Richard and Emily Gibbs, got tired of not being able to play board games with their blind and visually impaired friends and decided to make a change. Richard, who currently works in special education, has a real interest in developing and designing tabletop board games. His wife, Emily Gibbs, is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a masters degree in teaching blind students. She also has her National Certification in Literary Braille and has lead Braille programs across the country. She is now currently working as a teacher of the visually impaired and coordinates the Texas BELL Program. 64 Ounce Games is the merging of both of their individual interests.
Here's their Kickstarter pitch which includes testimonials from people who are blind and visually impaired that share why they advocate for accessible games:
Currently on Kickstarter until Thursday, April 24, 64 Ounce Games’ campaign so far will allow them to start producing a new line of products that would add accessibility to already existing card and board games. The first kit that they would like to begin producing are transparent sleeves which have Braille on them for many different card games. Their base funding goal of $7,500, which they have already reached and exceeded, will allow them to make the sleeves but there are different levels of stretch goals will allow them to create these sleeves for many more complex card games and eventually board games too. Now that they have reached their base goal, they are also looking into making dice. There are already different forms of dice out there that are accessible but there are not any accessible rpg dice or dice specific to certain board games.
Since creator Richard Gibbs’ real passion is inventing board games, 64 Ounce Games already has a game out called Yoink! This is a tactile micro game that is fun for both the blind and visually impaired and their sighted friends.
Rahdo Run Throughs, a YouTube game reviewer, commented on Yoink! and said "What I didn't expect was the impact it had on me and Jen to actually try to function and exert a skill and accomplish something completely with touch. It was absolutely amazing for us to [...] walk among another persons shoes and really get the sense for what it feels like to to be sightless." He discusses the impact that 64 Ounce Games could have on the gaming industry in this short video:
64 Ounce Games' goal is to simply produce high quality, engaging, strategy games that are also accessible to people whom are blind and visually impaired. Richard and Emily Gibbs, the creators of 64 Ounce Games, were tired of not being able to play games with their blind and visually impaired games and simply came up with a solution. There is so much room for this new innovation to grow and change people’s lives so let’s get together and make gaming for everyone possible!