Feature Writer Alena Roberts – RockBand for the Blind

RockBand is one of the most popular games out there. I myself have played RockBand with my friends, but have been only able to be the vocalist because I’m unable to see the screen. I, and likely many blind people, would like the chance to play the other instruments and experience everything the game has to offer. This may become possible soon, thanks to a project called RockVibe.

To start, I’ll explain how the regular RockBand is played. Players pick an instrument, either guitar, bass guitar, or drums. They then hit keys on the guitar or hit the drums with the drum sticks based on colored bars that appear on the screen. The way RockVibe will work will be to have the player where an electronic device that sends vibrations that correspond to the colored bars on the screen. When the player feels a certain vibration, they hit the corresponding key on the guitar or piece of the drum kit.

RockVibe started as a project for Rupinder Dhillon in 2008 when she was a student at UC Santa Cruz. She had a lot of success in beta testing, and is now raising money through Kickstarter to make the game a reality.

If you like the idea of the game, consider donating to the project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rupa211/rock-vibe

To see a video that explains more about the game, visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvgIXEdAZpo

What are some video games that you like to play, or would like to developers to modify so that they can be accessible to visually impaired gamers?

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