This morning I received an email requesting good gaming choices for someone else who is legally blind. Instead of my normal snarky ramblings, I have compiled a list of my own picks. If you play with someone with disabilities (or have one yourself), please add to the list using the format below (GOOD CHOICE FOR...), I'll add your selections in, with credit.
Also helpful: games you have trouble playing and why. (BAD CHOICE FOR...)
Onwards and upwards, TAY-ers!
GOOD CHOICE FOR MINDLESS FUN:
Katamari (pick one, any one)
SYSTEM(S): PS2, PS3, PS4(Damacy is a digital download), PSP, PSVita, iPhone/iPad (though stick with the console versions if you want co-op play)
WHY: As I mentioned in a previous post, my particular form of blindness (albinism) results in lo-rez but saturated images. Katamari fits this bill, and then some. Catchy engaging music even for those who aren't holding the controller, intuitive gameplay, and who DOESN'T want to roll up Godzilla or Zeus?
Get Katamari Forever (PS3) if you want co-op levels, each player controls half the Katamari's movement and you're shouting at each other in the first five seconds of play. It's a blast.
GOOD CHOICE FOR CHILLING OUT:
Minecraft, on Peaceful
SYSTEM(S): Really, guys?
WHY: Monster fighting in Minecraft is a bit too clunky for me, especially in the night. Put it on peaceful and build something cool!
GOOD CHOICE FOR PUZZLING:
The Unfinished Swan
SYSTEM(S) PS3 Digital Download
WHY: High contrast, beautiful art that can be appreciated while solving puzzles. Fez is also a clear and easy game to see, but since I haven't played it enough, I can't personally give an opinion.
GOOD CHOICE FOR BACKSEAT GAMING:
Just about any adventure game you can think of, but my personal recommendations are Sam and Max, Monkey Island, and Indiana Jones: The Fate of Atlantis. I'd also recommend the less-well-known German PC title The Next Big Thing if you're into classic Hollywood cinema from the 1920's or The Dream Machine if you're looking for an interesting and WEIRD love story.
Many people have enjoyed the Walking Dead, but I'm biased against zombies, so...
SYSTEM(S): Depends on your pick, but the ones from Telltale are for pretty much anything. If you're getting a Telltale game, avoid Jurassic Park. Opinions on story aside, this game is a gameplay nightmare for someone with low vision.
WHY: Adventure games are the ultimate backseat gaming experience, because everyone watching can contribute. "Use the monkey with the screwdriver" "No, choose THAT dialogue option!". Passing the controller or keyboard is easy, even in the middle of a tough 'battle' as your wits, not reflexes, are usually your ticket to solving puzzles.
GOOD CHOICE WHEN YOU CAN'T PLAY TOGETHER:
WHY: I've had a lot of trouble finding a good MMO with menus I can read. Most are really clunky and hard to navigate. Marvel Heroes isn't a perfect MMO (it's a Marvel reskin of Diablo, when you get down to it) but I enjoy it a TON and the pay-store aspect that you probably have read a lot of complaints about is for cosmetic stuff or additional characters, the former giving no advantage and the latter can be earned through regular gameplay anyway (I've already earned five new heroes). If your friend is across the country (or the world), and you're looking for an MMO style game you can play together, you can't go wrong with Marvel Heroes.
And ping me if you want to join my supergroup, Log Horizon (Hero's version of guilds).
GOOD CHOICE FOR CO-OP, GOOD CHOICE FOR SHOOTER:
SYSTEM(S): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
WHY: Unlike the original Portal, with the exception of the final boss, Portal 2 does not contain coordinated platforming or timed sections (even the 'Escape" section will wait for you if needed). It's a cerebral shooter at it's core, and works perfectly alone or with a friend in co-op. I can't say much more that hasn't already been said about Portal, but if you want to bring someone into gaming, sighted or otherwise, this is a great way to do it.Everyone can appreciate GLaDOS.