If you’d like to know why I care about blind-accessibility in games, read on
Adriane Kuzminski: a woman with short blonde hair and pale blue eyes
Hello, my name is Adriane Kuzminski. I am a sound designer with a passion for game accessibility. Come, sit by the fire, and let me share with you why I believe accessibility is important.

Games have always had a special place in my life. I grew up playing with my sisters—we’d ride through the peaceful fields in Zelda, obsess over the music in Space Station: Silicon Valley, and cheat in Track & Field. While we loved to play outside in the creek or pick raspberries along the abandoned railroad tracks, there was always something special about video games.

Skip ahead fifteen years—school, active duty, marriage, college, the Reserves, and lots of Fallout 3—to 2013 at my third PAX East. After taking in my fill of the expo hall and hanging out with friends and family, I passed by the AbleGamers charity booth where Mark Barlet, Steve Spohn, Craig Kaufmann, and other volunteers sold t-shirts for donations. They told me about game accessibility—and I was baffled at myself for having never thought of disabled gamers before. Though I was preoccupied with leaving that Tuesday to become a Drill Sergeant, what they said never left the back of my mind. By the next PAX East, I had read enough about gamers with disabilities and changes needed in the industry to know I wanted to be involved.

Volunteering with AbleGamers at Abilities Expos showed me a different world than game conventions. Rather than be bombarded with merchandise and hype about new releases (which is its own fun), you are surrounded by wheelchair technology, accessible vehicles, government organizations, and companies that focus on improving one’s quality of life. We’d set up our booth with a few games like Forza 5 and Rayman Origins hooked up to adaptive controllers, and families would come by—their minds reeling over their insurance coverage—baffled that we weren’t selling them anything. We just wanted people to play games however they could, and our donations would go to granting out assistive gaming tech that insurance wouldn’t cover. We’d set people up with adaptive controllers like the Adroit Switchblade and the Axis, and many players would quickly know what do, since they had watched their family members play and had tried themselves, but never found a configuration that worked. Now, with almost a sense of relief, they could join the fun.

As they played, giggling and radiating with joy from controlling a game for the first time, those memories with my sisters came back and reminded me why everyone deserves the chance to play games.

This site is dedicated to blind accessibility with game audio. I believe it’s not only an area that needs a lot of improvement and awareness, I also think sound designers can play a big role its development. Though I will be presenting much of what I hear from people I meet at Abilities Expos, game conferences, NFB and accessibility meetups, and groups like AppleVis and AudioGames.net, this site will approach blind accessibility from a sound designer’s perspective. I cannot speak for the blind community; however, I want to do my part to promote more communication between the vastly able-bodied developer community and gamers with disabilities.

There is so much more I want to say on this page, but for now, please take a look around the site. Play some of the games I mention, get involved with our communities, and—if you’re a developer—start thinking about accessibility for your own games, as well as engines, consoles, and web stores.

One last thing, I will be attending GDC, and I will be giving a talk about sound and accessibility at the Game Accessibility Conference (GAConf) in San Francisco on 27 February 2017. You can check out the description and event schedule on their site. I will also be giving an abridged version of the talk at CarouselCon, the #GameAudio lunch-time sessions, which was awesomely coordinated by Matthew Marteinsson of Klei Entertainment. And if you know what “Sightglass Coffee” means, I will see you there every morning (besides Monday) at GDC.

Along with volunteering with AbleGamers, Adriane Kuzminski is currently a dialogue and script localization editor for the blind-accessible point-and-click adventure Frequency Missing. She also helped record and edit the demo for the app Earplay, an app for hands-free, eyes-free, voice-activated audio stories, and has served as an accessibility guide for such upcoming indie games as Steno Hero and Sight Unseen. She writes articles and conducts interviews for Designing Sound, as well as SFX/podcast recaps and interviews for A Sound Effect and job roundups for Soundlister. She is also a Drill Sergeant in the US Army Reserves, and she’s seeking employment in accessibility with game audio—if such a position exists. You can check out her work history, education, and military background on LinkedIn, and if you’d like to get in touch, you can email her at adriane (at) smashclay (dot) com or message her on Twitter at @smashclayaudio.