How do you feel about video games?
I don’t really play much games, for two main reasons. The first one is that the amounts of accessible video games is limited to begin with. You can’t just download or buy whatever game you want when you’re blind and expect that you’ll be able to play it right away. And secondly, out of those games that are accessible, I haven’t found many that I would really be interested in. The only game that I really do play regularly is a life simulation game called Bitlife, which is a text-based mobile game, but I’m so ignorant that I’m not even sure if a text-based game counts as a video game, but after having done a bit of Googling some people do refer to Bitlife as a video game as well so I guess it can be a video game at the same time, and it’s not like it’s completely text-based, it does have visual stuff as well and some sounds too. If what most people like and look for in games can be judged by what most games are like, then I guess there must be very high demand for stuff that is full of strong emotions, tension, aggression, competition, adventure, quest for being THE MOST, be in the most powerful, the richest, the most evil, the fastest etc. I’m not really so much into all those things. I mean, okay, they can be fun sometimes, but it’s not something I would truly enjoy on a regular basis. I’ve never even liked adventure books, I read some as a kid and teen while still finding out what I actually like and what I don’t, and whenever I read adventure books, or mystery books or such, where you have for example a child character who plays detective while on holidays at his grandparents’, I’d be all like: “Why do you even bother? Why won’t you just enjoy your holidays like a normal kid and for example have a lie-in if you can instead of jumping out of bed at 5 AM to solve some local mystery that’s not even any of your business? Who would care about that?” I’m still very much like that. I rarely read the aforementioned adventure or mystery books, and same about crime novels, science fiction, or fantasy, unless the heavily folklore-infused stuff like Tolkien. So similarly I don’t play games like that either. I don’t play shooters (don’t even know if any are accessible actually, but either way I wouldn’t), because they seem utterly pointless to me. Not necessarily because I’m so afraid of violence that I wouldn’t kill anyone even in a game (you can kill people in BitLife and I have done it), but killing for the mere sake of killing is as pointless of an activity as it gets imo. I don’t play strategy, mostly because I don’t seem to be very good at this kind of thinking. I’ve played some strategy games that I found mildly to moderately interesting but I was quite easily discouraged with each of them, and again, getting as rich and powerful as possible just for the sake of it can be fun for a while but not long-term. Long-term I’d happily be less than that if I could have an interesting plot and a well-developed character, but usually it seems to be just about expanding your empire or whatever else and earning achievements with not much depth to it. I don’t play sports-related games, because I’m not into sports in any way, although gimme an accessible horse riding game or sim or generally something revolving around horses and I’ll happily try it out. I don’t play multiplayer games because, well, I’m not a multiplayer, I’m a MiniPlayer, in every sense of this word (except for the YouTube MiniPlayer, in case you were wondering 🙃). I don’t play logical games except for word games, because all others feel dangerously close to math, even if they don’t involve math as such, they just feel and smell and look and taste and sound like math, ewwww!
So yeah, I play BitLife for the most part. When you play BitLife, look at their weekly challenges, read what people want in the game, it is also clear that BitLife definitely aims for much the same things as most games – be rich, be famous, be evil, what not. – And from what I see most people play it like that. When I let Sofi play BitLife, the only thing she’d do when her character grew up was alternating between burgling houses, robbing banks and gambling, because she found it thrilling. I mean, yeah, okay, it is thrilling and I do it sometimes too when I play some character whom such things fit, but doing it like all the time your whole life? So eventually I uninstalled BitLife from her phone because she’s still a kid so if she can’t play it less pathologically, I guess she shouldn’t at all at her age.
I like BitLife because I can play it the way I want. There’s nothing you have to do, you don’t win it or lose it, you just live. And I also like BitLife because I find people interesting as individuals, and here you can basically pretend you’re someone else, pretty much whoever you want. The way I personally usually play BitLife is I create a character in my head, who they are, what sort of personality and life they have, what flaws, what advantages, and then I play their life in BitLife the way I think such a person’s life should look like. Sometimes they’re completely random characters, sometimes peeps from my BrainWorld or sometimes I try recreating lives of people I know or book characters etc. And in the game, it’s hardly so that everything goes to plan, so there are usually some more or less interesting plot twists along the way. Anyway, I always like to imagine my BitLife character as I play, and have a bit of a movie going on in my head as I progress with the game. Then when the character dies, or when I just feel like switching or need to switch for whatever reason, I switch to one of their children, and then one of that child’s children and we have a whole dynasty where everyone has loads of children with unusual names (BitLife can generate names from some name bank it has but I always name my children there myself because there’s also such option, my current character, for example, is called Anne-Micheline Grønberg-Cleary, her father is Norwegian and her mother is Anglo-Irish and she also has some Dutch and Welsh ancestry and she currently lives in LA and runs a healthy food store which is just about to go bankrupt because naturally she’s near-dyscalculic and I don’t know what she’ll do next with her life). Which is why I think it stinks like a skunk that BitLife still doesn’t have more advanced family features – I mean you have parents, siblings, lovers, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews (oh and family pets if that counts), but you cannot interact with your grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. It’s not very realistic that a grandparent can interact with their grandchild but the grandchild cannot interact with the grandparent, but there are more such bigger and smaller ridiculosities in the game, like that every country that doesn’t have euros or pounds has dollars, and generally even though you can play in almost any country, the whole thing is absurdly US-centric. Like I once lived in Saudi Arabia and had a scenario where my cat allegedly threw an urn with the ashes of some distant ancestor of mine off the mantlepiece, and I was like: “Yeah, because Muslims sure cremate their ancestors, right?” It’s unclean. 😀 Or you can be a Swede going to a Swedish school and turns out your Swedish language teacher is actually from Mongolia lol.
Because Bitlife is largely text-based, it’s not as immersive as other video games, and a lot of the play feels repetitive when you play it for some time, so it absolutely can and does get boring. But on the other hand you can also live each life a bit differently so that things are never the same, and you do have quite a lot of options as for what you can do with your life, even if not as many as we’d ideally like (I’ve always wanted to homeschool my kids in Bitlife for example but what can you do, you have no say as to what school your children will go to, you can’t express your opinion on their new girlfriend/boyfriend or tell them how distasted you are when they say after years of you paying their college tuition that they’ve become a stripper or an escort! 😩 ). And BitLife devs may not be the fastest at releasing updates but the game is being developed so new things are added nonetheless. I wish I could also try playing their other game – CatLife – which is what it sounds like, a cat’s life sim, but it isn’t accessible even though it’s about a year old now so it’ll probably never be, and people say it’s not that good anyway, but I’d like to find it out myself. 😀
Most of all though, I’d like to be able to play The Sims, because it must be like a more fun and expanded version of BitLife. But I doubt it will ever become accessible for screen readers with the way it works.
Overall though, how do I feel about video games? Well mostly neutral. For the most part I don’t care. But I get why people who like them do, and I get why people who don’t like them say things like that video games kill creativity and imagination or desensitise you to violence and are addictive, although I don’t like generalising that they all do, like the mere fact that something is a video game means it’s bad and will make your brain rot. Even though I have never came across an accessible, interesting and truly valuable video game, I’m sure that there are such and that they are as valid pieces of art as good books, films and music. And speaking of music, game soundtracks can be great too. Or they can be creepy. I mean seriously, last year Sofi had a phase where she played some stupid little game on her phone, I don’t know what it was called or what the overall point was but you had a few parallel worlds in there and some weird creatures and you were racing someone, that’s about as much as I can remember, but what I remember most vividly is that each of those worlds had a different tune that played while you were in it, and one of them was absolutely creepy. Of course, for the uninitiated newbies, I don’t mean creepy in an objective sense, like spooky or anything, but just sensorily creepy for me, not sitting well with my brain, for lack of a more suitable description of the phenomenon. I’m so grateful to God that Sofi no longer plays that game.
So, how do you feel about video games? And what games do you play, if any at all? 🙂
2 thoughts on “Question of the day.”
Many of your experiences with BitLife reminded me of an educational game I would often play called RealLives. [I played this game fairly intensely from 2013 – 2017 and later on in the Mac through Wine – it was a Windows game first!]
I still have a folder with my first characters because I printed them out and you could only play 3 of them in the version I had. In one I followed the game’s rules fairly closely and in another I branched out to make my own character.
And Sofi’s game reminds me of a show called WRECK-IT RALPH where the characters go racing.
BitLife clearly is a video game to me.
I hope Sofi has not experienced the patostreamers!
My closest involvement in video games from 2019-22 has been through the streaming service Twitch and I did come to follow particular people.
Got in there for the first time in 2010 when it was still Justin.tv.
In the 1980s and 1990s just about every video game was text-based with only a few suggestive or evocative graphics – and even then the graphics were in text or text-like form.
A folklore based game is the whole rogue-like genre – especially Moria and Angband – which may or may not have changed my relationship and role when it came to these games.
[and in those games I played poor and/or working-class characters of no particular lineage. One could choose green or grey eyes and even their hair – not to mention their hit and damage. Once I understood about Dungeons and Dragons – especially Dungeons to explore and Dragons to fight and befriend – the mechanic made so much more sense].
I wanted to play games online as soon as they existed. There was a whole Sony Station full of Wheel of Fortune. And there was Jeopardy too.
Astrid [Multitude of Musings] had a whole lot of accessible links to accessible games on her website.
The one that I have not played that I would like to is probably Fortnite – and all the dances in it. League of Legends was also vaguely appealing.
I have also enjoyed lots of indie games especially through the service itch.io. This peaked for me in late 2016 and early 2017.
Very specifically about my Sims life and lives:
My Sims life stopped with Sims 4 [and no expansion packs – again this is when I was still using Windows].
Expansion packs were very iffy especially when it came to the Sims 3 – and even then I was very selective – I would use World Adventures and Generations and University. They were very picky about installing them when they were released instead of the order in which I had bought them.
[for interest: University first then Generations and World Adventures – they would take you to France; China and Egypt – and it was very much an adventurous and quest-filled metric].
[I remember buying Sims 3 on the occasion of Michael Jackson’s death].
Favourite things for characters to do included the playground; fishing; swimming; getting fit; reading books; collecting various objects and hanging out and getting along with various characters.
Sims 2 were good for more set scenarios [for example: the Headmaster Game for points and the party ones can be more open-ended] and photography.
There were different “worlds” like Pleasantville and Veronaville and one world about aliens and deserts – which might satisfy science fiction itches in some and many players.
And the first Sims which I played for some 18 months until September 2004 were good for the whole dollhouse aspect – as well as a few disasters like fires and locking the Sims into the pool without a ladder].
[actually closer to three years as I got a much more suitable computer for desktop publishing; web designing; multimedia and gaming – March 2003-February 2006].
[The character creation was very limited and house-building was the first thing – the characters were indicators to see if the house was good. The balance has changed a lot].
In 2012 I was into brain training games and cooking games.
Video games which are art: the Skyrim series by Bethseda.
If Monks had Macs especially this card game called Killing Time.
In fact my first entry into the game world was through card and board games – and Pacman! It is because of Pacman that I do have some skill with mazes – though very minimal.
Hidden object games.
In 2002 I loved to play pairing games and tile games. With a very minimum effort those can be made accessible.
My first experience of accessible and inclusive gaming was in 1991. A computer was brought to my house from a centre and they had me try it temporarily during the Christmas-New Year season.
[it was very different from the family computer and more like a schools computer with non-standard material for motor and cognitive access].
I tend to enjoy immersive and open and creative worlds the most.
And I will admit to using minor or major cheats.
Roller Coaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon – I have enjoyed management games in general – both macro and micro.
Just remembered that I enjoyed Theme Hospital for its comedy and some of its dialogue and statistics.
Hope you and your family have a great Sylwester.
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How cool that you’ve had so many and varied experiences with video games! 🙂
Sofi follows people on Twitch as well, but mainly she’s on there to watch streams of her favourite rapper haha and not so much gaming stuff.
And she uses both Steam and Itch.io for getting games as well.
Sounds like your Sim lives have been fun.
Sofi had a phase some time in the summer where she played a lot of different cooking games with cafes, restaurants etc. and it sounded like a lot of fun. From what I’ve seen at AppleVis though, it’s tough with accessible cooking games and the only one I have tried is one called Blinded Chef, created by a blind developer, which is actually more like a memory game because you have customers who place their orders and you have to remember all the ingredients and make the food as fast as possible. Sofi liked that game when I showed it to her because it helped her learn English food vocabulary haha, though overall the English in the game is a little stilted.
I know a lot of people who like Skyrim so it must be good.
Yes, pairing and tile games would be easy to do accessibly or even implement accessibility later on, and there are accessible ones indeed, both inclusive and made specifically for the blind.
Thanks so much, Misha and me are having a fun Sylwester so far indeed. Wishing you a happy New Year. 🙂