Blind Gamer Plays Video Games by Ear, is Actually Good at Them
Two of my biggest fears (showing just how in check my priorities must be) are losing use of my eyes or hands, thus severing me from my gaming habits. Terry Garrett is blind, but he can still game, and luckily, he is still able to play some fairly good ones. Losing his sight when he was 10, his brother brought home the classic puzzler-platformer Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. Garrett attempted to play, though he was frustrated due to his lack of sight. Eventually, he honed his hearing and learned what each and every sound effect meant related to gameplay. Now, he can beat Abe’s Oddysee without his sight, using sound alone. Though anyone who has played Abe’s Oddysee will know that beating it with the use of sight is an accomplishment by itself, and beating it without is an extremely impressive feat, Garrett also plays other games that one would assume requires sight in order to succeed: He plays Wii Sports due to the game’s haptic feedback and he is able to play Rock Band by using a trial-and-error button-mashing tactic to learn the song note charts.
Garrett is currently trying to beat the historic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He didn’t just turn the game on and cleanse the Deku Tree, though, he carefully listened to the sound effects as his friends played the game and asked them questions, as well as researched the game through text and video walkthroughs. Garrett has trouble with precise aiming, for instance, with the Hookshot, and almost as if a cruel gaming meme joke, he currently can’t make it beyond the infamous Water Temple without outside help, though one can only assume he’ll eventually tackle Nintendo’s unholy creation in due time.
Though he currently can’t play games with too much audio stimuli or precise aiming, both of which are staples of many first-person shooters, Garrett is an inspiring story, and has quite possibly alleviated some of the fears that wake gamers up in the middle of the night in a deep sweat after dreaming about receiving their preordered copy of Portal 2 after losing use of their eyes.