Monday, November 30, 2009

Britain's Missing Top Model

This is a completely fascinating article from the New York Times about a new reality show in Britain called "Britain's Missing Top Model." Like "America's Next Top Model," the show centers around competing fashion models, but the difference in the new show is that the models all have disabilities.

The article is really worth a read for the problems and controversy it explores as well as the interesting problem it points out - the deaf models featured in the show have no visible disability on camera, whereas models in wheelchairs or with other visual deformities obviously do. As another model says of the deaf model, "it's the same as just picking a girl that speaks French."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NPR Article: "Job Crunch Even Harder on People with Disabilities"

NPR had a story yesterday titled "Job Crunch Even Harder on People with Disabilities." The article discusses the unemployment rate amongst people with disabilities (17.5 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed) and profiles Lenny Kepil, a software engineer who is deaf.

I think the article does a good job of pointing out some of the unfounded fears that employers have in hiring disabled people and the fact that accommodations cost so little they're barely worth keeping track of. I'm fortunate that I'm not looking for a job right now, but the article is a sobering read.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"My Football Game" Adds Accessibility to Football Video Games

"My Football Game" is the result of a collaboration between EA Games, a notable publisher and developer of many video games, and VTree, a developer of software for the disabled. It's a PC game that can be played by those with developmental and physical disabilities.


The game takes the elements of what makes football-based video games so popular and transforms the way it's played to make anyone a football star. It uses the familiar EA Sports game engine with modifications based on input from disabled gamers, rehabilitation experts and wounded veterans.
 
According to this article at AbleGamers, My Football Game has a lot of really neat and useful features. You can turn the speed of the game way down to allow you to process what's going on on the field and make decisions, you can play entirely with the keyboard, and you can progress through the game gradually, developing necessary skills before moving on to the actual play.

I think My Football Game is an excellent idea, and, more importantly, an excellent implementation of the concept. Hopefully, the game will reach beyond rehabilitation centers and reach the wide variety of gamers with disabilities who want to play a good game of football.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Disney Rectifies "Up" Rental Issues

According to this post on Consumerist, Disney is attempting to rectify the captioning problem on rentals of Up. According to Disney, "the captions were inadvertently left off of the rental DVD" and they want to make it right. They ask that you send your receipt or shipping confirmation and contact information to the following address to be contacted by Disney:
WDSHE Consumer Relations
Attn: "UP Rental"
PO Box 3100
Neenah, WI 54957

Monday, November 23, 2009

Your Vocabulary Word of the Day is "Entrainment"

Today, I had another appointment with my audiologist. He took a look at my aids, cleaned them up, looked in my ears and then had me fill out a survey about my hearing aids. I was able to answer positively for all of the questions - I've had such a big help from these hearing aids since I got them, and situations I formerly found difficult to hear in are now much easier for me.

I also learned a new word today - entrainment. I mentioned one kind of odd thing I've been experiencing - something I'm not used to. When a loud, high-pitched sound goes off, it almost sounds like it's echoing or continuing in my ear even after the actual sound stops. For example, at the library I work at, our security gates do it to me every time. When someone sets off the gates the alarm sounds for longer in my ears than it does for everyone else. The same goes for something like a pan clattering on the floor - I can hear it for longer than it actually makes sounds. My audiologist referred to this as "entrainment", when the hearing aid gets confused because the sound's frequency is the same frequency as feedback, so it just gets into a loop.

He mentioned that my aids might buzz in my ears when I pass through a set of security gates. My old aids did this all the time, but my current ones haven't yet. I got so I didn't notice the buzzing all that often - I don't think it will be annoying if my current aids do it.

He did a feedback test and found that my molds are a good fit for my ears and I shouldn't get much actual feedback. It's lucky the entrainment doesn't annoy me too much, because there isn't much that can be done about it.

Hopefully this will be the last time I have to go in for an appointment for another six months. I have my fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Favorite Things 11-15 to 11-22



Here's some fun and interesting stuff I've read in my blogs through Google Reader this week. Check out my Google Reader shared items here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

YouTube Gets Automated Captions

I was really excited to see on my news feed today that YouTube will begin automatic captioning for videos. The captioning will be using voice recognition (like Google Voice does) to caption videos. The link: Official Google Blog: Automatic captions in YouTube

I love YouTube, but mostly only for music, where I can pull up the lyrics as I go - I've always been wary of watching anything involving people talking. Automatic captioning, while being rolled out for a few select sponsors right now, will eventually help me and others to be more confident in watching any kind of YouTube videos.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Use Bluetooth to Ensure You Don't Miss a Call

One of the things I have a lot of difficulty with is hearing when my cellphone is going off and making sure I can answer the phone in a timely manner. Most people I know assume I won't be answering the phone when they call. I so rarely hear it, not to mention I'm flakey about turning it off silent/vibrate when I get off work.

Right now I have the Streamer, which pairs with both my hearing aids and my phone to alert me when a call comes in. Of course, I still have to be wearing the Streamer. There are a couple of neat options I've seen which will work with any phone that has Bluetooth enabled. Both are available on ThinkGeek, one of my very favorite online stores.

The first option is one I actually own, the BluAlert Bluetooth Bracelet. Scotty got this for me last Christmas. After pairing the bracelet with your phone, as long as the bracelet is within range of the phone it will vibrate when your phone rings. The only downsides I found to the bracelet were that it is quite a bit too big for my wrist, and the range is small. Basically I need to wear my phone on a holster or keep my purse nearby if I want to use the bracelet, and if my phone is on a holster I can simply put it on vibrate and be assured of being aware of a call.

The other cool option is this Bluetooth Watch with Caller ID Display. The watch vibrates on a call, and has the bonus features of showing you who is calling and potentially muting the ringer. Plus the leather band is adjustable so the problem with the bracelet would not be an issue here.

I'm sure there are other interesting products, and as I see them I'll blog about them. These two options are certainly nice!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Magi and the Sleeping Star: On Disabilities in Video Games

I read an article on Kotaku today about The Magi and the Sleeping Star, a video game created by Adam Grantham. The game, whose website is here, follows the adventures of a young warrior/mage boy named Oz. Oz has big things to do with his life, namely rescuing his relatives from robot monsters, but he's just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The game is still in the prototype stage. Adam himself has Type 1 diabetes, and according to this NewsOK article, he's trying to "sneak-teach" people "the fundamentals of diabetes."

According to the article, in the game, players need to help Oz maintain a healthy blood-sugar level by taking insulin, eating and drinking, then waiting a required time for the doses to take effect, in order to fight the monsters. The company Adam founded, called Game Equals Life, is hoping that nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical companies will help them take the game beyond the prototype stage.

Reading about The Magi and the Sleeping Star made me think about how people with various difficulties are shown in video games - namely characters with hearing impairments. There really just is not much out there in the same vein as The Magi and the Sleeping Star. I haven't yet played a game in which the main character has any significant handicap. Wait, I can't think of a video game I have played in which a character has any handicap whatsoever. The standard teen boy protagonist trope of RPGs features a skilled and strong main protagonist whose only failing is usually just a bit of adorable blockheadedness, like Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia. In action games the protagonist is usually strong and powerful, like Conan, Kratos, or Dante. Any weakness they have is a failing of moral character, not physical difficulty.

There is slated to be a deaf character in Half-Life 3, the third and final installment of the Half-Life trilogy of video games. He is yet to be identified but is supposed to be a minor character from the past of one of the other characters, and the game might feature sign language. It's the only game I've heard about with anything like that.

I think it would be absolutely fascinating to play a hearing-impaired character in a video game. Think of how the impairment would affect game mechanics. How would the character communicate with other people? How would players be affected playing the game?

If I were going to create a game with a hearing-impaired protagonist, I would probably have the character deafened at some point in the game, after players have gotten used to the music and certain audio cues. The music would cut out or become very quiet and the other character's voices would become silent or muffled (maybe the player would need to be very close to another character to make out what they're saying). I would of course have subtitles but I would mimic the effect by having faded subtitles that increase in opacity depending on the player's proximity to the object or person making sound. The point is to illustrate the difficulty and also how hearing loss feels.

I think it would add an entirely new dimension to game play and force players to think "outside the box," finding ways to communicate with other characters and ways to navigate the world without sound. Like The Magi and the Sleeping Star, it would add a new consideration to the game and force players to integrate the difficulty into their playing, demonstrating how hearing impaired people integrate their real-life difficulty every day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Peek In My Purse



I thought it would be fun today to talk about the things I carry around with me in my purse that help me with hearing, and hearing aid maintenance. The photo above is everything I bring with me on a daily basis.
  
Cleaning Cloth - At least I think this is a cleaning cloth. It was in my spiffy, well-organized "welcome" box from Oticon when I got my aids. It's in my purse because I stuffed it in there with everything else from the box. I guess it would be nice to use to handle the aid without getting oils from your fingers on it. Or maybe to buff your earmold to a perfect shine and blind everyone you walk past.

Batteries - The ones in the picture are Energizer 312s, but I am using the Ray-O-Vac Proline now. Energizer gives me 3 days of use out of a battery. The Prolines give me 7. I think we know who wins there.

Oticon carrying case thingie - I do not know what this is actually for, but I stuff the cloth and the magnet pen thing (see below) into it. It's a nice little white leather thing. Not for the hearing aids themselves. Oticon gave me a cool, hard magnetic case for them.

Magnetic pen poky thing - One side of that thing is magnetic (for handling your batteries without those pesky finger oils) and one side is a poky thing. The poky thing is for getting the teensy tiny "wax guard" out of your earmold and replacing it without having to fumble around with your huge, clumsy fingers. I have not used it yet. I'm terrible on my batteries and touch them all the time. Edit: Scotty just pointed out that it also opens up to reveal a tiny, tiny little brush. This thing is awesome. Also, the poky part is probably not for the wax guards, because they have their own applicator. That leaves it a mystery, I suppose.

LG Versa cell phone - I enumerated in this post why I selected the LG Versa as my new cell phone shortly after picking out my hearing aids.

Streamer - Some days I use my Streamer, some days I don't. I keep it with me, though, because it's an incredibly useful little device and I can't get over how nice music and phone calls sound through it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Favorite Things 11-8 to 11-14



Here's some fun and interesting stuff I've read in my blogs through Google Reader this week. Check out my Google Reader shared items here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hack Your Library, Hearing-Impaired or Not

As I mentioned in my first post to this blog, I work in a public library. Nothing makes me more sad than a patron who has been coming to the library for years, yet doesn't know about some key features of the library that can really help them. These hints I'm sharing pretty much go for anyone, regardless of ability, but there are also a few hints here that can help those with disabilities.

So what are a few things you can do to get the most out of your local public library?

Interlibrary loan
Many, many people I know fall into the trap of looking up a book on their local library's catalog, not being able to find it and then thinking they have to buy it. Not only can you request that the library buy it (if you want to read it, chances are other people do too), you can ask about what's called "interlibrary loan." An ILL puts out a request from your library to other libraries in the country, who can then send the book to your library for you to pick up. Sometimes it can be slow - dependent on the speed of processing and shipping your request - but it saves you money in the end. You will probably need to ask your library staff in person or over the phone to place the request for you.

Overdrive - and other media sites
My particular library belongs to the Greater Phoenix Digital Library, powered by Overdrive. If your library is one of the many who use Overdrive you have access to movies, audiobooks, ebooks and music through their system. All you need is your library card. Overdrive's media console, the software you download to your computer to access the files from Overdrive, does have accessibility options. Unfortunately I have yet to find an "eFlick" that says it has subtitles. I haven't tried to watch any, so I don't know if it is an option.

Databases
The databases a library subscribes to can fluctuate over time, depending on their funding and other issues, so it's always good to take a look at what your library has on offer. I especially love the databases like MasterFILE. If you are looking for that particular article from Time or National Geographic from July 2004, you can find it - without rooting in a dusty pile of magazines, and in convenient digital form. If you need to fix your car and don't have your Hanes manual you can check out repair databases like the Auto Repair Reference Center. If you need a legal document, the text of an obscure law, some 1910 census records or where to get your flu shot, it is all here - not just for academic papers at all.

Talk to the staff
The staff of libraries can't know what their patrons want, beyond educated guesses, unless their patrons talk to them. Communication that conveys what patrons want takes many forms in libraries - drive-by complaints at the desk, the number of holds on a certain book, the wait line for the computers, the number of people signed up for a particular program. But by far the most effective communication is simply finding a staff member and letting them know what you want. If your library is showing movies, you can ask that they have a showing with subtitles on. If your library is having a program you can ask if they have looked into having their conference room looped. By making yourself a representative of what you want from your community you are helping to shape it.

Ask about programs
Sometimes library programs are inadequately advertised or communicated to the public. It depends on the library's resources and their own marketing strategies. If you've heard about a series of programs or that your friend's library has computer classes, don't assume that since you haven't heard about it, your library must not have anything like it. I like to tell people about upcoming programs and if I'm hearing from multiple people that they'd like a certain type of program, I will pass it on to those who make those decisions.

Instead of simply being disappointed when you find out your library isn't having, say, a NaNoWriMo group or a book club right now, ask how you can get involved or pass your thoughts along. Write your name and phone number or e-mail address down along with what you want to see and give it to the person at the desk, or ask if the person in charge of your library's programming has a card you can take with you. Sometimes all it takes is the right person willing to move a project along to get things started.

Check out the book sale
My particular library has an ongoing booksale, selling weeded books, donations we don't have a use for and other items. It is extremely popular. Some libraries have booksales every season or even just every year, but the savings on the books in these sales are simply crazy. If you are homeschooling, researching, collecting or interested in any subject, the book sale is likely to have something for you and it will probably be dirt cheap. Keep an eye out for upcoming library booksales or check out your library's book store if they have one.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Learning Experiences and NaNoWriMo

I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year in order to get a very rough first draft of a post-apocalyptic novel that has been brewing in my head for several years. (Here's my profile.) I am doing pretty poorly so far, with only 5,719 words so far, but I am having fun writing, getting my thoughts down on paper without worrying about an editor. My novel is young adult, as is my protagonist, a 16-year-old junior in high school. I decided pretty early on that she would be hearing impaired, in the same way I am. All writing guides tell you to write what you know, and my particular hearing impairment is something I know very intimately. Looking back, I don't think I've ever read a young adult novel with a protagonist with a disability - I've read a few where the main character is autistic, but nothing physical, so I thought it might be interesting to get into that world.

In a post-apocalyptic world, hearing aid batteries would become scarce, and of course maintenance would be almost impossible to do beyond the very basic. While I'm sure a very dedicated person could scrounge batteries, and find various implements to help her repair her aids, in a world such as this food and survival come first. She would probably lose her aids within the first year or so, I would think, later if she finds a stash of batteries or earlier if the hearing aids are damaged somehow. (I don't yet know exactly what will happen, which is part of the fun of NaNoWriMo!)

So, to help me prepare, I want to go out and experience the world as she would experience it without her aids. Of course her world will be different. Depending on the scenarios I set up for what created the apocalypse, there would be no electricity, very few people, no cars... but to get an idea of it I need to take out my aids and go take a walk around without them.

I've never done this before, so I'm a little nervous.

I never go anywhere without my aids; the most I've done is go without my right aid when it's acting up, or go in the pool. I don't think I've ever been to a shopping mall, a grocery store, or anywhere else without at least one of my aids. So, this is going to be pretty strange, and weird, and maybe scary. I'll go with somebody so that I don't get run over in the parking lot or anything like that. But I think doing it is going to be a great learning experience. I will be reporting back. Hopefully I can do this before December so I can incorporate my feelings into my novel.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AbleGamers: A Resource for Accessibility in Video Games

One of the news bits circling around gaming blogs lately is the story of Alexander Stern, a visually impaired gamer who has sued Sony for what he says is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in their games. Whether or not te suit is valid is, of course, up to the courts to decide. Of course I am a proponent of making games as accessible as possible, whether for the hearing, sight, or mobility impaired. There are so many small, cheap, or even free things games can do to make their games accessible for everyone. Recently I was happy to see that Dragon Age has full, vibrant subtitles, for example, as does Tekken 6.

While reading about this news (and boy, did I read about it - the same article, over and over, repeated on all of the gaming blogs I read), one blog linked back to AbleGamers. I think that blog wasn't actually a gaming blog but was this post on AbledBody; I don't think many of the game blogs I read did much research other than post the story online. Anyway, I took a look at AbleGamers and so far I am liking their site. With informaiton about accessibility in specific games so difficult to find online, I think AbleGamers is going to be a useful source for me; I'm passing it on to anyone reading this blog as a resource.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm Fond of Quick Appointments

I just got back from my appointment with my audiologist to let him know about the pain I've been having in my right ear. It was a very quick appointment - he took a look at my ear and saw a scratch but also went ahead and filed down the mold itself in case it was too big. He gave me some lubricant to put on for a few days and set me up with an appointment in 2 weeks.

He also gave me four packs of batteries, which is awesome. I am getting batteries for free from them for 3 years, and I like having a lot of the little guys laying around, so a stash is great for me. I'm getting just 3 days out of the Energizer brand, but 7 days out of the Ray-O-Vac Proline batteries I've been getting lately.

So far I've not been having any of the same pain. He was also worried about feedback, and while I have heard some, it's nothing extreme and not frequent. I'm feeling optimistic!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Favorite Things 11-1 to 11-7


 
Here's some fun and interesting stuff I've read in my blogs through Google Reader this week. Check out my Google Reader shared items here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Love My Mabari War Hound - Dragon Age: Origins

Scotty and I picked up the new game Dragon Age: Origins this past week. It was developed by BioWare, who also developed the fun game Mass Effect. While Mass Effect is a science fiction game set in space, Dragon Age is a fantasy game set in a fully developed medieval-era world.

I really wasn't expecting to love the game as much as I do! I started playing a few days ago as a human rogue with a Mabari war hound (or, as I call him, "my puppy"). I had heard the game was hard so I set the difficulty to Easy (I tend to be kind of a wimp about difficulty in games) and I've had no trouble so far, especially after the recent patch that made Easy even easier.

The game is subtitled. You have the option of no subtitles, subtitles only during the game's cinematics, or subtitles for everything. The subtitles appear at the top of the screen, with a slightly shaded bar stretching across the top of the screen as a background for much easier readability (though the text size is a bit small). They don't intrude on the action, but having subtitles at the top is kind of weird and I keep catching myself looking at the bottom trying to figure out where the subtitles went. It is necessary, though - during conversations you can choose your character's response, and the options are along the bottom, so that would crowd out the subtitles.

There are two caveats to the subtitles: dialogue during battles (which is very short, not that frequent, and not necessary to the game) is not subtitled at all, and occasionally characters will engage in random banter or conversation without the standard subtitling. Instead the game puts their words in a paragraph above their heads - very annoying if you happen to be turning at the time and miss what they said, or if a conversation is occurring behind you.

Despite those two drawbacks, I'm really impressed with the way the game's developers drew everything together and created a flowing, unique world where everything just "makes sense." Even the subtitles are unobtrusive and subtle, not infringing on the graphics at all. Can't wait to get home to play some more!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Arizona Resources for the Hearing Impaired

I have come up with this list of Arizona resources for the hearing impaired. It's certainly not comprehensive, but I hope it might be helpful - and I certainly haven't used all of these resources; I'm just making the list!

I'm hoping to add to it (and a similar resource I've compiled for the library) as I learn more about local and national resources for the hard of hearing and everyone with disabilities.

Let me know if you know of an Arizona resource I missed, in the comments!

Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1400 W. Washington St. Rm 126, Phoenix, AZ 852007
800-352-8161

Arizona Relay Service

Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind
1200 W. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85745
520-770-3700

Desert Voices Oral Listening Center
3426 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85028
602-224-0598

EAR Foundation of Arizona, The
668 N. 44th St. Ste. 300, Phoenix, AZ 85008
602-685-1050

Miracle Ear Children’s Foundation
2222 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd., Ste 170, Phoenix, AZ 85027
623-582-6699

Valley Center for the Deaf
3130 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ 85008
4602-267-1921

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back to the Audiologist

I have an appointment at 10am on Monday with my audiologist. Hopefully he can figure out why my earmold is hurting my right ear. I hope the earmold was simply made incorrectly - although that would mean another two weeks' wait while another mold is made.

Right now I'm going without my right aid, which feels strange and lopsided. I can get away with it because my left ear is my "good" ear (relatively speaking) and already compensates for my right ear, which is profoundly deaf. I just lose a bit of dimension and whatever miniscule ability I already had to tell where sounds are coming from. Some sounds seem very strange but for the most part I'm getting along. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oticon Goes On Safari - Just for Kids

Another thing I would have loved when I was a kid, along with Siemens' pediatric kit - Oticon has introduced a new group of hearing aids for babies up through teens called the Safari.

The Safari uses Bluetooth technology like my Epoqs, can use the Streamer and has a cool LED light on the top of the aid that lets you know if it's working properly. Which I think would be an advantage over the happy little "Welcome to the world of hearing!"-style chime that plays when my Epoqs start up.

What is really cool, I think, is that it uses the Streamer. Kids always want the latest technology, and what could be cooler for the user of one of these devices than to have an awesome Bluetooth attachment that nobody else can have? Not to mention the added incentive to wear the aids, if they're the way the kid listens to music and answers their cell phone.

And the aid apparently comes with stickers, a range of color choices and cool design patterns. I wonder if you can mix and match daily? Coordinating your aid to your outfit would be awesome. Especially for a style-conscious teenager.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stupid Pain!

I am pretty tired of my ears hurting all the time. Since I got my new aids with the right mold, I thought the pain (from the wrong type of mold) would be gone, but it's not. I can't figure out if it's the hearing aid causing the irritation, or possibly a scratch or injury inside my ear that the hearing aid mold is aggravating. It doesn't hurt while the mold is not in, but as soon as I put it back in, it feels like it's gotten irritated again. But my ear itself looks fine.

I'm going to try taking the right aid out this weekend and seeing if 2 days will do anything - allowing a scratch to heal, or something like that. If not I'll be heading back to my audiologist. At least he's got good magazines and has Planet Earth playing in the waiting room!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Video Games, Subtitles, and Tekken 6


Yesterday I finally got the chance to sit down with Scotty and play our new copy of Tekken 6. I had never actually played any of the other Tekken games, since I tend to like fighting games that use weapons (like the Soul Calibur series) more, but I found I really enjoyed Tekken for its beautiful graphics, smooth gameplay and controls that actually make sense for controlling a fighter on screen.

It also has an interesting way of doing subtitles that I like - not all of the characters speak English, so the game has a few options for subtitling. The player can either have all subtitles off, have subtitles on only when the dialogue is not in English or have all subtitles on. The latter is, of course, what I've left on, but originally playing we didn't realize it was an option. It's a good way of handling subtitling in the game, and staying true to the game's characters at the same time. However, it does highlight one fact about the game industry right now - there's simply no standard for subtitles, not between developers nor even between games.

Most games do have subtitles. In some games like Katamari Damacy, they're the only way the player is given any information. Other games subtitle at least the game's cinematics, but not the actual in-game action. Some games subtitle every tiny bit of dialogue but none of the other sounds in the game. And some are very, very meticulous. It basically all boils down to the philosophy of those developing the game, the amount of time they have to spend on it and the amount of money they have to devote to it. When, according to this article on Gamasutra, an extremely conservative number of video game players who are deaf would be around 4 million. That's not an audience developers will be able to afford ignoring for much longer.

Ideally, I think, subtitles would be handled in the same way that you'll see the CC symbol on the back of DVD cases, or the subtitling information. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all devote the back of their game cases to important information like the number of players, the game's rating, required hard disk space and other information. All of that information could potentially lose them customers, but it's providing valuable facts to possible consumers. Why not add in some information about the subtitles? Heck, for retail situations where you can read the manual, as you can at Gamestop, why not put that information on a page in the manual? I can tell you I absolutely hate buying a game and finding out I basically cannot play it because of the lack of subtitles.

For example, I will not buy Assassin's Creed because I was lucky enough to learn before buying that it doesn't have subtitles and even for hearing people the gameplay is severely hindered. Too bad, because that's a game I really was interested in. (While poking around for more information on Assassin's Creed and Ubisoft's justification for dropping subtitles, I did find this press release from 2008 detailing Ubisoft's plans to include subtitles on all their currently in-house games at that time. That led to the awesome subtitles I really loved in Prince of Persia. It's nice to see a company take that initiative.) Of course, the problem is that all too often customers buy the game and get home only to realize it is unplayable.

Subtitles on games should be a standard, and the information about subtitles should be right there on the box.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Favorite Things 10-25 to 10-31



Here's some fun and interesting stuff I've read in my blogs through Google Reader this week. Check out my Google Reader shared items here.