Screen shot of the AudioOdyssey video game for both sighted and blind players.

Screen shot of the AudioOdyssey video game for both sighted and blind players.

Did you know that about 19 percent of the nation’s population ages five and older have a disability according to the 2000 U.S. Census? Yet most video games remain inaccessible to those with visual, hearing, cognitive, or mobility constraints.

Eitan Glinert ’05, MNG ’08 is on a mission to change that. While a master’s candidate at MIT, he and teammates from the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab created the rhythm game AudioOdyssey (played with a keyboard or Nintendo Wii remote) for both sighted and blind players. Users star as DJ Vinyl Scorcher and lay down various component tracks of a song with the ultimate goal of getting club patrons dancing. Download the game or watch a video of it.

Last year, Glinert founded Fire Hose Games with other MIT alums to design mainstream games that are also highly usable and accessible and that push the boundaries of interface technology. With a little extra thought and planning, other game designers could be socially responsible and increase their user base and profits, Glinert says. Read the Fire Hose blog for thoughts on new (and sometimes old) video games, views on games-related research and developments, updates on their progress (including slides from conference presentations), mentions of MIT-related events (like the recent Grad Gala), and more.

Test games for Fire Hose

The start-up is initially creating small downloadable games for home computers and consoles. Boston-area video game enthusiasts are invited to schedule a time to test new titles.

Gaming Conference, May 8

For other perspectives on thriving in the gaming industry, attend the MIT Sloan School of Management’s first annual BiG (Business in Gaming) conference on campus May 8. Industry leaders, game developers, professors, and MBA students will discuss the future of the gaming industry. The event will focus on innovative ways to market and distribute games effectively in a down economy. Special pricing is available for MIT alumni, faculty, staff, and students.