On deaf ears: how smart visual design can make games more hearing-impaired accessible

A Most Agreeable Pastime

XIIIPS2Video game designers have taught us, through intricately designed HUDs throwing all manner of information at the player every second, to pay attention to our surroundings.  Visual cues are more often than not integral to success, and much research and effort has gone into cramming as much vital information on screen in the most efficient way possible, to ensure that players have all the visual tools they need to stay alive.

But what about sound?   If you’ve ever tried to play a game with the sound muted you’ll know just how strange of an experience it is.  And subtitles can only go so far, because while they capture the spoken scripted tracks, it often entirely misses the ambient sound of the world around the player.  If you try it for yourself you’ll realise it’s not a trivial thing and that every genre –  from the sound of car engines…

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