Pokemon Go is the newest craze on both iOS and Android bringing in millions of players to Nintendo’s classic franchise, but could this market be bigger with blind users, and could the game be made accessible for VoiceOver users to play? Surprisingly, the answer is yes to both questions. Here is how.
How Pokemon Go works.
Pokemon Go is a game that utilizes Google Maps and augmented reality to allow for players to catch Pokemon by moving around in the real world. The game overlays a virtual world on top of the map where you stop at Pokestops and find Pokemon that pop up when you get near them. Once you find a Pokemon you tap it and throw a small ball called a Pokeball at it to catch it. Once you level up you can join a team and fight and train in gyms to level up or take the gym for your team.
Could Pokemon Go catch accessibility?
With how this game has been created, accessibility is less of a challenge and more of a time investment. There are already apps like Blindsquare that could be utilized for the maps portion of this game, and 3D audio would allow for the person to move the device where the Pokemon was lined up to throw the poke all at it. You can even turn off augmented reality and it lines up the Pokemon in the center of the screen for you. Much of the game from item to stats is already in text form, so VoiceOver would not have a hard time reading that if coded correctly. Gym battles would be easy to do if the person was told where to tap to attack the enemy Pokemon, and VoiceOver read the battle stats as the battle progressed.
While Pokemon Go is a graphics intensive game, it is entirely possible for it to be adapted to work with VoiceOver on iOS, which is quite a feat compared to most games. I doubt that the creators want to spend the time to work on this, but I think it would be totally awesome to play with some of my totally blind friends.