Last year GAMBIT released AudiOdyssey, a visually impaired accessible rhythm game that used the Wii Remote on the PC. While the game was successful and managed to push the accessibility envelope we were left with several areas we still wanted to improve:
* AudiOdyssey is single player only. But what about visually impaired users who want to play multiplayer titles?
* Futhermore, a multiplayer game in which visual ability is not a determining factor would be valuable as it would afford sight impaired players the chance to play a game on equal footing with sighted users.
* A social networking element would be an attractive feature as well, letting players make new friends through the game.
These goals led us back to the development board. Over this past summer a team of eight talented MIT and Singaporean students (Michelle Ang, Jeremy Kang, William Hutama, Steven Bartel, Jennifer Fu, Alvin Leong, Joanne Loo Ling, and Pradashini Subramaniam) made Muzaic, an accessible Facebook game designed to address these issues. To download the game log in to Facebook, search for the Muzaic application, install, and start playing!
I won't tell you too much about the game play because I want you to give the game a shot. I will tell you that for a prototype it does a lot of things right, and serves as an interesting basis for what a larger game could look like. The player interactions are currently minimal, but compelling - you breed pet "muses" with other people's muses to get new musical offspring. The offspring, of course, are a genetic mix of their parents. The mechanic is currently very simple, but it's a great spring board that shows how one could make a much more complete game centered around the muse breeding scheme.
The prototype has a fun, lighthearted aesthetic which comes through in the art and music style. The island you breed your muses on is initially drab and quiet, but start breeding successfully and it grows to include colorful and musical rewards. The early versions main drawback, however, is that the game is only playable multiplayer, and does not work if you play by yourself. Therefore if you go and download it be sure to have a friend or two grab it as well so you can play together!