Thursday, August 26, 2021

What's New in Madden 22?

Lamoine Williams

               It’s that time of year again football fans. The best part of the year when football makes its return and oh yeah, EA releases another Madden to the public. Year after year football fans like me anticipate the newest Madden in hopes of a better football game than the previous years release. I’ve been a long time Madden fan, and to be honest, the anticipation year after year has glossed over majorly in the past five or six years. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad.

               Here and there, EA throws its fans a bone by adding in a cool game mode or new feature. Long-time hardcore fans of the franchise will have to look past the fact that many of these new features that are labeled as new are actually updated features that EA has implemented into Madden in the past and then taken away. However, accessibility is something that we all hope that EA never takes back as it has allowed American football fans who live with many different disabilities to play the sport they love. Honestly, Madden soothes the long months between football seasons, which is one of the many reasons that fans keep coming back to the franchise. Well, that and because EA is the only game developer that currently has the license to make NFL games.

               So, how good is Madden 22 from a blind accessible standpoint? Well, it’s really no different than Madden 20 or Madden 21. Now of Corse that depends on the generation of system it played on since the menu narration in the current generation titles is a complete game changer. I would however like to point out that as of the writing of this article and six days after its release, Madden 22 for PlayStation 5 has an issue with Playbook narration. The issue is that when navigating the playbook using narration, the formations do not read, but the plays do.

               This issue with the playbook narration really isn’t that big of a fix and should be patched quickly. That is if anyone can get in contact with EA’s head of accessibility, Karen Stevens(@ea_accessible). I have not heard from her or heard anything about her from other accessibility advocates since shortly after the release of Madden 21 last year when I captured footage of playbook narration from my PlayStation 4. I was immediately told that there would be no playbook narration on the last generation of consoles and that my video was not the way they wanted to release the news of the upcoming playbook narration in the franchise. Oops, my bad.

               Anyway, if you would like to see that short video, I’ll include the link below or you can check it out on the Blind Ohio Gamer YouTube channel. The video is titled Madden 21 Playbook Narration. The video is easy to find on YouTube as I was the only one to capture this on video. Honestly, I’m not so sure that I believe that playbook narration could not work on the last gen consoles because they were not powerful enough, but that is what we were told by EA. Also, since the PC versions of the game were done the same as the Xbox One and PS4 versions, you got it, there was no playbook narration for that version either.

               So, back to Madden 22. If you haven’t guessed already, the newest game in the Madden franchise is pretty much the same from an accessibility standpoint as the game two years ago in most cases. I’m really hoping that they update the menu and playbook narration voice because for a developer as big as EA and its budget, it’s just sad. Another sad thing is that as both a football and accessibility fan, I still can’t wait to see what they will do in Madden 23. It’s almost liked every year we all have hopes and every year EA bashes them against the wall.

               Now, is Madden 22 worth the $70 price point? Well, it really depends on how much of a football fan you are. If your like tons of disabled gamers who have very little options when it comes to accessible video games and are playing Madden because you have little to no choice, then you can get just as much enjoyment from playing the older titles like Madden 20 and Madden 21. Honestly, I can’t see how I played without playbook Narration now that I know what I was missing. The older titles can be found for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC for dirt cheap at this point.

               Now, back to the previous question. Is Madden 22 worth it? No, if I didn’t want to review the game and let others know what the game is like so they don’t waste their money hoping for something that Madden is not, then I would have passed over Madden 22. I did say the same thing last year about Madden 21 and ended up buying it for all those same reasons, and I will most likely buy Madden 23 when it comes out in hopes that there will be more accessibility implemented into the game, because there is still tons of room for improvement.

PlayStation 4 playbook narration video:


Here is the video with the current playbook narration issues for Madden 22 on PS5:


©2021 Lamoine Williams 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Accessible Hearthstone Patch

Lamoine Williams

               Hearthstone is a battle card game from Blizzard/Activision that originally was not accessible, until now. Other card games have tried going the accessibility route, but none have done it as well as the hearthstone accessibility patch. This patch, which can be found on gethub, makes Hearthstone one of the most accessible main stream card battlers as of late. With great music, game sounds, and very good game mechanics, Hearthstone will keep the attention of even the most easily fatigued gamers, like myself.

               The biggest thing that draws me to Hearthstone is the simple navigation of the game. There are no odd keyboard commands that don’t make sense. One thing I can’t stand when playing a game is when the commands are useless and easy to forget. While playing through the tutorial, the commands and strategies of the game are well explained for new players as they should be. The patch was tested with NVDA, but should work for most any screen reader on Windows 10.

               Another aspect of Hearthstone that I enjoyed was the challenge of the A.I. opponents. After being defeated on my first playthrough of the last tutorial mission, I noticed that the A.I. had a few different cards the second time around than the first. I like that collecting cards is something that can be done and players even have the option to purchase cards if they so choose. However, purchasing cards is not needed since you collect cards with each win. I’m interested to see more of the card packs that will be made available.

               Overall, I like Hearthstone and will play it for a good while to come, I’m sure. I want to see what other play styles are available and what other cards and strategies can be learned. I also would like to play against other opponents which I think will be an awesome way of playing with my sighted friends and family. Hearthstone is available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows 10.

               The accessible patch is only available on the Windows 10 platform as of right now. If you would like more information about Hearthstone then check out the review video that accompanies this article on the Blind Ohio Gamer YouTube channel at the link that can be found below along with the site where you can find the hearthstone accessible patch.

Review video:

Hearthstone Accessibility site: 

©2021 Lamoine Williams

Far Cry 6 Not Far from Blind Accessible

Lamoine Williams                I already know what you’re thinking. here we are again with another Ubisoft title that does not hit the ma...