Rock Vibe, a Musical Computer Game for Blind and Sighted Gamers, Gains Notable Support on Kickstarter

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Alex Rigopulos, CEO of Harmonix Music Systems, the company that develops the Rock Band video game, backs Rock Vibe on Kickstarter. If Rock Vibe reaches its funding goal of $32,000 by January 20, 2012, the game will be fully developed and donated to organizations that work with blind children.

Rock Vibe Logo
Rock Vibe will allow visually impaired and sighted gamers to play an enjoyable computer game together. Currently, games developed for blind gamers don’t create the environment for this.

Rock Vibe, an accessible rhythm game for blind and sighted gamers, launched its campaign on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter on November 21, 2011. Since then, it has gained notable backers from the video game industry, including Alex Rigopulos, CEO of Harmonix Music Systems, the company that develops Rock Band, and an artist from Sledgehammer Games, one of the companies responsible for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. If Rock Vibe reaches its funding goal of $32,000 by January 20, 2012, Rock Vibe’s development will be completed, and the game will be donated to organizations that work with blind children.

“Rock Vibe will allow visually impaired and sighted gamers to play an enjoyable computer game together,” says Rupinder Dhillon, the creator of Rock Vibe. “Currently, games developed for blind gamers don’t create the environment for this. Oftentimes, they’re too simplistic for sighted gamers.”

Unlike traditional video games, Rock Vibe uses vibrations delivered through a wearable electronic device to tell players when to press buttons on a Rock Band instrument, computer keyboard or MIDI controller. Rock Vibe also provides a talking interface that can be turned on or off, allowing blind gamers to navigate the game without a screen reader.

People who donate to Rock Vibe on Kickstarter before the January 20 deadline receive rewards, including the Rock Vibe computer game and the option to add a song to the game. For Rock Vibe to receive funding, it must meet or exceed its fundraising goal of $32,000.

Rupinder Dhillon began development on Rock Vibe in 2008 with Molly Landau and Troy Allman at UC Santa Cruz. She served as the team leader, programmer and game designer. The team’s research on Rock Vibe has been published by the Association for Computing Machinery and presented at Games Beyond Entertainment. To learn more about Rock Vibe, visit http://rockvibegame.com or contact Rupinder Dhillon at 530-713-1581.

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