Recently, a group of friends and I were talking about places to find free online accessible multiplayer games for people who are blind or that have low vision, and one of my friends recommended RS Games. After browsing through the documentation, my friends and I agreed that this would be an awesome platform to play games on for our group, and today I will be sharing an overview of RS Games and how to play online accessible multiplayer games with assistive technology.
What is RS Games?
RS Games is a free web-based application that allows users to play a variety of multiplayer games within their web browser that are accessible with assistive technology. Users can choose to join a public game or create their own private game for a group of people, though everyone will need to create an account to play. RS Games can be accessed through the link below with no additional downloads required, though users will need to have access to their own assistive technology tools such as a screen reader.
How to register for RS Games
After clicking the link on the RS Games home page to play RS Games in a web browser, users will be taken to a menu where they can choose from several options, including the option to create a new account. When creating an account, users will first type in a username for their account, followed by their email address, and then they will be sent an email with a temporary password to log in to the game, along with information on how to change their password. This is very easy to do and takes less than a minute.
Once users log in to the RS Games website, they are taken to a screen with a dark gray background and light gray text, along with a series of buttons that users can click in order to complete different actions when choosing a game and when actually playing a game. Users can also use different keyboard shortcuts to navigate games, though the exact keyboard shortcuts that are available vary from game to game.
Starting a game
To start a game, users will need to select which game they want to play, as well as whether they want to create a new game or join an existing game. If desired, users can also choose to make a game private so that it is only visible to those with a set password (this password doesn’t have to be complex- one of my friend groups will always set an in-game password to be simply “1” and it’s enough to keep our game secure).
Within the actual game, all information about the game is communicated within the Text History, and users can press buttons or use keyboard shortcuts in order to perform in-game actions such as drawing/selecting cards, advancing on the game board, or similar.
What about chat?
It’s worth noting that since these are online multiplayer games, users have the option to use text-based and audio-based chat within the games, though for safety reasons I chose not to use this feature when testing the service.
Free online accessible multiplayer games on the RS Games website include:
- 1000 Miles
- Apples to Apples
- Cards Against Humanity (must be over 18 to play)
- Go Fish
- I Doubt It
- Left, Center, Right
- Shut the Box
- Slot Machines
- Toss Up
- Zombie Dice
Each game has its own documentation that can be found on the documentation page of the RS Games website, and I highly recommend reading the documentation prior to starting each game. However, if users are already familiar with the physical version of a game, it won’t take them very long to learn how to play it in a digital format.
Using RS Games with large print and screen magnification
Users do not necessarily need to use a screen reader in order to participate in RS Games, as I was able to play Uno without a screen reader using large print and the lens view of a screen magnification tool such as Zoom or Windows Magnifier. However, the website does not have the best contrast for people with low vision, so I recommend using an inverted or high contrast color scheme to make the text easier to read. Since the website itself does not have any audio, users who play without a screen reader will need to constantly monitor the Text History for in-game updates.
- Zoom Magnifier and Low Vision
- Dialog Boxes and Low Vision
- Windows Magnifier and Low Vision
- Using High Contrast Themes In Windows 10
- How To Make iPad Accessible for Low Vision
- Choosing High Contrast Color Schemes For Low Vision
Using RS Games with a screen reader
RS Games is designed for screen reader users and is fully accessible with all popular screen reading software, including NVDA, Orca, VoiceOver, JAWS, and Windows Narrator, among others. The screen reader software will need to be enabled prior to starting the game, as the games themselves are not self-voicing and do not contain audio. While users will need to know how to tab through a list and know basic keyboard shortcuts (if they are playing on a computer), the RS Games website is fairly easy to navigate even if a user is not overly familiar with how to use a screen reader. This makes RS Games a great tool for helping beginners to feel comfortable with new assistive technology while playing a familiar game.
- How To Use VoiceOver For Beginners
- Ways To Read Webpages Without A Traditional Screen Reader
- How To Make Keyboards Easier To See
- How To Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows
I had a lot of fun exploring RS Games, and I am excited to use the website to play games with my blind and low vision friends from all around the country, as well as learning how to play new games that would traditionally be impossible for me to play on my own with low vision. I hope this post on RS Games is helpful for others who are looking for free online accessible multiplayer games!