I have three major activities I enjoy: reading, writing, and playing video games. I obviously talk more about the former two than the latter, but recently I finally got around to completing a game called 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. It’s a type of game called a Visual Novel, which is very popular in Japan, though not as much in the US.
*note: minor spoilers for the game follow
In the game, you play as Junpei, a young man who wakes up on a ship and soon discovers he’s one of nine people who have been kidnapped and forced to play the life or death game known as the Nonary Game. The gameplay primarily involves solving puzzles as you move from room to room of the ship, trying to escape before the ship sinks, but as a visual novel, it’s heavily story-based, and depending on the choices you make, you’ll end up discovering new things about the various characters and the overarching story itself, as well as experiencing six different endings.
One of the unique things about the game is that one of the nine kidnapped characters is blind. Going by the name “Snake” (everyone chooses aliases at the beginning), depending on your choices, he plays a pivotal role in the game, and you find out that he had actually been involved in the nonary game in the past, when he was younger. I was relieved to discover that the writers didn’t fall into the cliche of his having lost his eyesight (and his arm; Snake is also an amputee who uses a prosthetic limb) in the previous game. No, even nine years ago, he was blind. While his blindness is a bit of a plot device, I was also pleased that Snake is portrayed as a strong, independent, smart character despite his disabilities.
After finishing the game, I decided to do a little research and see if I could find any other video game characters (particularly “important” ones) that were blind. Disability is not something we see often represented in video games (though visual novels are increasingly becoming more diverse and representative). I did find a work-in-progress project called Pulse that features a blind main character who uses echolocation to navigate the world. (You can check out the developer’s website, if you’re interested.)
999 was originally released for Nintendo DS (also playable on 3DS), but is also now available on iOS: find it here.
Do you know of any other blind characters in video games? Or any other characters with disabilities that have significant parts in a video game? If so, feel free to shout out in the comments!