The Access-Ability Summer Showcase is my favourite part of Summer Game Fest week

Periphery Synthetic, by ShiftBackTick, is a glorious thing. It’s an exploration game and a playable EP. Existing somewhere between MirrorMoon, Soundvoyager for GBA, and Outer Wilds, it casts you out across a series of different planetary surfaces and asks you to make your own sense of everything.

When I play the current demo, the screen draws an undulating alien terrain in little blocks of light. But I can play the game even when I close my eyes. Periphery Synthetic is made to be fully playable without seeing the screen. Players can use echolocation and “terrain sonification” to navigate its spaces, while using screen readers to move through menus. It’s a wonderful thing to try out, sounds changing in pitch to tell me whether I’m ascending or descending, whether I’m turning back on myself or headed somewhere new.

I found out about Periphery Synthetic in this year’s Access-Ability Summer Showcase, which is created and hosted by accessibility consultant and author Laura Kate Dale. Like last year’s show, it brings together a bunch of games that have brilliant accessibility options, and is itself available in ASL, BSL and audio-described versions.

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