Infocom feelies and documentation for screen readers (Up: Ballyhoo)

Update 6/5/2022

I’ve decided to maintain a list of all documents in this OP.

A Mind Forever Voyaging

The entire repository which includes other documents can be found here.

[original post follows]
Greetings. I received a comment on one of my posts today. This reader was grateful that I published my Starcross transcript because they could use it to input the mass coordinates. They made a general statement that copy protection feelies made it difficult or impossible for them to play some of Infocom’s games.

I am wondering: has there ever been an effort to assess possible issues with feelies for sight-impaired persons? If so, are there any resources I could direct readers to?

If not, this is something I’d like to spend time on. I could do things like flatten the A Mind Forever Voyaging code table to one row/code, move documents to plain text (due to Infocom’s font choices I’ve had character recognition problems in PDFs) with alt text, that kind of thing.


A few are hosted at The Infocom Documentation Project - Blind-Friendly Manuals , but not all of them.


Nice. I’ll use these as a template. Thanks for the pointer

Fortunately for me I’ve been able to scrape together the information needed to get past the copy-protection feelies mechanism, but it would definitely be helpful to have everything consolidated into a single resource. The screenreader-friendly files on the Infocom Documentation Project’s website are great, but as mentioned above many of the feelies that contain game-stopper details haven’t yet been made accessible.


I’m glad to hear your thoughts on this! I’m going to reach out to the webmaster and try to get involved. If you have any thoughts on which games should be tackled first, I could definitely use some suggestions.


Thanks for taking an interest in this :relaxed:. I think it would probably make sense to start with the files that contain details which players would require in order to access the meat of a game. Cuttthroats, The Lurking Horror, Seastalker, Sorcerer, and Starcross are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. AMFV and Stationfall as well, but these have already been converted (although unfortunately I believe I may have found a couple of discrpancies with the AMFV color wheel values.)


Great! I’ll prioritize these, starting with Starcross since that was the one my reader had a specific problem with. Thanks for your help. As time allows, I’ll look at the wheel, too.


It’s later than I hoped, but I’ve begun work on this. Can anyone tell me what technologies are commonly used for screen reading on the Windows platform? I see that there is a built-in “narrator,” and that there are also third-party applications. I’d like to verify functionality as I go.

Any assistance would be appreciated.

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I have used Zoomtext with speech from Freedom Scientific since 2000. They also produce JAWS which is strictly a screen reader.

Zoomtext works very well if you have low vision and can see enough with magnification to help with navigation.

JAWS works well even if you can’t see the screen and works with various key combinations.

They offer a 60 day trial. The software is quite expensive to purchase outright but they have reasonably priced annual subscriptions.

See: Freedom Scientific

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I’m a Mac user myself, but most of my visually-impaired friends on Windows use JAWS (paid) and/or NVDA (free) for screenreading.


Hi all. Just a quick update. I have (hopefully) completed work on Starcross, though my inexperience with this type of writing may have led to some mistakes. I’ve asked Gunther to post it. I’m not sure when it will happen; I don’t think the site has been updated in years.

I’ve decided to work on Cutthroats and Seastalker next. It will be good to have them out of the way. :sweat_smile:

In the interim, I have placed the Starcross document on my google drive. I have gone over the copy protection bits several times, hopefully it will be helpful and reliable.


Thanks for working on this!

Awesome. I’ve downloaded this in case I decide to play it.

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Hi all. Gunther now has Starcross up at IDP and will soon be posting a text-only doc of Spellbreaker’s copy protection.

I’ll continue to post here when the site updates to provide tracking (and to keep me accountable).

Seastalker will be next.

If you have a need for a specific document, let me know and I’ll try to do it first.

E: Although now that I think of it, the character graphics at the end of Seastalker may make the program inaccessible as-is.

I can provide a transcript for navigating the sub to the dome, but I don’t think that would work for the endgame. If anyone has any thoughts on this problem, I’d welcome them!

I’ll work on Cutthroats for now.

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I think Seastalker was one of the games where I absolutely had to use a walkthrough in order to get past some of the copyright barriers. I’m not sure what the feelies look like, but I’m going to play through this game again and try to figure out how accessibility might work out here.

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That’s great. I would welcome your thoughts. Thank you.

I’m looking at the Infocom folder at IF Archive, and I cannot find the feelies transcriptions from The Infocom Documentation Project.

Should we have a backup of all the content of that project at if-archive?

I don’t know if there are backups at IF Archive, but the IDP repository is here.

(There is a screen reader-friendly link there, where my Starcross doc has been added to the collection).

So far as backups go, anything I do for this can be posted or stored anywhere if people will find it helpful.

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Index: if-archive/infocom/shipped-documentation has some transcribed manuals (Zork 1-3, Enchanter) but it doesn’t have the Infodoc versions.

Talk to Gunther about how to handle this.

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OK, I’ll get in touch. Thanks