Ten year old designs video game his blind grandmother can play

Fifth-grader Dylan Viale introduced Quacky's Quest at his school's science fair. He won first place — and eventually, international attention — for the computer game he designed with his blind grandmother, Sherry, in mind.

"Dylan wanted to figure out a way that he could share his love for video games with her," Dylan's father, Dino Viale, told Kotaku.

"He thought, 'How can I create something she can enjoy?'"

Dylan designed the maze game using GameMaker, a simple program that guides people through designing their own games.

The protagonist in Dylan's game is a duck named Quacky. To win, you must help Quacky navigate a series of mazes until you find the Golden Egg. In order to be able to play the game with his grandmother, Dylan knew that sound effects would be essential.

"Sound was the greatest tool for [Dylan's] grandmother to navigate through the game," Dino said. "He had to figure out how to associate each move through the maze with sound cues for whether you were doing something correctly or incorrectly."

VentureBeat describes the sound strategy:

"If you pick up gems, you hear a cash register "ka-ching" sound. If you hit a wall, you hear a deep unpleasant noise. If you go the wrong way down a passage, you hear spider noises. If you go too far down that passage, you set off dynamite.

During initial tests of the game, Dylan discovered that his grandmother would often end up backtracking and getting lost. To remedy this, Dylan added a new feature: a boulder would drop behind the duck as he moved. If Quacky attempts to go backwards, he hits a wall, triggering "the negative sound of hitting a boulder or wall."

Sherry can now make her way through the maze quickly.

His final version of the game was audio-only, making it more of a challenge to those not accustomed to relying on sound to find their bearings.

"They weren't as in touch with the sound," Dino said. "They didn't rely on the sound as much as a blind person would, or even a person who wasn't familiar with gaming."

Since Dylan's science-fair success, his friends and classmates have been begging for their own copies of Quacky's Quest.