When I think of game shows, I think of my Aunt Leslie. She loves them. She talks back to the TV. She critiques contestants. She will get caught up in the drama and joy. One time a relative needed a house-sitter and dog watcher. She explained as long as she would be able to watch her Game Show Network and some soap operas, she would be good to go for weeks. In her honor, I’m going to rundown some of the worst and some of the best shows from a low vision standpoint. Here we go.
Wheel of Fortune. It pains me to write this, as I know Wheel is one of Aunt Leslie’s favorites, however, it is not accessible. Everything is done with vision in mind. The host, Pat Sajak introduces contests and announces the puzzle categories, but other than saying how many of each called out letter will show up on the puzzle, viewers are at a loss. The letter revealer, Vanna White, dresses fashionably and performs for the camera, but this is useless to me as well. I’m left listening to the poor jokes Sajak volleys like a man counting down the minutes to quitting time. If I could, I’d end this review with the buzzer when a wheel spin lands on bankruptcy.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. This is a show I can follow, vision or no vision. The hosts read aloud the clues and enough description happens so I don’t feel lost. The problem is the dramatic music cues and countdown tones. The drama feels a little too manufactured and the balance of clue difficulty seems odd at times as well. Not my favorite.
Supermarket Sweep. Okay, it’s not currently in production, but I saw it listed on Prime Video and it took me back to lazy summer afternoons watching Lifetime with my sister. The host I remember enunciated clues clearly for the three pairs of teams. When challenges involved the mock grocery store, I could be accommodated with large print cards and a tour before the episode was filmed. While I would have no fear barreling down the aisles with a shopping cart, clipping displays here and there, throwing ham hocks and frozen turkeys and cans of baby formula into my cart with abandon, the other contestants may not feel so free. Perhaps if we all wore jingle bells on our competition sweatshirts, collisions could be avoided.
The Price is Right. Now we’re getting somewhere. The show is all about hearing product ads, wagering out loud, bantering with the host, and listening to the audience for feedback at times. Each challenge is described beforehand and the products involved are explained as well. The host usually flips the price cards or picks up the clue cards and reads them aloud during game play. If I earned any Plinko chips, I would change up the stairs knowing there’s a nice railing to guide me. If I played One Away, I could guess my car price and listen like anyone else for the car horn responses to how many digits I correctly chose. If I played the Cliff Hanger, I could again guess my prices and wait with the audience to see as the theme song played if my mountain climber would fall off the slope or stay in the game. And best of all, I would be able to spin the high contrast, large print wheel for a chance to compete in the showcase showdown.
Jeopardy! I hold a soft spot for trivia. And a soft spot for SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy! But that’s not why this show is the tops. It’s because it’s so accessible. Host Alex Trebek reads the blue background, white worded clues aloud, calls on contestants by name, announces wagers, etc. And in 1999, the first blind contestant, Eddie Timanus, played with accommodations. Read his wiki page for more details. The only thing that would not be great are those video clues that sometimes pop up. Other than that, it’s hard to find fault with this evening half hour of trivia, so I’m crowning Jeopardy! king.
What game shows do you watch? Have you ever been on one? Tell me about it.
4 Comments Add yours
I agree with your choices. A good creative thought about Aunt Leslie.
As far as accessibility goes, I agree completely with your best and worst. I sometimes watch Wheel with my hubby. He tells me the number of words and the number of letters in each and tries to fill in outloud for me, but it is teidious for him. It would be so easy for the show to give us a framework. My favorite game shows, however, are NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and “Ask Me Another.” Radio is the level playing field. I was on class at GDF for my 4th guide dog with Carrie Reagan, who was also on Jeopardy.
Great comments, Donna, thanks.