Idea: The Sensory Deprivation game
Note: Do not play the game described below if you are in any potential danger of hurting yourself or others, or if you are near traffic, or anywhere that you aren’t positive it can be played safely. Play at your own risk.
That’s got you curious, huh? What’s the Sensory Deprivation game that’s so dangerous it requires a disclaimer? It’s something I found myself doing one day in college as I was walking across the busy campus and saw a blind student walking in the opposite direction with a walking cane. I wondered what it’s like to confidently walk around, even while unable to see. Blind people seem to do it okay. Could I?
I had my sunglasses on, so I figured nobody would notice if I suddenly closed my eyes. First I looked out at the ground ahead, the people walking around, and figured that if I just kept walking straight I would avoid all of them, and the lamp post. How many steps could I take before I had to open my eyes again? I decided to find out. Without changing my stride, I closed my eyes.
The answer was only around 6 steps. I had no confidence in my ability to navigate at all. I felt like at any second I would smash into something or someone. I must be veering one way or the other, right? When I opened my eyes, I realized that I had been walking straight after all and was actually doing pretty well. So I tried it again. After another 6 steps, I couldn’t bear it.
Why was I only able to take 6 steps? How many would I have been able to take if I’d had a walking cane before I freaked out about bumping into things? How long does it take the newly-blind to be able to get around confidently? Is it faster to learn with a cane, with a guide dog, or with echolocation?
I haven’t really played the game since then. Do I dare, here on the busy streets of Manhattan? Do I get bonus points if I play while wearing my iPod? How many steps can you take?