Field made up almost entirely of gamers blind since birth will compete for the Shingan Cup title.

We tend to think of video games as a visual medium, what with “video” right there in the name. But an upcoming e-sports competition is going to showcase the skills of gamers who’re relying only on their sense of hearing to tell what’s going on in the game.

However, the Shingan Cup tournament, which is being held this weekend in Tokyo, isn’t a contest where the players blindfold themselves for an extra degree of challenge. All of the competitors are blind, with all but one being blind from birth.

What’s more, the game they’ll be playing isn’t a music/rhythm game or platformer, in which one could theoretically memorize the song or level layout in order to play skillfully even without any visual cues. Nor will the game be one specially designed for blind players. Those vying for the Shingan Cup championship will be going head-to-head in full-fledged fighting game Street Fighter V.

▼ The tournament has official recognition from Street Fighter publisher Capcom.

The Shingan Cup (shingan meaning “mind’s eye” in Japanese) is being organized by ePARA, a company promoting and supporting efforts to make e-sports participation by disabled gamers more viable. Three of the tournament’s entries, Naoya, Igupi, and Choco Tart (whose profile pictures can be seen below), come from ePARA’s in-house team Blind Fortia.

Facing off against them will be MM, Kyo, and Kure, members of Galaxy Laboratory, which is also a game content development group focused on accessibility features.

The organizers promise that the tournament will show “the beauty of working to overcome disability, and the depth of possibilities represented by e-sports.” Veteran fighting game fans can also look forward to seeing tactics and techniques that have developed specifically for unsighted players and opponents.

Mirairo House in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward will serve as the venue for the competition, but the event is not open to spectators from the general public. However, the fights will be streamed through ePARA’s YouTube channel, embedded below.

The Shingan Cup kicks off at 2 p.m. on April 17.

Source, images: PR Times
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