“Harmonium: The Musical” Introduces Harmonium Sign Language to Promote Inclusion in Gaming

The image depicts a joyful animated character, a young girl with dark hair and a headband, wearing a sleeveless dress. She is smiling and appears to be holding her hands together in a way that suggests she is feeling or playing along with music. The background is a dark, starry scene with floating, glowing shapes. To the left of the character, bold text reads, “THERE’S A DRUMBEAT IN MY CHEST.”

The National Geographic Society estimates there are over 300 variations of sign language globally. The Odd Gentlemen is contributing to this diversity by introducing Harmonium Sign Language (HSL) for their upcoming game, “Harmonium: The Musical.” In the game, the protagonist Melody and the player learn HSL as Melody explores the fantastical world of Harmonium and prepares for her first major performance. HSL is integral to the game’s puzzles, challenging players to learn and use the new language to progress through the story, regardless of their familiarity with any existing sign language. The game’s creators, Matt Korba and Matt Daigle, aimed to create an accessible and engaging experience that reflects the communication challenges faced by Deaf individuals, incorporating real-life inspiration and innovative puzzle design.

Matt Daigle, a Deaf creator, expressed frustration over the common misconception that American Sign Language (ASL) is the only sign language. His experience of communication difficulties with Deaf animator Soren Bro Sparre, who uses Danish Sign Language, led to the creation of HSL, blending familiar and new gestures. Players will learn HSL from a character named Harper and use it to solve puzzles reminiscent of escape rooms, interpreting visual clues and analyzing their environment. The game also draws inspiration from Daigle’s travels in France, where nonverbal communication played a key role. The Daigles hope HSL will encourage players to embrace digital language learning, providing an inclusive gaming experience that bridges the gap between Deaf and hearing players.

Source: Game Rant

ChatGPT, a potential tool for increased accessibility, was used as a research and writing aid for this blog post. Do you think this is an appropriate use of chatGPT? Why or why not? Let me know!

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