Social Construction Model of Interactive Gaming for Disabled Users


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Some of my research that was presented at the Designing Games for Health session, Int'l Academic Conference on Meaningful Play 2008, Oct 9 2008, Michigan State University.

Social Construction Model of Interactive Gaming for Disabled Users

  1. 1. John Richardson Emerson College Game Developers Association Boston, MA Meaningful Play 2008 Michigan State University October 9, 2008
  2. 2. <ul><li>John (Johnny) Richardson </li></ul><ul><li>Senior @ Emerson College </li></ul><ul><ul><li>President, Game Developers Assoc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New Media (B.F.A.) and Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Lifelong gamer, games for ~6 years, web apps for ~11 years </li></ul><ul><li>Coding, design, production, animation </li></ul><ul><li>Active within Boston’s game dev landscape </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>This topic has always seemed important to me </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lateral spastic cerebral palsy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can’t say I’m not biased </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A hot issue, but for what reasons? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Input devices, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not the how , but rather… </li></ul><ul><li>WHY should games be accessible or even tailored to those with disabilities? </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Assumed: the disabled community’s marginalization a given in this research </li></ul><ul><li>This is not a general disability advocacy paper </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited scope </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Games must be as accessible to the disabled as other media is </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>lack of discourse on social construction model </li></ul><ul><li>ideologies influence our perception, including of the human form </li></ul><ul><li>linguistic constructivism viewpoint </li></ul><ul><li>the “sign” (our perception) precedes the “body” (the object) in a hierarchy of signification </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Games impact the… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>self- identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social spheres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>coping mechanisms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… of users with mobility, orientation, and/or neurological challenges </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Serious Games Initiative, Games for Health, HopeLab: </li></ul><ul><li>desire for widening purposes and reach for anyone who may benefit from the use of virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><li>using games as a way to improve the wellbeing of players </li></ul><ul><ul><li>physical and mental challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><li>medium’s ability to compel physical, psychological, and social change </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>“ Doom3[CC]” added closed-captioned dialogue and gameplay cues to Doom 3 </li></ul><ul><li>initially being met with opposition by the larger user base </li></ul><ul><li>looking back, the reaction from gamers to the idea was pretty shocking… </li></ul>“ I don't know why we [don’t] just shoot [hearing impaired] people” “ [first-person shooter] games are not made for hearing impaired people” “ I don't think game designers should go out of their way to make a game with subtitles so that deaf people can play them” (Sefton, 2004). <ul><li>the project’s efforts underline the compulsion on the part of consumers to diversify both the users and purpose of games </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>see failure as a learning experience and not an end result </li></ul><ul><li>(A.D.D.) in kids over the past 10 yrs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>lack of individuation in classroom learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>games in combating A.D.D. and related neuro. disorders (Simpson) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>giving players control over their learning environment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>In late-acquired disabilities… </li></ul><ul><li>serious games demonstrate differential between expected results and actual outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>mental “priming” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>before dealing with these situations in real-world settings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>congenitally disabled can use games as way to feel empowered </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fitting into a well-defined role </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>seeking an individuated path </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>newly-disabled subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Brooke Army Medical Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$50m Center for the Intrepid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>computer environ. increase patient’s motivation, enhances therapy by testing motion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>research at Wash. University </li></ul><ul><ul><li>simple in-game learning exercises for possible control of prosthesis through neural activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>discover realistic implications of prosthesis (Fitzpatrick) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>use of a modified game input device, though these carry some issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jouse (a mouth control that uses “sip and puff” and directional movement) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>adaptive “one switch” controllers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>a person may regain sense of control over body real situations, having experience within the software </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>this “medical model” gives users a tangibility and cause-effect experience often lost in therapy sessions </li></ul><ul><li>significant social implications for its users </li></ul><ul><li>factors into the argument for accessibility in all games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>same benefits are familiar to those not in medical environments </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>access to social and linguistic experiences </li></ul><ul><li>allow disabled users to better </li></ul><ul><ul><li>connect with others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>find place in and navigate a space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>grasp a concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>accomplish something outside everyday norm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>a feeling of having fun, but also concrete positive change for a disabled gamer </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>games also enhance self-concept and efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>allows a sense of accomplishment and autonomy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>may even help the disabled to better openly communicate, particularly self-report (Howell) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>improve person’s resiliency in dealing with daily challenges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>usage of assistive devices, identifying obstacles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>critically adapting to typical circumstances </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>mental and intellectual limitations </li></ul><ul><li>social and competitive communities </li></ul><ul><li>trend in MMOs of more persistent communities -- guilds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>play together at regular intervals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>forming close relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>relaying members’ personalities with voice/text </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>for those with communication barriers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can provide needed outlet for socializing and teamwork </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>morale-lifting outgoing experience. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>friends getting together </li></ul><ul><li>GH/Rock Band , DDR , Madden </li></ul><ul><ul><li>social activity for some who may not otherwise connect </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>devices cannot reach critical mass until medium itself has </li></ul><ul><li>the needs of many of the disabled are specific and shifting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>require tailor-made solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. progressive spinal muscular atrophy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>developers need to adopt standards allowing interoperability and customization of input regardless of gameplay/platform </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>not currently viable for most large publishers or developers to take on process of producing content specifically for this community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>realistically , too costly and risky </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dynamism and diverse needs of the market </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Middleware </li></ul><ul><ul><li>running in an OS’ background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>takes the mapping of any user-installed USB device and emulates target gamepad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lessening the demand on developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>opening up usage to any standards-compliant equipment </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Casual games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>aimed at broad audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>popular genres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>already produced by many firms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>readily lend themselves to such solutions, given simplicity and direct results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>potentially large selection of existing content </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>interactive games in prime position to make meaningful positive impacts to this community </li></ul><ul><li>not proposing that devs/publishers create whole new methods/pipelines to accommodate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>medium is far more adaptable and fluid than anything before it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>missing out on financial benefits and growth potential of sufficiently reworking content? </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>potential to empower disabled users in a more substantive way than preceding forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>better interface than “static” media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>enabling marginalized communities to take part in the adoption of the games medium </li></ul><ul><li>a needed step in furthering it as a valuable pursuit for individual users and society at large </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>(Contacting me) </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Mail: </li></ul><ul><li>459 Cambridge St. </li></ul><ul><li>Cambridge, MA 02141 </li></ul>