PAX East Panel: Designing to Do Good


everybodycangame_1363296287_600x275CEO of Tinkerstories and speaker at this panel, Angela Chang, is designing a game that will help specific families educate their children with special conditions such as dyslexia, ADD, and Autism. In an attempt to revolutionize how gamers can utilize more gaming techniques and operational elements in controllers to their educational advantage, Chang hopes that this would be enough to inspire even non-gamers. In the long run, this would further help gamers work toward eradicating, or at least improve at their limitations

These games aim to alter gaming in terms of the way we sympathize with each other. When we engage in gameplay involving realistic lifestyle scenarios and at least more than one player, as is the case of Co-OPS, we can develop better social skills. Regardless of disability, narrative games are particularly good choices because they lead you through games that tell a story. This allows you to pause and consider the best choices that are useful in adjusting children to take an active role in finding solutions to a particular situation by relating this to prior and present experiences at a faster pace.

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  (Video Games Help Dyslexic Kids Focus)

Generally speaking, Gamification brings up certain issues however; there is a danger of training a person to do something over and over again. This turns into futile efforts because most studies fail to realize the complexity of human behavior. You may drill information into someone’s brain by excessive repetition, but no matter how many hours you spend doing so, you won’t get this person to gain any meaning out the exercise. Therefore, what this group of experts including Marck Barret, James Portnow, Jake Etgeton, Angela Puccini, and Aj Glasser are doing is instead, they are trying to create games in which gamers with disabilities will enjoy playing as much as any other game where they do not fall behind because of their condition.

The development of games to do well has worked on elements such as the brightness of the screen, the type of font, and the image itself. Yet, most controllers are dependent on certain motor skills that some gamers unfortunately do not possess. Moreover, working on images creates gameplay that is in itself dependent on motor skills. Testing was done on people who are inexperienced; however, the games were not tested on people with an actual disability, which nullifies the study. Here you are making a comparison of people who have never played versus, gamers with disabilities who may have played for years but their skills do not improve as fast as gamers without the hinder. The more you can customize the game the more you can make it accessible for everybody.

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( 2013 STEM National Video Game Challenge)
Some of the ways the panelists will tackle their advancements is to incorporate many options as possible and commend games that use old school visual cues and multiple ways in which to choose in order to remind you of the skills you have already learned. For example, the option between right and left could be easily developed and does not have to become an issue for other gamers. An option can be incorporated, in which each person can choose according to his or her skill. The Wii remote would be a great tool for this because both the right and left hand have an advantage. What’s more, gamers who do not have enough social skills to make it through Co-Op can play the games as if he/she does not respond with the correct social cue. Some extra buttons that are found and/or needed in modern gaming can be minimized in favor of simplicity and so that all gamers can have accessibility. In the fight for access by this group alongside other gamers with disabilities, less is definitely more.

Some of the ways the panelists will tackle their advancements is to incorporate many options as possible and commend games that use old school visual cues and multiple ways in which to choose in order to remind you of the skills you have already learned. For example, the option between right and left could be easily developed and does not have to become an issue for other gamers. An option can be incorporated, in which each person can choose according to his or her skill. The Wii remote would be a great tool for this because both the right and left hand have an advantage. What’s more, gamers who do not have enough social skills to make it through Co-Op can play the games as if he/she does not respond with the correct social cue. Some extra buttons that are found and/or needed in modern gaming can be minimized in favor of simplicity and so that all gamers can have accessibility. In the fight for access by this group alongside other gamers with disabilities, less is definitely more.

Valerie “Corky” Dellacava is Fashion Editor at Girl Gamer Vogue and freelance writer.

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One response to “PAX East Panel: Designing to Do Good

  1. Yes, more customization options would help people with certain disabilities. However, it was great to hear people with disabilities speak up about options that would really help them (e.g. controls to combat motion sickness, inventory displays for low-short term memory). What a wonderful panel for designers to meet and co-design with people who want to see improvements! Thanks for covering the panel!

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