Advent Calendar 2009

20 – Making Games Accessible for Everyone

Eelke Folmer is a prominent game researcher, concerned with game accessibility at the University of Nevada, Reno. At the Games For Health Conference 2009, he gave a talk about his areas of research and an introduction to game accessibility in general. His argument is that games as a major force of culture should not exclude disabled individuals from playing and enjoying the benefits of them. He outlines a game interaction model, where we see different forms of sensory output of games: visual, tactile, and auditory, and similarly different standard devices, such as game controllers, allowing the player to physically enter information into the game system. Feedback and interaction work in synthesis in games, however often not accounting for all possible modes of interaction or feedback that might challenge so-called able gamers.

As gamers grow older the problem of interacting with games may grow (and they might become part of the accessibility statistics), but a large number of disabled people are currently excluded from playing games. This should not be a problem as games in general are about researching alternative forms of interaction and thus different interaction forms should be available in games, some of them may even be included as gameplay modes (adding bonus value to the product). Before we talk about this some more, first have a look at this presentation. Continue reading

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Advent Calendar 2009

17 – Creativity Techniques for Game Design and Game Idea Generation

Annakaisa Kultima is a game designer, game researcher, and very creative person, who works at the Game Research Lab of the Finnish University of Tampere. She focuses among other things on game idea generation with digital games. She uses general lateral thinking and idea engineering approaches to develop game specific ideas (similar to the German company called Zephram run by a former student colleague of mine). As with many idea engineering techniques, it is important to stimulate one’s creativity first, given a question or topic that people start thinking about. In a process of iterative refinement the large array of collected ideas is then filtered according to the more specific application area as in this case, digital games. Annakaisa’s slides themselves are a stimulating, colorful collection of interesting points, which I hope will inspire you as well. Continue reading

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