Meaningful Play for Older Adults Who Play Games

Source: Bob De Schutter and Vero Vanden Abeele. 2010. Designing meaningful play within the psycho-social context of older adults. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Fun and Games (Fun and Games ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 84-93. DOI=10.1145/1823818.1823827

I find this study to be a very comprehensive, thorough exploration on what older adults who play games enjoy in their gaming activities. They identify three big themes, and then make recommendations for game design based on these themes. The only thing I wanted to see more of was how the recommendations are connected to the themes. They didn’t explain it enough.

Three themes:

1) foster connectedness

2) cultivate oneself and others

3) contribute to society

6 Recommendations for game design – Help older players to…

  1. Find the right playing partner
  2. Engage in vicarious play (over the shoulder, but no controller)
  3. Manage their time, because unlike younger players, they have other demands on their time
  4. Engage in languages other than English, or, to understand English-based games
  5. Share high scores
  6. Balance teams, so that inter-generational play can be more fun



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