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Game Design Guide Book for Middle-Aged and Older Adult Players Helps Rewrite Gaming Culture
The online book ‘Game Design Guide for Adults in Their 50s and Older’ helps to increase accessibility for adult gamers A KAIST multi-disciplinary research team published a game guide to respond to the new demands of senior gamers and expand the gaming market. The guide will be helpful for designing interfaces fit for senior groups as a way to minimize the cognitive burdens related to aging. It also helps readers understand older users’ cognitive abilities and socioemotional characteristics. “This guide analyzed the game experience of players in their 50s and older and converted it into a game design element that can be easily referred to by game developers and designers,” explained Professor Young Im Do from the Graduate School of Culture Technology who led the research. The gaming industry is paying attention to the emerging trend of ‘active aging’ and senior gamers. According to the National Purchase Diary Panel Inc., game play time increased significantly in the 45-64 age group compared to other age groups during the pandemic. Despite the growing number of senior gamers, it is still difficult for older novice players to start video games because most commercial games focus on younger players. For example, older players can feel frustrated if the game requires fast reflexes and accurate timing. Font sizes and objects that are too small as well as interfaces that are too complicated can be challenging for senior gamers. The research team presents how to handle these difficulties in game design considering the visual-motor coordination of people in age groups ranging from their 20s to 80s. It also proposes various game elements such as audio-visual elements, cognitive and motor elements, game rules, stories and characters, social aspects, in-app purchases, and advertisements for senior groups. The guide also proposes a game service model and introduces examples of game prototypes that apply supportive technology. For this guide, the researchers operated the “International Game Living Lab”, which is an open space for creating novel and innovative solutions by converging IT technology into daily life. In the lab, ordinary citizens, research institutes, companies, and local communities formed a cooperative network and actively participated in experiments, education, and discussions for finding solutions over three years. Researchers in multi-disciplinary fields, including computer science, psychology, game design, and gerontechnology, covered various methodologies to understand the game experience of adults in their 50s and older. In order to profile players of this age group, three different approaches were performed: visual-motor coordination experiments, an EEG (Electroencephalogram) test, and a gameplay workshop. Then, they converted the results into practical knowledge that can be used in the gaming industry. Professor Kyung Myun Lee from the School of Digital Humanities and Computational Social Sciences at KAIST, Professor Byungjoo Shin from Yonsei University, CEO Junyoung Shin of CareU, and CEO Minseok Doh of Heartverse participated in this online book which is available to the public at https://wikidocs.net/book/7356.
Study Finds Player-Character Relationships Affected Game Satisfaction in the Last of Us Part II
Research analyzed player experiences with a polarizing game and found differences in how the players related to their characters The action adventure game ‘The Last of Us’ was a big hit worldwide in 2014. However, its sequel, the Last of Us Part II divided opinions in the game community when it was released in 2020. A research team from the Games and Life Lab in the Graduate School of Culture Technology at KAIST analyzed why the game players’ reviews were so polarized and found that player-character relationships influenced the game players’ satisfaction. This study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, will help developers of character-driven games foresee how different players will react to their games. The team under Professor Young Yim Doh conducted in-depth interviews with 12 players from diverse nations, both those satisfied and dissatisfied with the game. The team found that three elements affected the game players’ satisfaction. First, players’ satisfaction varied according to their tolerance of forced character switches. When a player is forced to switch their controlled figure in the game to another character that is introduced as the antagonist, most players initially had a negative reaction. The feeling of being forced to play in a way they didn’t want reduced their rights as a player. However, later on, some players viewed this character switch as an interesting transition and were more tolerant toward forced game play. Second, the researchers found that the flexibility of character attachment is related to game satisfaction. Players who were unhappy about the game resisted building a relationship with the new antagonist character. Meanwhile, players who were happy about the game slowly formed an additional relationship with the new character. This led to the player feeling conflicting emotions, which satisfied players considered a meaningful experience of understanding a perspective of someone initially considered the enemy. Lastly, the satisfaction of the play depended on how much the players could accept a changing character image in the game. Dissatisfied players found inconsistencies in the characters’ behavior and did not accept the new information about the characters. Meanwhile, satisfied players tried to understand and accept the new information and actions. “Previous research on narrative games focused more on the game design than on the players’ experiences. To understand why reactions to the game were very different across players, we focused our research on differences in the players’ psychological experiences with the game.” said lead author and Master’s candidate Valérie Erb. Co-author Dr. Seyeon Lee added, “This suggests that there is no one way to satisfy all players in a character-based narrative game. To satisfy a game’s players, it is important to understand the different players in the player base, target the right player group, and manage expectations accordingly.” This research was supported by the Year 2020 Culture Technology R&D Program by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Creative Content Agency. -PublicationErb V, Lee S, and Doh YY (2021) “Player-Character Relationship and Game Satisfaction in Narrative Game: Focus on Player Experience of Character Switch in The Last of Us Part II” Frontiers in Psychology. 12:709926. (https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.709926) -ProfileProfessor Young Yim DohGames and Life LabGraduate School of Culture TechnologyKAIST
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