Wii Gaming for Older Players: From Motivation to Appropriation, and Usability to User Experience.

White, Gareth, Harley, Dave, Axelrod, Lesley, McAllister, Graham and Fitzpatrick, Geraldine (2009) Wii Gaming for Older Players: From Motivation to Appropriation, and Usability to User Experience. In: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory, September, 2009., Brunel University, West London, United Kingdom.

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With populations ageing across the developed world attention has recently turned to ways of maintaining a good quality of life for those experiencing an extended old age in those countries particularly those living in supported accommodation. Multiplayer embodied video games have the potential to encourage health and wellbeing, and to improve social connectedness. However the older population (and particularly the old elderly) have not so far been quick to adopt new technologies. There are many factors that might explain this, including personal interests and preferences, ergonomic issues, financial barriers, a tendency in older people to crystalised rather than fluid knowledge that makes learning new interactions more difficult, and lack of suitable training. The Nintendo Wii is emerging as an exception to this, and in particular Wii Sports Bowling has quickly become popular with leagues across the USA and UK with many anecdotal and mainstream media reports of benefits of the game for older players. Benefits from regular exercise and increased social contact could be significant, but there is also anecdotal evidence of some risks associated with playing. In this study we focus on the use of embodied gaming using the Nintendo Wii as part of an Age Concern sheltered housing initiative in Brighton, UK. Using interview with residents and scheme organisers, and examining video footage of game sessions we show the evolution of play over a period of 4 months. During this period we document the rationale behind the scheme organisers' concept and intention, residents' preconceptions about and relationships with technology and play, through to their first contact with the game Wii Sports, regular weekly bowling sessions, and finally culminating in a high-profile, inter-housing scheme competition and conference which were also attended by researchers and local council officials.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Gareth White
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:17
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 17:06
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25187
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