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Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)

INTERACTIVE VIDEOGAMES:
ACCESSIBILITY WISH-...
Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)

physical space of interchange and give more...
Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)

click away from starting a game. User autom...
Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)

yoa7.html
Gee, J.P. What Video Games Have t...
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Interactive games accessibility begonapino-com

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Accessibility requirements for interactive videogames, lessons learned in autism practice

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Interactive games accessibility begonapino-com

  1. 1. Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)
 INTERACTIVE VIDEOGAMES: ACCESSIBILITY WISH-LIST Begoña Pino APNA C/Navaleno, 9, 28033 Madrid (Spain) info@begonapino.com ABSTRACT Current videogames afford opportunities for cognitive learning and social interaction. There is a continuous developement of specific games and interfacing devices which are being used as-is in the fields of education. This paper presents a wish-list of adaptations to facilitate people with cognitive impairment access to standard videogames without the cost of specialist designed games. These may take the form of an adapted interfacing device that holds the user's profile, an application designed for the teachers' control of the session, or a set of design principles that could be used in future games, to reduce the need for external support. KEYWORDS Accessibility, cognitive impairment, physical education, interactive videogames Accessibility and Usability, Accessibility Research INTRODUCTION Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that isolates the individual from the world. It manifests itself in a number of ways, such as difficulties in understanding other people and coping with social situations, difficulties in developing verbal and non-verbal communication, and a deficit in imagination, which is replaced by repetitive behaviour and resistance to change. These difficulties in social interaction, social communication and imagination are known as the 'triad of impairments', as defined by Lorna Wing (1996). In addition, 75% of people with autism also have learning difficulties and it is frequent to find poor coordination and other conditions. Although this paper is inspired by this group of people, the implementation of its suggestions may benefit other users with other difficulties. Many adults with autism lead very sedentary lives, reason why any leisure activity they may practice that increases their physical activity is beneficial. The attraction towards technology and the social opportunities afforded by videogames make these also a suitable choice. Specifically, some videogames offer ease of use, simple games, great interactivity and high levels of physical activity (Pino, 2010). In general terms, Interactive environments allow a more dynamic dialogue with technology, broaden the
  2. 2. Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)
 physical space of interchange and give more control to the user. Interactive videogames present an opportunity for social interaction and physical activity, in addition to the cognitive skills learned during play. On the other hand, children with autism enjoy videogames like other children and, at least while playing at the computer, they are not that different from typically developing children. Computer games provide a stress-free environment, which is motivational, allows the child to be in control and provides a common interest with the child's peer group. As a consequence, a child with autism may have the opportunity to interact with other children in this type of social setting, whilst gaining in self-esteem and status within the peer group from mastering a game (Pino, 2006). CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS The latest videogame technology includes Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move and Microsoft Kinetic for Xbox. There are other devices and game systems but only the mentioned will be the focus of this paper. On-line gaming has not been considered here, but the reduced social pressure afforded by the net makes it and interesting issue to investigate further. Nintendo Wii has been around for a few years now using a control, the Wii-remote, which follows the player’s movements. Its competitors have presented new control systems for their videogame consoles. Kinetic uses cameras to learn where the user is, representing his or her movements by means of an avatar. This is not too different from other camera based input devices such as Eye Toy, except for the higher precision. Steinberg (2010) observes that most of the games for Kinetic are similar to the Wii's, but other applications seem promising: browsing menus with a flick of a wrist or play with virtual pets. Interestingly, both systems, Microsoft Kinect and Nintendo Wii bring back the skills children used to practice outdoors in traditional games: jumping, squatting, moving arms, legs, etc. Playstation Move looks very similar to the Wii-remote but more precise, and together with a camera that recognises faces and movements it would have the advantage of interfacing with better graphical games. There are many other input devices such as switches, gloves, haptic systems or voice recognition. Bilmes et. al (2006) have developed Vocal joystick, a system that maps vowel sounds to spatial directions, which allows a user to control a computer or another system using his voice. Even more promising are the systems that use brain waves to control videogames: Neurosky checks relaxation to control a few toys, whereas users can play Gran Turismo with SmartBrain Technologies system which makes the game to slow down if attention wears down (Chapman, 2010). WISH-LIST Problems encountered while using some interactive videogames (Pino, 2010), designing interactive experiences (Pino, 2008) and analysing requirements and available technology, bring about suggestions or wishes that may improve the accessibility of videogames for people with autism. First wish is for videogames that most people play to be enjoyed by people with autism. Those would be the ones that sell the most and keep being updated, according to Gee's theory of videogame survival. There is a self-esteem argument to playing what 'everybody else' is playing, besides having a shared experience, which affords social interaction opportunities. Second wish is that all games follow these principles, which are not new: • Multilevel: referred to include lower levels than the initially designed, allowing for a simpler path through the game, both cognitive and motor. This means that it can be played with a single action as well, the same way that One Switch games work, with a single input controller. • Multimodality: different ways to convey relevant information. Not only verbal, textual or visual, but also 'simple words or images' together with complete sentences or videos. • Experience customization: preset the level and means of communication used during the game. It comes together with user identification, so when the system recognizes the player, it delivers information and set levels up according to the profile.
It should provide direct access to play: one
  3. 3. Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)
 click away from starting a game. User automatic identification may take the form of information loaded on the control or a fingerprint recognition device, among others. • Multisensitivity: different levels of sensitivity of controls to cater for different types of players, with different ability to make wide or sharp movements, being able to graduate the level of precision required. There are already games that fulfill most of the points in this wish, such as Dragon Age Origins, which won the “2009 Mainstream Accessibility Award” from AbleGamers is a good example of multimodality, and with a pause-and-play feature that gives time to process all the information as needed (Spohn, 2009). Kingdom of Loathing, also accesible, which allows players to take all the time needed to make decisions and is adequate for short games of even 10 minutes only (Porter, 2010). As for Wii options (also available for PS3 and Xbox), Mega Man 10 is a 2D action platformer which, apart from providing alternative for sound and colour blindness, offers an 'easy' level which is considered by the fans too easy, but shows exactly the multilevel option mentioned here: "To get 100% completion, you pretty much need to play it" (Myers, 2010). The above shows that it is not only possible but also profitable to include accessibility features in the design of commercial games. Third wish is for games to include an educational view before, during and after design: • Design driven by therapeuthical goals: this is not the same than plain transforming an educational or therapeuthical activity into a videogame. Considering that videogames have a lot to show about how to engage and teach new skills (Gee, 2003), the idea is to participate in the design process and inform during decision making at different stages of development. Goals may range from fostering collaboration, developing coordination, to increase relaxation and awareness of the individual emotional state. • Pedagogical summary: including indications about level of motor, cognitive and social skills required, used and developed by the game; level of attention and time required for the main tasks, summary of basic tasks. • Session interface: application designed for the teachers' control of the session, preparing the point of the game to start at, the level and type of help the player will receive and the level of game play and required input. Fourth wish is for a non-programmer development suite including the following elements: • Input interface: to be used in conjunction with a game authoring tool or to connect to a videogame console. It should facilitate the connection of different types of sensors and control devices, and the definition of its sensitivity levels, so to be able to change what is 'enough' strength or duration to be considered a signal by the game. • Game authoring tool: to develop very simple games that are easily customizable with a theme (background image, objects, characters), types of goals and obstacles, number of levels, etc. This would allow creating personalized games very quickly to those non-specialists who are closer to the players with autism. And the fifth wish is built-in connectivity, so the interfaces described here can be plugged and played without any further development into all the main videogame systems. REFERENCES Bilmes, J., Malkin, J., Li, X., Harada, S., Kilanski, K., Kirchhoff, K., Wright, R., Subramanya, A., Landay, J., Dowden, P., and Chizeck, H. (2006) "The Vocal Joystick," IEEE Intl. Conf. on Audio, Speech and Signal Processing, Toulouse, France, May 2006 Chapman, G. (2010). NeuroSky lets gamers use their brains. Reviewed 26/06/2010. http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-technology/neurosky-lets-gamers-use-their-brains-20100620-
  4. 4. Pino,
B.
(2010)
Interactive
Videogames:
Accessibility
Wish‐List.
AEGIS
(2010)
 yoa7.html Gee, J.P. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Myers, M. (2010) Mega Man 10 http://www.Ablegamers.com Pino, B. (2006). El ordenador como herramienta para la educación de las habilidades de interacción social en niños con autismo: Aplicaciones prácticas. Actas del: 4º Congreso Nacional de Tecnología Educativa y Atención a la Diversidad (Tecnoneet) 6º Congreso Iberoamericano de Informática Educativa Especial (CIIEE). Pp 555-561 Murcia, 2006. Pino, B. (2008). Entornos Interactivos: diseño y aplicaciones pedagógicas especiales. Actas del: 5º Congreso Nacional de Tecnología Educativa y Atención a la Diversidad (Tecnoneet) Cartagena, Septiembre 2008. Pino, B. 2010. Requerimientos de usabilidad de la Wii para personas con autismo. Tecnoneet, Murcia, Septiembre 2010 (Accepted) Porter, J. (2010) Kingdom of Loathing http://www.Ablegamers.com Spohn, S. (2009) Dragon Age: Origins http://www.Ablegamers.com Steinberg, S. (2010). My first impressions of Microsoft's 'Kinect' http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/gaming.gadgets/06/14/microsoft.kinect.demo/index.html Wing, L. (1996). The Autistic Spectrum. A Guide for Parents and Professionals. London: Constable and Robinson.

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