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Research
Wii Like to Play Too: Computer Gaming Habits of Older Adults

This thesis introduces the innovative idea of the use of computer games and interactive entertainment by second-and third-age adults, specifically in the area of game content and interaction.  This form of entertainment and technologies has become varied recently, with increased and widening participation of groups such as older adults of differing ages.  The purposes of using technology involve well-being, intergenerational relationships and learning; these are some aspects primarily associated with the study of gerontology and game studies.

This investigation encompassed two phases.  Phase One examined the type of computer games older adults would like to play relating to hobbies, dreams and interests.  Qualitative and quantitative data was collected in a step-by-step approach enabling participants to design their own game idea in an informal, jargon-free environment allowing for ease of understanding and coherence.  Phase Two of the investigation involved older adults playing one of two consoles (Wii and PS-2).  The games chosen were from the sports genre (golf, tennis and boxing) and were required to play for 15 minutes each.  Results from Phase One indicated that participants were able to devise and design a number of game genres, and having prior knowledge of gaming did not necessarily aid when trying to design a game concept.  Results from Phase Two indicated participants’ playing on the Wii was easier due to the nature of the console pad, rather than the traditional game pad used on the PS-2.  Qualitative and quantitative data analysis showed that the interaction mechanism was far more influential on participants’ experience of flow than content.

Extensive technological developments have enabled audiences in recent years to interact with gaming platforms easier than before, using motion sensor and natural body movement during game play.  Preliminary design guidelines established from this investigation stipulate a multitude of aspects relating to interaction and content to enhance the experience of gaming for older adults. 

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