In this session, three different paper authors shared an overview of their work. Debra Lieberman conducted research on video games designed specifically to help kids manage asthma (Bronkie) and diabetes (Packy and Marlon). The research used an experimental design with clinical trials and found that children’s visits to the emergency room to treat these problems decreased while their self-efficacy increased.

I couldn’t help but think of the book Persuasive Technology which is really at the core of all of these gaming sessions. I’m a bit surprised that no one has mentioned it or cited it…?

In any case, her site will soon send out a RFP (January 2009) that we should check out.

The next paper was given by John Richardson, a college senior and video game designer/researcher who has a form of cerebral palsy. He made a strong case for the need to ensure all of our games are accessible for people with disabilities: it serves as a means for empowerment — for gaining control over one’s body. This is complex and challenging because a disability for one person may change over time (congenital disabilities) and the discussion about disabilities tends to focus on inputs rather than a standard platform.

Is there an organization dedicated to accessibility in games? We need to do more testing; seek out feedback from our current designs…

The last presenter was Moses Silbiger whose paper and research focused on using games to help people move through the human development/self-actualization process. (I didn’t really understand this one…?)