Developing and Validating a Qualitative Tool for Playtesting Service Learning-Based Accessible Games: A Comprehensive Approach

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4108/eetct.4854

Keywords:

Accessibility, Inclusive Games, Service Learning, Intellectual Disability, Playtesting

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The complex accessibility needs of some players and, in particular, of people with Intellectual Disability (pwID) require greater attention from research due to the lack of tools to support playtesting, particularly those of a qualitative nature and suited to their diversity of experiences and motor and cognitive characteristics.

OBJECTIVES: Recognizing the scarcity of research in media production, particularly games, the study pursues three objectives: firstly, to describe the accessible games developed through a multi-year service learning project involving students from the Videogames Bachelor’s Degree and pwID; secondly, to approach the validation of the Gaming Observation Grid (GOG), a qualitative tool for playtesting sessions; and thirdly, to reflect on service learning as a strategy for bridging the gap between academia and civil society in the context of game design.

METHODS:  The research employed a qualitative media ethnography-based approach involving students from the Videogames Bachelor's Degree. Over a span of three years and six consecutive semesters, 59 students actively participated in a service learning project, engaging with pwID and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the field. All playtesting activities’ observations were based on GOG, with a total of 273 observed gaming sessions.

RESULTS: The development of 18 videogames, spanning diverse genres and themes, prioritized accessibility based on adjustment settings. GOG emerged as a tailored and feasible instrument, valuable in the broader landscape of inclusive game development. In terms of service-learning outcomes, results highlight students' reflections on the real-world impact of game design and development, underscoring the pedagogical value of service learning in bridging theoretical knowledge and practical application.

CONCLUSION: This study underscores the critical need for enhanced research attention to the complex accessibility requirements of players, particularly pw ID, while emphasizing the relevance of qualitative playtesting tools tailored to their diverse experiences and cognitive-motor characteristics, as well as the inherent value of the experience for the students involved.

References

Shaw A. What is video game culture? Cultural Studies and game studies. Games and Culture. 2010;5(4):403–24. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412009360414

Sousa C, Neves JC. Developing Playful and Tangible Approaches to the Gap Between Academia and Civil Society: Inclusion, and Access Through Participatory Action-Research. In: Brooks AL, editor. ArtsIT 2022: ArtsIT, Interactivity and Game Creation - Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering. New York: Springer; 2023: 429-444. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-28993-4_30

Cone D, Harris S. Service-Learning Practice: Developing a Theoretical. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 1996; 3: 31-43.

Anderson KL, Boyd M, Ariemma Marin K, McNamara K. Reimagining Service-Learning: Deepening the impact of this high-impact practice. Journal of Experiential Education. 2019;42(3):229–48. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053825919837735

Lozano R, Merrill M, Sammalisto K, Ceulemans K, Lozano F. Connecting competences and Pedagogical Approaches for Sustainable Development in higher education: A literature review and framework proposal. Sustainability. 2017;9(10):1889. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101889

Coyer C, Gebregiorgis D, Patton K, Gheleva D, Bikos L. Cultivating global learning locally through community-based experiential education. Journal of Experiential Education. 2019;42(2):155–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053825918824615

Tijsma G, Hilverda F, Scheffelaar A, Alders S, Schoonmade L, Blignaut N, et al. Becoming productive 21st century citizens: A systematic review uncovering design principles for Integrating Community Service learning into Higher Education courses. Educational Research. 2020;62(4):390–413. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2020.1836987

Novak JM, Markey V, Allen M. Evaluating cognitive outcomes of service learning in higher education: A meta-analysis. Communication Research Reports. 2007;24(2):149–57. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824090701304881

Salam M, Awang Iskandar DN, Ibrahim DH, Farooq MS. Service learning in Higher Education: A systematic literature review. Asia Pacific Education Review. 2019;20(4):573–93. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12564-019-09580-6

Franganillo J, Sánchez L, García Asensio MÁ, Marquès A. Aprendizaje emocional y de valores en la Formación Universitaria, aplicado Al Grado de Comunicación Audiovisual de la Universidad de Barcelona. Revista Latina. 2021;(79):151–73. https://doi.org/10.4185/rlcs-2021-1493

Bringle RG, Clayton PH. Integrating service learning and digital technologies: Examining the challenge and the promise. RIED Revista Iberoamericana de Educación a Distancia. 2020;23(1). https://doi.org/10.5944/ried.23.1.25386

Jacobs S. Building an education ecology on serious game design and development for the one laptop per child and sugar platforms: A service learning course builds a base for peer mentoring, Cooperative Education Internships and sponsored research. 2010 2nd International IEEE Consumer Electronics Society’s Games Innovations Conference. 2010; https://doi.org/10.1109/icegic.2010.5716882

Jin W, Xu X. Near-peer led workshops on game development for broadening participation and diversity in computing. Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Southeast Conference. 2019; https://doi.org/10.1145/3299815.3314430

Dias CM. Why have there been no great women board game designers? International Journal of Games and Social Impact. 2023;1(2):155–71. https://doi.org/10.24140/ijgsi.v1.n2.08

Passmore CJ, Mandryk R. An about face. Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play. 2018; https://doi.org/10.1145/3242671.3242711

Wohn DY. Gender and race representation in casual games. Sex Roles. 2011;65(3–4):198–207. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-0007-4

Sousa C. Empowerment and ownership in intellectual disability gaming. International Journal of Film and Media Arts. 2020;5(1):14–23. https://doi.org/10.24140/ijfma.v5.n1.02

Westin T, Hamilton I, Ellies B. Game Accessibility: Getting Started. In: Dillon R, editor. The Digital Gaming Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2020: 37-50.

Anderson SL. Video game accessibility defined through advocacy: How the websites ablegamers.org and caniplaythat.com use the word accessibility. Games and Culture. 2023;155541202311701. https://doi.org/10.1177/15554120231170156

Heron MJ. The Sociological Accessibility of Gaming. In: Ellis K, Leaver T, Kent M, editors. Gaming Disability. Abingdon, UK: Routledge; 2022; 144-54. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367357153-14

Salen K, Zimmerman E. The Game Design Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2006.

Winn B, Heeter C. Resolving conflicts in educational game design through playtesting. Innovate: Journal of Online Education. 2006; 3(2).

Kulik J, Beeston J, Cairns P. Grounded theory of accessible game development. The 16th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) 2021. 2021; https://doi.org/10.1145/3472538.3472567

Sousa C, Neves JC, Damásio MJ. Empowerment and well-being through participatory action research and accessible gaming: A case study with adults with intellectual disability. Frontiers in Education. 2022;7. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2022.879626

Neves P, Fernandes P, Nunes I, Fonseca M, Lopes P. Early playtesting with clients and therapists of more game-like therapy. 2023 IEEE Conference on Games (CoG). 2023; https://doi.org/10.1109/cog57401.2023.10333132

Phan MH, Keebler JR, Chaparro BS. The development and validation of the game user experience satisfaction scale (GUESS). Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. 2016;58(8):1217–47. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720816669646

Wiebe EN, Lamb A, Hardy M, Sharek D. Measuring engagement in video game-based environments: Investigation of the user engagement scale. Computers in Human Behavior. 2014;32:123–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.12.001

de Haas C, Grace J, Hope J, Nind M. Doing research inclusively: Understanding what it means to do research with and alongside people with profound intellectual disabilities. Social Sciences. 2022;11(4):159. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11040159

Jones KE, Ben-David S, Hole R. Are individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities included in research? A review of the literature. Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 2019;7(2):99–119. https://doi.org/10.1080/23297018.2019.1627571

Sousa C, Cardoso D, Costa C, Tyner K. Making Games, Making Literacy: A case-study in Formal Educational Contexts. ECGBL 2018 Proceedings. 2018: 608-615.

Murphy PD. Locating Media Ethnography. In: Nightingale V, editor. The Handbook of Media Audiences. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; 2011: 380-401.

Fisher ES. Cultural humility as a form of social justice: Promising Practices for Global School Psychology Training. School Psychology International. 2019;41(1):53–66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034319893097

Mtawa N, Fongwa S, Wilson-Strydom M. Enhancing graduate employability attributes and capabilities formation: A service-learning approach. Teaching in Higher Education. 2019;26(5):679–95. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2019.1672150

Showstack R. Audiovisual assignments as service-learning for social justice in Latinx Communities. Spanish as a Heritage Language. 2022;2(1). https://doi.org/10.5744/shl.2022.1005

Downloads

Published

15-01-2024

How to Cite

1.
Neves JC, Sousa C, Casimiro C. Developing and Validating a Qualitative Tool for Playtesting Service Learning-Based Accessible Games: A Comprehensive Approach. EAI Endorsed Trans Creat Tech [Internet]. 2024 Jan. 15 [cited 2024 Feb. 22];10. Available from: https://publications.eai.eu/index.php/ct/article/view/4854

Funding data