How should game creators build titles to appeal to wider audiences? For this informative feature
, we followed up our look at kid-focused gaming by organizing game play sessions with older gamers to find the top 10 lessons for game creators.
One preferred feature that our test subjects, participants aged 50 years old and up, cited was repeat tutorials. Many of our players took longer than average adapting to the basics of our test games' mechanics, as the tutorials often skimmed over key issues and assumed a certain level of pre-existing knowledge:
"Unlike more familiar players who would get frustrated and skip these sections, our older gamers wanted the opportunity to repeat the training sessions until they were sure they had understood. Only then were they happy to proceed onto the game proper.
Surprisingly Madden 08 on the Wii scored particularly well in this department. Not only did it provide well-paced introductions to each control method, but you could also jump back to a practice session for the different motions during the game."
On in-game readability, many of our participants found that the text size in games, even on our larger High Definition screens, was often hard to read. Some indicated a preference towards Standard Definition output, as it didn't shrink the text as much, despite the text not being as sharp.
"This combined with the limited amount of time some games provided to read the text to draw some of our most exasperated reactions.
'Wait, what did that say again?' was a common refrain. GTA IV was a prime offender here, with its help text quickly disappearing without any user interaction.
'Find Mii' on Wii Play, however, scored well, as you could bring up the instructions by holding the B button on the Wii remote. It also provided large text on a highly contrasted background, both aspects appreciated by this group of gamers."
You can read the full feature
on design lessons and suggestions for developers looking to adapt their titles for older gamers and their needs (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).