Developing an inclusive multiplayer rhythm game for visually impaired children
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Visually Impaired (VI) children face difficulties in their relationships, especially within groups. Moreover, it is likely for them to be marginalized and discriminated at school. Therefore, they lack social skills, since friendships create context for developing these skills. Inclusive multiplayer (computer) games can consist of a safe space for the VI children to share a playful experience with their peers and friends, even if they are sighted. However, there is a lack of these games for the VI audience. This thesis aims to cover that research gap, and provide BongoBeats: Tap with me; an inclusive multiplayer rhythm computer game for VI children in order to assist them to collaborate with their peers. The game was tested in Bartim´eus school; a special school for VI children, with 16 participants, who played in teams of two. Through the experiment, collected quantitative data were collected regarding the teams score, and qualitative data through interviews and observations regarding the game performance, the teams collaboration, and the game experience of the players. Additionally, two expert interviews were conducted in order to collect more in depth feedback regarding the game and possible next steps. In this thesis, it was found that the VI children generally enjoyed the inclusive rhythm multiplayer computer game and collaborated very well, in teams of two. Furthermore, it is suggested for future research on this topic, to provide enough and discrete audio feedback, and to offer a variety of choices in levels and songs/genres within inclusive rhythm multiplayer computer games for VI children. Further research is needed to ensure that the VI children can play the game also with and against their sighted peers, and to monitor the collaboration and the equality between them.