The Ab Errantry team was represented at the Meaningful Play conference in October. Our paper was presented by PF Anderson and Dr. Maxim in the Health Games session on Saturday, October 13. We also offered a game play demonstration and testing session on Friday evening, with the expert assistance of Aristotelis Papaioannou. There is a substantive paper that will be part of the conference proceedings when those become available. In the meantime, here is our abstract.
Ab Errantry: A Game To Build Awareness Of The Aberrant And Abhorrent In Teens And Young Adults With Autism
By: Patricia F Anderson and Bruce Maxim
Diagnoses of autism continue to climb, with incidence levels reported as 1 in 59 for 8-year-old children. Persons with autism prefer to socialize online where they risk encountering online predators. Online social environments can be used to the build skills needed to make them more risk aware. The team created a medieval-themed Unity game with a fantasy storyline. In this game, the player/knight needs to navigate past non-playing characters who misrepresent their identities/goals, and who try to manipulate choices and behaviors of the knight trying to complete traditional game challenges (e.g. battles and puzzles). The game mechanics were designed to show common behaviors and linguistic patterns used by online sexual predators: social grooming, inappropriate trust building, and social distancing from trusted communities. Play-testing was performed by middle-school and college students (some with disabilities). A strong majority of the play-testers provided positive feedback and expressed willingness to play the game again.