Bachelor's Thesis

Genderorientiertes Game Design für krebskranke Kinder und Jugendliche

Author:

Katharina Emmerich

Processing Period:

14.07.2010 - 28.10.2010

Abstract

The subject of this thesis is the conceptual design and the prototypic implementation of a social network game for children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer. Not only are those young patients affected in their physical abilities but intensive therapies and long-term hospitalizations additionally make them lose contacts with friends and schoolmates. The use of digital media – especially of the Internet – provides an opportunity of counteracting this social isolation. Thus, the concrete approach of this thesis is the development of a social network game which offers a convenient usability and is to a great extend based on social interaction. In order to create a theoretical foundation for the conception, general design principles of social network games are illustrated in this work. Furthermore, aiming to appeal to as many members of the target group as possible, the game design is supposed to be gender-inclusive. For this purpose gender-specific preferences regarding digital games are examined. Additionally, an exemplary analysis of established social network games is performed trying to gain insights into practical examples of implementation, which will be taken into consideration as well. Based on this, a cancer-related game concept evolves, that includes a chat system for synchronous communication, asynchronous possibilities for interaction and both cooperative and competitive game features. In the developed game Cancerikum players take over the role of a magician, who has to fight against cancer cell-like monsters named Cancerikums and to constantly improve his abilities by practicing and trading with other players. Using the XNA Game Studio 3.1 -Framework by Microsoft the prototypic implementation is done in C# and covers the essential designed functions. Not being a part of the technical realization here, the network connection of the game forms a starting-point for continuative work. Furthermore, the prototype of the game should be examined by focus group tests aiming to evaluate the effect it has on members of the target group.

Keywords: social network games, game design, gender, gender-related game preferences, children and adolescents with cancer, casual games