Managing At Home
Managing At Home is an interactive narrative game that helps elderly patients cope with the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. The game was created through a grant from the NIH and is currently used in hospitals in Orlando, Florida.
In Managing At Home, players navigate a character through their first three days of chemotherapy. Players must make choices about what foods to eat, how often to take their medication, and practice coping strategies for side effects like nausea and dehydration. The game is intended to help elderly patients practice self-care and find small ways to maintain quality of life as they battle cancer.
As the lead designer on the project, my role involved:
Writing and implementing branching dialogue
Working with nurses and elderly patients to identify the specific needs and health objectives of the game
Creating game design documentation including storyboards, VO scripts, and balance sheets
Balancing the health repercussions of choices in the game
One of my favorite design challenges on the project was creating a game flow and interface that is accessible and authentic to elderly users. Through focus groups with elderly users, we got to hear first-hand about their experiences with cancer and include their specific quotes and feelings in the game. In addition. we established the following design considerations for the project:
High contrast text with supporting VO
Large, easily pressable buttons
Simple choices with clear cause and effect
No time-based game mechanics
No mechanics that rely on game literacy or tropes