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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Games as Community Driven Care: A Case Study of Co-design for Aphasia

Kathryn Hymes  (Studio Co-Founder & Game Designer, Thorny Games)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 4:20pm - 4:50pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Summits Pass, Expo Pass, Audio Pass, Independent Games Summit Pass, Career Development Pass

Topic: Advocacy, Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

In this talk, we explore the potential for games as a community-driven, cost-effective, and radically-accessible form of care. We detail this through the lens of a case study in designing therapeutic games for and with people with aphasia, the 2+ million Americans who experience language loss due to brain injury. Game-based rehabilitation is a promising solution to address unmet long-term recovery and psychosocial needs for people with aphasia. In this talk we describe a participatory game design process that engages people with aphasia, speech language pathologists and professional game designers in the creation of three hybrid digital-analog games. We detail methods for facilitating collaboration across language barriers and divergent professional expertise. We also contribute a set of design principles based in rehabilitation research and augmented through our iterative design process. We conclude with recommendations for pursuing community-empowered game design for other underserved populations and explore how game design can be a powerful context to facilitate meaningful change in health and well-being both online and in the real-world.


Attendees will learn how games have the potential to provide a cost-effective, radically-accessible way to perform care through a case study in aphasia games for health and its related participatory design process with deep community engagement.

Intended Audience

Game makers of any background interested in collaborating across discipline to make games that contribute to the public good.