Making the Wii at Home: Game Play by Older People in Sheltered Housing

  • Dave Harley
  • Geraldine Fitzpatrick
  • Lesley Axelrod
  • Gareth White
  • Graham McAllister
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6389)


Games such as the Nintendo WiiTM are being promoted for use by all ages but there is little experience with how groups of older people integrate Wii playing into their physical and social spaces. This paper focuses on WiiTM game play by older people in Sheltered Housing schemes, as part of an initiative to promote physical and social activity in these settings. Using participant observations, interviews and video analysis of sessions over a year we show how older people actively construct the sense of a meeting place as part of their Wii game play and the social processes that underlie this. Through the use of bounded regions and a sense of decorum older players create a ‘sacred space’ around the Wii where they can learn new technical literacies, make new social connections with peers and take ownership of the communal spaces in which they live. We conclude with guidelines for encouraging appropriation and empowerment for older people through game play in communal housing settings.


Wii elderly older people video games digital hearth appropriation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dave Harley
    • 1
  • Geraldine Fitzpatrick
    • 2
  • Lesley Axelrod
    • 3
  • Gareth White
    • 3
  • Graham McAllister
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Applied Social ScienceUniversity of BrightonUK
  2. 2.Vienna University of TechnologyAustria
  3. 3.Interact LabUniversity of SussexUK

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