Games for Life
Catering to a demographic often overlooked in the industry, the Games for Life team crafts games and experiences specifically designed to resonate with players across their entire lifespan. Their creations intertwine meaningful moments and engaging mechanics to offer a gaming experience that resonates deeply across generations.
The gaming industry is seeing a rapid increase in older players, yet this demographic remains underserved. Game designers have not been focusing on creating content for this age group. Games for Life addresses these gaps through experiential research, collaborative game-building, and a continuous drive to empower older gamers to play.
of Americans 50+ (that’s 51 million) enjoy video games at least once a month
growth in the number of gamers between the ages of 55-64
rise in gamers over 45 during 2020
What we do
Through interdisciplinary research, we aim to deepen insights, advocate for inclusive game design, and elevate the gaming experiences of senior players. Our diverse team of researchers brings unique skills and viewpoints to our research endeavors.
Cross-Generational Game Design
We are about more than just recognizing older gamers. Our work is about bridging generational divides. By creating spaces where gamers of all ages can interact, share experiences, and learn from one another, it fosters intergenerational dialogue and understanding.
Lifelong Gaming and Empowerment
Games aren’t just a pastime—they are continuous journeys of discovery, challenge, and joy. They keeps minds sharp, reflexes honed, and spirits high.
Whether it’s mastering a new game, diving into the lore of a beloved franchise, or simply enjoying the thrill of competition, Games for Life continuously creates new experiences to learn and explore.
Brukel is a first-person exploration game that is centered around the memories of Bie Verlinden, the grandmother of Belgian game designer Bob De Schutter. Players visit the abandoned Brukel farmhouse and use their smartphone camera to illustrate Bie’s authentic stories. As time passes, the house takes players on an emotional journey through some of the traumatic events that Bie lived through.
eBee is a strategic board game that merges quilting, e-textiles and game design to bridge the gender, ethnic and generation gap in electronics. The game revolves around placing quilted tiles embedded with conductive fabric on a hexagonal grid. eBee aims to merge the social contexts of the female-friendly experience of a quilting bee, the multi-generational appeal of a board game, and the techno-creative practices the maker movement.
Embrace is a serious game that re-enacts real-life situations faced by cancer patients and show players how decision making can impact the daily life of people who are living with cancer. We shaped the game scenarios of Embrace on the basis of knowledge from two consultant experts who worked with cancer patients for several years.
In the Media
Why the video game industry is making a big mistake by ignoring older adults
Older gamers say the industry doesn’t design with them in mind
Video games offer older adults both physical and mental exercise
Core Leadership Team
Bob De Schutter
Associate Professor, College of Arts, Media and Design and Khoury College of Computer Sciences
Associate Professor, Bouvé College of Health Sciences and College of Arts, Media and Design
Professor, College of Arts, Media and Design
Assistant Professor, College of Arts, Media and Design
Associate Professor, College of Arts, Media and Design
Affiliated Team Members
Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health | Expert in physical exercise for brain plasticity and cognitive well-being
Associate Professor—CAMD and Khoury. Expert in creative coding and narrative AI.
Associate Professor—CAMD and Khoury. Pioneer in scientific discovery and serious games, including Fold-It.
Professor—COS, Bouvé, and CAMD. Expert in game-based training for cognition.
Professor—CAMD. Expert and international thought-leader in design patterns for game development.
Professor—Psychology at Mills@Northeastern. Cognitive Psychology and DEI leader; older adult memory and aging.
Professor—Analytics at College of Professional Studies (Toronto). Psychosocial and mental health research; machine learning and natural language processing.