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Toward an understanding of flow in video games

Biomedical Sciences Research Institute Computer Science Research Institute Environmental Sciences Research Institute Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials Research Institute

Cowley, Ben, Charles, Darryl, Black, Michaela and Hickey, Raymond (2008) Toward an understanding of flow in video games. Computers in Entertainment , 6 (2). pp. 1-27. [Journal article]

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URL: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1371223#

DOI: 10.1145/1371216.1371223

Abstract

In the domain of computer games, research into the interaction between player and game has centred on 'enjoyment', often drawing in particular on optimal experience research and Csikszentmihalyi's 'Flow theory'. Flow is a well-established construct for examining experience in any setting and its application to game-play is intuitive. Nevertheless, it's not immediately obvious how to translate between the flow construct and an operative description of game-play. Previous research has attempted this translation through analogy. In this article we propose a practical, integrated approach for analysis of the mechanics and aesthetics of game-play, which helps develop deeper insights into the capacity for flow within games.The relationship between player and game, characterized by learning and enjoyment, is central to our analysis. We begin by framing that relationship within Cowley's user-system-experience (USE) model, and expand this into an information systems framework, which enables a practical mapping of flow onto game-play. We believe this approach enhances our understanding of a player's interaction with a game and provides useful insights for games' researchers seeking to devise mechanisms to adapt game-play to individual players.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Games, aesthetics, engagement, flow, information, relational structure
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Computing & Engineering
Faculty of Computing & Engineering > School of Computing and Information Engineering
Research Institutes and Groups:Computer Science Research Institute
Computer Science Research Institute > Information and Communication Engineering
ID Code:9211
Deposited By:Mr Raymond Hickey
Deposited On:01 Feb 2010 16:19
Last Modified:03 Jan 2012 15:26

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