Negative emotion, positive experience? Emotionally moving moments in digital games

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Emotions are key to the player experience (PX) and interest in the potential of games to provide unique emotional, sometimes uncomfortable experiences is growing. Yet there has been little empirical investigation of what game experiences players consider emotionally moving, their causes and effects, and whether players find these experiences rewarding at all. We analyzed 121 players' accounts of emotionally moving game experiences in terms of the feelings and thoughts they evoked, different PX constructs, as well as game-related and personal factors contributing to these. We found that most players enjoyed and appreciated experiencing negatively valenced emotions, such as sadness. Emotions were evoked by a variety of interactive and non-interactive game aspects, such as in-game loss, character attachment and (lack of) agency, but also personal memories, and were often accompanied by (self-)reflection. Our findings highlight the potential of games to provide emotionally rewarding and thought-provoking experiences, as well as outline opportunities for future research and design of such experiences. They also showcase that negative affect may contribute to enjoyment, thereby extending our notion of positive player experience.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 – Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Pages2996-3006
Number of pages11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - San Jose, United States
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016
Conference number: 34
https://chi2016.acm.org/wp/

Conference

ConferenceACM SIGCHI Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleACM CHI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period07/05/201612/05/2016
Internet address

Keywords

  • Appreciation
  • Emotion
  • Enjoyment
  • Player Experience

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