Exploring the Cause of Game (Derived) Arousal: What biometric accounts of player experience revealed

Gareth Schott, Raphaël Marczak


The function of this paper is to present research findings that ordinarily would never see the light of day, not because they have no value or significance, but they might seem marginal and less significant given the main focus of the research conducted. When studying player experience, there is value in widening the focus of research to avoid attributing too much value to one kind of experience over others. The findings presented here come from a much larger three-year research study into player experiences with games containing violence. The broad intent of the study was to query the strong association between effects research and responsive regulation measures (game classification). The research was guided by the idea that exploring “the extent to which the public’s perception of causal links between game playing and various social ills’ might be ‘moderated or even undermined by [knowledge of] how players actually respond to and negotiate their way through the content and characteristics of the medium” (OFLC, 2009, p. 24). To do this, the research employed a mixed methodology to examine player experience (as introduced in Schott et al., 2013a). The study produced a number of data points in order to characterize the multi-dimensional nature of players’ experiences. This paper focuses specifically on the outcome of utilizing a biometric measure (GSR) as a guide for determining which aspects, from game experiences that required hours of game play, should be assessed for their significance. The value of employing GSR as a textually neutral method for detecting which aspects of a game had an impact on players is assessed.


violence; GSR; feedback-based game metrics; gameplay performance segmentation

Full Text:



Aarseth, E. “I Fought the Law: Transgressive Play and the Implied Player,” in Proceedings of Digital Game Research Association Conference: Situated Play (2007). Available at http://www.digra.org/dl (accessed Feb. 2014)

Aarseth, E., “Ludo-Narratives vs the Meta-Chronotope,” DeFragging Game Studies: DiGRA 2013, Atlanta, Georgia, (2013).

Anderson, C.A. and Bushman, B.J., “effects of Violent Videogames on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A meta-analytic review of the scientific literature, in Psychological Science, vol. 12, no. 5, (Sept. 2001), pp. 353-359.

Bufacchi, V., “Two Concepts of Violence,” in Political Studies Review, vol. 3, no. 2, (2005), pp. 193–204.

Calleja. G., In-Game: From immersion to incorporation, MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, (2011).

Grimes, J. E., The Thread of Discourse, Mouton: The Hague (1976).

Lin, T and Hu, W., “Do Physiological Data Relate to Traditional Usability Indexes?” in Proceedings of OZCHI 2005, (2005), ACM Press.

Marczak, R., Vught, J., Schott, G. & Nacke, L. E. ,“Feedback-Based Gameplay Metrics: Measuring Player Experience Via Automatic Visual Analysis,” Proceedings Of The 8th Australasian Conference On Interactive Entertainment: Playing The System. ACM Press, (2012).

Marczak, R., Schott, G., Hannah, P. & Rouas, J., “Feedback Based Gameplay Metrics,” Proceedings of Foundations of Digital Games, pp. 71-78, (2013).

Mirza Babaei, P. & McAllister, G., “Biometric Storyboards: Visualizing meaningful gameplay events,” in Proceedings of CHI 2011, (2011), ACM Press.

Moscovici, S. “The History of Actuality of Social Representations,” in U. Flick (ed.) The Psychology of the Social, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, (1998), pp. 209-47.

Office of Film and Literature Classification, Public Perceptions of a Violent Videogame: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, OFLC: Wellington, (2009).

Reynar J.C., “Topic Segmentation: Algorithm and Applications,” PhD Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, (1998).

Schott, G., Marczak, R. & Mäyrä, F., “DeFragging Regulation: From putative effects to ‘researched’ accounts of player experience”, Defragging Game Studies: DiGRA 2013 Peer Reviewed Proceedings, (2013a).

Schott, G. Vught, J. & Marczak, R., “The ‘Dominant Effect’ of Games: Content vs. Medium,” Journal of Creative Technologies, Vol 1(3), (2013b). Available from http://journal.colab.org.nz/article/25 (accessed Feb. 2014).

Smith, T., “Watch You Watching ‘There Will Be Blood,’” in K. Thompson & D. Bordwell (eds.) Observations on Film Art, (2011). Available at http://www.davidbordwell.net (accessed Feb. 2014)

Veale, K., “’Interactive Cinema’ Is an Oxymoron, but May Not Always Be,” in Game Studies, vol. 12, no. 1, (Sept. 2012). Available at http://gamestudies.org/1201/articles/veale (accessed Feb. 2014)

Vught, J., Schott, G., Marczak, R., “Understanding Player Experience Finding a Usable Model for Game Classification,” Proceedings Of The 8th Australasian Conference On Interactive Entertainment: Playing The System, ACM Press (2012).

Ward, R.D. and Marsden, P.H., “Physiological Responses to Different WEB Page Designs,” in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, vol. 59, no. 1, (2003), pp. 199-212.

Wilson, G.M. and Sasse, M.A., “Do Users Always Know What’s Good For Them? Utilizing physiological responses to assess media quality,” Proceedings of HCI 2000: People and Computers XIV – Usability of Else! Springer: Sunderland (2000), pp. 327-339.

Zagal, J. P., Fernandez-Vara, C. And Mateas, M, “Rounds, Levels, And Waves: The Early Evolution Of Gameplay Segmentation,” In Games And Culture, Vol. 3, No. 2, (2008). Pp. 175-198.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26503/todigra.v2i2.38
Published by the Digital Games Research Association.