#Metagame Book Club
“Narrative Design and the Psychology of Emotions
and Immersion in Games”
Sherry Jones | Games & Psycho...
Watch the Live Webinar!
1. Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design
Fundamentals. MIT Press. Google Books. 2004.
2. Lemarchand,...
4. Nacke, Lennart and Craig A. Lindley. “Affective Ludology, Flow and
Immersion in a First-Person Shooter: Measurement of ...
7. Ward, Natalie M. “Mass(ively) Effect(ive): Emotional Connections,
Choice, and Humanity.” Eludamos. 2008.
8. Madigan, Ja...
The Immersion Controversy
in Game Design
“The immersive fallacy is the idea that the pleasure of a media experience
lies in its ability to sensually transport the ...
“The danger with the immersive fallacy is that it misrepresents how play
functions -- and game design can suffer as a resu...
“The immersive fallacy would assert that a player has an ‘immersive’
relationship with the character, that to play the cha...
“A player’s relationship with a
game character he or she directly
controls is not a simple matter of
direct identification...
“A protagonist character is a persona through which a player exerts him
or herself into an imaginary world; this relations...
“Here they are: poor old ‘immersion’ and ‘immersive’.”
“Their relatives ‘engaging’ and ‘engagement’ are a bit better, but ...
Lemarchand argues that game designers should shift focus to the
psychology of attention (rather than on immersion).
“Video...
“We now know that that’s not quite true,
that we can only attend to one thing at
once: our unconscious minds are always
mo...
“This big change in your visual field has almost certainly succeeded in
attracting your attention to the screen, and it do...
“[Voluntary attention] is the attention that we’re in charge of, which we
choose to direct - which we have what’s known as...
The Immersion Controversy
in Academia
“Brown and Cairns have presented a classification that categorises
immersion into gameplay in three levels of involvement....
“The first dimension of gameplay experience that we distinguish is the
sensory immersion related to audiovisual execution ...
“The dimension of challenge-based immersion is
very close to what Csíkszentmihályi (1975, 1990)
describes as the flow expe...
“The concept of presence can be discussed briefly in relation to immersion
(Slater & Wilbur, 1997), but it is often define...
“Wirth et al.’s theory says that spatial
presence happens in three steps:
1. Players form a representation in their
minds ...
“So, basically, the process starts with players forming a mental model of
the game’s make-believe space by looking at vari...
Psychology of Emotions & Game Design
Feeling of Fear and Game Design
“This is something that I think is vital for any interactive experience -- that
sort of pr...
Feeling of Freedom and Game Design
“Really, ‘freedom’ is not what you get in a game. In Second Life, they say
you can do a...
Psychology of Emotions & Character Design
Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us
“Speech is the most important manner in which the player interacts with
the non-player characters and here too facial expr...
“Six basic [facial] expression categories have been shown to be
recognisable across cultures, and while debate is ongoing ...
Psychology of Horror & Games
Warning in
Silent Hill
Scare Seekers and Horror Games
“Researchers say some people just have the right kind of personality for
appreciating scare...
Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 1
“Research on ‘excitation transfer’ has shown that vague feelings of
excitement...
Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 2
“Excitation transfer theory . . . has also been
hypothesized to give us a kind...
Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 3
“Finally, a third class of explanations deals with the social benefits of
endu...
Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 4
“This so-called ‘snuggle theory of horror’ might sound like so much sexist
non...
Psychology of Envy &
Microtransactions in Games
“Microtransactions are usually low-cost expansions for existing games.
These expansions can range from either buying new c...
“Festinger (1954) argued that people are motivated to form accurate
impressions of themselves and do so by comparing thems...
“When a player of an online computer game uses microtransactions to
buy an in-game advantage, this can effectively make th...
Lecture By:
Sherry Jones
Philosophy | Rhetoric | Game Studies | Game Design & Psychology
@autnes
Writings & Webcasts
Link ...
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"Narrative Design and the Psychology of Emotions and Immersion in Games" by Sherry Jones (Nov. 23, 2015)

Nov. 23, 2015 - This presentation discusses various psychological theories employed in game design to induce player emotions and sense of immersion. The Metagame Book Club is a K-12 and College professional development institution that offers free webinars, discussions, live chats, and other interactive activities on the topics of game-based learning, game studies, gamification, and games in general. Interested in joining us? Visit our website here: The Metagame Book Club http://bit.ly/metagamebookclub
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - "Narrative Design and the Psychology of Emotions and Immersion in Games" by Sherry Jones (Nov. 23, 2015)

  • 1. #Metagame Book Club “Narrative Design and the Psychology of Emotions and Immersion in Games” Sherry Jones | Games & Psychology Instructor | Fall 2015 | Twitter @autnes | http://bit.ly/gamepsych2 Jodie Holmes in Beyond Two Souls Markiplier reacts to Train
  • 2. Watch the Live Webinar!
  • 3. 1. Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press. Google Books. 2004. 2. Lemarchand, Richard. “Attention, Not Immersion: Making Your Game Better with Psychology and Playtesting, the Uncharted Way.” Game Developers Conference. 7 March 2012. 3. Ermi, Laura and Frans Mäyrä. “Fundamental Components of the Gameplay Experience: Analyzing Immersion.” Digra. 2005. Texts in Focus 1
  • 4. 4. Nacke, Lennart and Craig A. Lindley. “Affective Ludology, Flow and Immersion in a First-Person Shooter: Measurement of Player Experience. Loading. 2009. 5. Madigan, Jamie. “The Psychology of Immersion in Video Games.” Psychology of Games. 27 July 2010. 6. Sheffield, Brandon. “Game Design Psychology: The Full Hirokazu Yasuhara Interview.” Gamasutra. 25 August 2008. Texts in Focus 2
  • 5. 7. Ward, Natalie M. “Mass(ively) Effect(ive): Emotional Connections, Choice, and Humanity.” Eludamos. 2008. 8. Madigan, Jamie. “The Psychology of Horror Games.” Psychology of Games. October 2015. 9. Evers, E. R. K. , N. van de Ven, D. Weeda. “The Hidden Costs of Microtransactions: Buying In-Game Advantages in Online Games Decreases a Player’s Status.” International Journal of Internet Science. 2015. Texts in Focus 3
  • 6. The Immersion Controversy in Game Design
  • 7. “The immersive fallacy is the idea that the pleasure of a media experience lies in its ability to sensually transport the participant into an illusory, simulated reality … this reality is so complete that ideally the frame falls away so that the player truly believes that he or she is part of an imaginary world” (450). -- Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (2004) The Immersive Fallacy - A Definition
  • 8. “The danger with the immersive fallacy is that it misrepresents how play functions -- and game design can suffer as a result. If game designers fail to recognize the way games create meaning for players--as something separate from, but not connected to the real world--they will have difficulty creating truly meaningful play” (453). -- Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (2004) The Immersive Fallacy - Game Reality vs. Physical World Reality
  • 9. “The immersive fallacy would assert that a player has an ‘immersive’ relationship with the character, that to play the character is to become the character. In the immersive fallacy’s ideal game, the game’s frame would drop away, and the player would lose him or herself totally within the game character” (453). -- Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (2004) The Immersive Fallacy - Relationship between Player and Character
  • 10. “A player’s relationship with a game character he or she directly controls is not a simple matter of direct identification. Instead, a player relates to a game character through the double-consciousness of play” (453). -- Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (2004) The Immersive Fallacy - Not Recognizing Double-Consciousness Adam and Joel playing Outlast
  • 11. “A protagonist character is a persona through which a player exerts him or herself into an imaginary world; this relationship can be intense and emotionally ‘immersive.’ However, at the very same time, the character is a tool, a puppet, an object for the player to manipulate according to the rules of the game. In this sense, the player is fully aware of the character as an artificial construct” (453). -- Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (2004) The Immersive Fallacy - Double Consciousness of Character
  • 12. “Here they are: poor old ‘immersion’ and ‘immersive’.” “Their relatives ‘engaging’ and ‘engagement’ are a bit better, but not much. We use these words all the time when we’re talking about what makes games great, but do we really understand what they mean?” “Their literal sense seems confusing: When we’re immersed in a game, what are we under the surface of? Are we inside the gameplay, or the graphics, like James Woods making out with this creepy TV in David Cronenberg’s film, Videodrome?” -- Richard Lemarchand (Lead Game Designer of Naughty Dog) (2012) Problem with the Meaning of “Immersion”
  • 13. Lemarchand argues that game designers should shift focus to the psychology of attention (rather than on immersion). “Videogames entrance us by getting our attention, and then they give us what we’d call a compelling experience, by holding our attention. Loosely defined as the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others, attention is one of the most widely studied and discussed subject in the whole of psychology.” -- Richard Lemarchand (Lead Game Designer of Naughty Dog) (2012) Psychology of Attention Over Immersion
  • 14. “We now know that that’s not quite true, that we can only attend to one thing at once: our unconscious minds are always monitoring the world for the arrival of important information. We call this ‘vigilance,’ and it has been studied a lot since the 1940s, because it’s central to some very important jobs. . . . like air traffic control, military surveillance and even lifeguarding.” -- Richard Lemarchand (Lead Game Designer of Naughty Dog) (2012) The Psychology of Vigilance (Concentration)
  • 15. “This big change in your visual field has almost certainly succeeded in attracting your attention to the screen, and it does so in a way that you don’t have any real control over. Sudden loud sounds and motion have the same effect, as do the mention of your name, anything that threatens your survival, and just plain novelty - anything new and different. This is called ‘reflexive attention’ and, broadly speaking, it happens at the back and at the sides of the brain.” -- Richard Lemarchand (Lead Game Designer of Naughty Dog) (2012) Two Types of Attention - Reflexive Attention
  • 16. “[Voluntary attention] is the attention that we’re in charge of, which we choose to direct - which we have what’s known as ‘executive control’ over. Executive attention is one of a group of executive functions, which also include problem solving and the way we monitor our own actions, and it takes place primarily in the front of the brain. The whole spectrum of executive functioning, where we make choices, and take actions, is right at the heart of our craft as videogame developers. This is what we’re talking about whenever we talk about ‘agency,’ but it seems that we rarely talk about what the player is choosing to pay attention to.” -- Richard Lemarchand (Lead Game Designer of Naughty Dog) (2012) Two Types of Attention - Voluntary Attention
  • 17. The Immersion Controversy in Academia
  • 18. “Brown and Cairns have presented a classification that categorises immersion into gameplay in three levels of involvement. Ranging from ‘engagement,’ via ‘engrossment’ to ’total immersion’ . . . . But this approach nevertheless fails to adequately respond to the qualitative differences between different modes of involvement. . . . They agree that immersion seems to have many common features with flow experiences. However, in the context of digital games flow like phenomena seem only to be fleeting experiences, which in turn suggests that they are something different from flow as traditionally conceived. Thus, the flow-like experiences related to gameplay could be called ‘micro-flow’ or ‘gameflow.’” (5). -- Laura Ermi and Franz Mäyrä “Analysing Immersion” (2005) Psychophysiology & 3 Levels of Immersion
  • 19. “The first dimension of gameplay experience that we distinguish is the sensory immersion related to audiovisual execution of games. . . . Another form of immersion that is particularly central for games, as they are fundamentally based on interaction, is challenge-based immersion. This is the feeling of immersion that is at its most powerful when one is able to achieve a satisfying balance of challenges and abilities. Challenges can be related to motor skills or mental skills such as strategic thinking or logical problem solving, but they usually involve both to some degree. . . . We call this dimension of gameplay experience in which one becomes absorbed with the stories and the world, or begins to feel for or identify with a game character, imaginative immersion” (7). -- Laura Ermi and Franz Mäyrä “Analysing Immersion” (2005) SCI Model of 3 Levels of Immersion
  • 20. “The dimension of challenge-based immersion is very close to what Csíkszentmihályi (1975, 1990) describes as the flow experience. Challenge-based immersion describes the emergent gameplay experience of a player balancing his abilities against the challenges of the game in so far as gameplay is related to motor and mental skills. Challenges in this definition can include different mixtures of physical and mental performance requirements” (3). -- Lennart Nacke and Craig A. Lindley “Affective Ludology” (2009) Response to SCI Model
  • 21. “The concept of presence can be discussed briefly in relation to immersion (Slater & Wilbur, 1997), but it is often defined as a state of mind (of being transferred to an often virtual location) rather than a gradual timely experience (Lombard & Ditton, 1997). . . . However, spatial presence is a better defined, two-dimensional construct in which the core dimension is the sensation of a physical location in a virtual spatial environment and the second dimension depicts perceived action possibilities (i.e., users only perceive possible actions that are relevant to the virtual mediated space) (Wirth, et al., 2007)” (5). -- Lennart Nacke and Craig A. Lindley “Affective Ludology” (2009) Immersion and the Psychology of Presence
  • 22. “Wirth et al.’s theory says that spatial presence happens in three steps: 1. Players form a representation in their minds of the space or world with which the game is presenting them. 2. Players begin to favor the media-based space (I.e., the game world) as their point of reference for where they “are” (or to put it in psychological gobblety- gook, their “primary ego reference frame”) 3. Profit!” -- Jamie Madigan “The Psychology of Immersion” (2010) Process of Immersion? 1
  • 23. “So, basically, the process starts with players forming a mental model of the game’s make-believe space by looking at various cues (images, movement, sounds, and so forth) as well as assumptions about the world that they may bring to the table. Once that mental model of the game world is created, the player must decide, either consciously or unconsciously, whether she feels like she’s in that imagined world or in the real one. Of course, it’s worth noting that this isn’t necessary a conscious decision with the prefrontal cortex’s stamp of approval on it. It can be a subconscious, on the sly, slipped into sideways and entered and exited constantly.” -- Jamie Madigan “The Psychology of Immersion in Video Games” (2010) Process of Immersion? 2
  • 24. Psychology of Emotions & Game Design
  • 25. Feeling of Fear and Game Design “This is something that I think is vital for any interactive experience -- that sort of proactive desire in motion. This manifests itself in a lot of ways; the player can satisfy this desire a lot of ways in a lot of different games. But there's something else involved here: creation. Some people get what they want via destruction, but others do it via creation instead. For example, if I am feeling vulnerable, then I get more friends or party members, if you will, and make myself more protected -- or I go to town and interact with people to get that same feeling. By the same token, some people think in the opposite way -- if I kill every enemy in the area, then that logically means I'll be more secure. "Fear" at play. It's different ways of arriving at the same emotion.” -- Hirokazu Yasuhara, Chief Level Designer of Sonic the Hedgehog (2008)
  • 26. Feeling of Freedom and Game Design “Really, ‘freedom’ is not what you get in a game. In Second Life, they say you can do anything you want, but really, there's nothing to do there! That's not a game. In a game, the designer is a "game master", and he has to be thinking about you.” “There's a difference between making a game and making a virtual world and putting it in a package. It's the job of the game master to take that world and give you the motivation to move through it. If you don't, then that won't leave the player satisfied.” -- Hirokazu Yasuhara, Chief Level Designer of Sonic the Hedgehog (2008)
  • 27. Psychology of Emotions & Character Design Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us
  • 28. “Speech is the most important manner in which the player interacts with the non-player characters and here too facial expression plays an important part of listener activity (Schmidt and Cohn 2001 p.15). Most characters do look like they are paying attention when you are speaking to them. Some of this is attributable to the game design showing characters up close to the screen, from the shoulders up so when you are conversing, so you can watch the reaction of your audience in a more realistic fashion. Here again the conversation wheel allows a more authentic feel to the conversation, encouraging the proper interjections and prompts for continued conversing.” (289). -- Natalie M. Ward “Mass(ively) Effect(ive)” (2008) Emotions and Character Design 1
  • 29. “Six basic [facial] expression categories have been shown to be recognisable across cultures, and while debate is ongoing regarding the range of facial expressions shared cross-culturally, experts tend to agree on: ‘disgust’, ‘fear’, ‘joy’, ‘surprise’, ‘sadness’, and ‘anger’ (Schmidt and Cohn 2001 p.5). . . . In addition to these six expressions, there are also other nonverbal displays including the eyebrow flash, yawning, startle, coy display, and embarrassment/shame (Schmidt and Cohn 2001 p.5). Knowing the role of emotional expression, it is interesting to note that in Mass Effect regardless of the fact that it is an entirely new galaxy with a number of different species, almost all characters are capable of human- like facial expressions” (289). -- Natalie M. Ward “Mass(ively) Effect(ive)” (2008) Emotions and Character Design 2
  • 30. Psychology of Horror & Games Warning in Silent Hill
  • 31. Scare Seekers and Horror Games “Researchers say some people just have the right kind of personality for appreciating scares because they’re sensation seekers attracted to any emotional high, be it from sky diving, shark punching, or horror films. Other personalities are drawn to situations showing social norms being broken in ways that will probably never happen in real life. But perhaps a more encompassing explanation of horror’s inherent appeal is how it helps us master our fears. This seems to be particularly important for youngsters, who flock to scary media as an ultimately safe way to exercise their emotional chops and deal with real-life scary stuff. “Watching a horror film gives us back some control,” says Andrew Weaver. “We can experience an adverse event through film and we know that it will end, we’ll survive it, we’ll go on with our lives.” -- Jamie Madigan “The Psychology of Horror Games” (2015)
  • 32. Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 1 “Research on ‘excitation transfer’ has shown that vague feelings of excitement or anticipation can transfer their emotional wallop when monsters or killers eventually barge onto the scene. This is why ambient noises and spooky soundtracks are so effective, though custom soundtracks do present challenges to game designers according to John Williamson, Designer on the Saw II: Flesh and Blood video game. ‘We are required by Microsoft and Sony to allow the player to turn the music tracks off or replace it with the Backstreet Boys or other music of their choice,’ Williamson says. ‘Spielberg doesn’t have to contend with that. Would Jaws be as scary if you were listening to ‘I want it that way’ instead of John Williams’s haunting shark theme?’” -- Jamie Madigan “The Psychology of Horror Games” (2015)
  • 33. Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 2 “Excitation transfer theory . . . has also been hypothesized to give us a kind of ‘Thank God that’s over’ high. Glen Sparks says that “People become physiologically aroused due to the fear they experience during the media event–and then when the media event ends, that arousal transfers to the experience of relief and intensifies it. They don’t so much enjoy the experience of being afraid –rather, they enjoy the intense positive emotion that may directly follow.” -- Jamie Madigan “The Psychology of Horror Games” (2015)
  • 34. Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 3 “Finally, a third class of explanations deals with the social benefits of enduring terror. ‘For males in particular, sitting through these films is sort of a test,’ says Andrew Weaver. “It proves (to oneself and, more importantly, to peers) that one is man enough to handle it.” One twist on this concept even goes so far as to say that media steeped in horror gives people a way to demonstrate their adherence to societal norms about males being ‘protectors’ and females being ‘protectees.’ Your mileage may vary.” -- Jamie Madigan “The Psychology of Horror Games” (2015)
  • 35. Excitation Transfer Theory & Horror Games 4 “This so-called ‘snuggle theory of horror’ might sound like so much sexist nonsense, except that one famous study supported it by showing that men who were paired for the viewing of Friday the 13th, Part III with women who pretended to be afraid were more likely to say they enjoyed the movie and were attracted to their viewing partner than were men who watched the horror film with women displaying mastery of their fear. Likewise, women said they liked it better when their male viewing partners acted tough rather than afraid. Of course, individual results may vary depending on how much the person in question is disposed to conform to such norms.” -- Jamie Madigan “The Psychology of Horror Games” (2015)
  • 36. Psychology of Envy & Microtransactions in Games
  • 37. “Microtransactions are usually low-cost expansions for existing games. These expansions can range from either buying new content for a game (for example extra game-areas can be bought in Fallout 3), or buying in- game extras (like buying better shells that can penetrate armor in World of Tanks). It has been estimated that in 2007 alone, a profit of $2.1 billion was made purely on the sales of in-game items for real money (Lehdonvirta, 2009). Thus, gamers can use real money to change their gaming experience, and for some games they can even spend money to improve their strength in the game by buying upgrades” (1). -- E. R. K. Evers , N. van de Ven, and D. Weeda “The Hidden Costs of Microtransactions” (2015) Microtransactions and Feeling of Envy 1
  • 38. “Festinger (1954) argued that people are motivated to form accurate impressions of themselves and do so by comparing themselves to others. In other words, to evaluate one’s performance, people look to others and evaluate how they rank compared to them. If people do better than others they feel good about themselves (Wills, 1981). However, if others are better off (in something they find important) they can feel more negative about themselves and feel frustrated (Tesser, 1988)” (2). -- E. R. K. Evers , N. van de Ven, and D. Weeda “The Hidden Costs of Microtransactions” (2015) Microtransactions and Feeling of Envy 2
  • 39. “When a player of an online computer game uses microtransactions to buy an in-game advantage, this can effectively make the player better off than others. In these situations, other players become relatively worse off and thus make upward social comparisons that can make them feel frustrated.” (2). -- E. R. K. Evers , N. van de Ven, and D. Weeda “The Hidden Costs of Microtransactions” (2015) Microtransactions and Feeling of Envy 3
  • 40. Lecture By: Sherry Jones Philosophy | Rhetoric | Game Studies | Game Design & Psychology @autnes Writings & Webcasts Link to Slides: http://bit.ly/gamepsych2