Papers on neuroaesthetics seem, at first glance, seem to be interesting. I need to take more detailed look on these:

Goals, Affects, and Empathy in Games

To be presented at
The paper available on conference web site
Version on my site contains few typo corrections
EDIT: An extended and much revised version of this paper was published in The Philosophy  of Computer Games with the title Computer Games and Emotions.

Petri Lankoski
University of Art and Design Helsinki

Mette Hjort and Sue Laver notes:

It is generally assumed that art and emotion are inextricably linked, as is shown by even the most cursory account of the history of critical thinking about music, painting, literature, or theatre. [1]

The same goes with games, whether one see games as art or not: aesthetics and affective experience of a game are connected. Affects are the basic building block of experience. Furthermore, the important function of affects in games is to guide decision-making and attention. [2] In this sense, goals are vital part of games as they give basis for decision-making: The goals give means to reason and decide which outcome is more advantageous in a given situation. Without preferred outcome, the decisions are meaningless. Affects are also important in social domain�when we are interacting with others. [3] It seems that affects, especially empathy with characters, are also crucial in engaging with film and literary fiction. [4] As a starting point, I assume that this is also a case with games with anthropomorphic characters, entities that get categorized as persons. (Typical features that trigger categorizations as a person include: discrete human body, intentional states like goals, affects, persistent attributes or traits, self-impelled actions, and self-awareness and self-interpretation.) [5]

Continue reading “Goals, Affects, and Empathy in Games”

“Investigating the Affects of Music on Emotion in Games” by Moffat & Kiegler

  • N=15, Three random groups (N=5), 11 male, 4 female, aged between 18 and 26.
  • They were evaluating two Alan Wake trailers in the study with different types of music.
  • Study was about comparison of affects when viewing of the clip with different music (group1: silence, clip 1, and fearful, clip 2; g2 sad and aggressive; g3: happy and fearful).
  • Participants labeled their affects and study indicates that background music influenced labeling in statistically significantly.
  • Skin conductivity,heart rate, and pupil-range indications measured corresponded to the reported affects.
  • Study was also addressing to the question whether music influenced player’s thinking: especially aggressive music made participant infer situation differently (question used here was something like: “Alan Wake have gun in his coat pocket, agree-disagree).
  • They state: “An inappropriate piece of music can kill the experience for the player”, which seem intuitively correct.
  • However, the study does not address whether playing the game would change the results; there might be differences between concentrating on clip and concentrating on making decisions (especially if cognitive load of playing is high).

Moffat & Kiegler. 2006. Investigating the Affects of Music on Emotion in Games. Presented at Audio Mostly Games, Piteaå, Sweden (October 11 – 12). Available

Papers on Role-Playing Games

I noticed some new papers on role-playing games:

On the Role of the Die: A brief ludologic study of pen-and-paper roleplaying games and their rules. Game Studies 6(1).

by Joris Dormans

Pen-and-paper roleplaying games, like computer games, are in their essence rule-based simulation “engines” that facilitate playful interaction. These similarities make it possible to take some theoretical concepts and notions developed for computer games and use them to study roleplaying games.

Communication in Multi-Player Role Playing Games – The Effect of Medium in Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment

(version available:

by Tychsen, Anders & Smith, Jonas Heide & Hitchens, Michael & Tosca, Susana

The Pen-and-Paper role-playing game is a successful example of collaborative interactive narrative. Meanwhile, computer-based role-playing games, while structurally similar, offer quite different narrative experiences. Here results are presented of an experimental study of role-playing gamers in Pen-and-Paper and computer-supported settings. Communication patterns are shown to vary significantly on measures such as the share of in-character statements and the share of dramatically motivated statements. These results are discussed in the light of differences between the two gaming forms and finally some design implications are discussed.

On Rules (again)

I noticed that there is a discussion on rules in Jesper Juul’s blog. More and more, I feel that there would be need to distinguish rules (as something based on agreement,that comes with possibility to cheat) and system in computer games (that regulates play in implemented ways). If one considers sports, there are rules and the laws of nature that both contributes to a sport game, but probably no-one would call gravity as a rule (see also my entries Games and Philosophical Investigations and On Rules, Game Systems, and Practices).