Advertisement

The Computer Games Journal

, Volume 6, Issue 1–2, pp 63–79 | Cite as

Fun Versus Meaningful Video Game Experiences: A Qualitative Analysis of User Responses

  • Ryan Rogers
  • Julia Woolley
  • Brett Sherrick
  • Nicholas David Bowman
  • Mary Beth Oliver
Article

Abstract

Emerging research on video games has suggested that feelings of both enjoyment and meaningfulness can be elicited from gameplay. Studies have shown enjoyment and meaningfulness evaluations to be associated with discrete elements of video games (ratings of gameplay and narrative, respectively), but have relied on closed-end data analysis. The current study analyzed participants’ open-ended reviews of either their “most fun” or “most meaningful” video game experience (N = 575, randomly assigned to either condition). Results demonstrated that “fun” games were explained in terms of gameplay mechanics, and “meaningful” games were explained in terms of connections with players and in-game characters.

Keywords

Video games Meaningfulness Enjoyment Eudaimonia Needs gratification 

References

  1. Banks, J., & Bowman, N. D. (2014). The win, the worth, and the work of play: Exploring phenomenal entertainment values in online gaming experiences. Proceedings of meaningful play 2014. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.Google Scholar
  2. Bartsch, A., & Oliver, M. B. (2011). Making sense of entertainment: On the interplay of emotion and cognition in the entertainment experience. Journal of Media Psychology, 23(1), 12–17. doi: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartsch, A., Kalch, A., & Oliver, M. B. (2014). Moved to think: The role of emotional media experiences in stimulating reflective thoughts. Journal of Media Psychology, 26(3), 125–140. doi: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartsch, A., & Schneider, F. M. (2014). Entertainment and politics revisited: How non-escapist forms of entertainment can stimulate political interest and information seeking. Journal of Communication, 64(3), 369–396. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowman, N. D. (2016). Video gaming as co-production. In R. Lind (Ed.), Produsing 2.0: The intersection of audiences and production in a digital world (Vol. 2, pp. 107–123). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Bowman, N. D., & Banks, J. (2016). Playing the zombie author: Machinima through the lens of Barthes. In K. Kenney (Ed.), Philosophy for multisensory communication (pp. 214–218). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  7. Bowman, N. D., Oliver, M. B., Rogers, R., Sherrick, B. I., Woolley, J., & Chung, M.-Y. (2016). “In control or in their shoes”: How character attachment differentially influences video game enjoyment and appreciation. Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, 8(1), 83–99. doi: 10.1386/jgvw.8.1.83_1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J. (2001). Defining identification: A theoretical look at the identification of audiences with media characters. Mass Communication and Society, 4(3), 245–264. doi: 10.1207/s15327825mcs0403_01.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York, NY: HarperPerennial.Google Scholar
  10. Davenport, J. (2016). That Dragon, cancer review. PCGamer.com http://www.pcgamer.com/that-dragon-cancer-review/
  11. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and selfdetermination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Schutter, B., & Vanden Abeele, V. (2010). Designing meaningful play within the psycho-social context of older adults. In Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on fun and games (pp. 84–93). ACM.Google Scholar
  14. Domahidi, E., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2014). To dwell among gamers: Investigating the relationship between social online game use and gaming-related friendships. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 107–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grizzard, M., Tamborini, R., Lewis, R. J., Wang, L., & Prabhu, S. (2014). Being bad in a video game can make us morally sensitive. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking., 17(8), 499–504. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2013.0658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hartmann, T., Toz, E., & Brandon, M. (2010). Just a game? Unjustified virtual violence produces guilt in empathetic players. Media Psychology, 13(4), 339–363. doi: 10.1080/15213269.2010.524912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Huizinga, J. (2014). Homo Ludens Ils 86. Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. IJsselsteijn, W., De Kort, Y., Poels, K., Jurgelionis, A., & Bellotti, F. (2007). Characterising and measuring user experiences in digital games. In International conference on advances in computer entertainment technology (Vol. 2, p. 27).Google Scholar
  19. IJsselsteijn, W., de Kort, Y., Midden, C., Eggen, B., & van den Hoven, E. (2006). Persuasive technology for human well-being: setting the scene. In International conference on persuasive technology (pp. 1–5). Springer, Berlin.Google Scholar
  20. IJsselsteijn, W., Van Den Hoogen, W., Klimmt, C., De Kort, Y., Lindley, C., Mathiak, K., et al. (2008). Measuring the experience of digital game enjoyment. In Proceedings of measuring behavior (pp. 88–89). Wageningen: Noldus Information Tecnology.Google Scholar
  21. Kivikangas, J. M. (2006). Psychophysiology of flow experience: An explorative study (Doctoral dissertation, Helsingin yliopisto).Google Scholar
  22. Kelly, K. (2012). Sid Meier—the art of making interesting decisions. G4tv.com. Retrieved from http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/721686/sid-meier-the-art-of-making-interesting-decisions/
  23. Klimmt, C., Hefner, D., & Voderer, P. (2009). The video game experience as “true” identification: A theory of enjoyable alterations of players’ self-perception. Communication Theory, 19(4), 351–373. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2009.01347.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lee, K. M. (2004). Presence, explicated. Communication Theory, 14, 27–50. doi: 10.1093/ct/14.1.27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marston, H. R., Kroll, M., Fink, D., & Gschwind, Y. J. (2016). Flow experience of older adults using the iStoppFalls exergame. Games and Culture, 11(1–2), 201–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Meretzky, S. (2008). The creation of floyd the robot in planetfall. electronicbookreview.com http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/emo-robo
  27. Nacke, L., & Lindley, C. (2008). Boredom, immersion, flow: A pilot study investigating player experience. In IADIS international conference gaming 2008: Design for engaging experience and social interaction. IADIS Press.Google Scholar
  28. Oliver, M. B. (2008). Tender affective states as predictors of entertainment preference. Journal of Communication, 58, 40–61. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2007.00373.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Oliver, M. B., & Bartsch, A. (2010). Appreciation as audience response: Exploring entertainment gratifications beyond hedonism. Human Communication Research, 36(1), 53–81. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1993.tb00304.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Oliver, M. B., & Hartmann, T. (2010). Exploring the role of meaningful experiences in users’ appreciation of “good movies”. Projections the Journal for Movies and Mind, 4(2), 128–150. doi: 10.3167/proj.2010.040208.Google Scholar
  31. Oliver, M. B., & Raney, A. A. (2011). Entertainment as pleasurable and meaningful: Identifying hedonic and eudaimonic motivations for entertainment consumption. Journal of Communication, 61, 984–1004. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01585.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Oliver, M. B., Hartmann, T., & Woolley, J. K. (2012a). Elevation in response to entertainment portrayals of moral virtue. Human Communication Research, 38(3), 360–378. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2012.01427.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oliver, M. B., Ash, E. M., Kim, K., Shade, D., Woolley, J. K., Hoewe, J., & Chung, M.-Y. (2012b). Media inspired connection with humanity. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Orlando, FL.Google Scholar
  34. Oliver, M. B., Bowman, N. D., Woolley, J. K., Rogers, R., Sherrick, B., & Chung, M.-Y. (2015). Video games as meaningful entertainment experiences. Psychology of Popular Media and Culture. doi: 10.1037/ppm0000066.Google Scholar
  35. Pearson, R. (2014). Grand Theft Auto 5 review. Gamesradar.com. Retrieved from http://www.gamesradar.com/gta-5-review/
  36. Plagge, K. (2016). Undertale review. Ign.com. http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/01/13/undertale-review
  37. Przybylski, A. K., Rigby, C. S., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). A motivational model of video game engagement. Review of General Psychology, 14(2), 154–166. doi: 10.1037/a0019440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sherry, J. L. (2004). Flow and media enjoyment. Communication Theory, 14, 328–347. doi: 10.1093/ct/14.4.328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Spector, W. (2013). Narrative in games–role, forms, problems, and potential. Presented at the Game Developers Conference.Google Scholar
  40. Steuer, J. (1992). Defining virtual reality: Dimensions determining telepresence. Journal of Communication, 42(4), 73–93. doi: 10.1111/j.1460.2466.1992.tb00812.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tamborini, R. (2011). Moral intuition and media entertainment. Journal of Media Psychology, 23(1), 39–45. doi: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000031.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tamborini, R. (2012). A model of intuitive morality and exemplars. In R. Tamborini (Ed.), Media and the moral mind (pp. 43–74). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Tamborini, R., Bowman, N. D., Eden, A. L., & Grizzard, M. (2010). Defining media enjoyment as the satisfaction of intrinsic needs. Journal of Communication, 60, 758–777. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2010.01513.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vorderer, P., & Reinecke, L. (2015). From mood to meaning: The changing model of the user in entertainment research. Communication Theory, 25(4), 447–453. doi: 10.1111/comt.12082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zillmann, D. (1991). Empathy: Affect from bearing witness to the emotions of others. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Responding to the screen: Reception and reaction processes (pp. 135–167). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  46. Zillmann, D. (2000). Mood management in the context of selective exposure theory. In M. E. Roloff (Ed.), Communication yearbook (Vol. 23, pp. 103–123). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Ludography

  1. Bethesda Game Studios (n.d.). Elder Scrolls. Bethesda Softworks.Google Scholar
  2. Bioware (2009). Dragon Age: Origins. Electronic Arts.Google Scholar
  3. Bioware (2003) Knights of the Old Republic. LucasArtsGoogle Scholar
  4. Bioware (2007). Mass Effect. Microsoft Game Studios.Google Scholar
  5. Bioware (2010). Mass Effect 2. Electronic Arts.Google Scholar
  6. Blizzard Entertainment (2004). World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment.Google Scholar
  7. Blizzard Entertainment (2010). Starcraft II. Blizzard Entertainment.Google Scholar
  8. Capcom (n.d.). Ace Attorney, Capcom.Google Scholar
  9. Capcom (n.d.). Street Fighter. Capcom.Google Scholar
  10. Capcom (2012). Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City. Capcom.Google Scholar
  11. CD Projekt Red (2007). The Witcher. Atari.Google Scholar
  12. Creature Feep (2011). Where’s My water? Disney Mobile.Google Scholar
  13. Cyberlore Studios (2000). Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim. InfogramesGoogle Scholar
  14. Electronic Arts (2003). NCAA March Madness 2004. Electronic Arts.Google Scholar
  15. High Score Entertainment (n.d.). Madden. EA TiburonGoogle Scholar
  16. Naughty Dog (2013). The Last of Us. [PlayStation 3], Sony Computer Entertainment.Google Scholar
  17. Naughty Dog (2011).Uncharted 3. [PlayStation 3], Sony Computer Entertainment.Google Scholar
  18. Nippon Ichi Software (2011). Disgaea 4. Nippon Ichi SoftwareGoogle Scholar
  19. Nintendo (1998). Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Nintendo.Google Scholar
  20. Nintendo (n.d.a). Mario Kart. Nintendo.Google Scholar
  21. Nintendo (n.d.b). Super Mario. Nintendo.Google Scholar
  22. Number None Inc. (2008). Braid. Number None Inc.Google Scholar
  23. Pajitnov, Alexey (1984). Tetris.Google Scholar
  24. Platinum Games (2010). Bayonetta. Sega.Google Scholar
  25. Playdead (2010). Limbo. Playdead.Google Scholar
  26. Poptop Software (n.d.). Tropico.Google Scholar
  27. Retro Studios (2002). Metroid Prime. Nintendo.Google Scholar
  28. Rockstar San Diego (2010). Red Dead Redemption. Rockstar Games.Google Scholar
  29. Rocksteady Studios (2011). Batman: Arkham City. Interactive Entertainment: Warner Bros.Google Scholar
  30. Rovio Entertainment (2009). Angry Birds. Chillingo.Google Scholar
  31. Sivak Games (2010). Battlekid: Fortress of Peril. Retrozone.Google Scholar
  32. Slant Six Games (2012). Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City. Capcom.Google Scholar
  33. Spilgames. (n.d.) Bubble Pop agame.Google Scholar
  34. Square (2002). Kingdom Hearts. Square.Google Scholar
  35. Square Enix (n.d.). Final Fantasy Series, Square Enix.Google Scholar
  36. Square Enix (2008). The World Ends with You. Square Enix.Google Scholar
  37. Square Enix Product Development Division (2005). Kingdom Hearts 2. Square EnixGoogle Scholar
  38. Supergiant Games (2011) Bastion. Interactive Entertainemnt: Warner Bros.Google Scholar
  39. Thatgamecompany (2009). Flower. Sony Computer Entertainment.Google Scholar
  40. Valve Corporation (2007). Portal. Valve Corporation.Google Scholar
  41. Zynga (2009). Words with Friends.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan Rogers
    • 1
  • Julia Woolley
    • 2
  • Brett Sherrick
    • 3
  • Nicholas David Bowman
    • 4
  • Mary Beth Oliver
    • 5
  1. 1.Marist CollegePoughkeepsieUSA
  2. 2.California Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA
  3. 3.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  4. 4.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  5. 5.Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations