Playing by the Visual Rules: An Ecological Approach to Perception and Video Games

  • Betty Li Meldgaard


A considerable amount of time playing video games is dedicated to the process of picking up visual information prior to action. Playing video games establishes a relationship between player and game that can be approached from the point of view of an ecological perceptual theoretical framework. From this theoretical standpoint, the reciprocity between perception and action is of primary interest, that is, the relationship between the player as perceiver and the interface/input device as an informative environment. In this ecological approach, video games are understood as action systems within which perception-action cycles are nested. The purpose of this chapter is to give a short introduction to the ecological theory of visual perception as originally formulated by James J. Gibson and to examine how this approach can be modified and applied in order to understand the functional relationship between the informative game world layout and the player’s ability to pick up information and act on it.


Video Game Perceptual System Ecological Approach Perceptual Theory Play Video Game 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication & Psychology (DK)Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

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