Computer Games and Emotions

  • Petri Lankoski
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 7)


How players experience games emotionally is the central question in this essay. The answer varies and depends on the game. Yet, most of the actions in games are goal-driven. Cognitive emotion theories propose that goal status appraisals and emotions are connected, and this connection is used to formulate how goal-driven engagement works in the games. For example, fear is implied when the player’s goal of keeping the player character alive is under threat. This goal-driven engagement is not enough to explain all the emotions involved in gameplay. Empathy, reacting emotionally to an emotional expression is a potential source of emotions in character-based games. As such, the visual beauty of the environment and character can be pleasurable. Lastly, sounds and music can modulate the emotions of the player. For example, loud and fast music tend to correlate with emotions with high arousal. The emotional experience of playing is an amalgam of these different sources. Importantly, the emotional experience is not straightforwardly caused by the game but it depends on the players’ appraisal of the situation in the game.


Computer Game Emotional Experience Basic Emotion Aesthetic Experience Emotion Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Media Technology, School of Communication, Media and ITSödertörn UniversityHuddingeSweden

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