Living Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Digital Games and Entertainment Technologies

pp 1-19

Date: Latest Version

Games for BCI Skill Learning

  • Reinhold SchererAffiliated withInstitute for Knowledge Discovery, Graz University of Technology Email author 
  • , Gernot Müller-PutzAffiliated withInstitute for Knowledge Discovery, Graz University of Technology
  • , Elisabeth V C FriedrichAffiliated withDepartment of Cognitive Science, University of California San Diego
  • , Viktoria Pammer-SchindlerAffiliated withKnowledge Technologies Institute, Graz University of TechnologyKnow-Center GmbH
  • , Karin WildingAffiliated withKnowledge Technologies Institute, Graz University of Technology
  • , Stephan KellerAffiliated withKnowledge Technologies Institute, Graz University of Technology
  • , Johanna PirkerAffiliated withInstitute of Information Systems and Computer Media, Graz University of Technology


A brain–computer interface (BCI) is a device that translates the users’ thoughts directly into action. Brain signal patterns used to encode messages are user specific. However, experimental paradigms used to collect neurophysiological trials from individuals are typically data-centered and not user-centered. This means that experimental paradigms are tuned to collect as many trials as possible – which is indeed important for reliable calibration of pattern recognition – and are generally rather demanding and not very motivating or engaging for individuals. Subject cooperation and their compliance with the task may decrease over time. This leads in turn to a high variability of the collected brain signals and thus results in unreliable pattern recognition. One solution to this issue might be the implementation of engaging games instead of the use of standard paradigms to gain and maintain BCI control. This chapter first reviews basic principles and standard experimental paradigms used in BCI training that detect messages expressed by spontaneous electroencephalogram (EEG) rhythms. Users can independently modulate oscillations by performing appropriate mental tasks. Then, requirements for successful connection of games and these BCI paradigms are outlined in order to provide users with engaging methods to acquire the BCI skill. Last, a novel training concept for BCI in the framework of games is proposed. A recently introduced communication board for users with cerebral palsy is described as example to illustrate game-inspired training paradigms.


Brain–computer interface User-centered design Man–machine learning People with special needs Skill learning