My Avatar and Me. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters
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Paper presented on July 6, 2013 at the conference “Games, Cognition, and Emotion”, July 5-6, 2013 at the University of Hamburg

Paper presented on July 6, 2013 at the conference “Games, Cognition, and Emotion”, July 5-6, 2013 at the University of Hamburg

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My Avatar and Me. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters Presentation Transcript

  • 1. My Avatar and Me Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters Felix Schröter, University of Hamburg felix.schroeter@uni-hamburg.de Conference "Games, Cognition, and Emotion" July 5-6, 2013, University of Hamburg
  • 2. Introduction http://www.feministfrequency.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Tropes-vs-videogames.jpg
  • 3. Introduction http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUMOHSL53L8
  • 4. Introduction 4
  • 5. Introduction How can we systematically analyze game characters?
  • 6. Introduction How can we systematically analyze game characters? How do players perceive game characters? How can these categories inform the development of a heuristic model for game characters analysis?
  • 7. Why Cognitive Film Studies?
  • 8. Why Cognitive Film Studies? • Ecological models of CFS are universal.
  • 9. Why Cognitive Film Studies? • Ecological models of CFS are universal. • Many models of CFS can tackle the video game‘s interactivity.
  • 10. Why Cognitive Film Studies? 10 Grodal 2009: 147
  • 11. Why Cognitive Film Studies? • Ecological models of CFS are universal. • Many models of CFS can tackle the video game‘s interactivity. • CFS can help explain character engagement and emotions.
  • 12. Why Cognitive Film Studies? • Ecological models of CFS are universal. • Many models of CFS can tackle the video game‘s interactivity. • CFS can help explain character engagement and emotions. • CFS models simplify and categorize character perception.
  • 13. Why Cognitive Film Studies? • Ecological models of CFS are universal. • Many models of CFS can tackle the video game‘s interactivity. • CFS can help explain character engagement and emotions. • CFS models simplify and categorize character perception. „That‘s just what I do!“ Game Designer
  • 14. Why Cognitive Film Studies? • Ecological models of CFS are universal. • Many models of CFS can tackle the video game‘s interactivity. • CFS can help explain character engagement and emotions. • CFS models simplify and categorize character perception.
  • 15. Why Cognitive Film Studies? • Games & emotions: Frome 2006, Grodal 2003, Perron 2012 • Games & embodiment: Gregersen 2008, Gregersen/Grodal 2009 • Gameplay patterns: Lindley/Sennersten 2008, Betts 2011 • Game design: Lankoski 2010, Isbister 2006 Cognitive approaches to video games:
  • 16. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters
  • 17. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters basic perception • no object recognition • color, sound, movement, contrast arousal, affective responses cf. Grodal 1997; Persson 2003; Eder 2008
  • 18. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters object recognition, memory matching basic perception • no object recognition • color, sound, movement, contrast ,person‘ emotional associations arousal, affective responses • object recognition • association, activation of long-term memory cf. Grodal 1997; Persson 2003; Eder 2008
  • 19. 17 Dead Island (Techland/Deep Silver 2010)
  • 20. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters object recognition, memory matching basic perception mental character models • no object recognition • color, sound, movement, contrast ,character‘,person‘ emotional associations arousal, affective responses fiction emotions • object recognition • association, activation of long-term memory • situation and character models • temporal and causal relations cf. Grodal 1997; Persson 2003; Eder 2008
  • 21. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters object recognition, memory matching more complex representations basic perception mental character models • no object recognition • color, sound, movement, contrast ,character‘,person‘ emotional associations artifact emotions, ,meta emotions‘, ... arousal, affective responses fiction emotions • object recognition • association, activation of long-term memory • situation and character models • temporal and causal relations • symbolic interpretation • reflection on production and reception contexts cf. Grodal 1997; Persson 2003; Eder 2008
  • 22. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters object recognition, memory matching basic perception mental character models • no object recognition • color, sound, movement, contrast ,character‘,person‘ emotional associations artifact emotions, ,meta emotions‘, ... arousal, affective responses fiction emotions • object recognition • association, activation of long-term memory • situation and character models • temporal and causal relations more complex representations • symbolic interpretation • reflection on production and reception contexts
  • 23. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters © 2008 sean dreilinger, www.flickr.com
  • 24. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters • Gary Alan Fine (1983): Shared Fantasy. Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds
  • 25. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters • Gary Alan Fine (1983): Shared Fantasy. Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds primary frame (reality) social context
  • 26. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters • Gary Alan Fine (1983): Shared Fantasy. Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds primary frame (reality) social context game frame (game context) rules, goals
  • 27. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters • Gary Alan Fine (1983): Shared Fantasy. Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds primary frame (reality) social context fictional frame (socio-dramatic frame) rules of the fictional world, make-believekeying game frame (game context) rules, goals
  • 28. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters Salen/Zimmerman 2004 Ermi/Mäyrä 2005 Linderoth 2005 Lindley/Sennersten 2008 Thon 2008 Ekman/Lankoski 2009 Calleja 2011 Perron 2012 character player person imaginative immersion challenge-based immersion --- fictive character equipment presentation of self story schemas gameplay schemas --- narrative Immersion ludic immersion social immersion narrative comprehension goal-driven evaluation --- narrative involvement ludic involvement shared involvement fiction emotions gameplay emotions --- „Three-fold framing of player consciousness“ (Salen/Zimmerman 2004):
  • 29. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters Three modes of experiencing game characters: Characters as... mental models consist of... prevalent cognitive processes prevalent emotions fictional beings body, mind, sociality of a fictional character narrative comprehension fiction emotions narrative mode
  • 30. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters Three modes of experiencing game characters: Characters as... mental models consist of... prevalent cognitive processes prevalent emotions fictional beings game pieces body, mind, sociality of a fictional character game mechanics, ‘ludic‘ properties, character-related goals narrative comprehension goal-driven evaluation, problem-solving, strategic planning fiction emotions gameplay emotions narrative mode ludic mode
  • 31. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters Three modes of experiencing game characters: Characters as... mental models consist of... prevalent cognitive processes prevalent emotions fictional beings game pieces avatars body, mind, sociality of a fictional character game mechanics, ‘ludic‘ properties, character-related goals ‘social‘ attributes of avatar/ player, real-life interactions narrative comprehension goal-driven evaluation, problem-solving, strategic planning mentalizing, social attribution fiction emotions gameplay emotions ‘social‘ emotions narrative mode ludic mode communicative mode
  • 32. Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters object recognition, memory matching basic perception mental character models • no object recognition • color, sound, movement, contrast ,character‘,person‘ emotional associations artifact emotions, ,meta emotions‘, ... arousal, affective responses fiction emotions • object recognition • association, activation of long-term memory • situation and character models • temporal and causal relations more complex representations • symbolic interpretation • reflection on production and reception contexts
  • 33. gameplay emotions Toward a Cognitive Theory of Game Characters objectrecognition, memorymatching basic perception mental character models ,character‘ ,person‘ emotional associations artifact emotions, ,meta emotions‘, ... arousal,affective responses fiction emotions morecomplex representations fictional being game piece avatar ‘social‘ emotions
  • 34. A Heuristic Model for Game Character Analysis aesthetics of the game/ character: music, sound, colors, shapes, contrast, movement, controller feedback, ... body, mind, sociality rules, character-related goals, interaction structures 'social' properties of player/ avatar, patterns of communication/interaction motifs, metaphors, themes, pragmatic contexts... connected to each character aspect? object recognition, memory matching basic perception mental character models more complex representations fictional being game piece avatar
  • 35. A Heuristic Model for Game Character Analysis Aesthetics of the game/ character: music, sound, colors, shapes, contrast, movement, controller feedback, ... body, mind, sociality rules, character-related goals, interaction structures 'social' properties of player/ avatar, patterns of communication/interaction object recognition, memory matching basic perception mental character models more complex representations game piece avatar Limbo (Playdead/Microsoft 2010)
  • 36. A Heuristic Model for Game Character Analysis aesthetics of the game/ character: music, sound, colors, shapes, contrast, movement, controller feedback, ... body, mind, sociality rules, character-related goals, interaction structures 'social' properties of player/ avatar, patterns of communication/interaction object recognition, memory matching basic perception mental character models more complex representations fictional being game piece avatar motifs, metaphors, themes, pragmatic contexts... connected to each character aspect?
  • 37. A Heuristic Model for Game Character Analysis Aesthetics of the game/ character: music, sound, colors, shapes, contrast, movement, controller feedback, ... body, mind, sociality rules, character-related goals, interaction structures object recognition, memory matching basic perception more complex representations September 12th (newsgaming.com 2003) motifs, metaphors, themes, pragmatic contexts... connected to each character aspect?
  • 38. Putting the Model to Use game analysis media effects research game design
  • 39. Putting the Model to Use: Game Analysis • Example: How to analyze Menschenbilder ('images of human nature') in video games?
  • 40. Putting the Model to Use: Game Analysis • Example: How to analyze Menschenbilder ('images of human nature') in video games? Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)
  • 41. Putting the Model to Use: Game Analysis • Example: How to analyze Menschenbilder ('images of human nature') in video games? Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) The Last of Us (2013)
  • 42. Putting the Model to Use: Game Analysis • Example: How to analyze Menschenbilder ('images of human nature') in video games? Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) The Last of Us (2013) Bioshock (2007)
  • 43. Putting the Model to Use: Game Analysis • Example: How to analyze Menschenbilder ('images of human nature') in video games? Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)
  • 44. Putting the Model to Use: Game Analysis • Example: How to analyze Menschenbilder ('images of human nature') in video games? Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)
  • 45. Putting the Model to Use: Media Effects • Example: cultivation effects and content analysis
  • 46. Putting the Model to Use: Media Effects • Example: cultivation effects and content analysis Jansz/Martis 2003
  • 47. Putting the Model to Use: Media Effects • Example: cultivation effects and content analysis Grimes 2003 Jansz/Martis 2003
  • 48. Putting the Model to Use: Media Effects • Example: cultivation effects and content analysis Grimes 2003 Jansz/Martis 2003 Lachlan et al. 2005
  • 49. Putting the Model to Use: Media Effects • Example: cultivation effects and content analysis Grimes 2003 Jansz/Martis 2003 Lachlan et al. 2005 Thompson/ Haninger 2001
  • 50. Putting the Model to Use: Media Effects • Example: cultivation effects and content analysis Grimes 2003 Jansz/Martis 2003 Lachlan et al. 2005 Malliet 2007 Thompson/ Haninger 2001
  • 51. Putting the Model to Use: Game Design • Example: eliciting emotions in game design
  • 52. gameplay emotions emotional associations artifact emotions, ,meta emotions‘, ... arousal, affective responses fiction emotions ‘social‘ emotions Putting the Model to Use: Game Design • Example: eliciting emotions in game design
  • 53. gameplay emotions emotional associations arousal, affective responses fiction emotions ‘social‘ emotions Putting the Model to Use: Game Design Solarski 2012
  • 54. gameplay emotions emotional associations arousal, affective responses fiction emotions Putting the Model to Use: Game Design Moore 2011 Team Fortress 2 (2007)
  • 55. gameplay emotions emotional associations arousal, affective responses fiction emotions Putting the Model to Use: Game Design artifact emotions, ,meta emotions‘, ... The Last of Us (2013)
  • 56. Summary • CFS can by adapted for a cognitive theory of game characters. • Such a theory can inform the categories of game character analysis. • The „three-fold framing of player consciousness“ is a useful heuristic concept.
  • 57. References • Betts, Tom (2011): "Pattern Recognition: Gameplay as Negotiating Procedural Form". In: Proceedings of Digra 2011 Conference: Think Design Play. • Calleja, Gordon (2011): In-Game. From Immersion to Incorporation. Cambridge, MA, London: MIT Press. • Eder, Jens (2008): Die Figur im Spiel. Marburg: Schüren. • Ekman, Ingmer / Lankoski, Petri (2009): "Hair- Raising Entertainment. Emotions, Sound, and Structure in Silent Hill 2 and Fatal Frame". In: Perron, Bernard (Ed.): Horror Video Games. Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play. Jefferson, NC, London: McFarland & Co., pp. 181–199. • Ermi, Laura; Mäyrä, Frans (2005): "Fundamental Components of the Gameplay Experience. Analysing Immersion." In: Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play. Online: http://www.digra.org/dl/db/ 06276.41516.pdf. • Fine, Gary A. (1983): Shared Fantasy. Role- Playing Games as Social Worlds. Chicago, IL, London: The University of Chicago Press. • Frome, Jonathan (2006): Why Films Make Us Cry But Video Games Don’t: Emotions in Traditional and Interactive Media. Madison, WI, University of Wisconsin-Madison, dissertation. • Gregersen, Andreas L. (2008): Core Cognition and Embodied Agency in Gaming: Towards a Framework for Analysing Structure and Function of Computer Games. Kopenhagen, Kobenhavns Universitet, dissertation. • Gregersen, Andreas L. / Grodal, Torben (2009): "Embodiment and Interface". In: Perron, Bernard / Wolf, Mark J. P. (Eds.): The Video Game Theory Reader 2. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 65–83. 55 • Grimes, Sara M. (2003): „,You Shoot Like A Girl!‘: The Female Protagonist Action- Adventure Video Games“. In: Level Up Conference Proceedings, Utrecht: University of Utrecht. Online: http://www.digra.org/dl/db/ 05150.01496.pdf. • Grodal, Torben (1997): Moving Pictures: A New Theory of Film Genres, Feelings, and Cognition. Oxford: Clarendon Press. • Grodal, Torben (2003): "Stories for Eye, Ear, and Muscles: Video Games, Media, and Embodied Experiences". In: Wolf, Mark J. P. / Perron, Bernard (Eds.): The Video Game Theory Reader. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 129–155. • Grodal, Torben (2009): Embodied Visions: Evolution, Emotion, Culture, and Film. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. • Isbister, Katherine (2006): Better Game Characters by Design. A Psychological Approach. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers. • Jansz, Jereon / Martis, Raynel (2003): „The representation of gender and ethnicity in digital interactive games“. In: Level up: Digital games research conference. Utrecht: Utrecht University, pp. 260–269. • Lachlan, Kenneth / Smith, Stacy / Tamborini, Ron (2005): „Models for Aggressive Behavior: The Attributes of Violent Characters in Popular Video Games“. In: Communication Studies, Vl. 56, No. 4, pp. 313–329. • Lankoski, Petri (2010): Character-Driven Game Design. A Design Approach and Its Foundations in Character Engagement. Online: https://www.taik.fi/kirjakauppa/ images/ 05b242aa4f26a8e03f8499599462f5f2.pdf. • Lindley, Craig A. / Sennersten, Charlotte C. (2008): "Game Play Schemas. From Player Analysis to Adaptive Game Mechanics". In: International Journal of Computer Games Technology 2008, pp. 1–7. Online: http://downloads.hindawi.com/ journals/ijcgt/2008/216784.pdf. • Moore, Christopher (2011): "Hats of Affect: A Study of Affect, Achievements and Hats in Team Fortress 2". In: Game Studies 11 (2011), Nr. 1. Online: http://gamestudies.org/1101/articles/moore. • Perron, Bernard (2012): Silent Hill. The Terror Engine. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. • Persson, Per (2003): Understanding Cinema. A Psychological Theory of Moving Imagery. Cambridge u.a. : Cambridge University Press. • Salen, Katie / Zimmerman, Eric (2004): Rules of Play. Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, MA, London: MIT Press. • Solarski, Chris (2012): Drawing Basics and Video Game Art. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill. • Thompson, Kimberly M. / Haninger, Kevin (2001): "Violence in E-Rated Video Games". In: Journal of the American Medical Association, Vl. 286, No. 5, pp. 591–598. • Thon, Jan-Noël: "Immersion Revisited. On the Value of a Contested Concept". In: Fernandez, Amyris / Leino, Olli / Wirman, Hanna (eds.): Extending Experiences. Structure, Analysis and Design of Computer Game Player Experience. Rovaniemi: Lapland University Press, pp. 29–43.
  • 58. Thank you! Felix Schröter felix.schroter@uni-hamburg.de @felixjs www.felixschroeter.de www.cognitivegamestudies.com www.facebook.com/cognitivegamestudies