Exploring the impact of freeform gameplay on players’ experience: an experiment with maze games at varying levels of freedom of movement
Keywords:Game experience, Engagement, Flow, Freeform game, Level design, Serious Game
This paper describes an experiment which aims to examine whether different versions of the same game, which differ only in terms of freedom of movement that incurs varying degrees of freeform gameplay, elicit different kinds of player experiences. Seventy one children aged 9 and 11 from a Greek primary school participated in a research experiment with these different game versions. Post-tests were used to measure the children’s opinion of these games and differences in the appeal of the versions were then attributed to the feature of freeform gameplay. The findings from the study demonstrated that the digital game that offers the greatest extent of freeform gameplay led to better gaming experience than the digital games with lower extent of freeform gameplay. The main contribution of the paper, therefore, is that the research conducted provides some evidence that freeform gameplay is an important factor of positive gaming experience, and as such it should be optimized. This can only be done by considering at the same time the cognitive capabilities and pre-existing skills and knowledge of users, in the sense that only a level of freeform gameplay harmonized with user capabilities can lead users to learn, which is the ultimate goal of serious games.
Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S., Smith, J. and Tosca, S., Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction, London: Routledge, 2008.
Almeida, S., Veloso, A., Roque, L., Mealha, O., & Moura A., The Video Game and Player in a Gameplay Experience Model Proposal. In Proceedings of Videojogos 2013 - 6th Annual Conference in the Science and Art of Video Games. Coimbra, Portugal: University of Coimbra, Portugal, 2013.
Rollings, A., Morris, D., Game Architecture and Design. Scottsdale, AZ: Coriolis Group, 2000.
Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E., Rules of play: Game design fundamentals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.
Rollings, A., & Adams. E., Fundamentals of Game Design. Prentice Hall, 2006.
Rommeswinkel, H., Measuring freedom in games. University of St.Gallen Law & Economics Working Paper, 2014.
Sen, A., Freedom of Choice: Concept and Content. European Economic Review, 32, pp. 269-294, 1998.
Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., & Salen, K., Moving learning games forward. Education Arcade. Boston, MA: Education Arcade. Retrieved from The Education Arcade Retrieved June 2, 2017, from: http://education.mit.edu/papers/MovingLearningGamesForward_EdArcade.pdf , 2009.
Björk, S., Holopainen, J., Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media, 2004.
Rollings, A., & Adams, E., Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders, 2003.
Spector, W., Another Narrative Fallacy: Games are About Choice, Retrieved May 31, 2017, from: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WarrenSpector/20150812/250785/Another_Narrative_Fallacy_Games_are_About_Choice.php, 2015.
Prensky, M., Digital Game-Based Learning, McGraw-Hill Pub. Co., 2004.
Rouse, R., Game Design Theory and Practice. (2nd Ed.) Plano, TX: Wordware Publishing, Inc, 2005.
Caillois, R., Man, Play, Game, . Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2001. (Original work published 1958).
Frasca, G., “Simulation Versus Narrative: Introduction to Ludology”, Retrieved January 23, 2016, from: http://www.ludology.org/articles/VGT_final.pdf, 2003.
McGregor, G., “Terra ludus, terra paidia, terra prefab: spatialization of play in videogames & virtual worlds”. In Proceedings of the 5th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, New York, ACM, 2008.
Bateman, C., The anarchy of paidia. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from: http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2005/12/the_anarchy_of__1.html, 2005.
Juul, J., Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.
Mitgutsch, K., Digital Play-Based Learning. A philosophical-pedagogical perspective on learning and playing in computer games. Journal for Information Technology Studies as Human Science 9(3), 18–36, 2008.
Morrison, A., Viller, S., Mitchell, P., Building sensitizing terms to understand free-play in open-ended interactive art environments. In Proceedings of SIGCHI Conference of Human Factors in Computing Systems, Vancouver, Canada, 7-12 May, 2011. CHI’11. ACM, New York, NY, 2335-2344, 2011.
Carse, J.P., Finite and infinite games: A vision of life as play and possibility. Ballantine Books, 1987.
Abt C., Serious Games, New York, Viking Press, 1970.
Bellotti, F., Berta, R., De Gloria, A., Designing effective serious games: opportunities and challenges for research, International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, vol. 5, pp. 22–35, 2010.
Bellotti, F., Berta, R., De Gloria, A., Ott, M., Arnab, S., De Freitas, S., Kiili, K., “Designing Serious Games for education: from Pedagogical principles to Game Mechanisms”, In Gouscos D. and Meimaris M. (Eds.), Proceedings of 5th European Conference on Game-Based Learning, Oct 2011, Athens, Greece. Academic Publ. Ltd, Reading, UK, pp.26-34, 2011.
Sliney, A., Murphy, D., “JDoc: A serious game for medical learning”, in ACHI '08 Proceedings of the First International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interaction, pp. 131-136, IEEE, 2008.
Slater, M., Khanna, P., Mortensen, J., Yu, I., Visual realism enhances realistic response in an immersive virtual environment, Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 29(3), 76-84, 2009
Qin, J., Chui, Y. P., Pang, W. M., Choi, K. S., Heng, P. A., Learning blood management in orthopedic surgery through gameplay, Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 30(2), 45-57, 2010.
Freeman, D., Creating emotions in games. New Riders, 2003.
Gajadhar, B., de Kort, Y.A.W., and IJsselsteijn, W.A. Shared fun is doubled fun: player enjoyment as a function of social setting. In P. Markopoulos, B. de Ruyter, W. IJsselsteijn, & D. Rowland (Eds.), Fun and Games (pp. 106-117). New York: Springer, 2009.
Malone, T.W., & Lepper, M.R. Making Learning Fun: A Taxonomy of Intrinsic Motivations for Learning, In R.E. Snow & M.J. Farr (Eds.), Aptitute, Learning and Instruction: III. Conative and affective process analyses (pp. 223-253) Hilsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1987.
Bellotti, F. , Ott, M. , Arnab, S. , Berta, R. , de Freitas, S. , Kiili, K. and De Gloria, A. 'Designing Serious Games for Education: From Pedagogical Principles to Game Mechanisms' In: D. Gouscos and M. Meimaris (Eds). ECGBL 2011: 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning. . Academic Publishing Limited, 26-34, 2011.
Malone, T. W. Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction, Cognitive Science, Vol. 5 No. 4, 1981.
Malone, T. W. Heuristics for designing enjoyable user interfaces: Lessons from computer games. In Proceedings of the 1982 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States, March 15 - 17, 1982). New York, NY: ACM, 1982.
Kirschner, P.A., Sweller, J., Clark, R.E., Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry based teaching, Educational Psychologist, 41, 75-86, 2006.
Habgood, M. P. J., Zombie Division: a methodological case study for the evaluation of game-based learning. In: 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning : ECGBL 2015, Steinkjer, Norway, 8-9 October 2015.
Habgood, M.J. and Ainsworth, S.E., Motivating children to learn effectively: Exploring the value of intrinsic integration in educational games. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(2), pp. 169-206, 2011.
Read, J., & MacFarlane, S., Measuring Fun – Usability Testing for Children. Computers and Fun 3, York: England, 2000.
Read, J.C., 2008. Validating the Fun Toolkit: an instrument for measuring children's opinion of technology. Cognition, Technology and Work, 10(2): p. 119-128.
Kirginas, S., & Gouscos, D., Development and Validation of a Questionnaire to Measure Perceptions of Freedom of Choice in Digital Games. The International Journal of Serious Games, Vol. 3, Nr. 2, April-June 2016, pp. 29-45, Serious Games Society, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.17083/ijsg.v3i2.120
Csíkszentmihályi, M., Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc, 1990.
How to Cite
IJSG copyright information is provided here.