From Disorientation to Harmony: Autoethnographic Insights into Transformative Videogame Experiences

Jaakko Väkevä, Elisa Mekler, Janne Lindqvist

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Videogames can transform the perspectives and attitudes of players. Prior discussion on this transformative potential has typically been limited to non-entertainment videogames with explicit transformational goals. However, recreational gaming appears to hold considerable potential for igniting deeply personal experiences of profound transformation in players. Towards understanding this phenomenon, we conducted an explorative autoethnographic study. For this, the first author played five narrative-driven videogames while collecting self-observational and self-reflective data of his experience during and outside gameplay. Our findings offer intimate insights into the trajectory and emotional qualities of personally meaningful and transformative videogame experiences. For example, we found that gameplay experiences that were initially perceived as bewildering or disorienting could evolve into more harmonious experiences laden with personal meaning. This shift in experience developed through different forms of subsequent re-engagement with initially discrepant game encounters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '24: Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Number of pages20
Publication date2024
Article number808
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Transformative gaming
  • Recreational videogames
  • Autoethnographic study
  • Narrative-driven games
  • Personal meaning in gameplay


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