“I’m the leader and I’m going to save the world”: Characterizing Empowering and Disempowering Game Experiences

Jan Benjamin Vornhagen, Daniel Bennett, Dooley Murphy, Elisa Mekler

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

Abstract

Empowering people through technology is a core concern of HCI, yet little is known about how players experience empowerment or disempowerment through videogames. We surveyed 250 participants about their dis-/empowering videogame experiences, investigating why they felt dis-/empowered, and how these experiences related to core player experience constructs including emotion and basic needs satisfaction. While empowering experiences were often positive, and disempowering experiences often negative, we found meaningful exceptions to this, and a surprising complexity in player accounts. We capture this diversity in seven themes. These range from “heroic victories´´ which follow long periods of failure, to positive experiences of disempowerment, which were appreciated for their narrative meaning. By articulating these complex experiences, and relating them to quantitative measures we provide a foundation for understanding of the role of dis-/empowerment in player experience, and highlight avenues for future work. Data and analyses are available at https://osf.io/zhtu8/
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI PLAY 2023
Publication date2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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