Investigating Perceived and Mechanical Challenge in Games Through Cognitive Activity

Christine Hegedues, João Pedro Dias Constantino, Laurits Dixen, Paolo Burelli

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


Game difficulty is a crucial aspect of game design, that can be directly influenced by tweaking game mechanics. Perceived difficulty can however also be influenced by simply altering the graphics to something more threatening. Here, we present a study with 12 participants playing 4 different minigames with either altered graphics or mechanics to make the game more difficult. Using EEG bandpower analysis, we find that frontal lobe activity was heightened in all 4 of the mechanically challenging versions and in 2/4 of the visually altered versions, all differences that did not emerge from the self-reported player experience. This suggests that EEG could researchers with a more sensitive tool for investigating challenge in games.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Game
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)979-8-3503-2278-1
ISBN (Electronic)979-8-3503-2277-4
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesProceedings of the 2023 IEEE conference on Games


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