Toward an understanding of flow in video games

Benjamin Cowley, Darryl Charles, Michaela Black, Ray Hickey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    In the domain of computer games, research into the interaction between player and game has centred on 'enjoyment', often drawing in particular on optimal experience research and Csikszentmihalyi's 'Flow theory'. Flow is a well-established construct for examining experience in any setting and its application to game-play is intuitive. Nevertheless, it's not immediately obvious how to translate between the flow construct and an operative description of game-play. Previous research has attempted this translation through analogy. In this article we propose a practical, integrated approach for analysis of the mechanics and aesthetics of game-play, which helps develop deeper insights into the capacity for flow within games.
    The relationship between player and game, characterized by learning and enjoyment, is central to our analysis. We begin by framing that relationship within Cowley's user-system-experience (USE) model, and expand this into an information systems framework, which enables a practical mapping of flow onto game-play. We believe this approach enhances our understanding of a player's interaction with a game and provides useful insights for games' researchers seeking to devise mechanisms to adapt game-play to individual players.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalComputers in Entertainment
    Volume6
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    Number of pages27
    ISSN1544-3574
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Cite this

    Cowley, Benjamin ; Charles, Darryl ; Black, Michaela ; Hickey, Ray. / Toward an understanding of flow in video games. In: Computers in Entertainment. 2008 ; Vol. 6, No. 2. pp. 1-27.
    @article{f31c39f79b6a402d8d73f0dc4e7bd656,
    title = "Toward an understanding of flow in video games",
    abstract = "In the domain of computer games, research into the interaction between player and game has centred on 'enjoyment', often drawing in particular on optimal experience research and Csikszentmihalyi's 'Flow theory'. Flow is a well-established construct for examining experience in any setting and its application to game-play is intuitive. Nevertheless, it's not immediately obvious how to translate between the flow construct and an operative description of game-play. Previous research has attempted this translation through analogy. In this article we propose a practical, integrated approach for analysis of the mechanics and aesthetics of game-play, which helps develop deeper insights into the capacity for flow within games.The relationship between player and game, characterized by learning and enjoyment, is central to our analysis. We begin by framing that relationship within Cowley's user-system-experience (USE) model, and expand this into an information systems framework, which enables a practical mapping of flow onto game-play. We believe this approach enhances our understanding of a player's interaction with a game and provides useful insights for games' researchers seeking to devise mechanisms to adapt game-play to individual players.",
    author = "Benjamin Cowley and Darryl Charles and Michaela Black and Ray Hickey",
    year = "2008",
    doi = "10.1145/1371216.1371223",
    language = "English",
    volume = "6",
    pages = "1--27",
    journal = "Computers in Entertainment",
    issn = "1544-3574",
    publisher = "Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)",
    number = "2",

    }

    Toward an understanding of flow in video games. / Cowley, Benjamin; Charles, Darryl; Black, Michaela; Hickey, Ray.

    In: Computers in Entertainment, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2008, p. 1-27.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Toward an understanding of flow in video games

    AU - Cowley, Benjamin

    AU - Charles, Darryl

    AU - Black, Michaela

    AU - Hickey, Ray

    PY - 2008

    Y1 - 2008

    N2 - In the domain of computer games, research into the interaction between player and game has centred on 'enjoyment', often drawing in particular on optimal experience research and Csikszentmihalyi's 'Flow theory'. Flow is a well-established construct for examining experience in any setting and its application to game-play is intuitive. Nevertheless, it's not immediately obvious how to translate between the flow construct and an operative description of game-play. Previous research has attempted this translation through analogy. In this article we propose a practical, integrated approach for analysis of the mechanics and aesthetics of game-play, which helps develop deeper insights into the capacity for flow within games.The relationship between player and game, characterized by learning and enjoyment, is central to our analysis. We begin by framing that relationship within Cowley's user-system-experience (USE) model, and expand this into an information systems framework, which enables a practical mapping of flow onto game-play. We believe this approach enhances our understanding of a player's interaction with a game and provides useful insights for games' researchers seeking to devise mechanisms to adapt game-play to individual players.

    AB - In the domain of computer games, research into the interaction between player and game has centred on 'enjoyment', often drawing in particular on optimal experience research and Csikszentmihalyi's 'Flow theory'. Flow is a well-established construct for examining experience in any setting and its application to game-play is intuitive. Nevertheless, it's not immediately obvious how to translate between the flow construct and an operative description of game-play. Previous research has attempted this translation through analogy. In this article we propose a practical, integrated approach for analysis of the mechanics and aesthetics of game-play, which helps develop deeper insights into the capacity for flow within games.The relationship between player and game, characterized by learning and enjoyment, is central to our analysis. We begin by framing that relationship within Cowley's user-system-experience (USE) model, and expand this into an information systems framework, which enables a practical mapping of flow onto game-play. We believe this approach enhances our understanding of a player's interaction with a game and provides useful insights for games' researchers seeking to devise mechanisms to adapt game-play to individual players.

    U2 - 10.1145/1371216.1371223

    DO - 10.1145/1371216.1371223

    M3 - Article

    VL - 6

    SP - 1

    EP - 27

    JO - Computers in Entertainment

    JF - Computers in Entertainment

    SN - 1544-3574

    IS - 2

    ER -