I chose the following paper due to my personal interest in the topic of competitive vs. cooperative gameplay. As someone who was an avid gamer in the past, I believe I have a fair bit of experience and insight into the differences between these two types of games, as well as some ideas on how players behave based on which type of game they are playing. I was curious as to what sorts of conclusions the authors had found, as well what evidence supported their hypotheses.
Chanel, G., Matias Kivikangas, J., & Ravaja, N. (2012). Physiological compliance for social gaming analysis: cooperative versus competitive play. Interacting with Computers. British Informatics Society Limited. Retrieved from http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S095354381200046X. DOI: 10.1016/j.intcom.2012.04.012
This article examines the relationship between video game players’ self-reported social presence and their physiological compliance, i.e. the frequency at which players interact with each other at a physiological level. It simultaneously attempts to distinguish cooperative and competitive gameplay, and determine how physiological compliance differs between the two types of games. The authors hypothesized and then found evidence to support the theories that physiological compliance was linked with competitive game, as well as positively correlated with social presence. Their experiment used 21 pairs of participants, who were asked to play Bomberman with each other in either a competitive or cooperative fashion. Participants’ physiological responses to the game were measured with sensors, and they also completed a Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ) to determine their empathy, positive/negative affect, and other elements of their social presence.
My personal interest in this study was focused primarily on the differences between competitive vs. cooperative gameplay. When I saw that the proposed game to be used in the experiment was Bomberman, I was particularly disappointed. As someone who is familiar with the series, I believe that this was a poor choice of game for the study. While the paper acknowledges that the choice of only one game was a limitation of their study, it does not justify why they chose only one game, and why that game was Bomberman. It seems like a very arbitrary choice, particularly since the game has several gameplay elements that may confound the study. For example, two players on the same team in a game of Bomberman typically do not need to interact with each other; in fact, the nature of the game is such that a player would want to minimize their proximity to their ally, and instead put their effort into destroying their enemies. It is not particularly surprising that the study found a higher level of physiological compliance for competitive gameplay, given that their ‘cooperative’ gameplay was not significantly different than a single player experience. Continue reading