My game research is part of my PhD track at Utrecht University. The research topic is “Game appeal: understanding the variety of reasons why videogames are appealing”. The interdisciplinary project is primarily located within both Computer Science and the Humanities.
My research focuses on the question why people play games. This is a very broad question with many factors. I focus on the interaction between the game and the player, not on contextual factors such as marketing or sociocultural preferences. Existing research indicates that there are various different reasons why people play games. A lot of the theories about why people play games mention several similar factors, but there are also significant unexplained differences. I will dive into these theories to find out what the combined knowledge available on this topic is.
The detailed knowledge on why exactly people play games is relevant for many areas. I am most interested in the relevance for game designers. In the second part of my research project I will apply the theory to create directly useful knowledge for game designers.
In the first part of the project, I am identifying and connecting the various perspectives used in the existing research on the variety of reasons why videogames are appealing. These different perspectives on the same topic are spread over many disciplines. By connecting these perspectives, knowledge on this topic can be exchanged more easily between the disciplines, which is now done only rarily. Subsequently, a start for knowledge exchange is made by creating a general meta-synthesis of the existing research.
In the second part of the PhD project, I will apply the assembled knowledge of the first part. This will be done for example by improving the isolation when studying specific appealing factors, and by formulating a game design methodology focused on the variety of appealing factors.