Title page for ETD etd-11192007-160735

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van Coppenhagen, Christian
Email chrisvc@defiance.co.za
URN etd-11192007-160735
Document Title Exploring the thoughts and thinking strategies used by gamers during multiplayer gameplay in different genres of popular computer games
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof D J F Maree Committee Chair
  • protocol analysis
  • cognition
  • thoughts
  • gaming research
  • verbal analysis
  • games theory
  • thinking strategies
  • gamer
  • network gaming
  • digital games
Date 2007-04-16
Availability unrestricted

In light of the growing concern about the psychological impact of computer, console and handheld electronic games (digital games), this research explores the thoughts and thinking strategies of game players (gamers) during gameplay. It attempts to achieve this goal by means of using a form of verbal analysis based on the 'think out loud' method of Protocol Analysis.

The recordings of gamers engaged in the 'think out loud' exercise during gameplay at a gaming networking session were transcribed and analyzed. These gamers participated in two different genres of games. The fist was a First-Person Shooter (FPS) and the second a Real Time Strategy (RTS). The content of the different transcripts were categorized using cognitive models and theories. From this process a nine category classification framework was developed. By dividing identified thought segments into these different categories, a quantitative frequency analysis was possible. This supplemented the overall qualitative exploration of gamers’ thoughts and thinking strategies.

The results of this study indicate that different genres of games stimulate different concentrations of different types of thoughts. Overall these concentrations numerically classify gaming as an activity in terms of perception, cognition, emotion, and self immersion. It also indicated that each genre has its own unique influence and that each player is uniquely engaged. Besides providing insight into gamers’ thoughts and thinking strategies, this study also provides evidence that an adapted form of verbal analysis is suitable in exploring a visually absorbing activity such as gaming.

© University of Pretoria 2006

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