Knez and Neidenthal, “Lighting in Digital Game Worlds: Effects on Affect and Play Performance”

In their 2008 article, Knez and Neidenthal state that their study on lighting in digital game worlds “was designed to investigate the impact of warm (reddish) and cool (bluish) simulated illumination in digital game worlds on game users’ affect and play performance” (p. 129). They sought to compare these impacts with similar impacts (on affect and performance) observed in “real-world” environments. psychological effects of such lighting in “real-world” environments. What Knez and Deidenthal found was that users playing in digital worlds

performed best and fastest in a game world lit with a warm (reddish) as compared to a cool (bluish) lighting. The former color of lighting also induced the highest level of pleasantness in game users. A regression analysis indicated tentatively that it was the level of pleasantness induced by the warm lighting that enhanced the players’ better performance in that digital game world. (p. 129)

One of the things I found interesting about this article was a point that initially felt counter-intuitive to me, but quickly made a great deal of sense and left me wanting to investigate the subject. As Knez and Neidenthal note,

high-skilled players were…much more precise in their digital game taste than were the medium- and low-skilled players were. They played only the FPS (first person shooter) and RPG (role playing game) types of games (80% vs. 20%), while the medium- and low-skilled players played FPS, RPG, RTS (real-time strategy), action, sports, adventure, consol[e], music, hearts, MMORPG, Sim, and puzzle types of games. (p. 133)

What (point or process) causes a gamer’s shift from imprecise to precise tastes is one that I suspect the commercial games industry has investigated thoroughly. But has the educational games industry done the same? And why exactly are medium- and lower-skilled players more varied in their tastes? Are the reasons few or many?


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