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Gaming case study


The pilot session was carried out in order test the equipment required for a series of case studies aiming to explore the relationship between player involvement and informal learning when playing video games. The lab has been set up as a living room containing different game consoles (Nintendo Wii, Sony PS3 and Xbox 360) and a 36" TV in order to simulate a usual game-play environment. In addition to the cameras in the room ceiling, an auxiliary camera, PC and laptop were also required to capture and record different aspects of the game-play experience.


The player was asked to select a Nintendo Wii game (Trauma Centre was chosen in this case – see Figure 1) and asked to play the game for about half an hour.

During this time, physiological data including galvanic skin response (GSR), electrocardiography (EKG), electromyography of the face (EMGcheek and EMGforehead) were gathered using the ProComp Infiniti system and sensors and Thought Technologies BioGraph Infiniti Software (see Figure 2). GSR provides a measure of the amount of skin conductance, EKG gives a measurement of heart rate and fluctuation, EMG measures muscle tension.

Recordings were also taken of the player, the game-play itself and of the physiological readings being taken by the computer in the room at the time. Just before and after the game-play session, a 3-minute baseline reading was taken, where the participant was asked to relax. This is important as it ensures that the subjectivity of the physiological measures is taken into account. After the game-play session was complete, the player was interviewed (again for about half an hour) about their experiences playing the game, while the recording of the game-play was used to act as a memory cue. After the entire session the recordings were synched up into two different files so the game-play session and the post-play interview can be viewed separately for the purposes of analysis.

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