RAA 5: Assessing the Components of Skill Necessary for Playing Video Games

Background:

This article dives into study of the effect of playing video games. To be more specific, this study focuses on finding a definitive list of skills that video games require, and a method to evaluate the skills required by a particular game. There is been many researches (Dorval and Pepin 1986, Mulligan, Dobson and McCracken 2005, Green and Bavelier 2004, etc) that were done to assess the skills related to playing video games. However, these studies failed to specify whether the effects are for video games in general or for specific games. The authors of this article picked psychometric method over task analysis and conceptual analysis to develop a set of scales that could be used to evaluate games.

Methods:

Two sets of people participated in the this research. First group of consisted of 6 students and the author himself. The second group  consisted of 30 undergraduate students in a course on the psychology of video games. They participated in the study by rating games that they played. And the rating was done through a questionnaire that the first group of participants designed, with 24 items and a 9-point scale from “Not Necessary” to “Very Necessary”. The games used in this research are Brothers Brawl, Heavy Rain, Tetris, Fallout (2 and 3) etc.

Main findings:

Six factors were identified. They are Perceptual Motor Abilities, Cognitive-Verbal Abilities, Problem-solving abilities, Information Utilization Abilities, Persistence, and Human human interaction. Statistical analysis was done on the data to find significance. Games of different genre were compared based on these 6 factors to show the requirement of skills for each genre. And similarity was found between FPS and TPS games, and Action and RPG games, and puzzle and platform games.

My thoughts:

First of all, I think letting the participants be part of developing the questionnaires was troublesome for the reliability of this research. And having the author also be one of the participants is inappropriate in the same sense. Participants should be randomly selected instead of picking the people who are most convenient to participate. If we look pass this, the result is quite interesting. Not only can they be useful to passively evaluate games, but also extremely helpful in developing games. I would like to see researches in finding the relationship between these skill requirement and difficulty level of the games.  Some games lose their fun in either super easy or super hard settings. Players should be able to progress starting from the easy and slowly climbing up to insane. What some games do is that they take out some of the aspects of the game in easy setting, so less number of skills are required. This doesn’t help the player to make a progress at all.

Dylan

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