How does it affect the experience when we change the game controls of keyboard key presses to jumps on a trampoline?
This study was part of my research at the NTNU on bodily experience, exergames and technological entanglement. It formed part of the following publications;
- Louise Petersen Matjeka. Designing Movement-Based Play and Games – in Theory and Practice. June 2022. PhD thesis. Norwegian University of Science and Technology. ISBN: 978-82-326-6643-0
- Louise Petersen Matjeka and Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller. 2020. Designing for Bodily Play Experiences Based on Danish Linguistic Connotations of “Playing a Game.” In Proceedings of International Conference on Human Computer Interaction and Play CHI PLAY, ACM, Online. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145.3410404/3414264
- Study design – idea, setup, choice of method, player recruitment
- Data collection and analysis
- Primary author of the publication
In the effort to investigate embodied interactive experiences and the implications for design, I asked the question: How does the experience differ between a highly active versus inactive interaction method?
I turned the w and arrow up keys into two trampolines for the Otto Ojala game Crazy Soccer Physics. The project was also presented as part of the Young Researchers Night at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.
Sedentary computer work, including gaming activities, is highly inactive, leading to many societal and personal problems, such as obesity and decreased physical literacy, to name a few. The main focus of my investigations was to research possibilities for including more physical activity in design and develop guidelines for design from the perspective of play. Why play? Because play is an autotelic activity and, thus, a self-motivating driver for action. Besides, why shouldn’t life be more playful – if we can?
I turned the w and arrow up keys into two trampolines for the Otto Ojala game Crazy Soccer Physics and tested it in the lab in an A/B test setup with 22 participants. The sessions were video recorded, and the participants were asked to answer questions about their experience afterwards.
The study was a comparative study in an A/B setup comparing the experiences of playing the game with key presses versus jumping on trampolines.
I grouped the data into A-B and B-A and compared the analysis. Practically, the video recordings and interviews were annotated and analysed using thematic analysis into two data sets. I then compared the data sets against each other. While there was no significant difference in the order A-B or B-A (going from inactive to active and vice versa) of the experience, there was a significantly higher interest and engagement when playing on trampolines than when pressing keys on the keyboard.
Results clearly showed that playing the game while being active was much more fun than being inactive. The study also led to a set of design guidelines:
- Use simple interactions for large movements like jumping on a trampoline. For instance, a game requiring reflexes and fast moves would be difficult to operate using a trampoline. Crazy Soccer Physics was an excellent fit. Because the game initially “only” required one-key presses. the transition to jumping on a trampoline was easily done. Using accelerometers, we could map a key press (time) to the height of a jump (= weight), and so the higher the jumping on the trampolines, the more excessively the in-game characters would move.
- Furthermore, the study points to how bodily engagement enhances overall engagement and experience. More movement = more fun. From the view of embodiment and bodily play, jumping on trampolines engages more bodily perceptual processes than pressing a key on a keyboard. Thus, to derive some design guidelines from this, designers can, by enhancing the level of sensory stimulation in a design, enhance engagement and experience.