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
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?
We 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.
While it was an A/B setup, the study was a comparative study. 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 ion the keyboard.
Results clearly showed that it was much more fun playing the game while being active than being inactive. However, these results are influenced by several other factors;
the game was easily adapted and did not require advanced skills to operate. For instance, a game where reflexes and fast moves are required would be difficult to operate using a trampoline. Crazy Soccer Physics was a nice fit for the contrary.
There were no success goals of precise measurements, such as time, aim, etc.
They were “only” playing. Serious work is often difficult to combine with play as it is two opposite modes. This argument builds on Apter’s two modes in his reversal theory; telic and autotelic mindsets, where the telic mindset is being serious and the autotelic is being playful.
Nevertheless, the study is interesting because it points to how bodily engagement enhances overall engagement and experience. 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.