Publication: Effects of Balancing for Physical Abilities on Player Performance, Experience and Self-Esteem in Exergames

Game balancing can help players with different skill levels play multiplayer games together; however, little is known about how the balancing approach affects performance, experience, and self-esteem-especially when differences in player strength result from given abilities, rather than learned skill. We explore three balancing approaches in a dance game and show that the explicit approach commonly used in commercial games reduces self-esteem and feelings of relatedness in dyads, whereas hidden balancing improves self-esteem and reduces score differential without affecting game outcome. We apply our results in a second study with dyads where one player had a mobility disability and used a wheelchair. By making motion-based games accessible for people with different physical abilities, and by enabling people with mobility disabilities to compete on a par with able-bodied peers, we show how to provide empowering experiences through enjoyable games that have the potential to increase physical activity and self-esteem.

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Participants

Kathrin Gerling
University of Lincoln
Matthew Miller
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan
Max Birk
University of Saskatchewan
Jan Smeddinck
University of Bremen, University of Saskatchewan

Citation

Gerling, K.M., Miller, M.K., Mandryk, R.L., Birk, M., Smeddinck, J.D. 2014. Effects of Balancing for Physical Abilities on Player Performance, Experience and Self-Esteem in Exergames. In CHI'14: Proceedings of the 2014 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2201-2210. DOI=10.1145/2556288.2556963.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {331-paper122,
author= {Kathrin Gerling and Matthew Miller and Regan Mandryk and Max Birk and Jan Smeddinck},
title= {Effects of Balancing for Physical Abilities on Player Performance, Experience and Self-Esteem in Exergames},
booktitle= {CHI'14: Proceedings of the 2014 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
year= {2014},
pages= {2201-2210}
}