Publication: Healthy Lies: The Effects of Misrepresenting Player Health Data on Experience, Behavior, and Performance

Game designers use a variety of techniques that mislead players with the goal of inducing play experience. For example, designers may manipulate data displays of player health--showing they have less health than they actually do--to induce tension. While commonly used, players make decisions based on in-game data displays, raising the question of how misrepresentations impact behavior and performance, and whether this might have unintended consequences. To provide a better understanding of how data misrepresentation impacts play, we compare two versions of a game: one that displays health accurately and one that misrepresents health. Our results suggest that even subtle manipulations to data displays can have a measurable effect on behavior and performance, and these changes can help explain differences in experience. We show that data misrepresentations need to be designed carefully to avoid unintended effects. Our work provides new directions for research into the design of misrepresentation in games.

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Participants

Jason Wuertz Max Birk
Eindhoven University of Technology
Scott Bateman
University of New Brunswick

Citation

Wuertz, J., Birk, M., Bateman, S. 2019. Healthy Lies: The Effects of Misrepresenting Player Health Data on Experience, Behavior, and Performance. In Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019), Glasgow, Scotland, UK. 12. DOI=10.1145/3290605.3300549.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {539-Healthy_Lies___CHI_2019___CR,
author= {Jason Wuertz and Max Birk and Scott Bateman},
title= {Healthy Lies: The Effects of Misrepresenting Player Health Data on Experience, Behavior, and Performance},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019)},
year= {2019},
address= {Glasgow, Scotland, UK},
pages= {12}
}