Healthy lies: the effects of misrepresenting player health data on experience, behavior, and performance

Jason Wuertz, Max V. Birk, Scott Bateman

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-5970-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
Event37th ACM International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2019) - Glasgow, UK, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019
Conference number: 37
https://chi2019.acm.org
https://chi2019.acm.org/
https://chi2019.acm.org/
https://chi2019.acm.org/
https://chi2019.acm.org/

Conference

Conference37th ACM International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2019)
Abbreviated titleCHI2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period4/05/199/05/19
Internet address

Keywords

  • Data misrepresentation
  • Deception
  • Game design
  • Health bars
  • Player experience

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