Applying a phenomenological approach to games analysis: A case study

Webb, Brian and Mallon, Bride (2006). Applying a phenomenological approach to games analysis: A case study. Simulation and Gaming, 37(2) pp. 209–225.



One expressed need in computer games literature is for intrinsic evaluation methodologies and workable operational research procedures to evaluate subjective game-play experiences and judgments and other user "pay-offs." A phenomenological methodology provides an appropriate "bottom-up," subject-centered, inductive, and empirically driven research approach. However, a need exists for case examples and specific methods to follow on how to apply a phenomenological methodology to games research. The authors offer a case study of how they used it to develop and test evaluation criteria for games, illustrating their analysis with examples from two studies where 25 participants played, then analyzed, offline adventure and role-play computer games. The authors’ evaluation approach offers bridges between the design and analytical sciences. It contributes to the analytical sciences by attempting to identify theoretical principles for evaluating quality in narrative adventure and role-play games. It contributes to the design sciences by supplying findings expressed as design principles for games improvement.

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