• Robin Wølk Bjerring
  • Mads Hemdrup
4. semester, Interaktive Digitale Medier, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
In this master thesis, we investigate if there is any correlation between perceived difficulty in videogames and music. Previous studies have investigated if performance in video games is affected by music or sounds (Grimshaw, Tan & Lipscomb, 2013; Cassidy & MacDonald, 2010; (Hébert, Béland, Dionne-Fournelle, Crête & Lupien, 2005). Other studies have investigated video game difficulty and its influence on aesthetics (Aponte, Levieux & Natkin, 2011), or tried to measure difficulty using tools like Short Flow State Scales, Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) (Tian et al., 2017), or Electroencephalography (EEG) (Müller-Putz, Riedl & Wriessnegger, 2015). Some studies have previously investigated aspects like stress and irritation in video games based on the presence or absence of music (Hébert, et al. 2005; Lipscomb & Zehnder, 2004). However, no studies have concretely tried to measure the perceived difficulty of a videogame as a factor of the presence or absence of music. Difficulty in games have recently been a hot topic for media outlets and on social media. The discussion has revolved on the topic of a potential inclusion of an easy mode in the game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice by From Software. It was debated debate whether the game should cater to everyone or keep its high difficulty curve. From Software’s games have a reputation of being remarkably difficult. This recent online debate sparked an interest in researching perceived video game difficulty. The purpose of this master thesis is to investigate whether the absence or presence of music in a given video game has any correlation to a player’s perception of that game’s difficulty. Using established theory like Flow Theory and SAM tests, this study aims at measuring perceived difficulty by triangulating self-reported perceived difficulty-, flow- and affective reaction- measures, with psychophysiological data. It was decided that From Software games demanded too much knowledge of the games’ rules, to be viable for a pilot test in the research area of this master thesis. Therefore, the researchers used online media outlets to find candidates for testing. This resulted in two tests during the course of this study. A preliminary test was set up to validate the use of the selected games, which were: Cuphead, Super Meat Boy and TrackMania Nations Forever. Afterwards, a pilot test was constructed using two groups of test participants who played either with or without music. The gathered data was analysed and correlated between the groups to find out if music played a role in the perceived difficulty of the games. The results showed that music indeed did play a role in the perceived difficulty between the groups, as well as showing that performance, perceived time alteration, frustration and fun, were all affected by the presence or absence of music. The test participants in the group without music experienced lower levels of frustration, faster completion times of the games, and less perceived time alteration than the group that played with music. The results from this pilot test indicate that there are measurable tendencies that could support the claim that music influences perceived difficulty. Future research is suggested to further garner knowledge in the area of music as a factor for perceived difficulty, as this could affect game design and the use of music as a scale for difficulty adjustment in video games.
Udgivelsesdato3 jun. 2019
Antal sider96
ID: 304941179