Control vs. complexity in games: comparing arousal in 2D game prototypes

Michael Lankes, Wolfgang Hochleitner, Nina Lehner, Christina Hochleitner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we investigate the relationship between the feeling of being in control in a game situation and the interaction complexity in regard to the degree of arousal within subjects. To address this topic a comparative study consisting of two similar prototypes of a 2D jump-and-run game was set up. Both versions of the game were made up of identical art assets and shared the same level structure. The main difference constitutes in the type of interaction. Prototype A offers less control (through an auto-jump ability) and requires input only via one hand (mouse input). Contrary, prototype B enables players to have a stronger influence on the current game situation (manual jump ability) and requires them to use both hands (mouse and keyboard input). In order to assess the arousal of the test subjects, physiological measurements were carried out via galvanic skin response (GSR). Results show that the loss of control creates less arousal than a more complex game situation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFun and Games'2012 - Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Fun and Games
PublisherACM Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-1570-8
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event4th International Conference of Fun and Games - Toulouse, France
Duration: 4 Sept 20126 Sept 2012

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference4th International Conference of Fun and Games
Internet address


  • game design
  • game experience
  • complexity
  • control
  • physiological measurement


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