Learning the game: breakdowns, breakthroughs and player strategies

I Iacovides, Anna Cox, T Knoll
in CHI 2014: 32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: One of a CHInd, Conference proceeding, New York, NY, USA


Digital games are rich learning environments that require players to engage with challenging situations in order to progress. Recent research indicates that game-play involves overcoming breakdowns and achieving breakthroughs in relation to player action, understanding and involvement. In particular, breakthroughs involve moments of insight where learning occurs which, in turn, can help increase involvement. However, little is known about how players actually achieve breakthroughs. We applied the breakdown/breakthrough "lens" to explore how players attempt to achieve breakthroughs in relation to two single player games. We identified a finite number of strategies that illustrate how players learn in games. These strategies are considered in relation to producing playable and engaging games.