Leveraging asymmetries in multiplayer games: Investigating design elements of interdependent play

John Harris, Mark Hancock, and Stacey D. Scott. In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, pp. 350-361, 2016.

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Many people develop lasting social bonds by playing games together, and there are a variety of games available so that individuals are likely to find games that appeal to their specific play preferences, abilities, and available time. However, there are many instances where people might want to play together, but would normally choose vastly different games for themselves, due to these various asymmetries in play experiences, such as grandparents and grandchildren, highly skilled players and novices, or even simply two players that enjoy different games. In this work, we aim to improve the design of asymmetric games-games that are designed to embrace and leverage differences between players to improve multiplayer engagement. This paper builds upon prior work to describe the elements of asymmetry that can be used to design such games, and uses these elements in the design of an asymmetric game, Beam Me 'Round Scotty'! We present the results of a thematic analysis of a player experience study, discuss these findings, and propose an initial conceptual framework for discussion of design elements relevant to asymmetric games.

Bibtex entry

@INPROCEEDINGS { Harris:2016:LAM:2967934.2968113,
    AUTHOR = { John Harris and Mark Hancock and Stacey D. Scott },
    TITLE = { Leveraging Asymmetries in Multiplayer Games: Investigating Design Elements of Interdependent Play },
    BOOKTITLE = { Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play },
    SERIES = { CHI PLAY '16 },
    YEAR = { 2016 },
    ISBN = { 978-1-4503-4456-2 },
    LOCATION = { Austin, Texas, USA },
    PAGES = { 350--361 },
    NUMPAGES = { 12 },
    DOI = { 10.1145/2967934.2968113 },
    ACMID = { 2968113 },
    PUBLISHER = { ACM },
    ADDRESS = { New York, NY, USA },
    KEYWORDS = { asymmetric games, game design, player experience testing },