Research examines the structure of videogames

June 3, 2013
Research examines the structure of videogames
Alice Madness Returns.

Research at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) analyzes in depth the content of videogames and their interaction with the player. The study of this material shows the importance of this industry, which is experiencing exponential growth.

The videogame business has experienced spectacular growth since Nintendo took the Christmas gift market by storm in the mid-eighties. This enormous industry is more than a machine. Its volume is so large that it has reached the academic world, where its contents have become the subject of in-depth study.

Antonio José Planells, a researcher in the Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication at UC3M, considers to be "ludofictional worlds" in which we can find various facets that are worthy of study. In his doctoral dissertation, he explains the existence of some static dimensions in which all of the action develops, and other dynamics that correspond to the psychological world of each of the characters that appear in the story. "In the 'Mario Bros'' dynamic world the princess, who is Bowser's prisoner, must be saved, while in 'Bowser's' world, the princess must remain a prisoner. This sets up the challenge," he indicates.

In Planells studies, videogames are analyzed by examining various aspects, such as the construction of the characters, the options that modify the and the scenarios. The conclusion he comes to is that these are not stories themselves, but rather that they can generate distinct experiences keeping in mind the way in which each player understands those fictitious worlds and how they related to them. These relations, he points out, are what incite players to immerse themselves in the games during their free time.

These analyses, carried out in the , may serve to help a sector that is constantly in search of not just new ways to improve their products and new perspectives to make them more original, but also of new ways to interact with players. "More attractive characters and more coherent worlds can be created, and the impact of controls and screen interface can be tested as well," adds Planells.

Social values in videogames

Still, there are many other aspects of videogames that should be studied in order to increase the margin for improvement that they still have. Among these, the UC3M researcher suggests the possibility of analyzing the evolution of the female characters or the introduction of social values like family or democracy.

Spain has a nascent videogame industry that can become very important in the next few years. However, at present and "in spite of being the fourth country in terms of videogame consumption in Europe, it is hardly even a player in the global context as far as design goes," notes Planells. "Considering that this sector is one of the few that are weathering the economic crisis and generating employment, it is inconceivable that Spanish universities refuse to give it their full support," he criticizes.

This sector represents a market that has not stopped improving over the years. The players, who twenty years ago were boys under 15 years of age, are now, on average, over thirty years old. Girls also play and users are more demanding nowadays, thanks in part to the evolution of the technology of both the design of graphics and the way of playing itself.

In the book La protección jurídica de los derechos de autor de los creadores de videojuegos (The legal protection of the copyrights of videogame creators -Trama Editorial, 2012), which Antonio José Planells has written together with Francisco Javier Donaire, there are more studies on the role of intellectual property in the videogame industry and on the protection of creativity.

Explore further: Parents' behavior linked to kids' videogame playing

Related Stories

Playing action videogames improves visual search

March 14, 2013

Researchers at the University of Toronto have shown that playing shooting or driving videogames, even for a relatively short time, improves the ability to search for a target hidden among irrelevant distractions in complex ...

Action-based videogames get players on their feet

June 7, 2012

New videogames mixing music with real-world action promise to get players off the couch, turning basketball dribblers into "true ballers" and helping new moms tighten their tummies.

Videogame console icon turns mobile play god

May 26, 2013

Videogame industry legend Peter Molyneux says the time is right for people to play God on smartphones. The former Lionhead Studio chief and Microsoft Game Studios executive has teamed with Japan-based DeNA to get his latest ...

Videogame play becomes a spectator sport

June 7, 2012

Videogame play is becoming a spectator sport. "It is the next evolution in gaming," said Matthew DiPietro of TwitchTV, an online platform that enables people to stream play live online.

Recommended for you

Newest solar cells underperform in cloudy countries

August 22, 2017

To determine how efficient new solar cells convert sunlight into electricity, small sample cells are tested under ideal conditions. However, the reported efficiency is not very representative of the actual annual yield when ...

Google to serve next version of Android as 'Oreo"

August 22, 2017

An upcoming update to Google's Android software finally has a delectable name. The next version will be known as Oreo, extending Google's tradition of naming each version after a sweet treat.

Forget oil, Russia goes crazy for cryptocurrency

August 16, 2017

Standing in a warehouse in a Moscow suburb, Dmitry Marinichev tries to speak over the deafening hum of hundreds of computers stacked on shelves hard at work mining for crypto money.

Researchers clarify mystery about proposed battery material

August 15, 2017

Battery researchers agree that one of the most promising possibilities for future battery technology is the lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) battery, which could provide three times as much power for a given weight as today's ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.