Pressure at play: measuring player approach and avoidance behaviour through the keyboard

Wouter van den Hoogen, Eelco Braad, Wijnand IJsselsteijn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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With the increased adoption of real-time objective measurements of player experience, advances have been made in characterising the dynamically changing aspects of the player experience during gameplay itself. A direct coupling to player action, however, is not without challenges. Many physiological responses, for instance, have an inherent delay, and often take some time to return to a baseline, providing challenges of interpretation when analysing rapidly changing gameplay on a micro level of interaction. The development of event-related, or phasic, measurements directly coupled to player actions provides additional insights, for instance through player modelling, but also through the use of behavioural characteristics of the human computer interaction itself. In this study, we focused on the latter, and measured keyboard pressure in a number of different, fast-paced action games. In this particular case, we related specific functional game actions (keyboard presses) to experiential player behaviour. We found keyboard pressure to be higher for avoidance as compared to approach-oriented actions. Additionally, the difference between avoidance and approach keyboard pressure related to levels of arousal. The findings illustrate the application potential of qualifying players’ functional actions at play (navigating in a game) and interpret player experience related to these actions through players’ real world behavioural characteristics like interface pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the DIGRA 2014 International Conference
PublisherDigital Games Research Association (DiGRA)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)2342-9666
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Event8th International Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) Conference 2014: "<Active Noun> the <Verb> of game <Plural Noun>" - Snowbird, Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: 3 Aug 20146 Aug 2014
Conference number: 8th


Conference8th International Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) Conference 2014
Abbreviated titleDiGRA 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySalt Lake City
Internet address


  • games
  • keyboard pressure
  • approach
  • avoidance
  • interface pressure
  • approach/avoidance behaviour
  • player experience


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