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Optimizing Player and Viewer Amusement in Suspense Video Games

Abstract

Broadcast video games need to provide amusement to both players and audience. To achieve this, one of the most consumed genres is suspense, due to the psychological effects it has on both roles. Suspense is typically achieved in video games by controlling the amount of delivered information about the location of the threat. However, previous research suggests that players need more frequent information to reach similar amusement than viewers, even at the cost of jeopardizing viewers' engagement. In order to obtain models that maximize amusement for both interactive and passive audiences, we conducted an experiment in which a group of subjects played a suspenseful video game while another group watched it remotely. The subjects were asked to report their perceived suspense and amusement, and the data were used to obtain regression models for two common strategies to evoke suspense in video games: by alerting when the threat is approaching and by random circumstantial indications about the location of the threat. The results suggest that the optimal level is reached through randomly providing the minimal amount of information that still allows players to counteract the threat.We reckon that these results can be applied to a broad narrative media, beyond interactive games

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