Not Doing But Thinking: The Role of Challenge in the Gaming Experience

Anna L. Cox, Paul Antony Cairns, Pari Shah, Michael Carroll

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Previous research into the experience of videogames has
shown the importance of the role of challenge in producing
a good experience. However, defining exactly which
challenges are important and which aspects of gaming
experience are affected is largely under-explored. In this
paper, we investigate if altering the level of challenge in a
videogame influences people's experience of immersion.
Our first study demonstrates that simply increasing the
physical demands of the game by requiring gamers to
interact more with the game does not result in increased
immersion. In a further two studies, we use time pressure
to make games more physically and cognitively
challenging. We find that the addition of time pressure
increases immersion as predicted. We argue that the level
of challenge experienced is an interaction between the level
of expertise of the gamer and the cognitive challenge
encompassed within the game.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)ISBN: 978-1-4503-1015-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Digital games
  • Immersion
  • Challenge
  • Gaming Experience
  • Human Computer Interaction

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