Designerly Ways of Analysing Gameplay and Player Experiences


  • Malay Dhamelia
  • Girish Dalvi


Game Design Research, Methodology, Player Experience, Player as Designer, Abstract Strategy Board Games, Applied ludology, Perspectives, Analog Games


There is a fundamental contradiction in analysing experiences in games. Although players expect a game to be fun, fun as an experience is not directly designed by the game designer. This creates challenges for game designers and game design researchers. Game designers face a second-order design problem (Salen and Zimmerman 2004) as they can only design the game rules and broadly gauge the experiences from the designed rules. Similarly, game design researchers, aiming to find out design principles of experiences like fun, confront second-order analysis problem (Howell and Stevens 2019). They rely on player reportages of experiences; through interpretation, they arrive at the rules of that created them. Designers change the rules to create the required experiences, while game design researchers arrive at the principles that creates these experiences. Given the second-order nature of experiences in games, these reportages are often delayed. From design research methods perspective, the designers and researchers are distanced from the gameplay. In this paper, we propose Gameplay Experience Sampling Protocol for data collection and analysis that reduces the distance of designers and researchers from the gameplay. Through this reduction, we aim to strengthen a researcher’s interpretation. Game designers and game design researchers can use this method to record the gameplay and player experiences along with the rules that generate those experiences. Our protocol seeks to further the epistemological and ontological grounding of Howell and Stevens (Howell and Stevens 2019).





@Conference{digra1926, title ="Designerly Ways of Analysing Gameplay and Player Experiences", year = "2023", author = "Dhamelia, Malay and Dalvi, Girish", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}