What is it like to experience sound while playing educational games? : an interpretive phenomenological investigation
MetadataShow full item record
I took an interpretive phenomenological approach to examine what it is like to experience sound while playing educational games. I asked six people to play three educational games, for a total of 18 interview sessions. I analyzed 603 pages of interview transcripts and 22.68 hours of video recording using phenomenological research techniques to derive. I used NVivo to identify and code 1,738 meaning units across the three games studied. I organized these meaning units into related clusters and identified constituents of meaning for each game studied. I derived 27 constituents of meaning for Fate of the World, 22 constituents of meaning for Hush, and 27 constituents of meaning for Salamander Rescue. I wrote textural-structural descriptions to describe participant experiences in each game and performed imaginative variation to further provide a context to describe participant experiences. From these results, I derived essential meanings to situate a discussion about sound in each of the games studied and I discussed eight essential meanings that were shared across the three games studied. According to my analysis of these participants’ responses, sound conveyed a sense of the game’s interface in addition to the environment in which play was situated. Sound also supported the presentation of characters in the game and worked to communicate the game’s narrative to the player. Music in the games studied helped to provoke thought and also conveyed an emotional context for play. Sound supported players’ overall engagement in these games, but the absence of sound removed this engagement. Critically, people noticed when the visuals that they saw did not match the sounds that they heard. I present an applied phenomenological framework for sound in educational games to illustrate these essential meanings and to reflect how participants’ experiences were affected by the ways they used game interfaces, interacted with game characters, experienced game narrative, and described the game’s environment. This framework further illustrates the possibility space for potential experiences of sound in gameplay as determined by the choices players make, the game’s state of play, and the degree of synchresis present between what players hear and what they see as they play.