Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Games as Data Collection

You can thank Metal Gear Solid 3 for introducing me to Starsailor.

As I was tutoring students for the ACT today and they were working some problems, I had an idea. The idea would be to design games explicitly to collect data on people. You can see how they react in certain situations instead of asking how they would react in certain situations. In addition to testing their reactions to situations, you could also use the games to test things such as persistence.

The question now becomes, "What issues arise with this form of data collection as opposed to a survey?" For starters, it's far more complicated to put together. Secondly, you need to make sure that the game is easily understood and controlled by the players. Point-and-click adventures and text-based RPGs may be the most approachable forms. Third, you need to make sure that the players aren't necessarily concerned about the ending. You don't want people trying to game for the best outcome, you want them to play the game for their natural reaction to the events at hand.

I think it's a very interesting potential field of study and type of research tool to study people. I wouldn't mind pioneering the format, personally. Shame I already have a job and other things to do. Speaking of which, I'm tired, and I'm going to go to sleep. I've had a headache all day and have a full day ahead of me.