Heuristics for evaluating video games: A two-tier set incorporating universal and genre-specific elements
Macey, Joseph (2016)
Master's Programme in Internet and Game Studies
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The continued significance of video games in contemporary society has led to the production of many heuristic sets by which the playability of games can be evaluated. These sets encompass a wide range of aims and theoretical perspectives, furthermore, they have been developed via a number of distinct methods. This thesis is the result of a two-stage investigation, the first of which was to identify and extract any heuristics that could be considered as having universal relevance, irrespective of the method or theoretical position by which they were developed. The second stage of the investigation complemented this universal list with genre-specific elements, providing a model by which further information can be added in the future. Comparative analysis was used to extract common principles from a selected body of work, resulting in a list of 19 heuristics. In addition, open and axial coding was applied to data sourced from online game reviews, extracting information relating to the Real-Time Strategy genre. This information was then converted into 25 RTS-specific heuristics and integrated with the set developed in the first stage. The results of this study, therefore, clearly demonstrate the existence of a core set of universal heuristics, and the value of incorporating genre-specific information. The finalised set was presented in the form of a deck of cards, with each face representing information according to two different levels of abstraction, thereby increasing accessibility and facilitating use in different contexts. These cards have been made available in a print-ready format and are included as an appendix.