It’s my choice: The effects of moral decision-making on narrative game engagement

Arienne Ferchaud, Mary Beth Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In video games, complicated stories which can branch in multiple ways are possible, giving the player a great sense of control over the story. This study’s purpose was to determine how choice and morality interact to affect narrative engagement. For this, a 2 (choice vs. no choice) × 2 (moral vs. immoral) experiment was conducted utilizing a modified version of a Fallout: New Vegas to examine the role of moral choice. Results indicated that very few individuals preferred the bad option when given a choice, with most participants choosing good actions. Thus, the bad by choice condition was dropped, resulting in three conditions: good by choice, good by force and bad by force. Although there were no significant differences found between conditions on transportation or parasocial interaction, the study revealed significant differences for identification such that those who committed more moral actions identified less with the main character. Additionally, those who chose good actions felt more moral than those who were forced to commit good actions. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-118
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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