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Fighting the game. Command systems and player-avatar interaction in fighting games in a social cognitive neuroscience framework

  • Alan D. A. MattiassiEmail author
Article
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Abstract

Videogames often require players to control an avatar in order to act on the virtual world. In many cases, such as in fighting games, the avatar’s body often shares biological features with the player’s body, such as a human-like figure and a highly detailed and realistic movement. Many studies in social cognitive neuroscience focus on how humans understand biological actions, and in particular other humans’ actions. Models and theories that put in tight relation perception, imagination and execution of actions have recently impacted the field of human cognition and provided a considerable paradigm shift. However, the impact of these theories has been largely focused on modern mimetic interfaces, such as virtual reality, but only slightly affect traditional interfaces even if they still comprise the large majority of the human-computer interaction. Fighting games mostly use non-mimetic interfaces, such as traditional gaming pads, so that the player needs to act with a very restricted range of movements, limited to fingers, hand, wrists and arms muscles. While the player’s movements don’t match the avatar movements, the in-game meanings of the button presses, i.e., command system, may facilitate or interfere with the ability to understand, plan and perform motor patterns on the input device. Here I provide a framework to better understand human-fighting game interaction, but relevant for all interactions with avatars, as well as experimental evidence of this approach validity by using the most successful fighting games: Tekken, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Soulcalibur.

Keywords

Command systems Fighting games Common coding Embodied cognition Spatial compatibility 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was not funded by anyone and as such represents independent work with no conflict of interests. I would to thank my students Massimiliano De Luise, Silvia Menotti and Francesco Finotto for helping in stimuli preparation and data collection, Giovanni Colangelo and Alessandro Torresan for assistance in language editing and Cristian Mungherli for calculus assistance.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marco Biagi Department of EconomicsUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

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