Achieving the Illusion of Agency

  • Matthew William Fendt
  • Brent Harrison
  • Stephen G. Ware
  • Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera
  • David L. Roberts
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7648)


Games with a strong notion of story are increasingly popular. With the increased amount of story content associated with games where player decisions significantly change the course of the game (branching games), comes an increase in the effort required to author those games. Despite the increased popularity of these kinds of games, it is unclear if a typical player is able to appreciate the rich content of these games, since any given player typically only experiences a small amount of that content. We create a non-branching game that simulates branching choices by providing players with choices followed by immediate textual feedback. We hypothesize that this game, where player decisions do not significantly change the course of the game, will maintain the player’s sense of agency. Experimentation showed that in a text-based story with forced-choice points there were in most cases no significant difference in players’ reported feelings of agency when they experience a branching story vs. a linear story with explicit acknowledgement of their choices.


Video Game Decision Point Decision Feedback Typical Player Exit Survey 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew William Fendt
    • 1
  • Brent Harrison
    • 2
  • Stephen G. Ware
    • 1
  • Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera
    • 1
  • David L. Roberts
    • 2
  1. 1.Liquid Narrative GroupNorth Carolina State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.CIIGAR LabNorth Carolina State UniversityUSA

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