The Challenge of Managing Affordances in Computer Game Play

Jana Rambusch, Tarja Susi


This paper discusses affordance with respect to computer games and game play activity. The game environment, with its complex and seemingly multiple affordances, presents a challenge, for players as well as researchers, since it consists of two worlds: the virtual and the real one. For games to be played successfully, affordances of both worlds need to be integrated. However, since Gibson’s The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (1986), numerous different opinions on what constitutes an affordance have appeared, most of them deviating from the original Gibsonian conceptualisation. This has lead to confusion and misunderstandings among researchers, and is now also spreading into computer games research. This paper aims to raise awareness of what the affordance concept can, and cannot, explain and of the fact that some of the possible actions perceived by a player in a game also are rooted in socio-cultural conventions and the player’s experience of having a body.


action; computer games; sequential affordances; situated cognition

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