Size does matter with video games and movies

video game playing woman

Recent gadgets such as the handheld portable Nintendo DS video game console, portable Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), iPhone and iPod touch go with video games. The advantage being obvious that any moment waiting can be used to play a video game.

Screens of these portable media consoles are comparable with television and video monitors in terms of resolution and fidelity but not in size. Gaming on a video screen or television is in my experience much nicer. In a recent published study they compared how physiological and psychological effects of portable consoles may differ from those of television-based consoles. Difference in experience of video games and movies between television and gadgets may precipitate differences in the delivered content’s effectiveness. They looked at physiological arousal and flow experience.

The 62 participants viewed a clip from the film Kingdom of Heaven and played a game from the Prince of Persia series on one of the consoles and television. All participants were assigned to play a video game and view a movie clip, with the order randomly counterbalanced to rule out order effects. Physiological arousal was measured through recording the skin conductance level, the flow experience was examined with questionnaires administered after each game or movie fragment.

Four other measures were included to collect descriptive information about participants and their relevant media use.
The preexposure questionnaire asked participants’ sex, age, estimated hours per week watching movies, and estimated hours per week playing video games.

The results showed that portable media consoles elicited less physiological arousal and self reported flow experience compared to television-based consoles, and this effect of console type was for both the video games and the movie clip. The video game elicited more arousal than the movie clip on both the console and television.

Consoles can be used everywhere and easy to use but the experience they provide is far less compared to television or video monitors.

Why is this important?

When video games or movies are used in education a student may enjoy the convenience of a portable media console when studying for an examination or watching a lecture, but other formats might be more effective for learning.

What do you think?
Ivory, J., & Magee, R. (2009). You Can’t Take It with You? Effects of Handheld Portable Media Consoles on Physiological and Psychological Responses to Video Game and Movie Content CyberPsychology & Behavior DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2008.0279