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Psychology of Popular Media Culture

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We conducted an experiment to examine individuals’ perceptions of enjoyable and meaningful video games and the game characteristics and dimensions of need satisfaction associated with enjoyment and appreciation. Participants (N = 512) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups that asked them to recall a game that they found either particularly fun or particularly meaningful, and to then rate their perceptions of the game that they recalled. Enjoyment was high for both groups, though appreciation was higher in the meaningful- than fun-game condition. Further, enjoyment was most strongly associated with gameplay characteristics and satisfaction of needs related to competency and autonomy, whereas appreciation was most strongly associated with story characteristics and satisfaction of needs related to insight and relatedness.


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