Games, Gameplay, and BCI: The State of the Art

D Marshall, D Coyle, S Wilson, M Callaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) and basic computer games have been interconnected since BCI development began, exploiting game-play elements as a means of enhancing performance in BCI training protocols and entertaining and challenging participants whilst training to use a BCI. By providing the BCI user with an entertaining environment researchers hope to assist users in becoming more proficient at controlling a BCI system. BCIs have been used to enrich the experience of abled-bodied and physically impaired users in various computer applications, in particular, computer games. BCI games have been reviewed previously, yet a critical evaluation of ‘gameplay’ within BCI games has not been undertaken. Gameplay is a key aspect of any computer game and encompasses the challenges presented to the player, the actions made available to the player by the game designer to overcome the challenges and the interaction mechanism in the game. Here, the appropriateness of game genres (a category of games characterised by a particular set of gameplay challenges) and the associated gameplay challenges for different BCI paradigms is evaluated. The gameplay mechanics employed across a range of BCI games are reviewed and evaluated in terms of the BCI control strategy’s suitability, considering the genre and gameplay mechanics employed. A number of recommendations for the field relating to genre specific BCI-games development and assessing user performance are also provided for BCI game developers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-99
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jun 2013

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