Experience of Future
Storytelling’’ and Media
, Christian Roth
, Peter Vorderer
Franziska Susanne Roth
Advances in gaming and other entertainment technologies are evolving rapidly and
create new conceptual challenges for understanding and explaining the user
experiences they can facilitate. The present article reports a prospective study on a
particularly promising entertainment technology of the future: Interactive story-
telling (IS). Integrating various streams of computing technology, such as advanced
visualization, natural speech processing, and autonomous agents, IS systems are
envisioned to offer new, personalized and thus unique kinds of entertainment to mass
audiences of the future. The authors refer to existing models of media entertainment
for a theoretical analysis and analyze expert interviews with members of the inter-
national IS development community to lay out the foundations for a forecast model of
the entertainment experience of future IS systems. The resulting model organizes
Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media, Hannover, Germany
VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
University of Mannheim, Germany
Christoph Klimmt, Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media, EXPO-Plaza 12, D-30539 Hannover,
Games and Culture
ªThe Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission:
fundamental requirements, modes of users’ information processing, and specific types
of (pleasant) experiences, which holds implications for (future) entertainment theory
and research that accompanies further development of IS media.
entertainment, future entertainment systems, interactivity, storytelling, narrative,
media enjoyment, expert study
The rapid evolution of digital games and their convergence with other entertainment
technologies is coming along with diverse theoretical challenges for media and commu-
nication scholars on a regular basis (Ip, 2008; Vorderer & Bryant, 2006).User responses
and experiences in interactive entertainment media are a field of games research thatis
particularly affected by technological and creative progress. For instance, industry
advances such as powerful stationary game consoles for the living room and mobile
gaming devices (from Nintendo’s ‘‘Game Boy’’
to Apple’s ‘‘iPad’’
) have triggered
conceptual reasoning on spatial issues, gamer behavior, and gaming experiences
(e.g., Parikka & Suominen, 2006). While scholars in popular culture are often
addressing ‘‘hot topics’’ in the gaming domain very early, communication research
and media psychology have been relatively slow in noticing the growing importance
of video games in general and in covering the quick progress of games technology,
philosophies, genres, cultures, and conditions of fun (Vorderer & Bryant, 2006).
Consequently, communication research on interactive media entertainment is often
‘‘late’’ and fails to explore recent innovations from a theoretical and an empirical
point of view. What is known on the dimensions and determinants of interactive
media enjoyment is therefore rarely ‘‘up to date.’’
The present article tries to overcome the time lag between innovations in games
art and technology on one hand and entertainment research on the other hand. We
address the issue of enjoyment experiences that are to be expected from a future type
of interactive entertainment that is not yet available to mass markets. Our prospec-
tive analysis uses the case of a recent stream of innovation that academic computer
science labs and corporate development units are working on and that is hoped to
once more revolutionize the gaming landscape: Interactive Storytelling. The label
‘‘Interactive Storytelling’’ (IS) is commonly used to describe the vision for future
computer-based entertainment systems (e.g., Cavazza, Pizzi, Lugrin, & Charles,
2007). In brief, IS technology is envisioned to offer unique entertainment experi-
ences to users by enabling them to actively engage in a meaningful storyline, to
shape it according to individual decisions and preferences, and to interact with
computer-controlled characters in a human-like, authentic way (e.g., Cavazza,
Charles, & Mead, 2002).
IS systems represent integrations of several streams of technology development,
such as advanced visual display and animation, autonomous agents, and artificial
188 Games and Culture 7(3)
intelligence that is required to generate a specific version of the story according to
user inputs at run time. Momentarily, this technological vision has become manifest
only in prototypes tested in scientific and corporate laboratories, with some elements
being already exploited by recent video games (e.g., ‘‘Fahrenheit,’’ Atari, 2005;
‘‘F.E.A.R.,’’ Vivendi Universal, 2005; ‘‘Heavy Rain,’’ Quantic Dream, 2010). With
various active research units worldwide and a growing, vivid IS community, how-
ever (e.g., Aylett, Lim, Louchart, Petta, & Riedl, 2010), it is likely that entertainment
mass media of the future will include the vision of IS. That would essentially be a
single-user experience that results from individual interaction with an intelligent and
complex system. Forecasting the user experience of IS media is thus a challenging
task, as it implies to generate assumptions that can be reviewed (and tested) at later
stages once the envisioned IS media have been brought to market. It also allows cre-
ating new starting points for theorizing interactive entertainment, which is in need of
elaboration and expansion (Sherry, 2004; Vorderer, 2000).
In order to arrive at an IS entertainability model, we apply two distinct methodol-
ogies. First, we will pursue a strictly conceptual approach, where we select, from
established entertainment models, theoretical notions that seem especially relevant
to IS environments. Second, we will apply an expert interview methodology, to find
out whether the aims and expectations of IS experts coincide with the theoretical
notions proposed earlier. Based on both methodologies, we will tentatively propose
an IS entertainability model in the discussion section of this article. We will start,
however, by giving a brief introduction of the IS concept.
IS as Entertainment Technology of the Future
Interactive Storytelling can be defined as the endeavor to develop new media in
which the presentation of a narrative, and its evolution, can be influenced, in real
time, by the user (Cavazza et al., 2007). While in conventional narrative the author
maintains exclusive control over what happens, what characters do and say (e.g.,
arrangement and order of events is critical to suspense in mystery stories, cf.
Knobloch-Westerwick & Kepplinger, 2006), IS technology reallocates some of
this control to the user and allows her to him to influence the events that occur
in the story. Consequently, the linearity of the narrative experience shifts toward
a structure where fixed story elements predefined by the author can be arranged/
rearranged and shaped continuously by the user. Various metaphors are being used
to describe the coconstruction of narrative by author and user, such as interactive
drama (Dow, Mehta, Harmon, MacIntyre, & Mateas, 2007) or ‘‘Dramatic Pres-
ence’’ (Kelso, Weyhrauch, & Bates, 1993).
The beginnings of IS technology can be traced back to the first attempts to use
Artificial Intelligence techniques for story generation (Murray, 1997; Young,
2000). It is applied either to automatic plot generation (by processing user interven-
tions) or to guiding the behavior of virtual actors that respond to user input. The use
of Artificial Intelligence is the key technology that is envisioned to support
Klimmt et al. 189
scalability and possibly long-term ‘‘mass production’’ of Interactive Narrative,
because if a computer can process the evolution of a story autonomously, systems
can be delivered to mass audiences that create a unique, personalized (entertain-
ment) experience. Such a mass medium will to a certain extent be comparable to
contemporary adventure computer games (and other genres involving narrative,
cf. Lee, Park, & Jin, 2006; Schneider, Lang, Shin, & Bradley, 2004), yet much more
sion of artificial intelligence separates IS from hypertext narrative (Pope, 2010).
While the latter operates with premanufactured text elements that users can navigate
among individually, IS aims at constructing the progress of a narrative based on user
inputs (such as questions or actions taken within a virtual environment) and not only
based on hypertext navigation decisions.
Many specific projects on IS media technology assign attention to dialogue,
whether it takes place between synthetic actors or between the user and these actors
as a means to support user interaction. One widely recognized prototype of Interac-
tive Narrative, Fac¸ade (Mateas & Stern, 2002), is largely based on dialogue and
operates plot evolution through dialogic actions among two autonomous characters
and the human user of the system. Just as most conventional narrative is driven by
characters, they play an important role in IS—this time, however, characters are
designed to be interactive, that is, responsive to what users do or say. In order to cre-
ate an entertaining user experience, such interactive characters should be believable
or convincing in the sense that they can react to user interventions in an affectively,
socially, and culturally meaningful way.
In addition to including elements from literature and video games, IS prototypes
typically integrate components from film. The unfolding story is mostly (yet not
always) conveyed in a visual mode, which requires an interactive type of cinemato-
graphy. Users’ perspective on story events must be managed, either in a director-
style where the system decides which perspective onto which events is generated
for the users, or in a customized way where users control the visual perspective by
themselves. With cinematography, the aesthetic element of IS entertainment media
is emphasized; the interactivity creates new challenges for media technology in
this respect as well, as conventional visual techniques (e.g., slow-motion, close-
ups) need to be aligned with what a given user is actually doing within the story
(e.g., Pickering & Olivier, 2003).
A final important element of IS systems design is innovative authoring. From an
author’s perspective, the vision of IS entertainment comes with the challenge of
inventing new ways of thinking about narrative. In noninteractive entertainment,
authors exploit their full control about media content (and the temporal order of that
content) to maximize audience enjoyment, for instance, by eliciting surprise or sus-
pense (see next section). IS, however, implies that authors share control over what is
happening in the story and when it is happening with individual users. Interactive
stories need dynamic components that can be ‘‘filled’’ by user influence in order
to result in a meaningful, coherent, and enjoyable narrative. So in addition to the
190 Games and Culture 7(3)
integration of advanced computing technologies, the IS community is searching for
and exploring new ways of designing and ‘‘packaging’’ narrative content (Spierling
& Szilas, 2009).
In sum, the vision of how IS media will function is similar to the science–fiction
idea of the ‘‘Star Trek Holodeck’’ (e.g., Murray, 1997), that is, users are confronted
with an immersive environment and actively participate in an ongoing, meaningful
story. Figure 1 gives an example of how contemporary IS technology is composed.
Once a sound integration of the diverse pieces of technology (display technology,
input devices, autonomous characters, cinematography, etc.) has been achieved in
conjunction with intelligent story authoring, IS systems may offer entertainment
similar to a virtual theater stage where the user is a protagonist among various intel-
ligent characters—however, the script is incomplete and needs to be shaped by the
user. Such systems may come to specific entertainment venues (such as cinemas)
or—more likely—may be sold as consumer electronics for home entertainment. One
plausible scenario predicts the evolving of video games (e.g., the role-playing genre)
with IS technologies, so that future home video games include ‘‘deep’’ IS.
Figure 1. An example of contemporary IS technology (a system developed and tested at
University of Teesside, UK.
source: Cavazza et al., 2007).
Klimmt et al. 191
Theoretical Perspective: Linking Entertainment
Theory to IS
While the actual design of IS-based future entertainment media is not yet clear, it is
likely that the capacity of such systems to facilitate media enjoyment will be
grounded on the specific synthesis of technology and content elements that have
already been studied in conventional media entertainment. In order to predict the
entertainability of IS, or in other words, to forecast which kinds of enjoyable experi-
ential qualities IS technology will primarily facilitate, it is therefore a reasonable
conceptual approach to review existing models in entertainment research and to
develop perspectives on how IS may facilitate (identical, similar, altered) manifes-
tations of media enjoyment that are already well known.
Interestingly, the available literature on what is entertaining in media
entertainment is quite diverse, because researchers from different disciplines and
methodological approaches have addressed the topic. For instance, notions of ‘‘lin-
ear’’ entertainment have been advanced in film studies (e.g., Tan, 1994).
Approaches to digital game players’ fun have evolved in game design and research
on game design (e.g., Crawford, 2003; Koster, 2004). The academic field of Game
Studies has advanced concepts of play experiences. And communication science
and media psychology have also begun to expand their conceptual repertoire to
model (interactive) entertainment experiences (e.g., Sherry, 2004; Vorderer,
Klimmt, & Ritterfeld, 2004; Tamborini, Bowman, Eden, Grizzard, & Organ,
2010). Our approach mostly builds on the latter body of literature, which however
connects easily to many ideas from game design, game studies, and other streams
of thinking about media entertainment (for instance, Csikszentmihalyi’s 
concept of flow has been addressed across a variety of fields and communities, see
below). This perspective understands media enjoyment as ‘‘a complex construct
that includes references to physiological, affective, and cognitive dimensions’’
(Vorderer et al., 2004, p. 389), and identifies a variety of important manifestations
of enjoyment, which can also be applied to the present case of IS. Following the
technological description of the key elements of IS systems presented earlier, sev-
eral conceptual approaches in communication theory to past and present media
entertainment emerge as potentially useful building blocks for a forecast model
of the IS experience.
Curiosity is a state that users of conventional media entertainment experience very
frequently. Reading a novel, for instance, generates knowledge of characters and
situations, which allows readers to conclude what may happen next, what should
happen next, and what is likely to happen next (e.g., Knobloch, Patzig, Mende, &
Hastall, 2004). Good writers attract readers’ interest, which includes the motivation
to learn about what will happen next. In conventional entertainment, curiosity occurs
192 Games and Culture 7(3)
in various modes. For instance, in video games, curiosity may refer to the progress of
the story, but also to the action possibilities that players can try out (‘‘What will hap-
pen if I do this?’’). During movie consumption, curiosity may also refer to artistic or
formal issues rather than the faith of the characters (e.g., ‘‘How will the director
Because various genres of media entertainment build on curiosity so frequently, it
is likely that curiosity is pleasant in itself and thus contributes to overall apprecia-
tion. Several theorists argue for a psychophysiological base of the pleasantness of
curiosity (e.g., Berlyne, 1960). When curiosity occurs, users (viewers, players, etc.)
first perceive a state of uncertainty, which comes along with increased physiological
activation. To the extent that this uncertainty is not too strong, most users seem to
enjoy such (temporary) activation (Berlyne, 1960). When uncertainty is reduced
(e.g., readers turn the page and find out what actually happens next), users experi-
ence a sense of closure or completion, which renders the increased physiological
activation a positive, pleasant experience (Zillmann, 1996a). If the state of curiosity
is followed by a surprise (i.e., something unexpected happens), these affective user
responses often turn into exhilaration (Zillmann, 2000). Entertainment media that
generate circles of increased curiosity and resolved curiosity thus create a chain
of pleasant affective dynamics. Because curiosity is a future-focused emotional state
(i.e., it is driven by expectations and thoughts about events to come rather than
events that already happened), curiosity holds a unique potential to bind sustained
user engagement in a media experience.
Such curiosity experiences are likely to be key to the user experience in IS, as IS
systems combine multiple dimensions to which user curiosity can refer: Users can be
curious about the pre-scripted story progress (‘‘What will happen next?’’), interac-
tive story progress (‘‘What will happen if I decide this way?’’), character dialogue
(‘‘How will this agent respond if I start cursing?’’), or technological capacity of the
system (‘‘How will the system visualize my view into this tunnel?’’). Because IS sys-
tems can trigger mechanisms of curiosity at various levels, a high frequency and
intensity of curiosity-based affective dynamics in users is likely to occur. Conse-
quently, curiosity is proposed from a theoretical perspective as an integral element
of entertainment experiences in IS experiences.
A common mode of media enjoyment in conventional entertainment (such as crime
drama) is suspense (Vorderer, Wulff, & Friedrichsen, 1996). This experiential state
is fueled by aversive emotional components, such as anxiety or empathic concern
(e.g., a viewer fearing the defeat of a movie protagonist; cf. Zillmann, 1996b). Sus-
pense differs from curiosity in the sense that users experiencing suspense have a
strong interest in a specific outcome of a story episode, such as ‘‘My character must
win the fight.’’ In contrast to curiosity, suspense is rooted in emotional involvement
with characters. This emotional interest makes users long for specific outcomes and
Klimmt et al. 193
generates the concern that these specific outcomes may not occur. Therefore,
suspense is a rather stressful mode of entertainment.
However, if the desired outcomes occur, strong experiences of relief and satis-
faction occur in most cases (‘‘happy end’’; Zillmann, 1996a). Research in media
psychology suggests that both the aversive stage of suspense and the rewarding
relief contribute to user enjoyment (Knobloch, 2003; Vorderer et al., 1996).
Suspense has been found to occur both in linear entertainment such as novels
and in interactive media such as video games (Klimmt, Rizzo et al., 2009). In inter-
active media experiences, suspense is frequently a by-product of challenge and
competition—players of competitive video games feel a high level of uncertainty
about whether they will master a current challenge or not while they hold a very
strong preference to win. Challenge and competition can thus foster similar affec-
tive user responses as character-driven emotions (empathy) do in linear
IS systems are likely to facilitate suspense as well. More precisely, IS applica-
tions can establish emotional involvement with characters and situations (e.g., Paiva
et al., 2004). They may simultaneously generate a perception of personal challenge
in users. For example, an interactive crime drama may situate the user in the role of a
police detective who is facing the climax confrontation with the villain. At this
moment, suspense should be high for narrative reasons (as stakes are high in terms
of plot development) and for interactivity reasons (as the user must make the ‘‘right’’
decisions to succeed in the confrontation). Therefore, suspense is theorized as sec-
ond key dimension of the user experience in IS systems.
Aesthetics are an important element in media entertainment and have been studied
extensively in various fields (e.g., Shusterman, 2003; Thorburn, 1987). Interestingly,
communication science has neglected the aesthetics element in theories of media
enjoyment (Cupchik & Kemp, 2000). Enjoyable aesthetic experiences can have
diverse manifestations, such as responses to the physical appearance of characters,
landscape imagery, or romantic episodes; they may also relate to attributes that
constitute a media application as a piece of art. For example, movie experts may
find the cinematic implementation of a special scene ‘‘beautiful.’’ Aesthetic
pleasantness shares physiological and cognitive roots with curiosity and suspense
(Berlyne, 1960), yet it is shaped to a stronger degree by individual factors (biogra-
phy, sense of taste, social status, and of course the creativity involved in the
medium), and is not necessarily bound to uncertainty reduction. In many cases,
aesthetic appreciation is linked to users’ construction of personal meaning from
a story or piece of art (Rowold, 2008).
Given the importance of aesthetics in conventional entertainment and the fact that
IS technology is addressing users’ senses with impressive information density and
richness (Cavazza et al., 2007), it is likely that IS systems can have profound
194 Games and Culture 7(3)
aesthetic impact on their users. The quality of this aesthetic experience may differ
across applications: Some prototypes may facilitate affective responses through
‘‘beautiful’’ imagery (e.g., digital landscapes). Other applications may address
users’ aesthetic perception with creative plot development, character attributes, dia-
logue evolution, or puzzle tasks (e.g., as in the Myst™video games). The element of
‘‘deep,’’ intellectually challenging narrative is certainly key to the aesthetics of IS
(e.g., Cavazza et al., 2007). Character attribute, dialogue and language output, music
and visual effects, camera movement and cuts may also play an important role, so
the expectable performance of future IS systems to engage their users aesthetically
is very strong and manifold. Aesthetic pleasantness is therefore proposed as third
key dimension of IS media’s entertainability.
Several scholars argue that interactive entertainment media are enjoyed partly
because they allow users to experience lifts of self-worth and self-esteem. Most impor-
tantly, video games demand task performance from players and provide positive feed-
back in the case of success, which is conceptually linked to bolstered self-esteem,
pride, and associated positive emotions (e.g., Klimmt, Blake, Hefner, Vorderer, &
Roth, 2009). Another mode of how video games can affect player self-worth is iden-
tification (Klimmt, Hefner & Vorderer, 2009). Identifying with a game character
allows to feel like somebody one desires to be, such as a hero, a rock musician, or
a powerful decision maker. Fulfilling desires of being like one wants to be generates
positive emotions (such as pride), and this response of reduced self-discrepancy has
been linked to video game enjoyment (Bessiere, Seay, & Kiesler, 2007).
To the extent that IS systems facilitate identification with characters and/or
provide experiences of competence and success, they are also likely to lift users’
self-esteem in a similar fashion as video games do. Because users are directly involved
in the story, they can attribute positive events to themselves (e.g., they manage to solve
a case in interactive crime drama). Interactivity thus opens the pathway to users’ self-
enhancement. Positive self-experiences of reduced self-discrepancy and/or compe-
tence and success (self-enhancement) are therefore concluded as fourth theoretically
important dimension in the user experience of future IS systems.
Optimal Task Engagement (‘‘Flow’’)
Several scholars have applied the concept of ‘‘flow’’ (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
to study media enjoyment, particularly in the context of interactive media (e.g.,
Cowley, Charles, Black, & Hickey, 2008; Nakatsu, Rauterberg & Vorderer,
2005; Sherry, 2004). Users experiencing flow find themselves resolving a
sequence of tasks that is exactly as difficult as they can handle if they work with
full dedication, and this experiential state (in the middle between boredom and
anxiety) is found highly pleasant in many situations.
Klimmt et al. 195
Participating in an interactive story by making decisions and pushing a plot line
forward can be construed as a task-type of activity, especially since all IS systems
impose rules and limits to what users can decide on and do. Shaping a storyline while
complying with such limitations may feel like resolving tasks—just as playing
adventure video games requires users to solve puzzles to move the story forward.
If the timing and difficulty of users’ participation in the development of the story
is ‘‘right,’’ users may ‘‘dive into’’ the activity of giving input, or, more generally
speaking, in co-narrating the story. Flow may thus turn out as an experiential dimen-
sion important to users of sophisticated well-structured IS systems that provide rea-
sonable challenges and defined tasks to their audience (e.g., Mallon & Webb, 2005).
The theoretical analysis reviewed the existing conceptual literature on media enter-
tainment to identify dimensions of media enjoyment that are likely to play a role in
the user experience of the emerging art and technologies of IS. The resulting five types
of experiences (curiosity, suspense, aesthetic pleasantness, self-enhancement, and
flow) suggest that the enjoyment of future IS media can possibly be deconstructed and
analyzed by referring to well-known contemporary modes of enjoyment. However,
this approach may fail to develop a vision of how precisely these potentially relevant
dimensions of enjoyment will be combined in IS. So truly innovative and unique user
experiences may occur in IS systems that cannot be explained in terms of the existing
concepts and models. Moreover, the theoretical analysis may fall short of what kind of
user experiences the actual designers and authors of interactive stories and their tech-
nical platforms intend to create. A solid forecast of the entertainability of future IS
media should therefore not only apply the rather conservative strategy of linking exist-
ing models of media enjoyment to new technologies but also take a prospective view-
point and examine practitioners’ experiences with existing IS prototypes and visions
for future systems. Combining the theoretical approach pursued so far with an expert-
oriented empirical methodology is thus proposed as viable strategy to improve the
conceptual forecast of IS media’s entertainability.
An Expert Interview Study on Designers Envisioned User
Experiences in IS
The purpose of the conducted study was to confront the conceptual perspectives
developed previously (see above) on the user experience in IS with expert views.
Specialists involved in theorizing, planning, and/or implementing IS systems clearly
hold their own views of what users (should) experience, and these views may or may
not match with the conceptual approach developed in advance, for instance, due to
different disciplinary viewpoints or practical experiences that certain modes of
196 Games and Culture 7(3)
entertainment simply ‘‘don’t work.’’ Therefore, the expert interview study was
intended to provide empirical information that enrich, complete, adjust, or even cor-
rect the dimensions of IS system users’ entertainment experience derived from the the-
oretical analysis. The research question that guided the study thus reads as follows:
Research Question: Which kinds of enjoyable user experiences do designers and
authors intend to facilitate in users of contemporary and anticipated future sys-
tems of interactive storytelling?
Method and Expert Sample
Based on the conceptual reflections (see previous section), a qualitative interview
study was designed that focused on three rather broad, open questions which
addressed the experts’ views on the user experience in IS. Broadness of the questions
was chosen as interviewing strategy because of the heterogeneity of approaches pur-
sued in the technical implementation of IS and the variance in experts’ domain of
research (e.g., intelligent agents versus cinematography).
The first question was ‘‘According to your experience with Interactive Storytell-
ing projects, prototypes, and visions, how would you describe the feelings or experi-
ences that authors and makers of IS systems intend to facilitate in the users?’’ The
question framed the topic of user experience from a phenomenological or psycholo-
gical perspective. To ensure that all experts (especially those with a strong back-
ground in computing technology) would be able to respond accurately, the second
main question framed the topic of the user experience rather from the perspective
of system elements required to make users experience the interactive story the way
they should do: ‘‘Which design elements of IS systems do you regard critical and/or
particularly difficult in facilitating such user experiences?’’ Finally, the third major
question attempted to collect experts’ abstraction of what they perceive to be impor-
tant trends in IS that will endure beyond today’s state of the art: ‘‘In which ways do
you expect IS systems of the near future (5 to 10 years) improve in terms of facil-
itating user experiences? How will the IS user experience of the future be?’’
A multistep strategy was pursued to generate a sample of internationally recog-
nized experts in IS. First, a significant group of European experts involved in a
research network on IS was visited for a workshop event. These experts are active
in various subfields of IS and responded to the interview questions in a group discus-
sion that was audiorecorded and analyzed subsequently. Second, a list of further inter-
esting designers and authors was compiled with the help of the members of this expert
group. These additional individuals were contacted via electronic mail and invited to
participate in the interview study through e-mail responses to the open-ended ques-
tions described above. E-mail turned out as suboptimal channel to address experts and
conduct the interviews, however, as response rates and durations were quite dissatis-
fying. Consequently, a third step was taken with a revised list of interview candidates
(following additional literature examinations and desktop research), and experts from
Klimmt et al. 197
this list were invited to a telephone interview. With this procedure, much better
response rates and times were achieved, and the number of qualified experts whose
views could be processed for the study was increased significantly. One interview was
conducted face-to-face, and the respondent preferred not to run an audio recording
(which was done for all other interviews). From this single interview, only interviewer
notes (instead of a transcription of the expert’s actual statements) could be analyzed.
With these recruiting measures, a sample of 20 experts from various countries
(e.g., Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States) par-
ticipated in the study, who represent a significant amount of practical knowledge of
the field and the most advanced IS projects. Because virtually all experts preferred to
remain anonymous, no personal citation will be offered when original verbal mate-
rial is presented in the results section. Analysis of the interview and discussion tran-
scripts began with an open reading to assess the experts’ general perspective on the
issue of user experience. Subsequently, the processing of transcripts focused on the
identification of terms and descriptions related to user experience. Specifically,
statements that (1) mirror theorized categories of user experience (see theory section
of this article) or (2) mark specific, new, and/or unexpected dimensions of the user
experience in IS were examined in detail.
Most experts found it very difficult to connect their view to a specified psychological
construal of what the users will think, feel, and experience when they are exposed to
an IS medium. The main reason for this discrepancy between the communication
science perspective pursued at the theoretical level and the IS experts’ perspective
is that highly diverse IS systems can be (and have been) designed; just as different
types of conventional narratives can foster varying types of emotions in readers,
there is no single or typical user experience in interactive narrative.
You can imagine any range of emotions coming through. ...Idonotthink there is a
general way to evaluate these experiences because they are going to be so varied in
nature. (Expert No. 17)
One major reason why the interviewed experts were skeptical about a definable set
of important experiential qualities in users of IS systems is that with adding interac-
tivity to the narrative, a high degree of individualized or personalized experience is
implied. Because users are enabled to contribute actively to the progress of a story,
the story that results from the interaction of a given user and a given system is not
necessarily comparable to what comes out as the story if another user interacts with
the same system or if the same user interacts with the same system once again.
The story can adapt as the player or the user moves through it. So from an author’s
perspective, what an author wants to know is what is the landscape, what is the space
198 Games and Culture 7(3)
of stories, and what are the differences as the user progresses through different
story parts, how would that experience be changing their emotional state. (Expert
In spite of this in-built multiplicity of user states in IS, experts mentioned some types
of user experience as general principles of user involvement. Interestingly, they did
so mostly because the interviewer suggested such modes as examples, and not
because they regarded them as common sense among system designers. Several
experts reflected on the interrelated aspects of curiosity, suspense, and surprise as
relevant user experience, because they allow motivating the user to stay with the sys-
tem and the experience.
Surprise and suspense are in effect for us results of cognitive processes that happen
when a user experiences a narrative. (Expert No. 14)
Obviously surprise is interesting as a tool. I would see these emotions as the tools,
the high level tools of the author. (Expert No. 18)
Experts mentioned different objects to which curiosity, surprise, and suspense can
relate in IS, and not all of them refer to the actual narrative content, but also to the
exploration of the capabilities and boundaries of the underlying technology. This
finding converges with the conceptual review of curiosity and suggests that novelty
of the whole idea of IS adds to the experience at least of present and near-future sys-
tems: Aside of curiosity about how the story will or may develop, users are interested
and curious about what the technology can do and how it may respond to ‘‘silly’’
[Some users] engaged at that level that the authors intended or other people were a lot
more playing around the edges, trying to break the system, trying to find out where the
constraints are, I guess, where the edges of the interaction are. And had fun sort of pok-
ing around, saying things that were maybe inappropriate, playing with the graphics,
playing with the objects in the space, just messing around. (Expert No. 17)
Another fundamental principle of user experience in IS that was found in expert
statements is the perception of actually exercising an impact on the story or the story
world. Experts stated the requirement to make visible to users what the conse-
quences of their decisions, choices, and actions are. The important aspect is, accord-
ing to experts, not so much a sense of achievement or self-enhancement (as had been
theorized beforehand), but rather the salience of users’ own impact on the story. In
media psychology, the term effectance has been proposed for this experiential
dimension (Klimmt & Hartmann, 2006). One notion experts utilize to describe this
aspect is ‘‘impact,’’ the other is ‘‘choice’’—the choices offered to users need to be
meaningful in the sense that users notice the consequences of their decision among
the options of choice.
Klimmt et al. 199
You have the feeling that your action . . . has some impact . . . contrary to games where
you for example have a smaller circle of cause and effect, . . . in a narrative it can be that
your action in fact has an effect but in the . . . future. (Expert No. 7)
I want the user to have a feeling that he is not choosing among a prewritten set of
plan sheets, you want to have the feeling that it is not something that has been written
but generated . . . the situation is something that I have created as a user. (Expert No. 6)
The final specified type of user experience that experts brought up is identification and/
or empathy with digital characters. Interestingly, statements from different experts mir-
ror a debate in media psychology on ‘‘old entertainment’’ media about the question
whether viewers (users) occupy the role of an observer (and thus merely empathize with
characters) or rather identify with characters (and thus perceive themselves to be or to be
like the displayed character, cf. Klimmt, Hefner & Vorderer, 2009). IS environments
seem to allow both types of experiential quality, that is, empathy and identification:
How coherent must the behavior of the characters be before people recognize that they
are behaving coherently; sort of motivational consistencies in characters, how impor-
tant is that for interactive narrative. (Expert No. 15)
I thought was a particularly interesting case, there is . . . systems that go the full-
blown strong identification, trying to by virtual identification immerse the user in some
strong emotional responses. So the system I am currently working on, . . ., there they
wanted really strong identification, because in fact they wanted to engender the same
kinds of emotional responses in the user that the user would have if they would actual
make these decisions [in reality]. (Expert No. 15)
Much of experts’ reasoning on the facilitation of entertaining user experiences in IS
addressed technological requirements that a system should or must meet before any
intended user state can occur. This referred to fundamental issues in system usabil-
ity—users need to understand how to shape a story with the given interface, for
instance. Character believability was also mentioned across several interviews; the
characters in interactive narrative should behave authentically according to a con-
vincing personality (e.g., a shy character should respond to a user who talks friendly
differently from an assertive character) and process users’ actions and statements in
a ‘‘natural’’ way with smooth and error-free dialogue.
There is a sort of naturalness element of the dialogue and whether the user is in that
dialogue. It’s the sort of extent to which pace like their contribution is in the same pace
as the system. (Expert No. 4)
The brief summary of the expert interviews revealed the partial discrepancy between
a user-centered approach that follows entertainment theory and media psychology
on one hand and the (dominating) technology-centered perspective of how to engage
200 Games and Culture 7(3)
users in IS experiences on the other hand. At the current stage of technology devel-
opment, it seems that designers are more concerned about functioning ways to inte-
grate the various pieces of technology to form a coherent, working, holistic
experience rather than thinking about the actual kind of entertainment they are about
to create. In fact, many responses suggested that the experts consider their projects
still at a stage of experimentation and do not yet go for narrowly defined user
With this limitation, it turned out useful to confront the conceptual account of the
user experience in IS with expert views. Some theoretical considerations mirrored
expert perspectives; most importantly, curiosity, suspense, and surprise were found
important in expert statements just as in the conceptual approach. However, the self-
enhancement dimension that had been theorized in advance was not mentioned by
experts. Instead, they brought up the effectance issue, which is theoretically linked
to self-enhancement (Klimmt & Hartmann, 2006).
Overall, the experts’ advice was to lift the conceptual perspective up in terms of
abstraction. Because IS systems can vary greatly in content, and because technology
development has not yet resulted in many finished systems that can serve as specific
exemplars, diverse kinds of user experiences that may not match to the theoretical
categories elaborated in advance are possible, so the forecast of IS media’s
entertainability that expert notions allow would be more general in nature and focus
on technological facilitators of experiences instead of actual experiential qualities of
Conclusion: A Forecast Model of Future Entertainment
Experiences Based on Interactive Narrative
The present study has applied theoretical analysis and expert interviews to elaborate
predictions on how the entertainment experience of the future should be described
and explained. Specifically, the question how new communication technologies—
IS systems—will shape the user experience was addressed. Both the examination
of existing entertainment models and the consultation of IS experts produced valu-
able insights that can be synthesized in a forecast model of entertainment experi-
ences in users of interactive narratives. One important general finding is that from
an expert point of view, the kind of entertainment that IS will deliver to mass audi-
ences is far from being decided on. Further progress in technology integration and
the evolution of authorship for interactive stories will have strong influence on how
finished IS media will generate audience appeal.
While this does not prevent us from deriving a conceptual model of the future
user experience in IS, the results of the expert study remind us of the tentativeness
of such a ‘‘very early’’ forecast model.
The model is composed of three structural elements. Following the expert perspec-
tive, the first element is fundamental requirements that a system mustmeet to facilitate
any meaningful and potentially pleasant user experience. These requirements refer to
Klimmt et al. 201
technology issues and authoring issues: On the technological dimension, system
usability (Shackle, 2009) is identified as fundamental requirement. Once the users feel
comfortable with the interface and find the overall appearance of and interaction with
the system convincing and error-free, specific modes of processing the interactive
story content can unfold (see below). On the authoring dimension, character believ-
ability (including naturalness of dialogue) is proposed as the key requirement, because
if an IS system would fail to evoke a sense of intentionality and rationality in its char-
acters or would display chaotic dialogues, any illusion-based mode of experience that
roots in emotional involvement would be prevented. Character believability is also a
technological challenge (Riedl & Stern, 2006), but in contrast to basic system usabil-
ity, it also involves ‘‘intelligent’’ authoring and narrative creativity. So in addition to
smooth user-system interaction (in terms of interface, etc.), a fundamental system
requirement is that (authorial) character design is sufficient to stimulate social percep-
tion in users and interactions that are free of irritations.
The second part of the conceptual model contains users’ immediate and basic
responses to interactive stories that meet the fundamental requirements identified
above. System usability and the resulting smooth and immediate interaction between
user and story is predicted to evoke the experience of effectance (i.e., salience of one’s
impact and consequential decisions, cf. Klimmt & Hartmann, 2006). Character believ-
ability is proposed to stimulate emotional responses to characters (most importantly:
empathy, cf. Zillmann, 2006) and/or identification with a story protagonist (Klimmt,
Hefner & Vorderer, 2009; Oatley, 1994). The model also predicts system usability to
affect these emotional responses, because if usability problems overshadow the social
experience of interacting with the (believable) characters, the emergence of social–
emotional reactions is very unlikely. Vice versa, character believability is also
assumed to affect the experience of effectance, because only if the story’s characters
respond in an authentic, ‘‘rational’’ way to users’ inputs (e.g., questions), users will
develop a sense of having a meaningful and predictable impact onto the story.
Within the overall logic of the model, effectance and empathy/identification are
basic user responses that function as mediators that link technology and narrative
fundamentals to more complex and specific kinds of user experience, which is the
third model component. Following the theoretical analysis and related comments
by the experts, curiosity, suspense, surprise, and flow are proposed as typical experi-
ential qualities in IS users. However, IS systems may facilitate many other kinds of
experience depending on narrative content, such as exhilaration (Zillmann, 2000),
sadness (Oliver, 1993), or discomfort (as in ‘‘Fac¸ade’’: Mateas & Stern, 2002).
Therefore, the third model section includes an ‘‘open’’ field that mirrors IS systems
capability to generate diverse kind of (pleasant and unpleasant) user states. Figure 2
summarizes the model.
Key to this model proposition is the mediating function of effectance and emo-
tional responses to story characters between the communication technologies and
content on one side and the actual user experience of the other side. Effectance is
the mechanism that facilitates user experiences out of system interactivity (because
202 Games and Culture 7(3)
it marks users’ perception that they are actually doing something within the story
context instead of merely observing); empathic responses to/identification with story
characters is the key mechanism that generates user experience out of narrative con-
tent. For instance, a highly usable IS system with believable characters (such as in
Figure 1) is likely to facilitate the perception of effectance (users become aware that
they shape the story). From this perception, continuous interaction with the ongoing
story may result in an experience of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) and curiosity
about how one’s current decisions will affect the course of upcoming events within
the story. At the same time, appealing characters may evoke social–emotional
responses in the user (empathy), which generates affective experience such as sus-
pense in the case of the characters face a conflict or surprise if the (likeable) char-
acters violate users’ social expectations.
The model predicts connections between both mediator processes (effectance
and empathy/identification) and all more specific user experiences such as sus-
pense and flow. While conceptual arguments could be elaborated for each of these
connections (e.g., Klimmt & Vorderer, 2003), the multiplicity of assumed effects
is primarily intended to illustrate that a given IS system could elicit user responses
through very different pathways. It is rather unlikely, in contrast, that one given IS
Requirements User Processing and
Perceptions User Experience
(salience of impact on
Specific affective states
(e.g., responsiveness to
Figure 2. A forecast model of (enjoyable) user experiences in future entertainment media
based on interactive storytelling
Klimmt et al. 203
system will provide all the foreseen modes of enjoyment simultaneously.
Empirical applications of the model may, however, falsify some of the proposed
connections among mediator processes and types of user enjoyment, which would
result in a ‘‘leaner’’ model structure.
With a forecast model of how interactive narrative may facilitate enjoyable user
experiences, research on existing and future prototypes of this next generation enter-
tainment media can be structured more effectively. The primary value of the model,
however, will be its availability for a historic comparison of past expectations con-
cerning the evolution of entertainment technology with what has actually hit the
markets and has been adopted as mainstream entertainment in a few years. Maybe
only some IS media will be enjoyable and successful with mass audiences that rely
on one particular route or dimension of user experience as outlined in the model;
maybe the model will fail completely to capture what kind of media entertainment
will evolve out of the research and development laboratories where interactive nar-
ratives are designed. In any case, the elaboration of a forecast entertainment model
from theory and expert inquiry equips technology-oriented entertainment research-
ers with a conceptual tool to ground their (theoretical and empirical) investigation of
future media and to participate in ongoing development projects. One particularly
promising topic of investigation in which the model may be helpful is the general
design question about how and to which extent system authors should share control
over story content with users (e.g., Murray, 1997). The inevitable tension between
story coherence and meaningfulness on one hand and individual, dynamic user influ-
ences on the other hand may be resolved in very different ways. Research on user
responses that is based on the proposed model could allow to find out about the con-
sequences of particular strategies in dealing with the narration—interactivity
dilemma in different prototypes and systems.
Such collaborations with technology institutions can also bring forward entertain-
ment theory in respect to new highly interactive systems much earlier as entertain-
ment research has typically responded to technological innovation in the past (e.g.,
video games). It will also allow communication scholars to enter an informed discus-
sion with system inventors and designers about the user experience in future enter-
tainment systems, with potentially positive outcomes in terms of design philosophy
and overall entertainability of those media for the next generation of audiences striv-
ing for enjoyable experiences.
The research presented in this article was funded by the European Commission (Network of
Excellence ‘‘Integrating Research in Interactive Storytelling: IRIS’’, IST-FP7-231824). The
authors thankfully acknowledge the Commission’s support.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
204 Games and Culture 7(3)
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article: European Commission (Network of Excellence ‘‘Integrating
Research in Interactive Storytelling: IRIS’’, IST-FP7-231824).
Aylett, R., Lim, M. Y., Louchart, S., Petta, P., & Riedl, M. (Eds.). (2010). Interactive
Storytelling: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Interactive Digital
Storytelling ICIDS 2010 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 6432). Berlin,
Berlyne, D. E. (1960). Conflict, arousal, and curiosity. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Bessiere, K., Seay, A. F., & Kiesler, S. (2007). The ideal elf: Identity exploration in World of
Warcraft. CyberPsychology & Behavior,10, 530–535.
Cavazza, M., Charles, F., & Mead, S. J. (2002). Character-based interactive storytelling. IEEE
Intelligent Systems,17, 17–24.
Cavazza, M., Lugrin, J. L., Pizzi, D., & Charles, F. (2007). Madame Bovary on the Holodeck:
Immersive interactive storytelling. ACM Multimedia 2007, 651–660.
Cowley, B., Charles, D., Black, M., & Hickey, R. (2008). Toward an understanding of flow in
video games. ACM Computers in Entertainment,6, Article 20.
Crawford, C. (2003). Chris Crawford on game design. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Press.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York, NY:
Cupchik, G. C., & Kemp, S. (2000). The aesthetics of media fare. In D. Zillmann & P. Vorderer
(Eds.), Media entertainment: The psychology of its appeal (pp. 249–265). Mahwah, NJ:
Dow, S., Mehta, M., Harmon, E., MacIntyre, B., & Mateas, M. (2007). Presence and engage-
ment in interactive drama. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in
computing systems (pp. 1475–1484). New York, NY: ACM.
Ip, B. (2008). Technological, content, and market convergence in the games industry. Games
and Culture,3, 199–224.
Kelso, M. T., Weyhrauch, P., & Bates, J. (1993). Dramatic presence. Presence: Teleoperators
and Virtual Environments,2, 1–15.
Klimmt, C., & Hartmann, T. (2006). Effectance, self-efficacy, and the motivation to play
video games. In P. Vorderer & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing video games: Motives, responses,
and consequences (pp. 132–145). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Klimmt, C., & Vorderer, P. (2003). Media psychology ‘‘is not yet there’’: Introducing theories
on media entertainment to the Presence debate. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual
Klimmt, C., Hefner, D., & Vorderer, P. (2009). The video game experience as ‘true’ identi-
fication: A theory of enjoyable alterations of players’ self-perception. Communication
Klimmt, C., Blake, C., Hefner, D., Vorderer, P., & Roth, C. (2009). Player performance, satisfac-
tion, and video game enjoyment. In S. Natkin & J. Dupire (Eds.), Entertainment Computing:
Klimmt et al. 205
Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Entertainment Computing (ICEC 2009)
(Lecture Notes in Computer Science 5709, pp. 1–12). Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Klimmt, C., Rizzo, A., Vorderer, P., Koch, J., & Fischer, T. (2009). Experimental evidence
for suspense as determinant of video game enjoyment. Cyberpsychology and Behavior,
Knobloch-Westerwick, S., & Kepplinger, C. (2006). Mystery appeal: Effects of uncertainty
and resolution on the enjoyment of mystery. Media Psychology,8, 193–212.
Knobloch, S. (2003). Suspense and mystery. In J. Bryant, D. R. Roskos-Ewoldsen, & J. Cantor
(Eds.), Communication and emotion: Essays in honor of Dolf Zillmann (pp. 379–396).
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Knobloch, S., Patzig, G., Mende, A.-M., & Hastall, M. (2004). Affective news: Effects of dis-
course structure in narratives on suspense, curiosity, and enjoyment while reading news
and novels. Communication Research,31, 259–287.
Koster, R. (2004). A theory of fun for game design. Phoenix, AZ: Paraglyph Press.
Lee, K. M., Park, N., & Jin, S. A. (2006). Narrative and interactivity in computer games. In
P. Vorderer & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing video games: Motives, responses, consequences
(pp. 259–274) Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Mallon, B., & Webb, B. (2005). Stand up and take your place: Identifying narrative ele-
ments in narrative adventure and role-play games, Computers in Entertainment (CIE),
Mateas, M., & Stern, A. (2002). A behavior language for story-based believable agents. IEEE
Intelligent Systems,17, 39–47.
Murray, J. (1997). Hamlet on the holodeck. The future of narrative in cyberspace. Boston,
MA: MIT Press.
Nakatsu, R., Rauterberg, M., & Vorderer, P. (2005). A new framework for entertainment
computing: From passive to active experience. In F. Kishino, Y. Kitamura, H. Kato, &
N. Nagata (Eds.), Entertainment computing—ICEC 2005 (Lecture Notes in Computer
Science vol. 3711, pp. 1–12). Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Oatley, K. (1994). A taxonomy of the emotions of literary response and a theory of identifi-
cation in fictional narrative. Poetics,23, 53–74.
Oliver, M. B. (1993). Exploring the paradox of the enjoyment of sad films. Human
Communication Research,19, 315–342.
Paiva, A., Dias, J., Sobral, D., Aylett, R., Sobreperez, P., Woods, S., ... Hall, L. (2004).
Caring for agents and agents that care: Building empathic relations with synthetic agents.
Proceedings of the Third international Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and
Multiagent Systems,1, 194–201.
Parikka, J., & Suominen, J. (2006). Victorian snakes? Towards a cultural history of mobile
games and the experience of movement. Game Studies,6, article 9.
Pickering, J. H., & Olivier, P. (2003). Declarative camera planning: Roles and requirements.
Smart Graphics Symposium, SG 2003 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 2733, pp.
182–191). Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Pope, J. (2010). Where do we go from here? Readers’ responses to interactive fiction.
206 Games and Culture 7(3)
Riedl, M., & Stern, A. (2006). Believable agents and intelligent story adaptation for interac-
tive storytelling. In S. Go¨bel, R. Malkewitz, & I. Iurgel (Eds.), Technologies for interactive
digital storytelling and entertainment (Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 4326, pp.
1–12). Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Rowold, J. (2008). Instrument development for esthetic perception assessment. Journal of
Media Psychology,20, 35–40.
Schneider, E. F., Lang, A., Shin, M., & Bradley, S. D. (2004). Death with a story: How story
impacts emotional, motivational, and physiological responses to first-person shooter video
games. Human Communication Research,30, 361–375.
Shackle, B. (2009). Usability: Context, framework, definition, design and evaluation.
Interacting with Computers,21, 339–346.
Sherry, J. L. (2004). Flow and media enjoyment. Communication Theory,14, 328–347.
Shusterman, R. (2003). Entertainment: A question for aesthetics. British Journal of
Spierling, U., & Szilas, N. (2009). Authoring issues beyond tools. In I. A. Iurgel, N. Zagalo, &
P. Petta (Eds.), Interactive storytelling: Second Joint International Conference on
Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2009 (pp. 50–61). Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Tamborini, R., Bowman, N. D., Eden, A., Grizzard, M., & Organ, A. (2010). Defining
media enjoyment as the satisfaction of intrinsic needs. Journal of Communication,60,
Tan, E. S. H. (1994). Film-induced affect as a witness emotion. Poetics,23, 7–32.
Thorburn, D. (1987). Television as an aesthetic medium. Critical Studies in Mass
Vorderer, P. (2000). Interactive entertainment and beyond. In D. Zillmann, & P. Vorderer
(Eds.), Media entertainment: The psychology of its appeal (pp. 21–36). Mahwah, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Vorderer, P., & Bryant, J. (Eds.). (2006). Playing video games: Motives, responses, conse-
quences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Vorderer, P., Klimmt, C., & Ritterfeld, U. (2004). Enjoyment: At the heart of media entertain-
ment. Communication Theory,14, 388–408.
Vorderer, P., Wulff, H. J., & Friedrichsen, M. (Eds.). (1996). Suspense: Conceptualizations,
theoretical analyses, and empirical explorations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Young, R. M. (2000). Creating interactive narrative structures: The potential for AI
approaches. AAAI Spring Symposium in Artificial Intelligence and Entertainment. Palo
Alto, CA: AAAI Press.
Zillmann, D. (1996a). Sequential dependencies in emotional experience and behavior. In
R. D. Kavanaugh, B. Zimmerberg, & S. Fein (Eds.), Emotion: Interdisciplinary
perspectives (p. 243–272). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Zillmann, D. (1996b). The psychology of suspense in dramatic exposition. In P. Vorderer,
H. J. Wulff, & M. Friedrichsen (Eds.), Suspense: Conceptualizations, theoretical
analyses, and empirical explorations (pp. 199–231). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Zillmann, D. (2000). Humor and comedy. In D. Zillmann & P. Vorderer (Eds.), Media enter-
tainment: The psychology of its appeal (pp. 37–58). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Klimmt et al. 207
Zillmann, D. (2006). Empathy: Affective reactivity to others’ emotional experiences. In
J. Bryant & P. Vorderer (Eds.), Psychology of entertainment (pp. 151–181). Mahwah,
NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Christoph Klimmt is professor at Department of Journalism and Communication Research
(IJK), Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media.
Christian Roth is a doctoral researcher at the Center for Advanced Media Research Amster-
dam (CaMeRA), VU University Amsterdam.
Ivar Vermeulen, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Department of Communication Sci-
ence, VU University Amsterdam.
Peter Vorderer, PhD, holds a Chair in Communication at the University of Mannheim,
Franziska Susanne Roth is a doctoral researcher at the Media and Communication Studies
Department, University of Manheim, Germany.
208 Games and Culture 7(3)