Drawing Video Game Mental Maps: From Emotional Games to Emotions of Play


  • Hovig Ter Minassian University François-Rabelais, Tours (France)




video games, computer games, mental maps, digital space, digital geography, emotions, cultural practicesvideo games, cultural practices


By exploring emotions at play in video game experiences, we sought to analyze how people interact with digital spaces in everyday life. Taking a somewhat different view than much of the literature in the field of video game studies, we examined emotions that were created from users’ experience of games, rather than focusing on game design and gameplay. To that end, we based our analysis on 38 video game mental maps drawn by 26 people. We successively analyzed the topic, the structure, and the experiential and emotional meaning of each of the mental maps. Thus, we explored the diversity of emotions that participants linked to video games, and examined the mental maps in relation to what the respondents said about how and why they chose to draw a particular video game. Our work shows the importance of looking beyond the analysis of affects and gameplay, and of examining the emotions produced by the video game experience, along with what they can tell us about the role of games in individual and collective spatial experiences and sociability. Everything doesn’t happen on the screen, and what is lived within the game also depends on what is lived in the physical space of the player. In other words, video games aren’t emotional in themselves, but there are significant video game experiences that contribute to the structuration of individuals.


Author Biography

Hovig Ter Minassian, University François-Rabelais, Tours (France)

Department of geography

CITERES Research Lab




How to Cite

Ter Minassian, H. (2018). Drawing Video Game Mental Maps: From Emotional Games to Emotions of Play. Cartographic Perspectives, (91), 47–62. https://doi.org/10.14714/CP91.1435



Peer-Reviewed Articles