Some Epistemic Benefits of Action-Tetris, a Case Study

Proceedings of the 14th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (1992)
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We present data and argument to show that in Tetris—a real-time interactive video game—certain cognitive and perceptual problems are more quickly, easily, and reliably solved by performing actions in the world rather than by performing computational actions in the head alone. We have found that some translations and rotations are best understood as being used to implement a plan, or to implement a reaction. To substantiate our position we have implemented a computational laboratory that lets us record keystrokes and game situations, as well as allows us to dynamically create situations. Using the data of over 30 subjects playing 6 games, tachistoscopic tests of some of these subjects, and results from our own successful efforts at building expert systems to play Tetris, we show why knowing how to use one’s environment to enhance speed and robustness are important components in skilled play.

Author's Profile

David Kirsh
University of California, San Diego


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