"It is the suspense and uncertainty of a close game that often brings them back for more," said co-researcher Sami Abuhamdeh from the Istanbul Azehir University in Turkey.

For the study, the researchers tested the experiences of a group of 72 undergraduate university students who played four rounds of the Speed Slice game on Nintendo Wii.

The objective of this first-person perspective video game is to slice various objects appearing on the screen before the opponent can. The researchers tested the participants' levels of enjoyment, suspense, perceived competence and performance concerns when they dueled against a weak or a tough opponent.

The participants rated their own competence levels to be much higher when they won by a wide margin than when they did so with only the narrowest of margins.

However, they experienced much lower levels of suspense and enjoyment when they made such a clean sweep.

When asked which of the two games they would like to play again, 69 percent of the participants actually chose to play the game they won by a slim margin.

This was because they actually enjoyed the uncertainty associated with such a close encounter.

The study appeared in the journal Motivation and Emotion.

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