We propose a new approach for spectatorship, which we call ‘Fused Spectatorship’; where the spectator is physically experiencing the player’s gameplay actions. Therefore, unlike traditional spectatorship, where the spectator can go in and out of the experience, a spectator lives with the possibility that their physical body can be continually engaged at any point maintaining a continuous thread of engagement.


One of the three games showcasing our approach.
Spectating Kit

To showcase this approach, we built a computational Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) system that acts as a player and asked our participants to wear two of these systems, one on each hand, to watch their hands play three games.

Components: (Left) shows the computational EMS system provided to the participant for the study. (A) cables and power bank, (B) two Velcro arm bands, (C) EMS safety instructions, (D) two EMS devices, (E) additional charging cable, (F) microcontroller devices, (G) colour-coded electrodes, (H) GoPro camera, (I) games description leaflet, (J) phone with a software application installed, and (K) instruction sheet showing hand-gestures and associated meanings for the games. (Right) shows a participant calibrating using instructions on (J) during the pre-study session.

Hand gestures and their meaning
Fused spectatorship (Venn Diagram)

A Venn diagram showing the relationship between the spectator, player and gameplay actions in traditional game spectatorship and Fused Spectatorship.

Watching alone:

Experiencing the game.

Take home question: If a spectator can ‘experience’ play when they are not in control of their physical body, what types of spectating experiences could we design in the future?

Recorded Presentation

Recorded talk for CHI PLAY 2023.


Patibanda, R., Saini, A., Overdevest, N., Montoya, M., Li, X., Chen, Y., Nisal, S., Andres, J., Knibbe, J., van den Hoven, E., Mueller, F. Fused Spectatorship: Designing Bodily Experiences Where Spectators Become Players. CHI PLAY 2023. Long paper. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 7(CHI PLAY), Article 403 (November 2023), 769-802. ACM. Talk video.



Rakesh Patibanda, Aryan Saini, Elise van den Hoven, and Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller thank the Australian Research Council (Discovery Project Grant – DP190102068). We would also like to thank our participants who volunteered for the study. Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller also thanks the Australian Research Council for DP200102612 and LP210200656.