Monday, February 25, 2008

Master Chief, release me from this tainted orb!

For everybody who read the control pad stress tests and found themselves nodding in agreement, rather than snorting in derision, Clive Thompson brings some baffling news (which he got from Gamecritics): Science suggests that gamers enjoy dying in games.

We're talking about real science here, not the fake kind intended to mask your childish fits of rage that result in broken controllers. Electrodes were involved. And the electrodes seemed to indicate that gamers have a more positive reaction to dying than to killing others. To gank Clive Thompson's pull quote:
"... instead of joy resulting from victory and success, wounding and killing the opponent elicited anxiety, anger, or both." In addition, "death of the player's own character...appear[s] to increase some aspects of positive emotion." This latter finding the authors believe may result from the temporary "relief from engagement" brought about by character death.

My controllers would suggest otherwise, although perhaps that's some primitive survival mechanism in my brain forcing my body into "relief from engagement." Kind of like how my hearing shuts itself off whenever my fiancee asks me to take out the trash.

Still, this sheds a whole new light on such hilarious online behaviors as "teabagging" one's kill and shouting racial slurs at one's quarry. Just like birds puffing up their plumage and apes beating on their chests, these are nothing more than survival mechanisms. It's not a sign of dominance -- it's a sign of abject terror. We'd always suspected that we were playing against quivering, fearful children, and now we have proof. Thanks, science!


Tyler said...

For those of us who don't play games for a living, or really even for a hobby, please PLEASE explain what you mean by "teabagging one's kill."

(I was under the impression that the "advanced sex simulator" Mass Effect article was misinformed.)

Mitch Krpata said...

Wikipedia has a section on it in their "corpse humping" article:

"Simulations of teabagging are often used in video games, specifically first person shooters such as Counter-Strike, Resistance: Fall of Man and Halo, the last of these in which it is sometimes referred to as the "Halo Hump" or simply "corpse-humping".[10] "Teabagging" is performed by repeatly crouching down - a common movement in FPSs - while on top of an enemy corpse. The act is a form of victory dance to show ownership and to humiliate an enemy player.[11]"

Mitch Krpata said...

My mistake. Apparently the "corpse humping" entry was folded into the larger "teabagging" article.