Many studies on aggression that are based on violent videogames are hard to grasp or comprehend, mainly because most of us see games as relaxation and enjoyment. To be frank, we’re perfectly confident we wouldn’t head out and butcher our neighbor’s cat just because we’ve seen too much blood on our TV. Therefore those panic inflicting-studies just seem a bit… silly. What’s true though is that violence plays a huge part in videogames today and one shouldn’t stop without wondering on what level that affects us. According to recent research made by University of Rochester and “player-experience research firm” Immersyve, violence doesn’t motivate most gamers at all – except the freaky, aggressive ones.
“For the vast majority of players, even those who regularly play and enjoy violent games, violence was not a plus,” said study author Andrew Przybylski. “Violent content was only preferred by a small subgroup of people that generally report being more aggressive.”
But not even the more aggressive players are, evidently, that excited about the gore, Przybylski concluded. Not even war games need to show realistic violence to be successful. The research sates that what’s most important for bringing satisfaction to gamers are “the feelings of challenge and autonomy [players] experience while playing.”
The study is definitely right about one thing, and that is that violence alone doesn’t make a good game. Clever puzzles and level design, a great story, well-made gameplay features and appropriate rewards are things that really matter. A lot of games that are considered legendary don’t have a tiny drop of gore in them. Does that mean gamers don’t appreciate violence? Probably not. Series such as Carmageddon, Manhunt, GTA, Ninja Gaiden and many others highly depend on violence and gore. Some of these examples are over-the-top, but rest assured that a majority thinks it’s more fun slamming into rag doll-pedestrians in GTA IV than in its predecessors.
Basically, gamers are attracted by realism. Sometimes realism means chopped of limbs and then it’s a good thing.