Of all the videogames out there, first-person shooters—where the player shares the point of view of the character—are considered the most violent. But new research shows that FPSs cause fewer violent emotions in players than other genres. The worst offender? Sports games.
At first glance, you might draw the conclusion that FPSs lead to violence. After all, in an FPS, players experience what their characters do, and the character tends to be holding a pistol, a machine gun or even a crowbar for most of the game. Some of the most violent videogames of all time, Doom, Soldier of Fortune, Postal 2 and Condemned, are FPSs.
But according to The Tech Herald, recent research has proven that sports games actually have one up on FPSs in the violence department.
In a study that measured "heart rates, respiration and brain activity" of 40 volunteers who played both an FPS and a soccer game on an Xbox 360, scientists learned something that will help players justify FPS purchases to their parents and significant others:
Dr. Simon Goodson and Sarah Pearson of Huddersfield University in England...believe conceding a goal during a game of videogame soccer causes a greater emotional surge in players because more gamers have a frame of reference with sporting activity as opposed to wielding a deadly projectile weapon. ...
"The player can identify with a real-life experience and call up those emotions and aggression more easily than in a situation they would not have encountered, such as killing an individual," he added.
In other words, sports game players, who have watched and played sports games in real life, are more emotionally connected to the game. Most FPS players have never wielded a weapon before, so they don't have the same emotional reactions to the playing.
Oh, and driving games "are also more likely to prompt more aggressive responses" than shooters.
So to all of the gamers who say that FPSs help them unwind after a hard day—you're officially vindicated. As Dr. Goodson said, in what we consider a real money quote, "As participants reacted with more agitation during the football game, it seems the effects of violent video games have been misrepresented in the past."