Researchers made a modified, non-violent version of Half-Life 2 as part of the study. Feelings of aggression after playing video games are more likely to be linked to gameplay mechanics rather than violent content, a study suggests.
Researchers carried out a range of tests, including making a non-violent version of popular game Half-Life 2.
Games modified to have counter-intuitive, frustrating controls – leading to feelings of incompetence – produced more aggressive reactions.
The team called for more sophisticated research into violent gaming.
“There’s a need for researchers who are interested in these questions not just to pull two video games off the shelf from the high street,” said Dr Andrew Przybylski from the Oxford Internet Institute, who carried out the research along with colleagues from the University of Rochester in the US.
“We need to have a more sophisticated approach so we’re all reading from the same experimental methods.”
The link between violence and video games is a heavily debated topic among psychologists.
One recent study suggested that playing violent video games for long periods of time can hold back the “moral maturity” of teenagers.
Problems arose with teenagers who spent more than three hours every day in front of a screen, continuously playing these violent games without any other real-life interaction.
The study from the University of Oxford, however, believed it was the first to look at the impact gameplay mechanics had on aggression.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The research sought to establish whether it was violence in games which made players feel more aggressive, or a combination of other factors.
Six separate studies were carried out.
One of them involved modifying Half-Life 2 – a critically-acclaimed, but graphic, shooting title.
The researchers created a modified version in which rather than violently removing enemies, the player would instead “tag” foes who would then evaporate.
This version was tested alongside the normal, violent version.
However, only some of the gamers were given a tutorial before playing the game so they could familiarise themselves with the controls and game mechanics.
The researchers found that it was the players who had not had the tutorial who felt less competent and more aggressive, rather than people who had played the more violent version of the game.
“We focused on the motives of people who play electronic games and found players have a psychological need to come out on top when playing,” said Dr Przybylski.
“If players feel thwarted by the controls or the design of the game, they can wind up feeling aggressive.
“This need to master the game was far more significant than whether the game contained violent material.
More research into long-term effects of video gaming is needed, researchers say “Players of games without any violent content were still feeling pretty aggressive if they hadn’t been able to master the controls or progress through the levels at the end of the session.”
Further research is needed, Dr Przybylski said, into longer-term effects of video game violence beyond initial feelings of aggression.
Co-author Prof Richard Ryan, from the University of Rochester, said: “The study is not saying that violent content doesn’t affect gamers, but our research suggests that people are not drawn to playing violent games in order to feel aggressive.
“Rather, the aggression stems from feeling not in control or incompetent while playing.
“If the structure of a game or the design of the controls thwarts enjoyment, it is this not the violent content that seems to drive feelings of aggression.”
The chief executive of Tiga, a British video games trade body, said it was encouraging to read a study that took a more nuanced approach to the link between video games and aggression than some previous research into the topic.
“If developers can design more effective game-play processes then it could be possible to minimise a player’s feelings of exasperation and irritation – admittedly something good developers will want to achieve in any case,” said Richard Wilson.
“Indeed, creating a game that is challenging without feeling unfair or frustrating is often the mark of a great developer.
“It’s also important to understand, as part of this debate, that most video games are not violent.
“Previous research published by Tanya Byron in her 2008 independent review ‘Safer Children in a Digital World’, found little evidence to suggest children who play video games become desensitised to violence.”
Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC
Individuals and companies from all creative backgrounds are invited to join Dart Frog Creative and The SEMAFX Network for the 2014 West Michigan Creative Assembly. This is an opportunity for creative professionals and students to meet, network, and share ideas. Various creative career fields will be represented including animation, design, graphics, film and many more.
Companies are encouraged to bring samples of current and past projects to showcase. Tables and A/V equipment are available by request but are limited.
Please contact kyle@dartfrogcreative for more information and reservations.
Catering is once again provided by Yesterdog. Attendees are welcome to join one another after the event at Founders Brewing Company for post-event gathering and networking.
Our March SEMAFX event will be hosted by the wonderful folks in the Media & Communications department at Macomb Community College (South Campus), on Thursday, March 20, 6:30 pm.
We will meet in the video studio, room R125 (Building R, park in Lots 11 or 12).
Guest Speaker Jeremy Sabo will be sharing his real world experiences in Vancouver and his many years working in animation.
Refreshments, awesome networking, prize raffle! See you there!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Adler
Monday 20 Jan 2014 Events@mpami.org
MPA February member Meeting
Going with the Flow – Set Workflows
Thursday, February 20 2014 at 6:30pm
MPA will present a discussion and overview of that word we are all very familiar with but means different things! Workflow. Although digital workflows are continually in flux there are principals that remain constant. Come see and hear from Working professionals an overview of today’s most common digital acquisition formats along with practical approaches to their management and delivery throughout the digital pipeline.
Register today at MPA Registration to secure a chair for this popular event. Admisson for MPA members is always free! Non Members, $7 at the door – $5 paid in advance. Advance payments can be made through PayPal or via a check postmarked prior to February 20.
A Direct link to event registration can also be found at http://www.mpami.org.
Last night we gathered at Stage 3 for a joint Holiday party, celebrating talent, creativity and a shared passion for our community! I was so happy to see so many dear old friends whom I haven’t seen in many years!
The conversations were dripping with ideas, visions and potential! It became obvious that we all share a feeling of destiny.. that our local animation industry is on the verge of something big- mostly because the SEMAFX movers and shakers who hung out in the kitchen last night are willing it so. We have that kind of power… Or at least power of will. We are planning a big 2014, and I encourage you to join SEMAFX on our road to destiny.
Merry Christmas… And we know it’s going to be an amazing New Year!
We are in need of a SFX artist who can use after effects to help speed along our 911 Ghost project. The effects shouldn’t take much time but we need them done asap! I’ve started and have had some success, but I can’t help but thinking there is someone out there who is better than me who could make the effects even better. I’ve gotten help from a new member who did an awesome job but he is no longer available. If you are into making demon faces and cracking mirrors in post please don’t hesitate to contact me, Thanks, Tonya Orora Filmmakers Co-organizer
Come join us at the Creative Community Christmas, hosted by Stage3 in Warren.
The SEMAFX Network is co-hosting, and this will serve as our December meeting. We’ll have door prizes for our guests, along with a VIP raffle for paid SEMAFX members.
Food, drink, music, fun and more! Stay tuned for details.
Thursday, Dec. 19
Stage 3 Studios
27500 Donald Ct