Agressive Gamers - Gaming Psychology Case Study
  • Are you the type who throws his or her controller, screaming at the TV and cursing anyone who starts complain about you? If so, do you tend to act like this in real life?

    I find myself getting pissed off a games (mainly Call of Duty 4), exploding through my microphone and verbally attacking anyone in my way, occasionally using racial slurs. What's interesting is, in real life, I am a very chill person who is not very easy to offend, and whom isn't a racist in the least bit. I know many people who are the same way. On their Xboxs, they're at times, psychopaths or assholes, but in real life, they're quite the opposite. This leads me to the conclusion that most gamers have split personalities when they are handed a microphone and a controller. They know that there will not be any consequences for their vulgar language and "outdoor" voices.

    The question is, why do so many gamers have split personalities when tackling different realities (BEST LINE EVER)? I believe there are many factors that might contribute:

    Frustration in Real Life: Many people use the expression "taking out your anger". Some people need to vent their anger and frustration on something, or it'll be bollixed up inside and will turn into self-hate, which could and will lead to many unfortunate situations (IE drug use, hurting self, suicide, etc). I believe that taking out your anger is just fine if you know where and when do to it. Your Xbox is sitting there - it doesn't speak, you are its master and it is your slave. It does what you tell it to do (unless it gets the RROD :P). If one challenges you while you game, you shall attack them because you am in the process of venting your anger.

    Being Hip: Maybe you come home from school or work every single night feeling like a total loser. You have no relationships - no social life. You look at all those cool people, who are constantly going to clubs with their many friends, and screwing different people every night, and you feel as though you are worthless. You come home to your dark room, turn on that Xbox 360, plug up your microphone, and you're the coolest guy ever - screaming at anyone who defies you, owning loser noobs, and being just downright awesome. This is the mentality of so many aggressive gamers - they can finally experience what it's like to be cool because when they don't know the people they are attacking; when they cannot see them, they have all the confidence in the world.


    What do you all think?
  • I stay pretty calm with gaming. The worst I've done in recent memory is a sort of frustrated, light toss of my controller on to a pilow when I stupidly lost a game of Smash Bros.

    In real life though, my friends (lol, like I have any) and family tell me that they have never seen me angry, I just never show it. So I guess in each case my behavior is pretty similar. I would say I get frustrated in real life when I lose something, which is just like video games, but I rarely do anything.

    I think people do vent over video game partly because there are no reprecussions. It's not like venting while on the job or with friends, it's just blowing off steam in something that is sort of meant to provide escapist entertainment in the first place. Either that or people just take it way too seriously sometimes.
  • Stupid poll didn't show my last option (You are very chill and I do not act like that in real life).

    I see your point - there are no repercussions whilst you game, save for your angry neighbors :P.
  • I'm a very calm gamer. The only games I can recall screaming at recently have been Geometry Wars 2 and Soul Calibur 4 when playing online. In the real world I'm also a very calm and mellow person. I just don't think that the energy wasted screaming and yelling at other people is worth it. Though with Geo 2 and SC4 I couldn't control myself LOL.
  • I'm a bit of everything depending on the situation.

    My team mate in Halo once described me as a "Manic depressive team captain".. My moods and emotions changing from game to game from "We need to follow plan A otherwise we'll lose" "Damnit, I hate this game" to, on a victory "Good game guys, well played!"

    In another games, I'll get annoyed if I die due to glitches, but sometimes I just laugh at it.
  • im a very chill person in real life... i can shrug off an insult and im not very wound up
    however, when some stupid shit happens in cod4 i will flip out and have to smoke a bowl to calm down
    it usually happens when im jacked up on energy drinks and coffee though lol

    i think since we spend so much time as gamers, the fact that we cant be as good as we want pisses us off. and when u get pissed off playing a videogame.. ur just gonna lose more and get more pissed off. its like a downward spiral of doom
    8P
  • I can usually just shrug off getting killed in a game, especially if it is in a silly way or I feel the person deserved to beat me, but when I get angry at a game, I mostly just expel a deep breath through clenched teeth, or if I am greatly annoyed, I have been known to slam a fist into the chair/couch. I don't take my anger out on other people, I especially don't yell at people because, I've heard those yelly types, and they are not cool, I usually just laugh at their insanity and mock them.
  • I think you left out an interesting alternative in your choices:

    * "I am very chill in games, but aggressive in my life."

    I'm sure that there are those out there (though they are probably rare) who have a short fuse in their real lives, but find games to be soothing. I would be fascinated to hear from and about people who find them to be therapeutic.

    thebgbb
  • thebgbb said:
    I think you left out an interesting alternative in your choices:

    * "I am very chill in games, but aggressive in my life."

    I'm sure that there are those out there (though they are probably rare) who have a short fuse in their real lives, but find games to be soothing. I would be fascinated to hear from and about people who find them to be therapeutic.

    thebgbb


    This would have been my choice. Games calm me down. Especially if I can really get lost in them.

    In real life I'm some what more aggressive than I would prefer to be.

    -Ray
  • thebgbb said:
    I think you left out an interesting alternative in your choices:

    * "I am very chill in games, but aggressive in my life."

    I'm sure that there are those out there (though they are probably rare) who have a short fuse in their real lives, but find games to be soothing. I would be fascinated to hear from and about people who find them to be therapeutic.

    thebgbb


    That's me. I can blow up at anything in real life. How I didn't kill one of my friends a while back I'll never know, but that's a whole other story :P Games, well I dunno. They're not real life so I don't take it seriously. I can get my ass wooped in brawl and laugh it off, and I played COD4 online at a friends house and got beaten with ease and just laughed (which pissed off my team but what do I care? I did say I had never played before but they didn't listen). However if a game has stupid controls or a bad gameplay element etc, I can get annoyed very easily at it. There's a difference between challenge and just unfair. So I guess you could say that my real life tendencies can spill over into my gaming, but this only happens if it's unfair.
  • First I just want to point out that the question you posed, "why do so many gamers have split personalities when tackling different realities?" is not answered by the poll/how people are actually responding. They are technically responding to the question "how do you express your anger/frustation and how does that relate to your aggressiveness in real-life scenarios instead of while playing video games?" By having people respond to the second question and not the first you're moreso establishing that a correlation between aggressiveness and gaming exists or does not exist. This means that you are not really getting to the cause and effect level of the problem, which is what you seemed most interested in with your main post. Of course the poll itself was rather misleading if that's how you wanted people to respond.

    :)

    Anyway I used to be a very calm person both in any sort of gaming sense and in real life - I find myself becoming more frustrated and angry at games now though. I can attribute this to one of two things. The first, I might have just associated the two behaviors after having a roommate who plays CS often and the entire time is bitching about everything ever, how his team is horrible, the other team is the luckiest group of people to ever play (and are horrible), the game is the worst ever made, etc. I think being near all that negativity and externalization has added that to my personality on at least the surface level, however I'm trying quite actively to avoid letting it dominate my thoughts. This is more generalizable to people who are playing online if they learn the attitude from playing against other people with a similar attitude often, and this is quite likely considering how much the online community tends to be arrogant and rude in many video games.

    Another cause that I think is a contributor to my frustation in video games that I don't have in other similar real-life tasks is that fact that I'm working within an artificially established world with a set of rules made up by some programmer somewhere. When something doesn't come out the way I wanted it to I feel frustration at the game for either being limited in scope, unable to allow me do something I think it should, or for being poorly programmed and non-intuitive in terms of how it acknowledges my inputs. The point from all of this is that I am limited by the game and not by my own abilities, and that makes it far too easy to push the blame off of myself instead of taking an objective perspective and saying "well, what is there that I can do to not have this happen to me again?"

    When I get really angry at a game now, I make myself stop playing and listen to music while going for a walk, clearing my mind. It really helps calm myself down so that I can think clear-headed(ly) again. Being angry at a game and continuing to play it seems to create an exponential, negative spiral that is just better to avoid altogether if you can.
  • Sssargon said:
    The first, I might have just associated the two behaviors after having a roommate who plays CS often and the entire time is bitching about everything ever, how his team is horrible, the other team is the luckiest group of people to ever play (and are horrible), the game is the worst ever made, etc. I think being near all that negativity and externalization has added that to my personality on at least the surface level, however I'm trying quite actively to avoid letting it dominate my thoughts. This is more generalizable to people who are playing online if they learn the attitude from playing against other people with a similar attitude often, and this is quite likely considering how much the online community tends to be arrogant and rude in many video games.
    you know after reading that it reminds me of this vid which is lol funny

    As for me if you played with me youll know how i play,when i do awesome i tend to start saying great job to my teammates cause they did what they shoulda done to win,otherwise youll hear a lot of cussing and yelling...then eventually youll hear something break or some other strange noise(like my punching myself since i cant afford to lose another controller :lol:).in rl i am somewhat like that but only in summer time when im sweating excessivly and cant cool down quickly enough. during winter however im calm as can be which makes me awesome cause i am awesome :D
  • thebgbb said:
    I think you left out an interesting alternative in your choices:

    * "I am very chill in games, but aggressive in my life."

    I'm sure that there are those out there (though they are probably rare) who have a short fuse in their real lives, but find games to be soothing. I would be fascinated to hear from and about people who find them to be therapeutic.

    thebgbb


    I did add it. It just didn't post that option.
  • I had a friend do his senior project on this (I would have done it too, but I thought euthanasia was a more well suited topic)

    he related crime rates to the video game industry, and he found that every generation of hardware (thats right I'm fucking including pc gaming into this!) there seemed to be a drop off in the crime rate.

    actually, it skyrocketed down shortly after the release of Grand Theft Auto 3, kind of silly if you think about it.
  • auntjemima said:
    I had a friend do his senior project on this (I would have done it too, but I thought euthanasia was a more well suited topic)

    he related crime rates to the video game industry, and he found that every generation of hardware (thats right I'm fucking including pc gaming into this!) there seemed to be a drop off in the crime rate.

    actually, it skyrocketed down shortly after the release of Grand Theft Auto 3, kind of silly if you think about it.


    I'm going to play devil's advocate and say that the criminals were too busy playing the game :P.

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