I always love it when studies try to understand why the guy who played Call of Duty shot up a mall or how videogames have caused American obesity rates to skyrocket.
I have never seen a study that tries to explain why we find games “fun” — but the folks at Essex University are out to find out. The results are to be published in the journal Psychological Science titled Getting to the Heart of the Appeal of Video Games.
The general idea according to Dr. Andy Przybylski is that “A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self. The attraction to playing video games and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role. Looking at the players’ emotion after play as well their motivation to play, the study found the enjoyment element of the videogames seemed to be greater when there was the least overlap between someone’s actual self and their ideal self.”
Do you buy that?
Do you play Saints Row 2 to “think about a role you would ideally like to take” or do you just find it hysterical to throw digital people into airplane engines?
If this study is true, then we have a lot of sick SoBs running around free. Lock your doors.