Gamers enjoy their own virtual deaths

Rockstar's controversial Manhunt 2

Another day, another survey. This time a new study by a team of researchers from Helsinki, Finland claims that gamers like dying (virtually, obviously) more than they like killing enemies.

The study has the rather ominous title of 'The Psychophysiology of James Bond: Phasic Emotional Responses to Violent Video Game Events'. It looked at the psychophysiological responses of 36 young adults while playing James Bond 007: NightFire.

Super Monkey Ball 2 was used as a non-violent ‘control’ game.

Good game, good game

Aside from the fact that the James Bond 007: NightFire game is an absolute dog (check metacritic if you disagree), and Super Monkey Ball 2 is a wonderful piece of interactive entertainment (again, check the score on metacritic if you don’t believe us), the study shows up some intriguing responses.

The Helsinki researchers were surprised to find that their subjects displayed a negative response to the death of an enemy. They noted that: "The fact that wounding or killing the opponent elicited negative, not positive, emotional responses might be reassuring".

Players also reacted far more positively to the death or wounding of their own character than was expected. The researchers concluded that this was the result of players being relieved from the tension of playing.

"Given that the player knows that it is only a game, events that, in the real world, are perceived as threatening may be perceived as positively challenging," reads the study.

"There was no evidence for desensitization of emotional responses as a function of repeated exposures to violent game events," it concludes.

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