Not All Video Games Cause Aggressive Behavior. Just the Really Crappy Ones.

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Half Life 2

Well if someone had just asked me, I could have told them that - a study has found that video games with frustrating and counter-intuitive controls are more likely to cause aggressive behavior.

Researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Rochester took Half-Life 2, one of the most satisfyingly intuitive games ever made (in my opinion), and modified it, turning it into a game of tag rather than a first person shooter. Some users were given a tutorial, and others were simply thrown into the game. Those that did not get the tutorial were much more aggressive after playing. Andrew Przybylski from the Oxford Internet Institute:

"This need to master the game was far more significant than whether the game contained violent material.

"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."

Personally, I can imagine myself much more wound up and aggressive after a game of Flappy Bird than a game of Call of Duty: Ghosts. It makes so much sense, and it's crazy that I've never thought about it before, and that it hasn't been studied until now. I only hope the design lessons of this can be carried over into realms beyond the gaming world. It could cut down on everything from counter-intuitive web design to bad heads up displays in cars.