Violent Video Games Tap Into Survival Values, Says ISU Professor – Cinema Blend

Why do people like Call of Duty more than the latest Tetris clone? Survival values. The tension and adrenaline rush from cortisol, noradrenaline and testosterone create a since of desperation and tension that people crave but don’t always want to experience in real-life, according to an Iowa State University professor.
NPR did a brief report on the attraction to violent video games; why violent games sell the way they do and what the appeal is over non-violent games. I could have summed it all up by saying that it’s a heck of a lot cooler to be a space marine on some distant planet that you’ll never visit in real-life, saving the entire galaxy from a corrupt, ancient race of menacing space aliens than it is rotating a few color-coded blocks and lining them up at the bottom of the screen like a flaccid old man giving coffins a test run before kicking the bucket.
Nevertheless, National Public Radio wanted something a little more concrete, a little more palatable for the science-side of the discussion regarding violent video games, and they found it in ISU professor Douglas Gentile, who stated that…
“There are two things that force us to pay attention,” … “One is violence; the other is sex. Whenever either of those are present in our environment, they have survival value for us.” These gamers do have an adrenaline rush, and it’s noradrenaline and it’s testosterone, and it’s cortisol — these are the so-called stress hormones,” …”That’s exactly the same cocktail of hormones you drop into your bloodstream if I punched you.”
Except I don’t want to be punched, but I don’t mind feeling that same physiological rush of adrenaline as if a non-physical punch landed or was thrown and a full-on fist fight followed through. In fact, 20 million gamers each year look for that same rush with Activision’s annual Call of Duty, 12 million gamers sought that experience in Assassin’s Creed III (which focuses more on melee combat than gun violence), nearly six million people wanted that thrill from Borderlands 2 [via CVG] and nearly 5 million gamers craved for that experience in Far Cry 3.
While Gentile explains that players crave control, playing with others and the competence of feeling skilled at the game you’re playing, there’s a much simpler explanation as to why violence sells.
Violence sells because it’s violence most sane people don’t want to experience in real-life. You don’t get to respawn in real-life and if you want to experience war first-hand there’s a high chance you won’t come back the same as you went in, assuming you come back at all.

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