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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

Do Gamers Enjoy Dying in First-Person-Shooters? 309

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Brandon Erickson has an interesting post about an experiment on players' emotional reactions to killing and being killed in a first-person shooters (FPS) with a group of students who played James Bond 007: Nightfire while their facial expressions and physiological activity were tracked and recorded moment-to-moment via electrodes and various other monitoring equipment. The study found that "death of the player's own character...appear[s] to increase some aspects of positive emotion." The authors believe this may result from the temporary "relief from engagement" brought about by character death. "Part of this has to do with the intriguing aesthetic question of precisely how the first-person-shooter represents the player after the moment of death," says Clive Thompson. "This sudden switch in camera angle — from first person to third person — is, in essence, a classic out-of-body experience, of exactly the sort people describe in near-death experiences. And much like real-life near-death experiences, it tends to suffuse me with a curiously zen-like feeling." An abstract of the original article, "The psychophysiology of James Bond: Phasic emotional responses to violent video game events" is available on the web." Obnoxiously this alleged scholarly research is not available for free, so we'll just have to speculate wildly what it says based on the abstract.
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Do Gamers Enjoy Dying in First-Person-Shooters?

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  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:44PM (#22546892)
    I've always preferred servers and games (DoD for example) that provided an instant 'blackout' effect on death.

    It always annoyed me to spend a great deal of time moving my character into a unique hiding spot, only to have someone suicide rush me after my position was betrayed by the after-death features that pointed directly to my location.

    • by orielbean ( 936271 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:55PM (#22547060)
      Camper. Real snipers are trained to take the shot then move immediately to another position to avoid being detected.
      • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:11PM (#22547326)
        Camper. Real snipers are trained to take the shot then move immediately to another position to avoid being detected.

        I typically do, but 'Real snipers' aren't faced with an opponent who can resurrect themselves within 30 seconds and reach your old position in another 15.

        My preference has less to do with playing the game as a sniper (my least favorite role actually) and more to do with playing the game as a commander and being able to hide my team's movements from the opposing team. Unfortunately that isn' really possible against an organized team unless you are at a LAN party and strictly enforce rules regarding 'speaking with the dead'.

        • by orielbean ( 936271 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:32PM (#22547638)
          I can definitely sympathize with that! I think it would be fun to have just a C&C position, with no presence on the BF (like a spectator), and you could order the UAV scans, air strikes, helicopters, etc as your team earned different abilities. Also included would be the ability to listen in on enemy chatter and relate that info to your team. That way, both sides would keep the chatter low or use codephrases, etc to be more efficient. To be more real-world-based, you might add in the C&C as a position on the map, like the flag, that could be disabled, blinded, hindered, destroyed, etc in order to hamper the enemy.
          • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @02:26PM (#22548540)
            You should give Natural Selection www.unknownworlds.com/ns/ a try. When I played it was based on the HL engine and gave you two options, marines or aliens for a team.

            One person on the marines was the 'commander' and had a top down C&C style view. He could give orders, set waypoints, hand out weapons, and progress through an upgrade tree. The rest of the marines were just plain old FPS style, but relied on the commander to keep them supplied as they fought.

            The aliens on the other hand, had no leader, but information was shared between them (If one alien saw an enemy, the rest of the players could 'sense' that enemy, and you would receive notification that an area was under attack, etc. Just no central leadership mode)

            It was a game that I greatly enjoyed. I remember it when it was fairly beta, had a few chats with Charlie Cleveland (he likely won't remember, but I did appreciate his discussions about building up Unknown Worlds). I sincerely hope that it grows since it got a lot of things 'right'.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:29PM (#22547586)
        My understanding has been that they move after taking a shot, not because they seek to avoid being detected but because they seek to avoid being -located-. Taking a shot in and of itself will usually give away the presence of a sniper.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @02:14PM (#22548336) Homepage
        I prefer to be a suicide bomber. I love playing urbanTerror as you can bumrush a room with a grenade in hand. if they kill you when you enter the room they die as you drop the grenade and it bounces over, if you make it to them they die.

        It's great. I love it when people get really pissed because I do it to them over and over because they cant pick a new spot to camp.
        • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @02:56PM (#22548896)
          I prefer to be a suicide bomber. I love playing urbanTerror as you can bumrush a room with a grenade in hand. if they kill you when you enter the room they die as you drop the grenade and it bounces over, if you make it to them they die.

          Suicide bombing can be a brilliant tactic, at least in fantasy worlds where death is survivable and you get to respawn immediately afterwards; a bit unrealistic unless you can imagine some fool convinced that that's the case in reality, so not one for those of us who like a simulation more than a fragfest. I remember a Quake map that had a big ol' moat around a central keep. A lot of warren-like tunnels dropped people into that moat, so there were generally quite a few in there. So, the plan: First, find the electric gun. Second, jump in the water. Third, ZZZZZAP!

          Sure, I take a penalty for killing myself, but I took a half-dozen guys with me. Oh, how it pissed them off.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by GreggBz ( 777373 )
        Not me!

        After this camper gets shot in the head, I like to watch the angry guy who I fragged like 4 times shoot up my dead body in rage and stand statue while he types something obscene.

        I then usually quip, "Not dead yet! Go back and shot me some more!"
    • Ha, the camper's lament. While I can see how you feel, on the other hand, when I play, I am usually in the opposite position and quite happy to know who killed me, so I can avoid such traps in the future. Probably helps everyone get better.

      As for 'enjoying' death, I can't say I particularly enjoy it, but I know it's going to happen eventually, and I would say it's not happiness so much as 'satisfaction.' I feel satisfied if I have a good run before dying. On the other hand, if I get knifed right outsi
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eonlabs ( 921625 )
        TFP mentions that they use a few metrics for determining 'arousal' or interest. Mind, I did not read through the whole thing, nor can I post the whole thing here, but, I think this is a reasonable excerpt:

        "The facial EMG is an
        established index of hedonic valence; that is, increased activity over corrugator supercilii, which
        draws the brow down and together into a frown, is associated with negative emotions, whereas
        increased activity over zygomaticus major, which pulls the corners of the mouth back and up in
      • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:53PM (#22547986) Homepage
        I always find it hilarious if I am resurrected in the middle of a firefight in Battlefield 2. Just last night, the following happend to me:

        There is a MEC manning the machine gunner position right next to the train wreck on Karkand. I manage to move around and get behind him, so I rush up on him and slice him with the knife. 1 kill. I then run around the other side of the concrete barrier and slice up a sniper who had been laying next to him on the other side of the fence (and somehow didn't see me.) 2 kills. I whip out my assault rifle and pop another MEC running down the bridge straight in the face with two three-shot bursts. 3 kills. Load up the grenade launcher attachment on the rifle, and take out a group of two MEC running next to each other across the bridge. 4 and 5 kills. By this time, four of my squad-mates have joined me in trying to cap the point...and I get sniped. Exhilarated, I sit back for a second...5 kills in a time span of ~30 seconds...I'm quite pleased with myself.

        A medic revives me, only to have me instantly die from a grenade. Well crap, it happens. I spawn literally in the middle of a firefight near the large concrete ramp, in that little town square...end up getting teamkilled (i forgave the guy because his grenade got 2 MECs as well). I get rezzed, and get sniped. The same medic comes back and rezzes me. I take one step forward, and blow up a claymore. I respawn right next to the tracks this time, and before I can even move I get killed by an artillary strike.

        I never took more than a step after respawning before I got taken out again. This went on for a total of 7 times. I had to disconnect from the game, I couldn't stop laughing:-)

        Spawn camping bothers me...these kinds of things humour me.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I'm with you...If I get killed by something lame over and over, it's just frustrating. On the other hand, if you're charging along and turn a corner right into a rocket spray fired by someone who didn't even know you were coming, it's entertaining.

          I don't know...I can take pleasure in someone else's skill/luck, same as I can take pleasure in my own skill/luck. I can take pleasure in my own hilariously improbable death, or my own stupidity. Rocket bounce a sniper off his high camping perch, and have him nail
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by symbolic ( 11752 )
            I agree with you - I used to play America's Army quite a bit, and even though I thought it was generally a fun game, one of my favorite maps was always inhabited by morons whose sense of skill came from nothing more than spamming grenades in a certain spot.

            If I die because of an opponent's skill, it's fun to be able to sit back and admire the effort. If I die because some idiot thinks good gamesmanship is a matter of finding the shortest and easiest path to a kill, the fun stops and annoyance sets in.
    • Oh of course- but then games like TF2 that explicitly zooms in on who killed you aren't real battlefield simulators. There are no respawns in Counter-Strike so it doesn't matter that you can spec after death. I also prefer the instant blackout though.. I've been playing a ton of Insurgency [insmod.net] lately and my roommate can attest to how many times I've perched over my laptop barely breathing for minutes then jumped a mile high at the sound of bullets ripping through my insurgent's flesh. The Ins death effect is gr
      • There are no respawns in Counter-Strike so it doesn't matter that you can spec after death.

        It matters when my friend dies and tells me where the person who killed them is (or that they all ran back after he died..or that they ran in and had the bomb, etc).

        I personally think it would lead to a more skillful game if you needed to communicate what you saw BEFORE you get killed, but thats never going to happen as even if you convinced your team not to ghost, you know the other team will do it against you.


      • When I'm playing a game like TF2 I don't mind the death scenes. It fits the feel of the game. I identified DoD because it was one of the more 'accurate' FPS games around at the time. Before I cut back on FPS games, I tried Red Orchestra and liked that one alot.

        I do love TF2, but it is definately a world apart from games like Red Orchestra.
    • by esocid ( 946821 )
      That's sort of what I thought about, not the exact game, but I was just wondering what the differences, if any, would be between the 3rd person death compared to the 1st person death sequence.
  • Perhaps... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kagura ( 843695 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:45PM (#22546912)
    Perhaps they enjoy the emotional transaction that takes place at time of death? I enjoy making small bets often and challenging other people to tiny competitions for no reason, simply because of the "Awwww, I lost and you won" transaction that takes place. I don't know if other people feel this, but I know that I do. For small things that don't matter, I am not terribly concerned with winning or losing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      Well for me, it's travelling towards the light, then seeing all my long-dead friends and relatives.

      The searing heat is a bother though. Wish they'd install air conditioning.
  • by wattrlz ( 1162603 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:46PM (#22546914)
    When you loose it makes you the underdog, so your final victory will just be that much more glorius when fate smiles on you once again.
    • When you loose it makes you the underdog, so your final victory will just be that much more glorius when fate smiles on you once again.

      Actually, the really good games make it feel good to loose or at least you made the opposing team pay for every inch of ground. There is a popular mod turned retail called "Red Orchestra" in which some maps are impossible to win, but very difficult to win.

      Moltke Bridge is a good example in which the Germans are defending Berlin from the Russians in where the Russians have su
  • by Floritard ( 1058660 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:46PM (#22546916)
    Yea not if it's a fucking spy and my medic just got uber. Nothing zen-like tends to follow that.
    • similarly annoying when its a crit rocket - especially when shot blindly or at someone else (ie you walking right into it)
    • by MagPulse ( 316 )
      You mean the spy got you before your medic was able to right click? Or can spies get you while you're ubered?!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShakaUVM ( 157947 )
      Yeah, I'm not sure why Valve thought it would be a great idea to let you take screenshots every time you die. Is that *really* what people want to record during a FPS?
  • I recently started playing Battlefield 2 on the PC again. I had forgotten how many truly skilled people there are that play this game. I was always decent at it, but never great. Still, I can hold my own. I tend to stick to clan servers. Even though I am outclassed by most of the folks I play against, it's almost 100% assured that it will be a mature and hard-fought round.

    There are some people who are almost inhuman in their ability to aim with a mouse. This is recognizable depending on the situation
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      There are some people who are almost inhuman in their ability to aim with a mouse.

      Those "people" are more properly called "bots".
      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
        Not on the servers that I frequent. They definitely make mistakes, and they definitely miss sometimes. Most of the time, the servers that I play on have a very high level of coordination and tactics displayed by both sides...the commander-->squad leader-->squad member chain of command is utilized very effectively, and it's quite obvious that these folks are good at what they do.

        Not everyone that is outstanding at an FPS is a bot. I have a friend who is very much like FPS_Doug (from Pure Pwnage) in
    • A matter of "fair" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShinmaWa ( 449201 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:24PM (#22547522)
      I think you hit the nail on the head. The gameplay geniuses over at Valve touched on this very concept on their commentary track for Portal.

      According to the commentary track, they closely watched the reaction of play testers when they died or otherwise failed. If they laughed as they died, they know they did the right thing. If they swore like a drunk sailor, something may need to be tweaked.

      It all boiled down to a matter of perceived fairness. In your case, even though you were bested, you had fun because you knew that, fundamentally, you lost fair and square. However, if you discovered that kid with the unbelievable aim was cheating, I'm guessing you'd find that a lot less fun simply because it wasn't fair.

      Same thing goes for puzzle games, single-player games, and MMO's. If the game is fair, you can have fun even if you fail. If the game isn't fair (i.e. the player has almost no chance of succeeding or the difficulty is far far too high), then no amount of playing will make it fun.
      • In your case, even though you were bested, you had fun because you knew that, fundamentally, you lost fair and square.

        Right. I think it also gives a little bit of satisfaction to feel that you're playing against a worthy opponent. Part of the fun of a FPS is the constant feeling of danger. If you never get killed, you don't feel threatened at all, and it's just target practice. Getting killed affirms that the competition is real, and increases your resolve to fight harder or smarter.

  • by Kristoph ( 242780 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:47PM (#22546936)
    I don't know about first person shooters but I must say that in WoW I get a certain satisfaction from dying 'in the name of the cause', like causing an alliance wipe in AV on Galv with a last ditch fear or dropping from the cliff onto the GM to keep the flag from getting capped.

    • by halivar ( 535827 )
      Very true. A good paladin uses BoP, LoH and DI for his friends and takes it for the group. It's very satisfying to get it right when the crap hits the fan.
  • Dying in the commision of my objective isn't so bad.
    Spawn killing and Tking piss me off,M'kay?
    Urban Terror Rules!

  • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:49PM (#22546976)
    Only when it is an interesting death, or a particularly cool suicide move - sorta like the teleporter "accidents" in classic Quake/QuakeWorld
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blancmange ( 195140 )
      I agree. A couple of my favourite deaths:

      From a nice wee sniping spot, I zap Lerc into oblivion at long range with a railgun as he's running across my field of view. While I'm giggling like a maniac, I failed to notice that he's launched a rocket at me an instant before he snuffed it. Three second later, I'm staring right into the nose cone of a rocket that appeared to grow out from the crosshair, wondering what on Earth could the strange, symmetrical object be. "Hey, isn't that a..." (Shades of The Noah's
  • by Brigadier ( 12956 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:49PM (#22546982)

    I recall the glory days of quake world. There was no feeling like camping in the dark and seeing a quad rocket launcher coming in your direction. You just knew it was over the only thing you could do was pay homage to whichever POS it was who sighted you hung on some rune in a dark corner.
  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@gm a i l . c om> on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:52PM (#22547026)
    Like when someone sticks me with a plasma grenade, and I chase them down and take them with me. That's satisfying.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      The Department of Homeland Security will be paying you avisit shortly, Mr. Suicide Bomber!
  • by provigilman ( 1044114 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:52PM (#22547032) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, this guy has never me at a Halo party... I don't go into "Zen" when I die, I just do a lot of cursing.

    For example, spawning on a grendade that kills you about 0.5 seconds after you come back usually elicits the following response: "&%#! you mother #@%!$&, that was bull$&#!"

  • by digitalderbs ( 718388 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:52PM (#22547036)

    The study found that "death of the player's own character...appear[s] to increase some aspects of positive emotion

    I have a much more simple explanation. Players like it because it means that they're not being ignored. Having "friends" that pay attention to you is a huge plus for geeks.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      Having "friends" that pay attention to you is a huge plus for geeks.

      Having friends that pay attention to you is a huge plus for anybody.
    • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:27PM (#22547556)
      It sounds to me that the researchers here got way too involved with gameplay "dying", simply because it's called "dying". Would they be attempting draw the same conclusions if it was called "5 minute time-out", which is what it has more in common with real life?

      "Dying" in an online game is nothing like dying. You are not faced with any finality. It is not the ultimate sacrifice and not the grim reaper that comes to us all, without option. It's just part of your participation in the game, a small set-back, a respite from the action.

      So any comparison with the zen of after-life experience is the biggest load of hooey you're likely to encounter this week.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mr. Sanity ( 1161283 )
        I agree with this sentiment. Really, in most FPS games, you need to divorce yourself from the thought of "dying." Very often, it is to your (and your team's) advantage to perform tactical self-sacrifice. Scout and a Soldier about to cap Point A? Hop onto the platform to pause the cap. Sure they're shooting at you. But if you can take one or both with you, great! If not, at least you paused the cap long enough for teammates to show up and stop the cap. Besides, if you "die", you have a few seconds of watchin
  • That was easy.

    http://www.digra.org:8080/Plone/dl/db/06278.36196.pdf [digra.org]

    (It's an earlier version of the work.)
  • by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) * on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:56PM (#22547078) Homepage
    I enjoy dying so much that a few times in college, when dying in a Counter-Strike game, I picked up my monitor and threw it. I was smart enough to throw it on my bed, however. My roommate was kind of scared of me.
  • The study found that "death of the player's own character...appear[s] to increase some aspects of positive emotion."

    The study needs to listen to the endless stream of obscenities on Xbox Live after a Halo 3 death (me included, unfortunately).
    • The study found that "death of the player's own character...appear[s] to increase some aspects of positive emotion."

      The study needs to listen to the endless stream of obscenities on Xbox Live after a Halo 3 death (me included, unfortunately).

      Therefor swearing has positive emotional aspects. No surprise there.
  • not this gamer (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @12:59PM (#22547136)
    I cuss like a sailor when I die in a game... typically followed by accusations everyone else is cheating.

    Imagine that German kid from the youtube video (i'd link if I wasn't at work).. and that's basically me.. except I'm a bit older, not quite a pudgy, speak English.. and only rant for about 10 seconds.
  • by comm2k ( 961394 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:00PM (#22547164)
    With a crappy game like 007 Nightfire of course I'd be relieved as well if could take a moment and not have to play this crap.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      interestingly enough, this is what I was thinking. Why not pick a game that, you know, more people play? I didn't read TFA but i'd like to see more/better games. maybe Call of Duty, Halo, etc, because they employ the similar disassociation upon death that the summary mentions.
  • Perhaps this is true of new players, for whom the change of POV and death animation is new and thus entertaining. For someone used to the game, dying means losing, and most people don't play to lose, thus it doesn't make sense that they would find that enjoyable. When I play FPS games, the period after dying is often spent beating on my keyboard until I respawn, not enjoying an animation sequence I've seen plenty of times before.
  • by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:03PM (#22547196) Journal
    When I die in COD 4 while defending an objective, or simply beat out by someone more clever/luckier than I am when running the map, it is fine. Especially if the death is in a last ditch effort against a group of players while defending in Headquarters or Domination.

    What gets me angry, cursing and fuming, is dieing pointlessly to helicopters, martyrdom and other elements which detract from skillful play. I also dislike dieing after spawning with my back to someone pointing a gun to my head, or dieing from a grenade that landed right where I was spawning.

    So I think it really comes down to what kind of "death" it is.
  • And much like real-life near-death experiences, it tends to suffuse me with a curiously zen-like feeling.

    I'm not sure I can agree as I have few points for comparison, so a little research is in order. Let me get a warn bath going and a straight blade and I'll get back to you in a bit ... #`%${%&`+'${`%& - NO CARRIER.

  • Goldeneye (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kamineko ( 851857 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:04PM (#22547218)
    That's Nightfire. Of course, in a better multiplayer FPS, such as GoldenEye or Perfect Dark, you're stuck inside the character with 'blood' streaming down your screen. (Not forgetting the musical cue!)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:04PM (#22547220)
    The Psychophysiology of James Bond : Phasic Emotional Responses to Violent Video Game Events
    By: Niklas Ravaja
    Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research, Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland
    Marko Turpeinen
    Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland
    Timo Saari
    Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research, Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland
    Sampsa Puttonen
    Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Finland
    Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen
    Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Finland

    Acknowledgement: This study was supported by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and European Community NEST project 28765: "The Fun of Gaming: Measuring the Human Experience of Media Enjoyment."

    Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Niklas Ravaja, Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research, Helsinki School of Economics, P.O. Box 1210, FIN-00101, Helsinki, Finland Electronic Mail may be sent to: ravaja@hse.fi.

    We know very little about phasic emotional responses elicited by violent video game events, although they might mediate the potential harmful effects of violent games (Ravaja, Saari, Salminen, Laarni, & Kallinen, 2006). Several (although not all) authors have concluded that there is a causal relationship between violent video game play and aggressive behavior, cognitions, and affect (for meta-analyses, see Anderson, 2004; Anderson & Bushman, 2001; for an alternative meta-analysis, see Sherry, 2001). Violent games may elicit not only self-reported aggressive affect (i.e., feelings of anger or hostility) but also anxiety (fear; Anderson & Ford, 1986). An apparent limitation of the studies using self-report to measure emotional responses is that they neglect the fact that different game events may elicit different, even opposing, emotional responses (Ravaja, Saari, Salminen, et al., 2006). Prior studies have also shown that exposure to violent video games increases physiological arousal (e.g., Ballard & Weist, 1996; for a meta-analysis, see Anderson & Bushman, 2001). However, these studies have used tonic measures (e.g., 1-min mean physiological values) that give no information on responses elicited by specific, instantaneous game events.

    The present study was designed to examine phasic psychophysiological responses indexing emotional valence and arousal elicited by violent events in the first-person shooter video game "James Bond 007: NightFire." Facial electromyographic (EMG) activity over zygomaticus major and corrugator supercilii was used to index positive and negative emotions, respectively (e.g., Lang, Greenwald, Bradley, & Hamm, 1993; Ravaja, 2004a), and orbicularis oculi activity was used to index positively valenced high-arousal emotions (Ravaja, Saari, Kallinen, & Laarni, 2006; Witvliet & Vrana, 1995). Electrodermal activity (EDA) was used as an index of arousal (Ravaja, 2004a). Obviously, violent video games (e.g., first-person shooters) involve at least two different types of events that might elicit differential emotional responses: (a) The player (or player's character) wounds or kills an opponent and (b) the opponent wounds or kills the player's character. Given that wounding or killing an opponent represents a victory and a success in the game (and in a real gun fight), these events might elicit positively valenced arousal as indexed by facial EMG activity and EDA (Hypothesis 1a). However, the deeply ingrained moral code says that injuring or killing another human being is wrong, and symbolic aggression enacted by the player may elicit anxiety (see Anderson & Ford, 1986). Therefore, an alternative hypothesis would be that wounding or killing an opponent would elicit negatively valenced arousal (i.e., anxiety) as indexed by increased EDA and corrugator EMG activity and decreased zygomatic and orbicularis oculi activity (Hypothesis 1b).

    Individuals scoring high on the Psychotici
  • Research? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:06PM (#22547244)

    I hope they didn't spend a huge amount of money on this research. Unless you're the rankest amateur, your character will probably survive until you get into a fairly impossible situation. So basically, you're 100% focussed, concentrating, fingers going crazy on whatever control mechanism you're using. I almost guarantee the last thing you did as that final bad guy popped up and you couldn't get your sights on him in time was pound on the fire button in a futile attempt to do the impossible. Then, all of a sudden, you're done. You take a deep breath, blink a few times, roll your shoulders, relax all those cramped muscles and maybe reach for your beer.

    Wouldn't that pretty much account for whatever readings they're getting? Or, to put it a little less elegantly, "I got your 'intriguing aesthetic question' right here".

  • by MooseMuffin ( 799896 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:07PM (#22547264)
    Have you ever played a FPS where you're on the clearly better team and you just clobber the other guys for several rounds? For me it gets old real fast and I'll go find a more balanced server. If you're dying, you're at least being challenged. Its motivating and sometimes it gives you a particular opponent to gun for.
    • by aitikin ( 909209 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:14PM (#22547390)
      I was seriously just about to post something similar to this. Dying means that there's still a reason to play. It's like when you played Super Mario and couldn't get past that blasted level. You died time and time again, but finally found a way through.

      I know when I die in multiplayer games, my face kinda lights up like, "Aw, shit! How'd he get me!?" It's just kinda the nature of the beast, isn't it?
    • If you're dying, you're at least being challenged. Its motivating and sometimes it gives you a particular opponent to gun for.

      Absolutely. My bestfriend and I had a great day playing paintball against off-duty marines. We went for the day and just joined up with the group, so all of their team and the rest of our team were marines. Needless to say we both died A LOT that day, but every kill we did get; hell every minute we survived out there against them was immensely gratifying.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:10PM (#22547310) Homepage Journal
    stop the presses!
  • When I take out 20 guys before I finally die :)

    That way I can use the voice chat to rub it in their faces after the fact :p
  • End of the Ride (Score:2, Insightful)

    If you run the same test on roller coaster passengers, I suspect that many might show a similar response at the end of the ride. At that point, you might reflect on your total experience. If you had a good time, you might smile desire to go again. If you're disappointed, your face might sag into a "What? That's it?" expression.

    When I played Counter-Strike, I'd be very pleased upon my death if I managed to take down more than two opponents per round. Death is just the end of the ride and getting upset

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:11PM (#22547340) Homepage
    The former Walt Disney World attraction, "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," ended with the car breaking through railroad crossing gates and heading down the railroad tracks, apparently directly toward an oncoming train. In reality, all that is there besides the sound effects is a dazzlingly bright headlight, making it almost impossible to see that you are heading toward a doorway in the black-painted room.

    As you emerge after your "collision," the final scene in the ride show numerous devils with tridents.

    If Walt Disney, always a good judge of such things, thought that kids would enjoy the virtual experience, not merely of dying, but of being consigned to eternal damnation, it does not seems a far stretch to assume that gamers may enjoy it as well.
    • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:42PM (#22547786) Journal
      Hey, man! Fucking SPOILER warning, ok!?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Now, having been on the former "attraction", I'd quibble about how attractive it really was. It actually sucked. Sort of like the Disney version of "The Wind in the Willows" sucked. Luckily, in those pre-video days, I actually hadn't seen the lousy movie. So I went on the ride, spending the whole time wondering "what does this have to do with the book?" And, having to use a C ticket or whatever it was to sit in a stupid car and see devils and other junk painted on plywood flats was pretty lousy. Even in 197
  • by spyrochaete ( 707033 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:12PM (#22547344) Homepage Journal
    Sure, everyone prefers winning a game over losing, but as Hunter S. Thompson said, "Learn to enjoy losing." The best example of this in recent memory is Team Fortress 2. I haven't enjoyed a multiplayer FPS since the original Quake, mainly for the reason that everyone is better than me and I didn't enjoy consistently placing third-to-last. I'm really not any better in TF2 but the game is so well balanced, so stylish, and fast-paced that I smile or laugh every single time I'm defeated. It's a pleasure that keeps me playing.

    A good game is one that acknowledges that the task you're given is too big for just one guy, but that's all you are. Play in the world and try unconventional tactics. If you fail, fail spectacularly. It's less fun to do so in the real world.

    @ -- your liver
  • Of course I like dying! Thats why I have holes in my drywall next to my computer and fist shaped indentations on my desk!

    Of course I keep coming back for more, so you never know...
  • I've had times where a buddy killed me in an FPS, or made the last turn in a race by the smallest of margins only to beat me. I'd didn't like being beaten, but I appreciated the skill/move/chance they took in trying to kill me.
  • No. (Score:4, Funny)

    by CaptnMArk ( 9003 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:16PM (#22547416)
    I have ruined at least one mouse in Q3A because you have to click for respawn only after one second delay
    (clicks before are ignored).

  • I often taunt my opponents with some ancient Bassui...

    Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in pure air.

    ...as an added bonus, it tends to confuse them long enough to move into position for a second kill.
  • Maybe the release just comes from being out of the heat of battle; your stress goes down, your adrenaline flow calms, heart rate decreases, you don't have to worry about dying anymore, because now you're dead, and there's nothing you can do about it until you respawn. At least, that's how it feels for me. I can't ever recall feeling anything metaphysical about watching my guys spatter the walls of DM-Rankin after some asshole with a Flak Cannon blows me apart.
  • for good sportsmanship :)
  • by FreelanceWizard ( 889712 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @01:21PM (#22547478) Homepage
    ...which is that the authors are basing their conclusions on the premise that physiological responses are purely indicative of specific emotional states. This is a position people like Ekman take as well, and it's easily falsified. Russell reviewed the literature around 2000 or so and found that, in fact, emotional displays are at least somewhat socially motivated and don't always equate to specific emotions in a one-to-one fashion (especially in speech). To put it more simply, you may smile because you're happy, but you might also smile because you're being sarcastic, because you're covering up frustration, etc. However, this study rests on the assumption that people only smile because they're happy -- period. (In all fairness, they're not exactly talking about smiling here, but the principle is the same.)

    So, sure, if you're willing to accept that premise, then this study is great. If not, it's just another in a long line of studies that suggest, but do not convincingly prove, what emotions can be generated by particular events. Really, this study just again points out how insanely difficult it is to get to a "ground truth" of what emotions people experience.

    And yes, I've read the article -- I happen to have electronic access to the journal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I'm not able to read the article at the current moment, so I'm not really commenting on this particular experiment because I don't really know what physiological responses they were measuring. I don't think, in some cases, it's as easily falsified as you make it seem, though. Although it may be impossible to tie physiological responses to emotional states 100%, it is possible to do it with a reasonable degree of certainty. Just because you can fake smiling does NOT mean you can fake brain activity or hear
  • What really made those feelings of relief was that every time they died, it was one death closer to not having to play 007:Nightfire anymore.
  • if its a single player game, hell no...

    if its a multi-player game durring a LAN party.. maybe.. cause it would be a good time to re-fill my glass

    if its a demolition derby (Flatout) Hell yeah! cuase it is usually pretty damn entertaining to watch the rerun!
  • Thank goodness our nation's smartest are performing such vital work.
  • You've been twitch gaming for a couple of hours, you're running low on caffeine in your bloodstream, your eyes are gritty, your hands are shaky, and your pulse is up...

    Getting killed is disappointing. But it might also be the first time in 30 minutes you can unclench your sphincter and take a deep breath, maybe lean back in your chair while the respawn counter ticks down.

  • Death can be funny. This is demonstrated in movies and games all the time. Unfortunately, it is permanent IRL. Some games even capitalize on this by making death the main part of the game. Worms Armageddon, for example. Death was constant and funny.

    I used to play the original Quake, and I was so bad it was ridiculous. Custom levels with pits became a constant source of problem. The funniest events where when you got 200 health + 200 armor + regeneration, and you are buffeted about by multiple rockets
  • by skelly33 ( 891182 ) on Monday February 25, 2008 @02:02PM (#22548128)
    <speculation style="wild">it seems to me that the psyche knows the difference between phases of a video game and actually facing mortality. I find it hard to believe that "video game death" can in any way be related to real world psychological patterns surrounding death - for one, there are actually no consequences in the video game world, thus no real fear nor moral struggle.</speculation>

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears