A study into the link between increased aggression and videogames has found that it is how the game works that causes violent behaviour. Researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute created a study that isolated violent content from a modified version of Half Life 2 and discovered that it more sophisticated research into violent video games is required.
The study used a version of Half Life 2 where shooting was replaced with tagging opponents who would then just disappear. It was used to remove the amount of onscreen violence and allow researchers to observe the interaction between increased aggression and gameplay mechanics.
Players were divided into groups, some of which were allowed to practice and play a short tutorial. It turned out that those who did not have time to learn the game were more aggressive than those who played the tutorial.
“We focused on the motives of people who play electronic games and found players have a psychological need to come out on top when playing,” said Dr Andrew Przybylski who headed the study. “If players feel thwarted by the controls or the design of the game, they can wind up feeling aggressive. This need to master the game was far more significant than whether the game contained violent material.”