Games bleeding into real life - study

Fantastical reactions to mundane situations.

For some, a video game doesn't stop when the power is turned off - their gaming experiences are bleeding into their day-to-day lives.

This can lead to video game-like reactions to real-life situations, Nottingham Trent University and Stockholm University have discovered.

It's called Game Transfer Phenomena.

The study - Game Transfer Phenomena in Video Game Playing: A Qualitative Interview Study - interviewed 42 "frequent" gamers aged between 15 and 21 years old. "Many" of the subjects "appeared to integrate elements of video game playing into their real lives".

The full study must be bought for $30. One amusing excerpt reported on The Metro website describe a 15 year-old boy wanting to use a gravity gun from Half-Life 2 to fetch something from the fridge. And why not?

One 19-year-old Price of Persia: Sands of Time enthusiast dropped his sandwich and immediately his finger used to press the rewind-time button twitched. A natural response.

Another 19-year-old thought he could use World of Warcraft's search function to locate his brother in a crowd. What a good idea.

Apparently half of the gamers interviewed said they'd looked for something from a video game to solve a real-life issue. One interviewee apparently saw a menu of topics available for him to think about (Heavy Rain?); another formulated a list of possible responses after being insulted (Mass Effect 2?).

Of course, there is a darker side to all of this. Use of aggressive, criminal and/or violent fantasies as solutions to real-life problems were reported by "a few" of the players.

The Daily Mail focused on one particular 15-year-old who said that "sometimes" he wants to be able to get a gun and "shoot down" people. "Irritating people", mind you.

"A recurring trend suggests that intensive gaming may lead to negative psychological, emotional or behavioural consequences," concluded report author professor Mark Griffiths, "with enormous implications for software developers, parents, policy makers and mental health professionals."

This research is being followed up by a study of 2000 gamers.

The Game Transfer Phenomena report hits headlines a day after Grand Theft Auto was linked to a shooting spree and eventually a murder onboard a Royal Navy submarine.

What a useful tool the Gravity Gun would be.

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