There were a number of findings that surprised me:
- There is a sharp divide between male and female games players in their taste in games and how long they spend playing. Some of you might be saying “Duh!”, but I was sure that women played the same games that men played. Perhaps the data I had was specific to hardcore gamers.
- Gamers appear to forget they are playing games less readily than film goers forget they are watching a film because they have to participate in the game for it to proceed. The report also goes on to say that gamers are not emotionally involved but instead are concentrating upon “making progress”. So most people really do play games mechanically and don’t care about story? Is this really why there are people who will gladly pay every month just to gain experience by doing the same thing over and over again? Are games nothing more than “I Win” buttons to most players? Disturbing.
- A range of factors seems to make less emotionally involving than film or television. The adversaries which players have to eliminate have no personality and so are not real and their destruction is therefore not real, regardless of how violent that destruction might be. Er, did we really just say that video games are less emotionally involving BECAUSE they aren’t realistic? If we give the adversaries personality (and I am sure that there are more than a few games that do so already), does their destruction result in games that allow minors to lose their grasp on reality?
There isn’t much else in the report that we didn’t already expect. Game players generally understand the difference between video games and real life. Game players are not all children, although parents (and I may add politicians) still think that games are for children only. One of my favorite lines:
Parents should not treat video games in the same way they would board games.
Parents aren’t readily giving their children The Newlywed Game boardgame, yet they think nothing of letting them play GTA 3? There are adult and mature-themed board games, so why are video games supposed to be played exclusively by children?
You can download the full report at the BBFC website.