Aggression and Sports Video Games: a connection of competition and aggression

By exploring Griffith et al.’s “Competitive Video Game Play: An Investigation of Identification and Competition,” readers are exposed a quantitative research on the interconnection between the roles of competition, identification, and the effects of gaming on hostility and enjoyment. By exploring the connections and giving us a numerical value to associate with those effects, readers can clearly see the influence media has on the population. I will be mainly focusing on the methods and procedure of how the research was conducted, and voicing my own opinions on the matter. Through this analysis, I hope to gain further insight into the potential for further research on this topic.

With examples of sports-based video games brought up, the paper presents the results of their data, stating that it has been proven competitive video games can increase enjoyment if the party is on the winning side. Looking at this case, I find that it is interesting that the researchers chose to use sports video games as a point to research over many other forms of video games. It may have been because there is a close comparison between the real-life effect of sports on competition, hence it is easier to see the differences between reality and in the video game. Nonetheless, based on what the results showed for sports-based video games, I do not think the effect is much different than in reality; if you are good at a sport or any skill, it is natural to enjoy that action, and if you are not good at it, you would feel hostile. In a sense, it feels more like an act of validation, that you feel confident enough to do this action because you have the credentials to prove that you are qualified.

Likewise, although the paper has brought up the issue of video games causing aggression, it also stuck out to me that they have not brought up an example of an FPS game, or First-person shooter games when describing hostile behaviours related to competition. For instance, in a CNN article, it describes that there is no actual tendency to steer towards violence or aggression even if a school-aged child is exposed to violent video games such as Call of Duty. This is interesting because Griffith et al. have found through their studies that there is a tendency for competition in games to lead towards aggression. However, in this case, Griffith et al. are looking at the link through team-based competitive games rather than shooting games; the issue of identity could be the main contributing factor towards the display of aggression although that is something else to be researched upon on a later date.

In comparison to the other readings we have done, it is quite different in the sense that Griffith et al. are measuring more the effects of the media containing elements of competition on the human response to those variables. While other papers such as Bateson’s describing the negative effects of competition, this paper, “Competitive Video Game Play: An Investigation of Identification and Competition” does not necessarily describe competition as good or bad- the research is done on the effects of media containing elements of competition and what the resulting human reaction will be. Even for Ingraham’s article, it describes more on the different interpretations of what competition is in the context of the Olympics.

Overall, this paper delves into the effects of in-game competition in a very narrow context using sport-based competitive video games. Although there lies no fault in doing so, I feel that only considering violence in sports video games gives too narrow of a scope be able to confidently state that there is a connection between enjoyment, hostility, and the win or loss scenario in a video game. Taking into consideration that this paper is formatted in a way that competition is the undertone rather than the focus of Griffith et al.’s argument, I feel that the paper also provided a much different perspective on the definition of competition.


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CNN article:



1 Comment

  1. Hey Jessie. I really enjoyed this post, and the critique on Griffith et al.’s narrow viewpoint on competition in video games. One thing that could have been done to further analyze and critique the paper is perhaps looking into the e-sports scene. There has been quite a bit of research done into how the highly competitive atmosphere and involvement of a variety of game genres and how those impact the pro-players perception of competition. All in all though I thoroughly enjoyed this reply.


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