Video Games and Identification

It is quite interesting how video games allow the player to be more involved in the creation of the narrative rather than just being a passive consumer. Which means there is much more investment and involvement and a sense of belonging into these games, and that is also what the Griffiths et al highlight in their paper “Competitive Video Game Play: An Investigation of Identification and Competition”. This paper examines how competition in video games can lead to either aggression or enjoyment and positive effects. As well as, how identification with a certain aspect of the game has an affect on post-game play outcomes, enjoyment and state hostility.

Identification can be defined in many different ways, but for the purposes of this paper, identification was defined as the degree of psychological and emotional connection to a team. That is, identifying as the team you are playing in the game rather than your normal self. Why identification? , one might ask, and that it because identification has been shown to be a motivation for, and an outcome from, media exposure, thus helping shape someone’s attitudes and behaviours.

Three conditions were examined in this paper, the saliency of the match, team identification and competitive outcome. A correlation was found between competition and hostility and the enjoyment of playing sports video games.

Identifying with a team in sports video games is very sensitive and it induces feelings like belonging and the need of winning, which is pure competition. Also, that can be due to active interaction between the player and the content of the game. This means that, the emotional outcome of the video game is doubled whether it was positive or negative. Being a sports video game player my self, i could totally feel the emotional rush that comes with the win or the loss. In addition, as my friend points out in his response, this sense of belonging can also be seen in other fields like politics, meaning, whatever happens to the person you voted for, feels like it is happening to you.

Overall, this paper addresses a very important and sensitive issue that is very relatable for a lot of us in this decade, where 60% of Americans play video games daily. Moreover, although research has been done on this topic, the authors admit that that the research on the effects of gameplay is limited. Also, when most people think of the effects of video games, they immediately think of negative affect, such as anger and aggression. That is why i believe it is very important to have more research done on this topic.


Image from here

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