So what’s the full story then? Well, think about the last time you saw a report of a violent crime on your local news. Did you become aggressive watching the report? If I show you a screenshot of the new Mortal Kombat would you become enraged? For me the answer is no. This study seems to line up at least with my own observation and personal experiences. Violence has never made me (and most people i know) more aggressive on its own – it’s always been the desire to win. In multiplayer environments that desire to win goes up tenfold. As does the degree of trash talk and anger. If any of you have taken part in any kind of competitive events then I would venture that you share that experience. Whether it’s PvP play in World of Warcraft, the final table at the World Series of Poker or a title fight in the UFC, when either victory or defeat is close a competitor is going to amp it up.
Now I’m playing through Bayonetta again, and I can sit back on my couch shooting and slicing up enemies (through attacks called torture moves no less) on most enemies and my only reaction is “Wow that was fairly simple.” It’s when the odds seem stacked and my health bar starts approaching zero that my frustration starts to rise. I can put the controller down and walk away, but there’s always going to be that handful of people that take it too far. If you think that’s a bad example then here’s another: I can get just as riled up when I see my king’s inevitable demise in a game of chess. We’re wired to want victory. A simple will to win and survival of the fittest.