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Nov 30, 2013 08:43 AM EST

Ontario Researchers Explains Why First-Person Shooting Games are Super Addictive


First-person shooters (FPS), the popular video game genre has been a craze ever since its first introduction in 1973 with 'Maze War.' Since then, gaming companies have launched several video games incorporating this genre including 1974's Spasim, 1992's Wolfenstein 3D, 1998's Half-Life and the recently launched Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Revealing why this genre is immensely addictive, psychologists said that playing from the first-person perspective; FPS gives game-lovers a total control of their environment and destiny, a sense of thrill when they kill their enemy and the power to make decisions.

 "Video games are essentially about decision-making. First-person shooters put these tasks on speed. What might be a very simple decision if you have all the time in the world becomes much more attractive and complex when you have to do it split second," Lennart Nacke, the director of the Games and Media Entertainment Research Laboratory at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology, said, Daily Mail UK reports.

FPS games are also known to incite adrenaline rush in men, that are usually released  while fighting wild animals.

"If you look at it in terms of our evolution, most of us have office jobs. We're in front of the computer all day. We don't have to go out and fight a tiger or a bear to find our dinner. But it's still hardwired in humans. Our brain craves this kind of interaction, our brain wants to be stimulated. We miss this adrenaline-generating decision-making," Nacke said.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the director of the Games and Media Entertainment Research Laboratory at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, said that when video games have the right formula, challenging players' decision-making powers and giving them a crucial sense of control, it generates "the kind of feeling after which one nostalgically says 'that was fun' or 'that was enjoyable.'"

For the study, Nacke compared FPS with third-person shooter Kane & Lynch and the real-time strategy game Fragile Alliance.

"In the more casual games, it's more about problem-solving. We didn't see the same absorption, the same engagement flow that we have in first-person shooters," Nacke said, New Yorker reports.

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