Video game: what influences the perception of death?

Faced with the popularity of video games, many parents worry about their children. Indeed, these games are mostly filled with gore scenes. This is especially the case for first person shooters (FPS) or even horror games or gory video games.

Today, video games are an integral part of many people’s daily lives. However, this source of entertainment often features death. For good reason, losing is sometimes inevitable for progress (Die and Retry). Often the player himself must kill his opponents. For parents, it is this last scenario that causes the most concern. Among other things, they are afraid that their children will actually adopt aggressive behavior or, even worse, think that life is a game.

death in video games

Return in time

In classic video games, the death of a character results in the end of the game, or “Game Over”. However, players can save their progress and return to it if they lose. It’s kind of a step back in time.

With this feature, gamers can repeat the quest endlessly until they succeed. Which is very useful, because progress would be almost impossible if you had to start the game from the beginning every time you die.

Many live like cats

In some games, characters have multiple lives. This feature softens the oppressive side of death. This characteristic is much less present in video games nowadays. This is mostly implemented in retro games like Super Mario.

Now game designers mainly realize the possibility of animating characters. For example, in PUBG, game modes allow players to bring teammates back into the game under certain conditions.

horror games

In addition, shooters usually have team match systems. In the latter, death is not a real problem. The most important thing is the number of deaths in the team. As a result, death can be seen as harmless, even if sometimes disappointing.

Virtual or real death?

Video game designers are working to make their work more and more realistic. For this, graphics help a lot, but this is not enough. The stories and scenes also contribute to the realism of the games.

Therefore, games like The Sims offer death scenarios that are very close to real. The Sims sets up, for example, a system registered in time, taking into account the change of days, nights, and seasons. The player’s avatar also ages and dies.

Of course, different types of games have their own way of giving the player this experience. However, it cannot be denied that many deaths in the digital world reflect reality. Examples are online role-playing games as well as FPS games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.

How death is represented in The Sims

The impact of video games on the understanding of death

Death is always present in online games. This quasi-omnipresence of death exemplifies the evolution of the vision of death in games especially well.

Do they help you deal with death?

For a long time, death was a delicate topic! In the West, it was feared, hidden, even denied during the 20th century. It is now accepted in many countries that silence on this truth is counterproductive.

In fact, talking about death and explaining it will help everyone better deal with the suffering and fear it creates. In retrospect, this is quite true, as the unknown has always been a source of negative feelings.

Unfortunately, talking about death is sometimes difficult. This is all the more true in sociocultural contexts where death is a taboo subject. Fortunately, books, illustrations, films, and even games help face the truth. After all, death is often featured in video games.

SEE ALSO: Sex: Video game fans would be ‘more appropriate moves’ according to study

Closer to the character…

Video games are, of course, different from books and movies because the player is directly involved. In the first two cases, the reader and viewer remain passive in relation to what is happening.

Indeed, the user’s actions and choices have consequences for their character. Whether he chooses to kill or his mistakes lead to his death, he will feel more uneasy. From this point of view, video games complement books and films in understanding death.

A kind of therapy for coping with bereavement

By involving the player in his games, he can symbolically exteriorize his emotions. Serge Tisseron, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, spoke about this. Early in his career as a psychiatrist, he courted a woman who seemed to have lost interest in life.

“She also had strong suicidal tendencies, but since video games did not exist at that time, she dealt with them not with the help of pixel dolls, but with the help of real fabric dolls. She made them herself, and then … threw them out the window! »

Serge Tisseron

Through the dolls she threw from her window, she saw herself. In particular, the “death” of the dolls had more to do with the death of parts of herself. Those are the parts she wanted to get rid of. His suicidal part is at the top of this list. Through this kind of ritual, the patient temporarily wanted to live.

Today it is no longer necessary to make dolls, technology makes this task easier. Players can express themselves through their character on their PC, console, or smartphone.

Boy playing video games

The position of the player in relation to their character

When a user starts a video game, the latter may offer to create a character. However, many games require predefined characters. Indeed, depending on the type of avatar, the degree of identification of the player in relation to him varies.

When it is possible to shape their character to their liking, the player can duplicate themselves. Therefore, here he is trying to transfer his real characteristics to the virtual world. Therefore, this player profile tends to view their character as a person.

Moreover, the user can create an improved version of himself. Sometimes you can see what changes a player wants to make to their personality.

Finally, the video game enthusiast can also create a complete personality for their avatar. Unlike the first two, this one has nothing to do with its creator. However, he doesn’t really identify with his character when he plays.

Massacre in the video game Brutal Doom

When faced with death, the extent to which the player is involved with their playable character is important. Thus, paying attention to such details can help detect deep ailments.

Place of video games in France

Last year, Médiamétrie conducted research on behalf of the Syndicate of Leisure Software Publishers (SELL). SELL released results in November 2021, mostly highlighting player profiles. The report shows that 38 million French people played games at least once in 2021.

Among the people who answered the questions, 58% consider themselves regular players. In addition, the number of female players (47%) and male players (53%) is about the same. Indeed, more and more women are interested in the gaming field and become more professional.

In addition, it is interesting to note that the majority of enthusiasts use an average of 2.2 gaming platforms. The top of the ranking is occupied by smartphones (51% of gamers). Which is not surprising, since subscribers can take them with them anywhere. Home consoles (49% of players) did not stand aside either.

Children playing a video game

To really see the place that video games occupy, the average age of players is very clear. Twelve years ago, the median age was 35.6; now it is 38. Specifically, more and more adults are addicted to video games. In other words, this kind of entertainment is no longer just for young people. Thus, the question of the place of video games is no longer an issue.

Should video games be banned?

Instead of banning video games, parents are more interested in watching their children kindly. Moreover, they are obliged to limit the playing time of their descendants so that they do not forget about reality. Indeed, the real danger is, of course, addiction or dependence.

However, despite this shortcoming, video games themselves do not pose a problem. They are even able to help manage emotions and better understand some topics, sometimes taboo.

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