Peake, Jonathan William (2011) A Global Perspective On The Significance of Violent Imagery in Relation To Other Variables Of Interest Within Computer Games. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This study explores the significance of explicit violence in computer games as a mechanism for entertaining the player. Twenty-Two participants played a violent and non-violent version of the same computer game and then rated each one in relation to how much they enjoyed the experience. To provide effective analysis of the research data purpose built stimuli was used in this study to ensure that every aspect of their construction, other than the presence or absence of violent imagery, was standardised to eliminate alternative variables of interest. Through analysis of counter-balanced quantitative and qualitative data it was found that increased realism and violent intensity had little effect on the samples overall arousal and surprisingly the majority of participants preferred the non-violent alternative. Although there was some evidence to suggest that increased violence correlated with intensified immersed emotional reactivity, the results showed that the fundamental gameplay mechanics were the primary contributor to player behaviour such as excitement, aggression and competitiveness. The findings of this study suggest that gory violence had little effect on player emotional reactivity which raises doubts as to whether violence in computer games is as significant of a stimulant as previous researchers have suggested.

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