Buying Guide: Gentle games for gentle gamers

By December 27, 2011Buying Guides

As I’m sure most of our readers are aware, video games are constantly being accused of turning players into hyper-aggressive serial killers. Fine. Let’s fight pseudo-science with pseudo-science:

A study from Ohio State University indicates that gamers can be emotionally affected by a video game when it is gentle, too.

Originally published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science , the study compared how games felt after playing three different types of games – Endless Ocean for a relaxing game, Super Mario Galaxy for a neutral game and Resident Evil 4 for a violent game. (Those links are to our modern “close enough” versions.) The results clearly demonstrated that those individuals who played a relaxing game were less aggressive and kind.

The study found that people who play video games that are gentle and relaxing are more likely to be relaxed and happy afterwards. The researchers used Endless Ocean, a Wii game where you play a scuba diver exploring the ocean.  That’s all you do.  You can’t die and it’s just wonderfully peaceful.  Endless Ocean seriously my favorite Wii game.  No joke.

“These findings aren’t the result of some video games being less entertaining or enjoyable than others. We were very careful to choose games that were similar in these ratings…Relaxing video games put people in a good mood. And when people are in a good mood, they are more inclined to help others, and that’s better for everyone,” explained one of the study authors, Brad Bushman.

So there you go, and if you want some truly relaxing console games, pick up a points card and check out the download-only sections of PSN and Xbox Live.  I personally love Flower and World of Keflings. I personally guarantee they’ll make you feel better:

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