Leave it to a psychologist at the University of Essex to discover that the secret sauce in irresistible video games is the characters’ personalities — especially those that leave just enough creative space for players to pour themselves into.
“Games offer a window. They offer you that window to be your ideal self,” Andrew Przybylski, a Halo and Angry Birds player himself, says. Previously, Przybylski has shown that players prefer challenges in games to violence. His new study in the journal Psychological Science, explains that the further away a person’s real life is from the “ideal” character they play in a game–the better fit they can find in the hero’s skin–the more enjoyable they find a game. It’s the role-playing of Dungeons & Dragons multiplied by the power of powerful processors and pixels.
The explosive popularity of games such as “Halo”and “World of Warcraft,” where gamers get a chance to play characters in alternate gaming worlds and interact with other gamer characters, has a lot to do with the characters the game offers.
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