Not too long ago I wrote an article on ‘rage quitting’ and why it’s become a problem in the gaming community. There’s something of a trend happening that I’ve noticed and it seems to go along with ‘rage quitting.’
The idea of ‘rage quit’ has become so popular that a company by the name of RoosterTeeth even had it as a series on their gaming channel for a while.
The idea behind it is that games are so frustratingly hard or there are so many unfair advantages that the game induces the player into a fit of rage in which they effectively quit the game, sometimes going to lengths of throwing their controller.
It’s no secret that some of the most popular games of the time are the ones that we would deem the most ‘rage inducing.’ Popular first person shooters such as “Call of Duty” and “Rainbow Six Siege” stand at the top of that list.
The games are good, but the level of popularity makes them a hotspot for players who try hard or who like to do techniques such as ‘spawn peeking,’ where the player on an opposing team will try and take out players on the attacking team when they spawn in. Several of “Rainbow Six Siege’s” maps seem almost geared towards this, making it a frustrating and easily accomplishable feat.
Fighting games, like “Dragon Ball FighterZ” and “For Honor” are all about tactics, but with attacks that can be spammed almost non-stop and glitches that make it seem like a player can use one ability forever, it causes a level of rage that almost tops that of the first person shooters.
So the question remains, why are we as a society so fascinated with the idea of rage quitting? Why is it a draw to play these games that cause anger and frustration? How do we find enjoyment out of getting angry at something designed to be fun?
The answer is simple, yet complex at the same time. Humans are angry creatures by nature. We feel emotions constantly, from happy to sad, to anger.
The strongest stands to be anger, something that is felt on almost a daily basis. Someone cuts you off in traffic, you get angry. You get a bad grade on a test, you get angry. Someone takes the last donut at the company meeting and you missed breakfast? Angry.
It stands to be said that humans are also known as creatures that can be violent at times. So what is a safe way to take out that anger without hurting someone or something in real life? Video games!
Does a 3D pixelated character get hurt if you yell at it? No. If you kill a character in a video game, is there any real world consequence? No. So it stands to reason that video games are the perfect outlet for rage.
According to a survey done by Virginia Tech expert Jim Hawdon, first person shooter gamers are 67 percent less likely to engage in hate material online than non-players. This stands to further prove that video games are a healthy outlet rather than a cause of problems as many had originally thought.
It’s not just first-person shooters though. Many platformer games can be rage-inducing as well. “Spyro: Reignited Trilogy” has several levels that are timed and involve flying and can be quite difficult to complete.
“Flappy Bird,” a game that now is no longer downloadable, was nearly impossible to beat and was the subject of mass hysteria for almost a full year. It was such a hot item that people even sold iPhones, Androids and other Apple products that contained the game for thousands of dollars. People were willing to pay thousands for one of the most frustrating mobile platform games ever made.
There’s a name for it. According to ScientificAmerican.com, “Psychologists call it ‘intrinsic motivation’—the urge to make progress toward a goal without the promise of an externalized reward.”
Despite there being no physical award, or really any award other than the satisfaction of having completed the game along with the achievement listed on your platform of choice, gamers find it nearly impossible to put the game down. It’s the rush of adrenaline you feel from completing it.
The rush, in my opinion, is similar to that of a thrill ride or an amusement park game. You feel it building, slowly, in your chest. Your heart races and you get excited at the prospect of finally seeing the end screen of the game. You get to the hard part – the part you’ve been stuck on for months; weeks. You fly through the level, your breathing increasing with your heart rate.
Finally, your character comes through the other side, the screen goes to black, the credits roll.
You’ve finally done it! You’ve beaten what you thought was impossible. All the rage was worth it, and in the end, isn’t the satisfaction what really matters?