Gamasutra has a report from a GDC Canada session discussion the role of emotions in games — that is, a researcher who is not Nicole Lazzaro! And it sounds like a fun and meaty discussion.
The counter is fear, which can cause physiological responses due to the “fight or flight” impulse. Many people love that sensation: “Look at the prevalence of the horror movie; it’s everywhere. Look at horror games.”
“Surely there’s no harm in that? Well, actually, there is,” said Chandler: Scientists have recently determined that after sustained fear, bodies stop producing adrenaline and being producing cortisol, which begins to break down non-essential organs and tissues to feed vital organs, increasing pain, promoting heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
So, here we have “games can cause heart disease!” 🙂 Though it should be noted, so can shock horror movies… or perhaps excessive rollercoaster riding.
There’s also a bit bolstering the arguments I made not long ago about how we have unconscious predispositions towards people and things that looks like people (such as avatars).
Speaking of which, there was a lengthy discussion on that topic on the latest “Shut Up. We’re Talking” podcast, which has led to even more debate and controversy.
Unfortunately, I think the SUWT crew missed the point a bit by saying “well, maybe mature or experienced gamers learn not to have these subconscious reactions.” Unfortunately, I don’t think that is true — any more than informed and mature people sail through those tests of their reaction times with photographs of people of mixed races. This is not an easy bias to remove…