Monday, February 22, 2010

Modern Warfare 2 Manipulates Gamers

DAMNLAG has an interesting post by Zach Rovinsky on the ways Modern Warfare 2 gets players to... play more Modern Warfare 2. Rovinsky goes into some of the psychological factors that go into creating the massive multiplayer success Modern Warfare 2 enjoys.
"To be frank, the competitive online environment judges you; relentlessly. Your every death is a mark of failure for all to see and an unkind statement on your personal ability. Such a situation pushes buttons in people’s heads, especially men’s heads. It taps into core competitive instincts that also drive sport, politics, and the manufacture and sale of expensive cars. What Modern Warfare does is speed up that cycle of play-death-judgment. The sheer speed with which deaths happen makes a more powerful statement on your effectiveness as a man than any other game. Every death is a reminder of every time your father didn’t believe in you or sold you short, so to speak. I hypothesize, with nothing but the Psychology 101 class I got a B in behind me, that the appeal of Modern Warfare 2 is something primal and even a bit oedipal. Men feel the need to be judged better than another man, whether it be by a woman or a scoreboard. Part of Modern Warfare's success is in prodding those competitive instincts to get people to keep playing. The competitiveness is really three quarters the appeal for what can be considered the gaming demographic, but it’s what matters most to the core male 18-35 bunch this series is aimed at."
Obviously, a lot of this mentality/gaming stuff is well documented, and if it's not well-documented, then it's just common knowledge. Leveling is the basest form of drip feeding gamers like hamsters hungry for accomplishment. And having a high score is about as associated with being a macho man as you can get. Don't worry though, many readers have already called out Rovinsky on his terrible writing and how bad of a person he is.

Look everyone, do you really expect any Modern Warfare 2 related article to be Tolstoy? What did you think "MW2 Manipulates Gamers" to be?

Also, as someone firmly under the influence of MW2's multiplayer manipulation, I have to say, prestige-leveling is a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. When the whole prestige system first debuted I thought only a complete moron would want to work their butt off all over again for the weapons they had previously unlocked. Of course, the extra titles and emblems help to maintain a fine level of motivation that has me hopping back online every other day in between a second play through of Mass Effect and whatever game I'm reviewing at the time.

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