Nintendo prides itself on making family friendly entertainment that anybody can enjoy. The Nintendo Wii was the best selling console in the last console generation largely due to it broad, casual appeal. That being said, a new study has found that the Wii may have been hiding a dark secret.
A study published last month in Mass Communication and Society looked to find if there was any correlation between hostility and the kind of controller being used while playing video games. The researchers at Mississippi State University found that players using a Wii remote and Nunchuck, combined with the physical activity required to play games using said controllers, led to increased hostility in players.
What game could the subjects possibly be playing on the Wii to lead to such hostility? As it turns out, the researchers chose Punch-Out!! as their game of choice. It’s a boxing game that’s very similar to the boxing game in Wii Sports. If you’ve played either, you know that you actually work up quite the sweat while playing these games. It’s no wonder that players become more hostile by swinging fists at the air.
Some gamers may be concerned that this study will only add to the perception that video games cause violent behavior, despite having no evidence backing up such claims. The good news is that it doesn’t as the research found that hostility was increased by a small amount during a 10-minute session. The researchers say they didn’t test long-term play, but I would assume you’d get more tired than hostile after playing Punch-Out!! for an hour.
What may be more interesting to gamers is that the study also looked at how controllers impact identification and presence. As in, which controllers allow players to relate better with the characters on screen. It found that motion-based controls increased both of these feelings in players, but found that they don’t necessarily create a feeling of immersion into the game’s environment.
You can find the full study here.