They kill the Russians every day

A major American publication - The Washington Post, known for its ambiguous position regarding the mythical “Russian hackers“, compiled a list of the main villains of computer shooters. This time, they provided proofs to their theses.

Journalists conducted research work, concluding that computer video games have a significant influence on the behavior pattern of people playing in them. They also made a rating of the enemies, the creators of “shooters” most often offer to kill.

What do you think, in what place were the Russians? They are in the top three, in the neighborhood with aliens and the sum of “ordinary people” (for example, “opponents from Latin America” ​​or “Middle Eastern terrorists”).

Next - directly translated article:

Which country is the most frequent enemy in violent video games?

Video games are everywhere. Forty percent of US adults have game consoles, many play on their mobile phones. According to some reports, the majority of gamers are women. Digital games now “rake” more than the annual revenue from sales of the ticket office cinema.
Do games affect what people think about the world and about other people?

Studies have shown that entertainment media, such as movies, can change public opinion and behavior. But much less research on the impact of video games. There is a political study on the connection between the army and the entertainment industry, called the “military entertainment complex.” There is also research work on the passing of games during the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2014. But our knowledge of how games affect public opinion, politics and culture are limited. So we figured it out.

To get an answer to this question, you need to look at the enemies that players face in digital games. To use a more precise term, we look at how enemies are “framed” - how games provide information that resonates with the audience. In an article published by International Studies Review (temporarily unavailable), we resort to a genre such as a first-person shooter in which an armed player must destroy an opponent. Players of this genre face conflicts and first-person violence, although situations are modeled. But the presentation of bad guys in video games can form a perception of the threat of players.

To understand the system of creating enemies in games, we collected data on the best-selling shooters from 2001 to 2013, a total of 57 games, each of which was sold more than 1.5 million times. Even non-gamers recognize in our statistics such popular names as “Call OfDuty” and “Halo”. We encoded information such as the personality of the protagonist (shooter), the essence and place of the conflict, the personality of the enemy in each game. We grouped the opponents into several categories: ordinary people who are portrayed as terrorists from the Middle East and Latin America, aliens, monsters, including zombies; Russia, as a state of ultra-nationalists and separatists; Enemies in the Second World War and others, Iraq and North Korea.

We found out that 21% of games are games where the opponents are Russians (12 games), one percent less than games with ordinary people (13 games) and one more than games with aliens (11 games). Even if we collect games where opponents from Latin America (6 games) and Middle Eastern terrorists (5 games) in one category, the number of games with the Russians will still be more.

Our results show that shooter players often face Russians as opponents. Long after the end of the Cold War, and despite the fact that the real world is concerned about the problem of international terrorism and other security issues, the enemies of the Cold War era in video games form an attitude toward modern Russia.

We believe that this is an interesting find, given the deteriorating relations between Russia and the West and the continuing tension around Russian participation in Ukraine and Syria.

The question is that seeing the Russians as enemies in games means that Western players will be less inclined to be tolerant of Russian aggression.

Our next research will examine the impact of the enemy image, study the presentation of sexual and ethnic diversity, and find out if the game alone has a different effect than playing with someone. Recently, games have deepened into topics such as the use of robots in conflicts, artificial intelligence, personal and cyber conflicts, and this assumes a huge space for research related to current security problems.

We hope that our work is the beginning of the emergence of a scientific approach to digital games. The one with whom we fight in our imagination can be crucial in the development of our individual and personal assessments

9 January 2017

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