Yes, it's yet another violent video game study, this time performed by researchers in Helsinki Finland, which at this point has a population made up of at least 75% science researchers. The study, "The Psychophysiology of James Bond: Phasic Emotional Responses to Violent Video Game Events", recorded data from a group of 36 young adults while playing James Bond 007: NightFire. In direct opposition of several other of what I've at this point labeled "Choose Your Own Conclusion" studies, the students were found to display negative brain response to the death or wounding of their enemies, while oddly enough they displayed positive response to their own character being killed. In the course of studying a non-violent game for comparisons, the researchers found similar responses when players fell off the ledge in Super Monkey Ball. So does this mean all gamers are masochists?
Probably not. The researchers came to the conclusion that the positive response was a result of getting a break from the tension of playing the games.
"Given that the player knows that it is only a game, events that, in the real world, are perceived as threatening may be perceived as positively challenging," reads the study.
It definitely makes sense. Worrying about completing a level or getting past a tough opponent can result in one of two outcomes - you win or you lose. Either way the conflict is resolved and you can relax, at least until you respawn. Ever play an MMO and find your party laughing hysterically after a wipe? Same thing. Death is just another way gamers spell relief.
Study: Gamers Dislike Killing, Enjoy Death [Shacknews]