The Psychology Behind Anger In Video Games; Why The Rage Takes Over

It's best to actively work at controlling it to reap various benefits.

Story Highlights

  • Anger is a basic emotion that reflects an individual’s larger and deep-rooted problems.
  • The concept of gratification is connected to one’s feeling of rage.
  • Modern society stagnates our capacity to grow; we must endeavor to better ourselves in all aspects.

Anger in video games is commonplace. We’ve all been in that dark and gloomy realm where all that matters is either punching the wall or slamming the controller on the floor. If you’re a PC gamer, perhaps smashing your keyboard is what takes over your thoughts as you remove the headset in rage.

Everyone’s felt that way at some point.

Many have acted on it.

But have you ever wondered where all of that stems from? That’s what I’ll talk about in this article.

Anger In Video Games Is A Reflection Of Larger Issues

There’s a veritable sea of emotions out there; the most common one that we feel is anger. When left unchecked, it can morph into some severely adverse traits and reflect itself in our actions. It’s a basic element that exists in our nature but is often an indicator, not the result.

Anger is often tied to an individual's other issues and characteristics such as temperament and tolerance levels.
Anger is often tied to an individual’s other issues and characteristics such as temperament and tolerance levels.

It’s natural to feel rage given the degree of a particular situation. One form of anger is annoyance which manifests when you’re in a more casual setting. However, if someone were to be unjust or unfaithful, what you’d feel would be far greater.

These things are tied to deeper psychological issues and factors.

Anger in video games often links to individual personalities, predispositions, mental states, and the element of choice that’s tied to your self-awareness, values, and beliefs.

A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality explored the link between individuals predisposed to anger and violent video games. It found how the medium affected those who were angry rather than those who weren’t, clearly focusing on how violence in games aggravated the natural aggression of a person.

I think I’m done for tonight….
byu/Weebfromkonoha inEldenring

Another factor is the environment in which you’re brought up and are currently in. As humans, we are influenced by the world around us. If you’ve dabbled in social sciences, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Several real-life problems and existing frustrations pile up over time. These are then released due to unexpected triggers.

Anger in video games is one example of that. And I’m sure you know where it’s most prominent.

FromSoftware titles & eSports after that.

Many controllers have been smashed due to Soulsborne. Even I almost succumbed to it back in the day (thank you, Blighttown). But there was a lesson to be learned and I learned it. This is something I will talk about another day.

But even though anger usually is tied to larger problems, there’s more to think about here.

There’s A Connection Between Anger & “Feeling Good”

While that may sound weird, the main actor in this part is the Dopamine hormone. Without getting into the science of it all, it governs the elements of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. If you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet, the term has probably appeared in front of you.

Anger in video games is tied to the concept of gratification. While deep-rooted psychological issues and social elements may be factors, Dopamine is another.

Think about it. What do you feel when you fail to acquire gratification? Negativity. In most cases, that’s specifically anger.

Anger issues and gaming
by inpcgaming

When you get used to something being fun, you are made to seek that “fun” again. It’s your mind that naturally puts you on track to seek that which is the source of your gratification. In other words, it’s an impulse. Do that consistently and over time, you’ll get addicted to it like any other substance, caffeine for example.

Now here’s another question for you—what happens when you don’t get your daily caffeine? 

I’m a caffeine “enjoyer” myself so you don’t have to answer that question. I know.

That’s exactly what happens with video games. They’re extremely fun and can also be addictive. When faced with obstacles that prevent you from getting that fill of Dopamine, you’re naturally inclined to get agitated or angry.

On a side note, what I’m talking about isn’t specifically tied to video games. It’s present and applicable in all parts of our lives; I’m only exploring the connection it has to this medium.

Coming back on topic, this is where awareness, control, and choice factor in. Something that modern society has brought down to disgraceful levels.

Societal Changes Have Impacted The Individual’s Capacity To Persevere & Grow

As a student of Sociology and Psychology, I’ve been observing people, including myself for as long as I can remember. It’s disappointing to see how far society has regressed in various ways, something that’s juxtaposed with the leaps we continue to make in technology.

I’ll take an angle here that most people will disagree with—games without an easy mode.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accessibility in games but compromising your vision for its sake isn’t appropriate. Soulsborne and the genre have raised this debate time and again despite Elden Ring adding features that drastically reduce its difficulty.

Anger in video games is often traced to FromSoftware titles due to their nature of testing the players.
Anger in video games is often traced to FromSoftware titles due to their nature of testing the players.

Now you’re probably thinking about how games are tied to elements of perseverance and growth.

What do you do when faced with a challenge? Request an easy mode or try to rise to the occasion? Do you look around for tools to aid you or write an essay about how Soulslikes are killing games? 

FromSoftware has unironically facilitated an environment that nurtures such qualities in individuals.

People will of course say this is bollocks but it’s a fact that patience, perseverance, and a sharp mind take you far in life. There’s a reason legitimate fitness trainers prioritize consistency and progressive overload. Why does Bruce Lee’s quote about a person practicing one kick 10,000 times hold weight?

Discipline matters and modern society has conditioned us to move away from it. Even I’m guilty of it to an extent.

Thus, we fall prey to depression and frustration, paving the way to sadness and anger.

Hold Dominion Over Your Emotions Instead Of The Other Way Around

Getting into the finer details of the psychology behind anger in video games is impossible in the limited confines of this article. Nevertheless, it must be understood that emotions shouldn’t hold sway over us.

The goal is not to ignore or discard them, that can’t happen. What you can do, however, is make the conscious choice of exercising control and restrain whenever rage begins to rear its head.

Little things go a long way. Controlling your anger is just one avenue of not only improving your game time but other areas of your life.

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Saad is a News writer at eXputer. With vast journalistic experience working for a multitude of websites, Saad currently reports to eXputer with the latest news and dishes out his opinions on a frequent basis. He's currently studying Game and Interactive Media Design, which has further increased his knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry.

Experience: 1+ Year || Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Media Science.

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