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Why do games prompt cruel behavior?

Eliot Lefebvre

Games like DayZ and Rust have become a whole genre unto themselves: open-world survival sandboxes that quickly turn into simulations of human cruelty. But why is that, exactly? Why do people in a sandbox devote so much of their energy to tearing one another down with such vigor? A recent article on Wired asks exactly that question, exploring these open-world games and why they tend to provoke such abject cruelty in their participants.

The piece comes to no hard and fast conclusions, speaking both from personal experiences and from interviews with other players. One player speculates that the core of it is that these games give you nothing but tools, so players invent their own fun by using other players as content. Another possible explanation is the very nature of catharsis, envisioning dark behaviors whilst knowing that you would never carry them out in the real world. Take a look at the full article if you'd like a deeper look at why players spend so much time in games where anything goes by clubbing others with rocks.

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