What Your Favorite Video Games Say About You, According To Science

Playing video games is a great way to explore other worlds, engage in competition, and interact with friends and even strangers across the globe. Since the rise of gaming in the '70s with the Atari classic Pong, gaming has become a cultural staple and resulted in some of the most iconic and recognizable characters in the world. Psychologists have dug deep into whether or not video games are harmful, but they've also explored another fascinating topic: video game personality types. 

The 1.2 billion gamers across the globe are a diverse group with an equally diverse crop of games to play. With so many games out there, it can be hard to choose a favorite. As with favorite fictional characters, however, certain personality traits might draw people to particular games. But what makes a Call of Duty devotee different from a Sims fan, or a Portal player from a Doki Doki Literature Club fan? Do video games and personality go together? Your favorite video game may say a lot more about you than you think. It's time to delve into what your favorite video game genre says about you. GLaDOS would be proud.

  • Call of Duty players are known for their bravado and traits typically associated with masculinity: they use the biggest and flashiest weapons, and intimidate their opponents (and even teammates) via voice chat. Considering that a whopping 93% of FPS players are male, it's not surprising that masculinity plays a role in how people play an FPS game like Call of Duty.

    In one study, researchers found that adolescent boys used Call of Duty and similar FPS games as a way to construct masculine identities. Because players rely on an online persona as a means of identity, real-world factors such as strength, appearance, or anything else considered "masculine" don't apply. They were able to construct an identity, regardless of their real-life persona.

  • Fortnite fans tend to be more impulsive, in part because of the "just one more game" mentality. When a player loses a match in Fortnite, it is often just barely (and the game makes sure to show the health bar of the player who killed you, so you know how close you were). It's enough to keep people playing again, and again, and again, until finally, they are victorious.

    But considering one Fortnite streamer makes $560,000 a month playing it, one more game might not be such a bad thing.

  • Whether the player is helping their Sim get promoted and maintain a fruitful social life, or building walls around their swimming pool and taking away the ladder, the lives of these tiny digital people rest in the players' hands. Like other simulation games, it takes a real Type-A personality to excel in these games, as everything has to be perfectly tailored to the creator’s desires. The Sims is a game about playing god, so it’s no surprise that it is attractive to people seeking control.

    Creator Will Wright was inspired by Maslow's hierarchy of needs to ensure he created the most realistic digital humans the gaming world has ever seen. His games have become such an authentic portrayal of life that they have been used as tools in therapy.

  • While countless studies show that video games are not the cause of real-life violence, that’s not to say games can’t have psychological impacts. Fans of Grand Theft Auto can be more aggressive and risk-taking when compared to their peers. This is not surprising, as it definitely takes guts to steal police cars and rob convenience stores.

    Players even receive a psychiatric evaluation upon the completion of Grand Theft Auto V, which details the played time, kill count, and even strip club visits of the player. 

  • 'Portal' Players Are Persistent
    Photo: Valve

    As fans of the puzzle game Portal learn brilliant physics lessons (“speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out”), they must persevere through problem-solving challenges that reward their persistence, according to a Florida State University study

    Portal gamers also have increased spatial recognition and problem-solving skills, traits that not only help them complete difficult puzzles with ease, but also understand the actual science behind the solutions. This is to be expected, however, when one spends years as GLaDOS's lab rat.

  • 'Madden' Players Are In It To Win It

    'Madden' Players Are In It To Win It
    Photo: EA Sports

    Madden, FIFA, NBA, and other sports games are often the favorites of confident and competitive personalities, since sports are all about competition. These fans know all the intricacies and strategy behind their game of choice and are able to organize the best team in order to get the job done. Because there a new game is released every year, fans can adapt their strategy to the ever-changing rosters and do whatever it takes to win the game.

    Aside from offering an opportunity to experience sports in a new and interactive way, these games are also beneficial to adolescents, who, according to one study, are more likely to participate in real sports after playing sports video games.