If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I find psychology fascinating. I love looking more deeply into a person’s psyche – why people think the way they do or why human nature follows certain trends.
It is no small wonder, then, that I find psychologist Jamie Madigan‘s analysis of in-game glitching such a great read. Delving into the recent issues caused by Modern Warfare 2‘s infamous “javelin glitch,” Madigan labels the “glitcher’s dilemma” – that is, to glitch or not to glitch – as a classic example of a “social dilemma.”
Relating the dilemma directly to the most famous example of game theory (the prisoner’s dilemma, illustrated above), Madigan seeks to use the theory to explain why gamers decide to glitch, even though it’s generally understood that fair play makes the game more fun for everyone.
The ultimate problem is that there are people who claim that “it’s not cheating because the programmers left it in the game! it’s their own f*cking fault for not testing the game properly!” Aside from the ludicrousness of the statement (what person honestly believes that a series of timed button presses using a specific weapon and a specific grenade could reasonably be found in a normal QA process?), those people glitch without remorse because they wish to dominate, ultimately forcing those that don’t to glitch in kind or to quit.
In any case, give the article a read over at Gamasutra. I promise it’ll make you think.