One of the ways modern game developers have added a replay value to their games is a serious amount of RPG elements, updates, unlocks, all of that fun stuff. I have seen that this system works, because people want to get all of the unlocks. But there is another hook- these games are competitive.

There are scoreboards, gameleaderboards, competitions- all combined to make the game almost centered on the individual the whole time. Even games like Call of Duty that say to have 'cooperative' online modes really are only shoddy coverups for the truth that for most random players, the whole game is centered on being the best.

Obviously, this constant quest for perfection is a novel idea when it comes to game design- because it keeps people wanting to play. In the first Modern Warfare, I was always trying to stay on top of my friends leaderboards... kind of like it was a giant arcade. Every week me and six of my friends used to bet who could have the most kills at the end of one week. We did this by taking our start of the week number, and subtracting it from our end of the week number... it was fun and it kept us playing for a long time.

Then, in Modern Warfare 2- the hackers really came...


Now, I don't mean your every day, run-of-the-mill modders who only use their game hacking skills in private lobbies. I mean, the people who are ultra-boosters and hackers whose own drive to be the best ovverrides any common decency.

I think this a question 'video game researchers' should look into. Do people who have already been diagnosed as narcissistic become more so when playing online games such as Call of Duty where being number 1 is stressed so, and do non-narcissistic people begin to show more of these tendancies after being exposed to super-competitive games like Call of Duty. Though this may give ammo for video game-haters, I don't really care what they say about my hobbies. This is a serious question and I think it should be tested, instead of having smart researchers trying to answer unanswerable questions. (If there is such a study in existence, please tell me.. I can't make myself too much of a fool on my blog.)

Anyway, I think the answer may be Yes. There are many people these days driven by a pointless urge to be 'the best'. While I don't think we shouldn't strive for perfection, I think some people become unhealthily caught-up in their own self images.. and a game reinforcing that they are better than their friends at something, even as trival as a game no one truly cares about, and it makes them even worse.

Do you think competitive online games stress narcissism? Why and why not?