Thrill Of The Kill: Students Enjoy Being Scared Senseless By Video Games

Today's video games can cost more to make than a blockbuster movie. The level of graphical detail is pretty amazing in some cases, and when you throw in ambient sound effects and an engaging storyline, it's easy to be sucked into a virtual world. It shouldn't really be surprising, then, that college students enjoy being scared by horror games, according to a recent study.

What's perhaps eye opening, however, is that researchers in the U.S. found that playing games scares people more than watching movies. That's based on the findings of assistant professor Nicole Martins and student Teresa Lynch from Indiana University. The duo surveyed 269 college kids with questions about their experiences playing games such as Resident Evil, Amnesia, Call of Duty, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Resident Evil

A focal point of the study was whether or not students feel the same fear from playing video games as they do when watching scary movies or TV shows. Turns out they do, with nearly half -- 44 percent -- saying they enjoy the sensation of being scared.

Out of the games respondents listed as ones that caused fear, half belonged to the survival horror genre. Interestingly, first person shooters made up more than a third of the list, including Call of Duty. The reason? Switching to the game mode to zombies changed the experience.

Respondents also pointed to dark scenes, disfigured humans, zombies, and the unknown more often than any other elements when describing what scares them. And if you're a game developer looking to scare the pants off kids, note that first-person perspective games were preferred over third-person.

Do you enjoy scary games? If so, which ones are your favorite?