Russians Outstrip Aliens & Terrorists as Most Widespread Enemy in Video Games

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According to a research of the Washington Post newspaper, Russians are the most widespread enemy in modern video games.

Russians Outstrip Aliens & Terrorists as Most Widespread Enemy in Video Games

Photo: gamepressure.com

The Washington Post newspaper conducted a research of “the enemies that players encounter in digital games” and concluded that Russians are the most widespread enemy in modern video games.

According to the newspaper, researchers decided to “turn to a popular genre, First Person Shooters (FPS), in which a player, armed with a weapon, seeks to destroy an enemy.” As the article noted, “representations of the bad guys in video games could shape players’ perceptions of who is a threat.”

Reportedly, the researchers compiled a dataset of the 57 best-selling FPS during 2001-2013, each with more than 1.5 million units sold.

“We coded information such as the identity of the protagonist (the shooter), the context and location of the conflict, and the identity of the enemy in each game. We grouped enemies into several categories: generic humans; aliens; monsters, including zombies; those depicted as terrorists from the Middle East or Latin America; Russians, as the state, ultra-nationalists, or separatists; and World War II enemies and others, including Iraq and North Korea,” the authors of the article, Brandon Valeriano and Philip Habel, wrote.

“We find that Russians are enemies in 21 percent of games (12 games), one fewer instance than generic humans (13 games) and one more than aliens (11 games). Even if we consider Latin American (6 games) and Middle Eastern terrorists (5 games) as a single combined category, the number of games with Russian enemies is still greater,” they concluded.

Russians Outstrip Aliens & Terrorists as Most Widespread Enemy in Video Games

Click to see the full-size image (Photo: washingtonpost.com)

The researchers pointed out that this is an interesting finding that FPS gamers often encounter Russians as the enemy.

“Long after the end of the Cold War, and despite real-world concerns over global terrorism and other security issues, Cold War-era enemies in video games could be shaping attitudes toward modern-day Russia,” the article reads. “The follow-up question is whether having seen Russians depicted as enemies in games means that Western gamers will be less likely to be tolerant of Russian aggression.”

The researchers plan to continue their study of FPS games from the points of views of gender and ethnic diversity.

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