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Mario Kart, Dark Souls Among Most Stressful Games Of All Time, New Study Finds

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Mario Kart, Dark Souls Among Most Stressful Games Of All Time, New Study Finds

A new research initiative has discovered which are the most stressful and physically exhausting games to play, and there are some surprising ones dotted here and there in their findings.

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Conducted by BonusFinder.com, the subjects of the study were a handful of "active gamers," meaning that they were people who spend at least 15 hours a week playing video games, and were "highly engaged" with the selected games. The subjects wore heart rate monitors that recorded their heart rates over the course of the 30 minute session. Logging their resting heart rates for a rational comparison point, the equipment took their heart rates every 10 seconds, and then these results were averaged out across all participants.

The games involved in the study were: Among Us, Animal Crossing, Battlefield V, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Dark Souls III, DOOM, Fall Guys, FIFA 20, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto, Mario Kart, Minecraft, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Street Fighter, The Sims, and UNO!. Some interesting entrants there, for sure, and I'm going to guess that it's the most recent iterations of these titles - Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Grand Theft Auto V, Mario Kart 8, Street Fighter 4, and The Sims 4 specifically in this list.

Dark Souls III / Credit: FromSoftware
Dark Souls III / Credit: FromSoftware
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So, let's see the scores on the doors. Mario Kart is the most stressful game to play, determined by the average heart rate increases in those sessions. You'd probably expect that Mario Kart would reach the top spot, especially when you're knocked into a paltry Banana Peel that you absolutely would have avoided otherwise. Or, an excellently timed Spiny's Shell that ruins your lead, and relegates you to the embarrassment of 12th place. While playing the popular racing game, participants' heart rates rose by an average of 21 beats per minute from their resting heart rates: the equivalent of going for a gentle walk, apparently.

Awarded the silver medal, FIFA 20 raised subjects' heart rates by over 30% compared to their resting heart rates, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare slid in to claim the bronze medal, followed by Dark Souls III and Fortnite in fourth and fifth place respectively. The researchers also wanted to scrutinise which moments in games cause spikes in stress, however, and the peak heart rates in a number of titles reveal what are the most exhausting tasks to achieve.

In Dark Souls III, battling Darkeater Midir saw participants' heart rates almost double in the most stressful moments, when compared to their resting heart rate averages of 64 beats per minute. As a person with no present plans to delve into Soulslike titles, this further supports my case to continue not playing this genre. However, tailing behind Dark Souls III for the most stressful moments in games is... Fall Guys. Players' heart rates increased by 95% compared to their resting heart rate when swiping at a crown, or escaping the ever-rising slime. Funnily enough, the physical activity equivalent of this rise is like completing a Total Wipeout or It's A Knockout course.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons / Credit: Nintendo
Animal Crossing: New Horizons / Credit: Nintendo

And, on the other end of the spectrum, the researchers found out which are the most relaxing games to play, showing an increase of only 5% in subjects' heart rates. Animal Crossing, The Sims and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim fell into this category, which makes total sense. I start and end most of my days by running around my island, terraforming and talking to my adorable villagers (Billy is my favourite).

Featured Image Credit: FromSoftware, Nintendo

Topics: News, Fall Guys, Mario Kart

Imogen Donovan
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