Are There Psychological Similarities Between Casino Games And Video Games?


Cooperation, borrowing, and inspiration have all long been a cornerstone of digital gaming. From the earliest days of simple interpretations of card and casino games to the modern age of virtual reality incarnations of real sports, this relationship has only grown in strength and ubiquity. The reasons for this are numerous, though fundamentally they tie into the idea of the genuine enjoyment we derive from the original products, and how easily this survives or even grows when translated into a new environment.

Understand this as a basis, we have been talking about casino games recently after some long sessions of poker within Red Dead Redemption 2, which got us wondering. How is that casino games in particular and traditional video games mesh so well, and what psychological similarities aid in this comparison?

A Base Level Of Enjoyment

Many animals enjoy games and play as an inextricable part of their psychology. Whether it’s dogs playing with each other, or crows messing with other animals for the sheer mischievous joy, there is a portion of many animal brains which derives fun from messing around, either alone or with others.

Unlike other animals, however, humans have managed to codify this enjoyment into the direct creation of games with strict rules. Many of these succeeded on a base appeal, and a genuine enjoyment of the product which stuck with us despite continuous repetition. We see this with sports, we see this with video games, and, of course, we see it with casino games.

Whether cards or slots, racing the same track in Mario Kart or dropping into the same map in PUBG, the consistency here of base elements combined with a strict set of rules lays the framework for our enjoyment and improvement. We know what is required, we know what is expected, and we understand that there is a degree of randomization within these boundaries, and, in our hearts and minds, we welcome the challenge.

This helps certain games stay enjoyable, not just within their lifetimes, but within decades, centuries, or millennia. While video games are so far in their infancy and thus outside this direct comparison, they will undoubtedly join these ranks, as classics are already established, and legacies are already laid.

The Digital Factor

A big part of the attraction of video games has been the sheer fascination which we inevitably feel when confronted with digital graphics. Somehow these tickle us through their entirely artificial nature. On some level, we understand that both the display and the code behind these games is something special, some form of magic brought about by the wizardry of man, and this has long held our rapt attention even when the end result is pixelated and simple.

Take early arcade games, for example. It’s not only by today’s standards that these were ugly and dated, even at the time, they were hilariously blotchy when compared to non-digital forms of art. Yet, these progenitors shocked us in ways that traditional analog art never could. These were living and transformative, interactive and responsive, and seeing these on a screen was a reminder of just how far we had come as a species.

While the technology and processes behind video games have improved massively since these early days, the base appeal still remains the same. When it comes to casino games, this is best illustrated through the appearance and now domination of the popularity of online slots. One of the many types of casino games now hosted on digital services, alongside table games and video poker, these combine the captivating psychological aspects of the digital with the consistent enjoyment of the original game’s designs.  Now, you can find games based on popular themes like Asgard, Thor’s homeworld, complete with depictions of the fictional land.

The Joys Of Victory

Competitiveness is a part of us, both through our nature and our upbringing. On a natural level, we have the drive to succeed, to survive and to thrive; this is our nature as living creatures. On a modern social level, this is par for the course for the current world. We compete against each other not just for fun, but also for stability and stature.

In video games, this was seen through sheer bragging rights, and our desire to see how well our best stacked up against the best of our opponents. In casino games, this factor still exists but is further bolstered by the financial reward of victory, and the pain of loss.

In this way, video games are actually closing the gap between the two forms of gaming, as betting on video gaming is becoming common, and major paying competitions are growing in numbers and also highly financially rewarding among the upper tiers.

Separate, But Not Always Apart

Casino games have a physical basis which video games, by their nature, cannot fully emulate. That said, the shared factors between the two, on both the modern technological and psychological sense, are only growing stronger as they evolve. With the advent and popularity of the online casino, this gap has grown ever-closer, to the point now where there is often little difference between a modern video game and a modern casino game.

What does this mean for the future of the two? While the rapid evolution and the introduction of newer aspects like VR and AR make this somewhat difficult to predict, we would expect an even greater level of cooperation going forward, as each industry learns from the other, and adopts the other’s lessons to further their own success.




Adam is the owner of BC-GB, find him on Twitter. BC-GB is the place to get CSGO tips, news and blog.

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