Popular Science

Why do good folks play dirty?

ADMIT IT:

SOON AFTER FIRING UP YOUR FIRST Sims game, you trapped them in a doorless room just to watch them starve to death. Perhaps your Barbies planned and executed a series of elaborate bank heists. Or maybe you pushed your Oregon Trail party at a grueling pace with bare-bones rations in the hopes they’d croak from cholera before hitting Chimney Rock.

There may be an explanation for your twisted impulses: dark play. Performance researcher Richard Schechner coined the term in 1988 to describe how we seek thrills by subverting harmless fun.

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