‘Mario Kart’ named the world’s most stressful video game in new study

A study from American gambling site BonusFinder has found that Mario Kart may be more stressful than Dark Souls and Fortnite.

The study took 14 gamers and measured their heart rates while playing 16 different titles, each for 30 minutes. Over that eight hours of total testing, it was found that Mario Kart resulted in the greatest increase in average heart rate when played for 30 mins.

Behind it was FIFACall of DutyDark Souls, and Fortnite. The 32.81% increase in BPM from Mario Kart was a jump of 21BPM, based upon the group’s average resting rate of 64BPM. This would most likely be from the fear of a blue shell ruining a player’s day.

Mario Kart Stress
Image: BonusFinder

Meanwhile, the greatest increase in peak heart rate was caused by Dark Souls, followed by Fall GuysMario KartStreet Fighter, and FIFA. Peak heart rate was measured to account for changes in difficulty in the game played.

Heart rates nearly doubled with Dark Souls and Fall Guys, more than likely worked up through the amount of rolling in the former and the running in the latter.

The study even looked at calming games which would reduce average heart rate. Animal CrossingThe Sims (virtual bills are nowhere near as stressful as real-life), and Skyrim came out on top for this angle.

While this study is fun to look at, a sample size of 14 gamers is a little small. Though BonusFinder did try to find those who were “highly engaged in videogames, played for at least 15 hours per week and were familiar with the titles in our shortlist“, this would not account for differences in player skill which could affect the movement of heart rate.

There is also the question of how the gameplay experiences were standardised, if at all possible. This would especially be the case with Fortnite and Fall Guys where a battle royale experience can have so many variables.

The shortlist of games:

  • Mario Kart
  • FIFA 20
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Dark Souls III
  • Fortnite
  • DOOM
  • Fall Guys
  • Battlefield V
  • Street Fighter
  • Among Us
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • UNO! (yes they really tested this)
  • The Sims
  • Animal Crossing
  • Minecraft
  • Skyrim

To see the study in full, check here.