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Dark Souls, Fall Guys and Mario Kart are the most stressful games you can play, according to a new study

A new set of scientific research identifies Dark Souls III, Fall Guys and Mario Kart as the most stressful experiences you endure whilst gaming.

A new study, conducted by BonusFinder in collaboration with sports scientists and competitive gamers, discovered that the average players' average heart rate increases the most whilst playing Dark Souls, but Fall Guys and Mario Kart – games supposedly aimed at the more casual side of the gaming market – also have a pretty significant impact.

In the study, 14 players were asked to play 16 of the most popular games currently on the market while having their heart rate monitored. Readings were taken of the BPM rate whilst playing, and compared to the subject’s baseline readings to get a measure of just how stressful various games were – and the results were quite interesting (thanks, TheGamer).

The study discovered that Dark Souls III caused players' heart rates to spike more than any other game, with peaks measuring as high as 127 BPM in some players. When you consider a normal heart rate to be between 60-100 BPM in most healthy adults, you can see how much of an impact that has!

The chart below shows just how stressful various games can be and – to be honest – we’re not all that surprised by the top five entries.

Anecdotally, we’re pretty sure any gamer you ask will mention any one of those games when you ask about ‘stressful gaming experiences’. Just throw Bloodborne or Sekiro on there, too, and you’d be set.

During the 30-minute sessions that testing was conducted in, Mario Kart players’ heart rates jumped up by nearly 33% on average – a far cry from Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which actually managed to decrease players’ heart rates by nearly 5% on average.

The takeaway from all this? If you’re finding life under the pandemic stressful and intense, stay away from Mario Kart, Dark Souls, and Fall Guys and maybe boot up The Sims or Animal Crossing instead – your heart will thank you for it.

BonusFinder stressful games heart rate study

About the Author

Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt

Features Editor

Dom is a veteran video games critic and consultant copywriter that has appeared in publications ranging from Daily Star to The Guardian. Passionate about games and the greater good they can achieve, you can usually find Dom listening to records, farting about in the kitchen, or playing Final Fantasy VIII (again).

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