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Reader Comments (9)

Posted: Nov 5th 2007 10:53AM (Unverified) said

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Thank you for the Frog and Toad reference! I had that book when I was a kid, and remembering it made me smile!

I think that people with "addictive personalities" can become addicted to just about anything. I doesn't surprise me to hear about a former drug addict becoming addicted to something else. I don't think it has anything to do with the game, but rather the persons predisposition to addiction.

Posted: Nov 5th 2007 10:53AM (Unverified) said

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Great article.

Call me a naysayer, but I put very little faith in the traditional media. I bet that news story, especially the heroin/MMO addict, was BS. Heroin is a drug that chemically alters your body and mind. No game can compare to that. I don't get a shot in the arm when I turn in Fel Armaments.

I'm sure the game can be addictive, don't get me wrong. But our modern news media needs to take a look at what MAKES these games so addictive before hyping up our parents, attempting to show a direct corrolation between, say, WoW and black tar heroin.

Getting to a high level and getting high are very different.

Posted: Nov 5th 2007 1:08PM (Unverified) said

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IMO, WoW Insider was more on the mark when they reported on it not being addiction, but enthrallment.

Posted: Nov 5th 2007 1:27PM Speedmonkay said

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A while back when I first discovered MUDs, I was extremely addicted to them. It was a game where I could meet people from all over without having to leave my little room. They were massive games that always changed. I remember I wouldn't leave the room for anything but food and my room was off the kitchen so I wouldnt have to go far. My hygiene went to shit. Quite frequently I would stay up and game for 72 hours straight before just finally passing out wherever I was sitting and then get up again and get right back on again. I wouldnt leave the house for a job or anything. If I did leave the house and I got near a computer like at the library, I would find a way to telnet into the MUD to play more.

Now many years later I have a house and kid and professional job and all so I dont have time to get hooked on games (but that temptation to play LotRO at work is strong). But I do have a friend who is pretty badly addicted to FFXI like I was to MUDs.

I am a firm believer in game addiction. But unlike herion, which the body develops a physical dependancy to, I think games addiction is more of a psychological dependancy. I think the addiction really doesnt have much to do with the game. The game is just filling a hole in the person's life. When I got hooked on MUDs, I was at a extremely depressing point in my life. I needed another place to get away, other people to meet, something fun to do that I had never done before and the MUDs gave me that escape. Even now when I get down I find myself playing LotRO (or some other game I have) more than usual.
So I think they should treat people with game addiction similiar to other addictions - find out what is causing it and address that issue and not blame the game.
I'm just waiting to see someone who is severely addicted to a game be on a new episode of the TV show Intervention.

Posted: Nov 5th 2007 4:12PM (Unverified) said

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The definition of addiction is repetitive behavior that continues despite damaging effects.

I am a former drug addict. Relapsed once.

I am a continuing MMO addict. Relapsed 10+ times.

My game addiction has damaged my life *way* more than drugs ever did.

I could talk about this subject very, very extensively, but this is not where/how to do it, obviously.

Posted: Nov 5th 2007 4:34PM (Unverified) said

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Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to read this article and I really, really appreciate your insightful, candid responses to this issue.

Marc

Posted: Nov 6th 2007 2:28AM The Last Metroid said

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This is a great read.

I started getting into MMOs years ago when I was in middle school. I can definitely say they are addictive. Many times I never wanted to go out and play with my friends or leave the house. I'd stay up to ridiculous hours compared to what I was used to, just so I could play a little bit longer.

I'll have to question your statement at the end of your article though. You said "it is not as life threatening and scary as sensational media would like us to believe." Haven't there been a few cases where players have died due to 3 days of non-stop playing? I think one died in an internet cafe in China or something. I can't remember exactly.

Posted: Nov 7th 2007 11:50AM (Unverified) said

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I believe video games are inherently "addictive". Video games are designed and marketed so consumers will purchase and play them. How you ask? By making them enjoyable.

Anything enjoyable is "addictive", that is harnessing the potential to yield addiction. I appreciate when you pointed out that "[p]eople have addictions to alcohol, food, gambling, sex, love, caffeine, and even work". I could extend this list to include exercising, 12 step programs, television, writing, pornography, religion, education, etc. These abstractions seem to be not the cause of our "addictions" but the focus of them.

For me, the underlying question that your post presents is:
Why do we demonize indulgence? Do our puritanical roots imbue us to downplay our passions? What would the world be like if we embraced such perceived indifference?

I am fortunate enough to have passion at one time or another for most of the things on your list:

http://sensadiva.blogspot.com/2007/09/wine-snobs-to-beer-slobs-wild-saturday.html

An old school poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson may have said it best:

"The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions".

In another light, indulgence is not the root of evil but the cornerstone of accomplishment.

Posted: Jan 9th 2008 2:57PM (Unverified) said

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Like most gamers, your response to MMO addiction takes a defensive stance. You are quick to defend your hobby, but the funny thing is that no one is attacking it.

The media gave us a story about someone who had a problem with addiction to an MMO. The story is a warning to people with addictive personalities or depression.

If you choose to interpret it as an attack on your hobby, perhaps you should re-evaluate your own feelings about said hobby. In other words, if you are satisfied with your relationship to MMOs, then why get so defensive about it?

The point stands. Addiction is the problem, not the games. But your average person on the street has no idea that these games have the potential to be addictive, the way we all know alcohol can be, for instance.

Until that is common knowledge, expect more media stories like this one to educate people.

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