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Posted: Apr 18th 2008 8:23AM (Unverified) said

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You seem to be slightly misrepresenting the documentary, which I thought made a very balanced argument on the issue (and on the issue of other 'addictions' - Byron even went so far as to question whether 'addictions' to things like chocolate *were* actually addictions).

The crux of the argument came when a WoW player went to meet with an addicts support group. Here, a number of people who struggled with the well-recognised addictions to alcohol and drugs talked to the player, to see if they thought that what she had *was* an addiction. Some did (one man in particular), and it seemed that some didn't feel that quite so much. Byron very skillfully removed herself from the argument, letting the facts and opinions present themselves - this, indeed, was the tone of the whole documentary. (It's rare to see such a balanced view in factual programming nowadays, even from our good ole BBC.)

Towards the end of the documentary, Byron explained that the player had moved house and so lost her internet connection for a while, therefore being entirely unable to play the game. Now she's got her connection back, she's playing it in a much more manageable fashion. But the big argument of the show was that addiction was something that presented as an irrational, overwhelming desire to get on and play the game (or drink, or get high...). Clearly, this player could stand the few weeks' break without any problem, and has enough control over herself to moderate her playing since the reconnection of her internet.

Earlier in the documentary, Byron met a younger WoW 'addict' who seemed to have more serious problems: violent behaviour when his computer was confiscated by his parents, for example. He was being treated by an expert in addiction who had set up a clinic to handle game addictions. But, once again, Byron's line of questioning to this expert was *whether* these things were addictions of the same magnitude as drugs or alcohol, or whether society (and, the implication was, market forces) were naming these obsessions (or hobbies, or pastimes) as 'addictions'. Certainly, in the case of this younger player, you could argue that his behaviour was that of any over-hormonal teenage boy.

I must have had my ears closed when the programme called WoW a "childish fantasy game" - which, yes, is a bit judgmental and derogatory. But, at heart, the documentary presented a very balanced, questioning and unsensational examination of the issues surrounding those who play games like WoW to extremes.

One particular thing to note is the language Byron used when she was talking to the older, female player. She talked of 'getting home and logging straight into the game', among other bits of, hardly hardcore, but certainly enlightened terminology about the medium. It was clear that here, as throughout the documentary, Byron had done her homework.


Posted: Apr 23rd 2008 1:17AM (Unverified) said

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I was trying to find out how I could get in touch with the writer of this blog. If you have an email address that would be great.

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