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Posted: Oct 5th 2009 8:33PM Yoh said

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There seems to be an underlying fallaciously and stigma about addiction, as if it is always, in all cases a bad thing. This is false.

Addictive behavior is in of itself is not bad, it's the harm caused by such behavior that we qualify as bad.


I would be the first person to say that I'm addicted to games, as much as a person who only plays 1 hr a day can be. (although I spend much more time thinking about, and reading about games then actually playing)
So fucking what?

Am I any less of a person because I'm addicted to video games?
Do I cause harm to myself or other people as a result of my addiction?
Does this addiction have ANY tangible negative effects on my wellbeing?

In short, no, not at all.


While in some rare cases video game addiction can cause real problems, but until such problems can be demonstrated, finding someone to be addicted to games is moot, like an addiction to chocolate or butterflies.

And if someone gets bent out of shape just because I'm addicted, they can kiss my ass, I don't give a shit.

~Yoh

Posted: Oct 6th 2009 5:00AM HackJack said

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Way to pwn your own reasoning there!

"Am I any less of a person because I'm addicted to video games?
Do I cause harm to myself or other people as a result of my addiction?
Does this addiction have ANY tangible negative effects on my wellbeing?"

The first question is too subjective and philosophical to be answered but the latter two definitely can't be answered with a "NO". Well, in case of an actual addiction, of course. One hour a day in front of a PC is actually GOOD since it's merely a form of entertainment, but much more hours are BAD.

You (generic) do cause psychological harm to others if you game too much. You risk severing relationships and even insulting people who tell you to quit gaming for a bit and spend some more time with them (I know lots of people who did this AT LEAST once, myself included).

Also sitting in front of a monitor/TV screen gaming is no different from sitting on a couch watching sports instead of practicing sports: you gain weight, your sight diminishes (proven fact so don't BS me on this one), your social EQ diminishes (spending 7 hours in chat channels doesn't help understand people more than 1 hours does). Are these tangible enough for you? I hope so.

But there's a very good side to this addiction: it's fun and costs less than any other form of entertainment (if handled with care). Plus it naturally fades when and IF you decide to take on responsibilities :]
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Posted: Oct 6th 2009 2:50PM (Unverified) said

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Bullpuckey.
Too much of anything is bad for you. But to call gaming an addiction is just big pharma looking for another thing to treat. Bah for me.
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Posted: Oct 5th 2009 8:40PM esarphie said

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Game addiction has been around since the days of Donkey Kong and Defender... I knew guys who spent $1,000s of dollars in quarters mastering the latest arcade game.

However, I've seen the mmo-style addiction since the days of bbs-based text rpgs. Back in the good old days of GEnie, when play was $12 an hour during the day and $6 at night, I was part of a group that spent most weekends playing tabletop mostly to keep us away from the computers. (There was one legendary individual who tried the brilliant strategy of running up 24 hour play for a few months ... text games were always able to be macro played ... then declaring bankruptcy and skipping out on the tens of thousands of dollars he'd put on his credit cards. Needless to say, the judge didn't quite see it that way. $192 a day for three months is over $15,000.)

Since then I've known many people whose real lives have suffered because of repeatedly being caught online while at work, or simply because of the amount of time spent playing instead of maintaining real life social connections, or being productive in some other fashion.

But on the positive side, it's waaaaaay cheaper than heroin.

Posted: Oct 5th 2009 9:05PM Yoh said

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The interesting thing there, is that we only ever hear of addictive behavior when it actually causes problems.

How often do you hear of someone being addicted to something, and living a perfectly normal life?

It's like confirmation bias, counting the hits, and ignoring the misses.
We just never hear of people being addicted and not having problems as a result of that addiction.


Besides, with toughs specific examples of yours, you can take out gaming and sub in any form of entertainment, and get exactly the same results.
And people have been saying the same thing about game addiction, with every new form of entertainment throughout the generations.

It's not the entertainment that is at fault, it's people.

~Yoh
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Posted: Oct 6th 2009 2:56PM (Unverified) said

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Yoh,

"It's like confirmation bias, counting the hits, and ignoring the misses.
We just never hear of people being addicted and not having problems as a result of that addiction."

That is sooo wrong. I've been addicted to pot for a couple decades. I know I am psychologically addicted to it. But I live a normal life with a good paying job and I rely on no one and harm no one. I can give many, many examples of this.
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Posted: Oct 5th 2009 9:11PM (Unverified) said

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I have read some studies on video game addictions (chemically) and (I believe) video game addictions are obviously not real by definition because there is no chemical dependency on the activity. However, as most video gamers would agree, having a healthy caffiene addiction is a normal, almost necessary characteristic of a good gamer. (good as in, addicted good?)

Caffeine is used the same way as many drugs (unknowingly) as relief response to stress. Any addictive drug taken when mentally relieving stress or performing any specific activity, creates addicted habits.

Consider how when people who 'used' to smoke go outside with the smokers (in states wherein smoking inside is illegal) How people cant deal with stress without their nicotine, they must go outside. Consider then if you took a mild addictive substance while only playing the piano- you would gain immediate stress relief because the dopamine in your brain is being released (moreso) because your body and mind are used to having it released unnaturally whenever you play piano.

As for the negative actions associated with addicted video gamers, you can find this will increase the same as any unfortunate decisions is made simply because the-more-people-there-are the-more-stupid-people-there-are. Immature people will do stupid things, and regardless of their background, addiction as a catalyst has made people do crazy things throughout history so, either pay attention to what you put into your body or start regulating stupidity.

Posted: Oct 5th 2009 10:25PM agitatedandroid said

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I'm pretty sure (of course I haven't lead a clinical study) that video gaming addiction falls in the same category as a gambling addiction.

There don't need to be outside chemicals for one to be addicted to something. Your own brain is capable of producing the chemical you become addicted to based on outside stimuli other than drugs.

That said, just because something is addictive doesn't mean it's bad.

Posted: Oct 5th 2009 11:47PM Wisdomandlore said

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First of all, most of you don't understand anything about addiction. Like Chris said, addiction doesn't require an outside chemical. Any activity that triggers dopamine in the brain (sex, gambling, gaming, eating, even exercise), can become addictive. The brain becomes used to, then dependent on, the dopamine triggered by said activity.

That doesn't mean that someone who plays games for hours at a time is necessarily addicted, even if it's every day...just as someone who exercises every day and enjoys it isn't necessarily addicted to exercise. It's when you become physically dependent on an activity to make you feel good that you're addicted.

Second, addicting to gaming has already been proven to be dangerous. Visit any MMO forum and you can plenty of anecdotal evidence. And there are plenty of documented cases of gaming addictions ruining people's lives and even leading to their deaths (i.e. Koren internet cafe binges).

Can you be addicted without ruining your life? Sure. You can be an alcoholic who doesn't need to get drunk. But I don't like my body feeling like it has to have anything that isn't a basic need (water, food, etc).
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Posted: Oct 6th 2009 1:12PM (Unverified) said

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Debating about addiction is complicated because everyone thinks they know about it, but very few know the scientific literature and the debates about it. Take this article (written by a neuroscientist) about "internet addiction":

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2007/08/why_there_is_no_such.html

As mentioned in this same article, whether gaming is indeed considered (scientifically) as addictive is still up for debate. Also of note are the differences between "compulsion" and "addiction", and just because someone does something "too much" it doesn't characterize an addiction.
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Posted: Oct 6th 2009 12:05AM (Unverified) said

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"At the end of a long article, the brain sometimes just wants to shut down. It’s like watching the clock during the last half-hour of a school day. You’re watching the little scroll bar, wondering when this guy might deign to stop using cute analogies, and will instead just finish his damned article." haha. I was saying this to myself about half-way through.

In fact, I skimmed the middle, so if I miss something important I apologize.

About addiction...I'm not sure I'm fully on board with the whole DSM definition of addiction. They, like most scientists, try too hard to separate things that can't really be separated. Also, I was a little annoyed that they presumed only two possibilities - depression as the cause, or gaming as causing depression - defining depression as a troubled person. Whether or not the author intended it, he avoids an important point. Society. Now, I'm not trying to blame society entirely, except in this way:

People who do not succeed in a system (since our lives more than ever are not lives, but systems) will invariably attempt to escape from their seemingly hopeless chain of failures (which are only seen as failures, not usually wrong in and of themselves). So, addiction is caused, and people are subject to it more than others. Since, after all, the real answer to the chicken and the egg question is that BOTH evolved from a similar creature or creatures sometime in the past.

That guy mentioned at the end, the one who wanted to literally live in Wow, is fascinating to me. I'm not, like so many people are, condescendingly judgmental. Instead of calling him, like so many people will and probably have, a loser - something that may have even started him down the path of presumed failure, and avoidance - I want to understand him. I mean after all, I'm sure many people would play 20 hours a day, not go to high school, or anything else. (you also have to question what kind of life this kid has had if he's in high-school, and has 'housemates' who play Wow instead of parents). He's someone who has probably been told is a failure, and is simply being humble, and doing what he can to make his life pleasant before he dies. I've known people who have just given up doing more with their lives. (also, people talk about their dreams, but don't always realize them - that kid might not have done anything he said he was going to do).

Personally, I can't play for that long. At least, I can't play, sitting at my desk for that long. I might be able to play a console game, on a couch...but at least in Wow, I hated playing for that long. It was mind-numbing and mentally exhausting. I would want to quit much much earlier than would be socially appropriate (raids last forever sometimes...). I was only able to take breaks to 'run to the kitchen' or 'during raid wipes' or I'd get yelled at. It's the nature of endgame Wow, at least, to have to play for long periods.

MMORPGs are social worlds. They need to be respected as such first of all, like online messaging/dating took a while to be accepted as a part of the social framework. That being said, they can be used as a social life - and whatever people pretend it is a social life. It's not the best kind, I admit, but it's a product of our times that the close friends you have usually move away with their jobs, across the country, across the state, in order to succeed. People are finding love on E-harmony for heaven's sake. This is the kind of world we live in. So, taking that idea for a ride, the people who spend too much time in MMO's can also be compared to those people who spend to much time partying, sleeping over at other people's houses, going out all night dancing, wearing their bodies out without resting. People in MMO's drink while playing - going to bars along the way. People in MMO's take smoke breaks - smoking while walking to the next bar, or restaurant, etc. It's different, but I'm trying to offer, with my entire post, an alternate way of looking at things.

As for it being prominent in other countries. I've heard, though I have no research to back it up, that those countries tend to emphasis work, working to the bone even, for no reason. Who wouldn't want to escape? Similar things can happen here, of course. I wonder how many cases of game addiction there are in france, say :p

Posted: Oct 6th 2009 12:56AM Yoh said

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Nice armchair psychology you had going there, but you failed in a number of respects. (I do get where your coming from thou)

First, addiction and depression are two completely different neurological conditions.
You can be depressed without being addicted, and you can be addicted without being depressed.

Further more, you are conflating two different things, addiction and obsessive compulsive behavior.
Being addicted to something is basically like what Wisdomandlore said, getting a high off of the activity, to the point in which you a physically dependent on that activity to some degree.

Being obsessive about an activity doesn't require you to have a physical dependence on said activity.


While being obsessive compulsive can be quite problematic, merely being addicted is not automatically a problem.
You can be addicted and live a normal life.

Read my earlier posts to better understand the confirmation bias on the topic of addiction.


Still, good post.

~Yoh
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Posted: Oct 6th 2009 12:15AM (Unverified) said

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This morning after being up till 7:00 am playing games, i lay down to go to sleep and the left side of my body has a constant pain that shoots all down it. Then i get this weird warm numb feeling over my body and my heart starts racing super fast to the point where i freak out and feel like it's about to explode 'n kill me..call an ambulance, get to hospital, and find out i have had a severe panic attack triggered from stress and lack of sleep.

Game addiction..

Posted: Oct 6th 2009 1:25AM (Unverified) said

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Hi, my name is John Smith, and Im a gamer who died for some reason pertaining to videogames. Nevermind that only 17.8% of accidental deaths might pertain to something involving videogames or self negligence while sitting still. Thats 18% of the 1% of deaths that are accidental, so your looking at less than .2% of people who might be associated with DEATH because of videogames. That being said, the number, like any statistic, will continue to grow as the population grows.

If only we could focus our clinical studies entirelly on the most prominent problems with society and technological advancement, such as Cancer (=/= vitamin b14?) , cardiovascular disease (=/= red wine extract?) and finally the exhaustion of resources on the planet (=/= space import?) ;p

Posted: Oct 6th 2009 2:08AM Graill440 said

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People with chemical imbalances due to a birth defect or accident aside the only real question is whether you have a weak mind or not. I am told DR Phil has an interesting test to find out...............

It takes simple common sense to stop something you know your getting to much of and neglecting the other important matters in your life. Most with weak minds and the ability to only think of themselves will of course take the easiest route to self satisfaction, no big suprises there.

Going to a shrink or clinic to have them tell you what you should already know and then pay them for it tells alot of folks the condition of your mind in regards to self control, common sense, and simple logistical skills.

Type in "weak mind" on the internet, 15 million hits minimum, and MMO's are in the top 50 weak mind addicitions. The word addiction is used as a couple folks put as an end all to describe anything bad, it isnt, its the result of the weak mind in the first place, Until the weak minded person is simply retrained, they will remain so.

Treat the cause, not the symptom.

Let me warn you all however, retraining folks with weak minds and reintegrating them back into society will remove the great entertainment value they provide, case in point, Youtube, the news networks, our governments, etc. Its a two edged sword, proceed with caution.

Posted: Oct 6th 2009 2:35AM Yoh said

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First, you watch too much tv.

Second, weak mind be damned, being addicted to something doesn't require you to have a weak mind.
Being unable to cope with said addiction, to a point in which it becomes problematic is more indicative of a weak mind.

You, like damn near everyone else thinks of addiction as something completely negative. It is not.
While many negative things correlate with addiction, addiction in and of itself is not harmful. There are many more factors to it.


I tackle it more fully on my blog.
http://exnfrustration.blogspot.com/2009/10/addiction-is-not-always-bad.html


I said it once, I'll say it again.
I'm addicted to video games, but so goddamn what?

No weak mind here.
(interesting point you had, but no)

~Yoh
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Posted: Oct 6th 2009 1:58PM wjowski said

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The fact that you even mentioned Dr. Phil to buttress your argument pretty well tells me how much your opinion is worth.
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Posted: Oct 6th 2009 2:38AM Amblin said

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Some call it addiction, the truth it is ritual behaviour.

Habit is another analogy.

Addiction is too strong a word as is religon.

The problem is that when someone does something out of the norm, we have to find a cause. Go to Korea, check out the cafe's. You would claim that the entire nation is addicted.

The real issue is that when gaming impacts on your social life, fittness and mood that you may need to get some help or make a change.

So far gaming is getting a worse rep in general society than TV's did when they were invented. Everytime we find a new entertainment media or technological device, it is called a wonder, then a demonic artifact that must be destroyed.

As a long time gamer for the past 25 years, I just cannot believe that games are addicting. If they were, I'd be jobless, single and a loner. Strangley enough i am employed married with children and have a lot of good friends.

ramble over. I don't know what I wanted to say, I was dual boxing CO and the web at the same time and I got distracted. hey ho! =P

Posted: Oct 6th 2009 3:37AM (Unverified) said

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When I was a kid they were freaking out about TV addiction.

Now it's Video Games, nothing new just a different technology.

Posted: Oct 6th 2009 3:59AM (Unverified) said

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I'm addicted to video games...
Wouldn't give it up for the world :P

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