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Computing and Gaming Addiction

Discussion in 'Gamers Hangout' started by Arroryn, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. Arroryn
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    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    After reading this as one of the latest incidents of medical emergencies caused by marathon gaming sessions, I wanted to see what people thought of the concept of being 'addicted' to games, and how this should be viewed by the industry.

    As I don't have a very indepth knowledge of the gaming industry (and don't tend to game that much myself) I would be interested in input from hardcore gamers and those working in the industry, like Mathematix.

    Two definitions of the word 'addiction' have rendered the following results:

    In most cases, you would think common sense should overrule every other feeling, and these people should get up every so often, rest their eyes, get a drink or food, get some sleep... but I can understand how people sit there, sucked into a game. The longest gaming session I ever did was when Morrowind first came out. Man, that game had me hooked - and it's the reason I started joining online forums, so I could discuss the game and the development toolkit. I gamed for 6 hours, and I felt *terrible* afterwards, and this was with interspersed breaks.

    What could compel a person to game for nigh on 24 hours straight?

    In the case of the kid in the article I linked, you would have thought the parents would have noticed, worried or interrupted - and duty of care should lie with the parents.

    But what about adults that live on their own? If 'gaming addiction' exists, then are games developers entrusted with a duty of care, to assist those truly addicted to their games?

    If alcohol and cigarettes come with a warning, should games not also have basic warnings?

    With the online gaming era, I would have thought that preventing this kind of thing should be easily attainable (but this is where my knowledge of the industry will probably let me down, so I do want to have a discussion about it!)

    For example, if someone had a connection to WoW for a gaming session, they would presumably link up to a game server. Does the server change, depending on which element of the game / world you are accessing, or do you stay attached to the same server?

    If you are attached to the same server for the duration of the gaming session, then surely there should be some capability to poll connected IPs, and the length of time they have been connected to the server. If the time exceeds X hours on a regular basis, then you could presume the game player could have an issue, and disconnects and delays in reconnecting could stop them from playing the game.

    Alternatively, a block could be put on their avatar?

    The Wii has a very inobtrusive way of checking you're okay - every so often, navigating between screens on my game (I only have Wii Sports as an example) it tells you "take a break every so often, you can pause the game by pressing +"

    As the games are being labelled as 'addictive' do you think the producers should take active steps, such as the basic ones outlined above, to assist and / or prevent further medical incidents in the future? Some gamers have reportedly already died due to massive WoW marathons.

    Or should the duty of care solely lie with the OP playing the game, and that as a sensible human being, they should have the wherewithall and the common sense to 'unplug' occasionally and get some R&R?
     
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  2. grim

    grim Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi i'm grim and i'm an addict :onthePC

    Grim
     
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  3. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Yup 8)
     
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  4. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Yep,every gamer knows that occasionally they get somesort of effect after gaming for hours and they should take a break.

    There's also the effect it can have on the mind were some people go phsyco, but there are lots of things in this world where that thing can have a bad effect on a person, it's knowing where to draw the line and do things in moderation.
     
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  5. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    "Hi, Grim!"

    Hello. I'm BosonMichael, and I'm a gaming addict. I've been gaming-free for about 47 seconds. :onthePC
     
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  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Uh... a game. 8)

    Sorry... you don't understand, and there's no possible way I can explain it to you. :)

    Uh... no. :blink Their job is to create entertaining games... not to babysit those who can't game responsibly.

    Is it the automaker's responsibility to ensure that people don't drive until they're so tired that they fall asleep at the wheel?

    Is it the fast food company's responsibility to ensure that people don't get fat?

    Darwin's Law, baby.

    There's a difference: games aren't chemically addictive. Or if you would posit that games are so enjoyable that they cause the body to make pleasant chemicals... I would argue that so do women, when we men look at them. Should they have a warning label as well? (...it'd certainly be well deserved... :twisted:)

    Their job isn't to protect you from yourself. Their job is to make money for their company.

    In truth, an miniscule percentage of people physically harm themselves to the point of serious injury or death. Again, if you're stupid enough to game until you hurt yourself... :rolleyes:

    Most will just go play a different game if you block them out of yours. What's the point?

    Come on... have you ever read that and said, "You know what? I really ought to take a break right now!"? :p

    I'm pretty sure you know my answer to that. These days, NOBODY takes personal responsibility for themselves... and it's high time we started doing so. The more we keep making excuses for bad or irresponsible behavior, the more people are going to believe it's something they are helpless to control... and that's total crap. You make your decisions; you control you... and especially so when there's no physical dependancy.
     
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  7. Arroryn
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    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Actually... yeah.

    No, but they have to make the ingredients used and the nutritional values available to the public so that, if required, people can make an informed decision.

    That's why I put the definition quotes in my first post. There are still traits to games that make them addictive - and if they are causing people to game for such periods of time then shouldn't they come with guidance / warnings? Maybe they already do - it's been a long time since I've read the booklet that comes along with a game.

    Just because something isn't chemically addictive, doesn't mean something shouldn't be done.

    Car manufacturers produce vehicles that can exceed speed limits with ease; it is not the responsibility of the car manufacturer to make sure the purchaser adheres to the limits, but there are regulations in place to try to ensure infractions are kept to a minimum.

    From what I can gather, there is no regulation to the gaming industry.

    I've already said, I've been hooked on a game - and had the (lack of) "common sense" to stop after a *mere* six hours. I understand what it's like to want to sit there and game for hours on end - but being able to do so at the detrement to your health can't be a good thing, surely?

    Again - why do you have to make the distinction between a physical / mental and chemical dependancy? One can potentially be just as damaging as the other.
     
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  8. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Explaining why you game to a non gamer is extremely difficult.

    Completely agree

    Very good comment, fast food may be really bad for you but it's you choice wether you eat it or not.


    Another good comment, games can have an affect where you might be at work and say "can't wait till I get home to play that game" But your not going to suffer it you don't get to play it.

    Although it makes me wonder why Marijuana is banned since that has no chemical addictiveness to it although you may be at work and think I could do with a spliff when I get home but your not gonna suffer if you don't get any.

    If I could rep you more than once BM I would :)
     
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  9. Arroryn
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    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Not a great comment really - drugs are bad for you, as are cigarettes, alcohol, and walking in traffic. It's your choice whether or not you do all of these things...

    Why? No, interestingly, why? I used to game a *lot* and remember loving games massively - is it difficult, because it's an irrational feeling? ie, an addiction?

    I'm not saying these companies should babysit - I'm trying to say / discuss / reason that, with people harming themselves with ridiculously long gaming sessions, it's well within their powers to *help* people that blatantly have a problem.
     
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  10. greenbrucelee
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    I think it's difficult to explain it to non gamers because they just don't get it. They don't see how games can be so involving/addictive but a lot of things can be addictive.

    Well most people would take a break after a few hours, maybe this kid does have a problem but people who watch violent films then act on what they have seen have a problem, people who have a few beers every day have a problem. Is it upto the film companies or beer companies to help the odd person that goes of the rails? Not in my opinion.

    I used to play games for hours at an end when I was a kid, especially when I had the ZX Spectrum because if you got a game over you had to start again. I remember playing Target Renegade on Hard for 12 hours which included proper breaks but I knew when I had to stop.

    This kids parents should have been more responsible in making sure the kid had proper breaks.
     
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  11. UKDarkstar
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    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    I would comment on this thread but I haven't got time 'cos I'm too addicted to gaming :onthePC :duel :onthePC :mrgreen:
     
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  12. Arroryn
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    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    But I have been a gamer, and I'm genuinely interested in an explanation. Send it to me on PM if you're having trouble reasoning, but if the reasons are too personal, then fair enough.
     
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  13. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Hi Arroryn

    Saw this last night as I was about to get ready for bed, so please excuse the long delay. :)

    For the record I pretty much agree with what BM has already stated, but I'll try to give a perspective more from the industry focus.

    How about if I claim that such people who endure marathon gaming sessions actually have a compulsive disorder/personality? People who play marathon gaming session and collapse are unlikely to have done it for the first time, so maybe misjudged their own tolerances to such gaming sessions driven by their own compulsion to beat the game. This does nothing to say that the game itself is 'addictive'.

    I agree. Parents should monitor all of their child's activities. Game developers can do nothing about it.

    Well, from the patterns that I have seen, the older a gamer is the less likely they are to become 'addicted'. Where the problem lies is with a more infantile mentality; it is more likely that the individual will somehow believe that the game is 'real' in the sense that they have to win it as soon as possible for a sense of achievement.

    Games do have warnings based on age and the potential for such problems as epilepsy. Games also warn players to take regular breaks during gameplay, sometimes with specific periods. This is what the law itself demands and we stick to it.

    If anyone believes that more warnings need to be included, then the law itself needs to be changed to cover potentially other multimedia content - both interactive (as in games) and non-interactive (not movies themselves, but the equipment used to view them.)


    It is because different people have different tolerances. Secondly, we don't create games to prevent people playing them, we want them to play whenever they feel and trust them or their parents to know when enough is enough.

    It's the same server. If the server needs to change then the game session needs to be restarted.

    Again this goes back to my point that we cannot police the length of gaming sessions.

    The Wii's genre of games allow the user to take regular breaks. With a game like WoW the session is continous. What this means is that such reminders in a game like WoW would be perceived by gamers as 'nag screens' breaking the flow of their gaming session. This isn't something that benefits anyone.

    This isn't the responsibilty of the producers. Games producers are project managers who see the development cycle of the game through to completion. They will also notify the appropriate parties if there is a legal breach for whatever reason. As outlined above, the law itself will need to be changed if more warnings are to be enforced.

    Regulating gameplay can ultimately only rest with the individual playing the game. :)
     
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  14. Arroryn
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    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Thanks for your response, Mathematix, - just what I was looking for.

    I understand that it isn't the producers' responsibility to ensure care for these people - but an understanding of the overall perspective was what I was after :)

    BM - GBL - I think you two are hooked, and need help :wink: lol

    No seriously, thanks for your opinions and perspectives. If any of you can volunteer thoughts and / or explanations on how you are "addicted" to games - a gamer - , I would find that intriguing.

    For example, I will explain how I can get 'hooked' on books.

    It doesn't happen with every book I read - there is normally a formula that will really make a book perfect - un-put-downable.

    The formula is generally high fantasy, with verbose prose and intricate characters - with a strong female lead character being paramount.

    When I get a book like that, I *have* to read it, and I find it so difficult to put down. It's almost as if my eyes are hungry, needing the next words. If I stop reading the book, my mind is buzzing about the plot, how things could lead, and so forth. A *really* awesome book will consume my leisure time till I've read it. I recently discovered the 'Axis Trilogy' by an Australian author called Sara Douglass. The 3 books were each between 600 and 700 pages - I'd read the lot in a week. Books can do that to me, and I'm guessing that's how gamers are taken with games that 'hook' them. But with reading, I do still take breaks, or I can do other activities whilst reading my book - like cooking (honest) or bathing - I've even had a book when using the bike at the gym :)

    Addictions can take many forms, but it doesn't mean they consume our lives any less. Some addictions may just be... "safer" than others.
     
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  15. BosonMichael
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    Six hours? Lightweight! :twisted:

    You don't know real gaming until days have passed. :p heehehee

    Yes, they can both be damaging, but the mental addictions can be overcome without physical withdrawal; it's simply a lack of willpower or desire to change that allows the mental addiction to continue.

    Just another subject where we're simply gonna have to disagree... I'm not likely to change my mind due to my experience with biochemistry and gaming.
     
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  16. BosonMichael
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    Because it causes a chemical change in your perception and decision making faculties. Gaming addiction doesn't do that. Sure, you can make bad decisions because you want to game... but that's not caused by a chemical substance in your body.

    And for those of you who don't think it causes you to change... I ain't buyin' it, cause I know differently - I've lived with users.
     
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  17. BosonMichael
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    Do you need a warning sign to tell you not to walk in traffic?

    It's as difficult to explain to a non-gamer about gaming addiction as it is to explain to a non-drug-user about drug addiction. It's not impossible for them to understand... but most won't fully "get it". Not to the point they truly understand it, anyway.

    How? Putting a warning notice on a box isn't gonna do anything... :rolleyes: And disabling my account should be *my* decision, not theirs. In truth, they'd lose my sale. If I wanna game for 48 hours straight (which I don't anymore), then that should be MY decision to do. They can choose to set those limits, and I can choose to not buy their product.

    Besides, if you think that disabling an account's gonna keep an addicted gamer from playing, you're not thinking like a gamer. Again, if I want to game, then as soon as my account gets disabled, I'll play another game. Or... if I'm truly addicted to THAT game... I'll have two accounts. Gamer continues to game... and the account locking does nothing but upset a percentage of rabid, loyal customers.
     
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  18. greenbrucelee
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    I see your point, I do know it makes you change. It makes people lazy and lathargic and with some people causes people to be paranoid. I used to smoke it alot when I was younger.
     
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  19. BosonMichael
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    Yep. The difference is... I can get up and walk away from a game at any time. Whether I WANT to do so is a separate issue. With chemical dependency, my *body* physically requires the addictive chemical. If I walk away, my body's gonna suffer physical withdrawal symptoms. Not so with mental addiction.

    If this kid was a minor (haven't read the article), then I wholeheartedly agree. Again, personal responsibility.
     
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  20. greenbrucelee
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    I think explaining gaming to a non gamer is as diffuclt as someone trying to explain to a white person why the N word is so hurtful to black people. We understand it to a certain extent but not fully because we havent experienced it.
     
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