Your Malady is Lame
Aug 09, 2007 18:09:26

I promised myself I wouldn't address this on-going drama regarding game addiction. Consider that promise broken. I have lists to build and points to make and then I'll say no more.

Physicians. Shrinks. VooDooDocs. Listen up. If playing video games (a lot)is considered a dangerous medical condition, please consider the following activities for inclusion in your beloved DSM:

1. Watching Television. How did this one get past you? Gamers are on trial for excessive spawn camping and somehow TV escaped your notice? I don't buy it. Who is paying you people to look the other way? Violence and sex aside, the sheer number of hours this world spends planted in a chair watching this drivel is appalling. At least games make you think and react (and in the case of the ultimate evil, the MMO, comm-u-ni-cate with people. Argh! The Horror!)

2. Going to Work. Typically, addictive activities are repetitive destructive behaviors that impair your ability to live a fruitful, happy and healthy life. Huh. Sounds just like a career doesn't it? My family life would be improved by not going to work. My health would dramatically improve. Happiness is a day doing something you love. Does your job qualify? All we have to do now is determine that going to work is a serious condition that can only be remedied by... not working.

3. Learning an instrument. I've been playing guitar for almost 20 years. After 20 years I'd say I'm accomplished but far from an amazing talent. When I first started I practiced ALL THE TIME. I practiced for hours and hours each day for several years. After playing for about 7 years I cut the guitar time back quite a bit but it is still very regular. Estimated time practicing the guitar in this lifetime: 9000 hours. That's a ton of time, and I'm not even that dedicated. Those people who take instruments more seriously than I do really need some psychiatric help because they are completely addicted to an anti-social activity. It can't be good.

4. Reading. Hour after hour sitting still in a chair while envisioning imaginary lands and people. This behavior cannot describe a healthy mind. Next time you see someone reading at the library, call the men in white coats and rescue them from the horror that is "a reader's existence".

5. Blogging. I can't even begin to describe this nefarious condition. If you've been blogging, please know that you have a very serious condition. You may hurt yourself or others. Get help immediately.

Sound stupid?

Yes, it does. And this is exactly how stupid it sounds every time someone suggests that video gaming deserves a spot in the medical books as 'a condition'. Smart people can be so stupid sometimes.

Submitted by Brent on Aug 09, 2007 18:09:26 CST (comments: 17)


'AHHH!' by Adele
Submitted on 2007-08-09 20:11:36 CST
Someone get me help ASAP! I'm addicted to brushing my teeth and hair (I do both multiple times each day), plus showering, changing my clothing, cooking, laudry, walking, and driving... OMG... I never knew I was this bad! It's too late for me... save yourselves...

'Just another crusade for politicians' by Scott
Submitted on 2007-08-09 20:46:15 CST
This is just another evil created by the politicians like Rock 'n Roll, D&D, and the Comic Books before it.

Of course it doesn't make any logical sense, because it isn't logical. Most of the "old" people don't even understand gaming to know its no more harmful than any other media, they barely even understand the internet. Only by some grace have they come to accept forms of media and art prior to the games we enjoy today.

It doesn't help that gaming still has a negative stereotype in the United States as well, treated as a activity for children and anti-social behavior.

On the plus side as the industry grows to match the Movie industry, the corporations will legitimize it with their massive spending and efforts to grow the market better than we as gamers could ever do.

'Everything in moderation' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-08-10 02:26:37 CST
People categorise.

Games and education are for kids. Sex and work are for adults. Big Band music is for old fogies and Robbie Williams is for hip and cool dudes. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. The Tate Gallery is for toffee-nosed people, greasy spoon cafés are for poor people.

Anything outside this categorisation takes an almighty leap of faith out of the average person's comfort zone, often not because they really think it's wrong, but because they don't want to be perceived by others as thinking it's right, when, actually, they are not very sure about it.

It will take an almighty leap for people to accept that adults play games as part of normal activity. Until that occurs, anyone who devotes part of their life to it is regarded as "addicted", when comparable time on "normal" activity (e.g. TV) is simply viewed as, well, normal adult behaviour.

Scott suggests that the Games industry are trying to legitimise gaming, which I do agree very strongly with. Nintendo's Brain game is clearly targeted at adults, who want to keep their mind active. In my local gym I can play a game to catch fish on the rowing machine. However, there needs to be far more legitimising products than are currently on the market. Fantasy RPG MMO titles simply do not cut the mustard with the general public as being adult. AND they will never do so. A SIms title with more realistic characters might well do, though. Or possibly Funcom's new title, where you can travel around the globe looking for monsters under the beds. Adults worry about this regularly (as their children do!), so any game allowing adults to combat this fear might work.

Having said all of the above, I do believe that games can and very frequently do reinforce negative behaviours, by devaluing or even legitimising their negativity. That's why I don't like PvP. That's why I don't like FPS trash. Those sneering at the comment are simply victims of playing too much FPS, having lost much of their humanity, as a result.

'Everything in Moderation - 2' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-08-10 02:27:35 CST
Everything in moderation....and moderation is the first to go...

'Don't forget to add...' by potshot
Submitted on 2007-08-10 13:47:24 CST
Fantasy Sports
Pursuing a graduate degree
Participation in a zealous ideological group
and on and on...


'And frankly...' by Wilhelm2451
Submitted on 2007-08-10 14:30:44 CST
I am beginning to suspect this obsession you have with eating different food at each meal.

We will be keeping an eye on you.

'Curious' by CDHWaldo
Submitted on 2007-08-13 01:20:15 CST
@ Scytale2

I'm not sneering, I'm blinkered. In fact you seem to be sneering quite aggressively, if any sneering is going on...Did an FPS beat you up when you were a kid? FPS's were very therapeutic in high school. Yes, I was beat up as a kid *grin*.

But seriously, your dislike of PvP, the way you state it, and correlate it with FPS's, very curious. I do wonder, if you've ever enjoyed watching or perhaps playing a sport (soccer, baseball, football, etc)? Either way, sports are PvP in one of the purest forms. Meditate on this, I shall.

'Got this froma CBS news article....' by Ariannel
Submitted on 2007-08-13 15:21:17 CST
"In a WebMD feature on the definition of addiction, psychiatrist Michael Brody, MD, set forth the following criteria:

1. The person needs more and more of a substance or behavior to keep him going.
2. If the person does not get more of the substance or behavior, he becomes irritable and miserable.

Young says compulsive gaming meets these criteria, and she has seen severe withdrawal symptoms in game addicts. “They become angry, violent, or depressed. If [parents] take away the computer, their child sits in the corner and cries, refuses to eat, sleep, or do anything.” "

Wow, sounds like what any child does when you take away their favorite toy. Have you ever tried taking away a 15 year old girl's cell phone? You'll get the same reaction. Ever tried grounding your child from going outside or watching tv? You get the same reaction.


'agree' by Adele
Submitted on 2007-08-13 15:35:11 CST
There are so many things that fit that description. Children will cry and pout anytime they don't get their way.

'Is football PvP or FPS equivalent?' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-08-13 18:35:17 CST
A quick riposte - No.

PvP is designed to make one guy look big and the other look small. Football is far broader than this and has far greater benefits in its participation (although I still think we would all be better off if no one had invented it).

FPS is designed to give you a buzz - an adrenaline rush - linking it with the death of another virtual human being (or creature). Clearly this fosters negative behaviour - it's obvious it will.

Maybe the US's obsession with guns and John Wayne stops them seeing the obvious....

're: Is football PvP or FPS equivalent?' by Scott
Submitted on 2007-08-13 20:01:57 CST
Scytale2, your bias against the term PvP is pretty clear.

I can understand if you don't like or enjoy that type of gameplay, it doesn't even sound like you'd be willing to play in any type of game with direct conflict between players that involved any type of virtual combat.

However to link it negativity, loss of humanity, or whatever other claims you want to place on it is misguided and has no basis in fact.

I grew up in Alaska, I had a father that worked for Fish & Game and was a hunting guide for the latter part of his career before retiring. I grew up with the handling and use of firearms of all types, even doing competitive shooting.

I also have played FPS’s since the first versions were released on shared on my 286 NEC (y'know the one with the 8Mhz to 12Mhz turbo button). I also played competitive Paintball all the way up through college. I've most team based FPS's to date, preferring those with a strategy and team element.

I'm as mild mannered a computer geek you can get, still in my early 30's. I don't understand how you can generalize or make such unwarranted claims that have experience with firearms or even shooting games. Just where is this negative behavior you claim that gamers like myself reflect? I'd probably be the worst case scenario of a gun toting American that's had a rifle real or virtual since I was a teen.

I see PvP as Player versus Player CONFLICT. I feel it’s essential in a game to create that conflict just as you would in any good book or movie. It helps drive a story, to motivate players, it’s an integral part of humans to compete with each other as played out through history.

You, like others seem to rigidly define PvP as the act of malicious ganking, which it is not. That's just a player action, one allowed through an un-restricted game mechanic, and the lack of any established social norms or repercussions.

Back when UO was in its prime and open PvP was part of the game, my guild of 5 sub-guilds with a total of over 200 members (many that did not PvP) embraced that game and its open design. Our guild established our own rules and laws through our PvP members acting as anti-PK players. They actively hunted down PK guilds that ‘ganked’ and war would be declared forcing the offending PK’er to submit to our terms and cease all activities (against all players) or leave the region. In a true sandbox style game, in our case the “carebears” along with good-aligned PvP’ers created their own player run system to keep the malicious players in line. Personally I always felt that was an example of one of the best positive aspects you’ll ever see of humanity at its finest even it was just in a MMO.

'Obvious?' by CDHWaldo
Submitted on 2007-08-14 02:30:07 CST
Standing around Stormwind showing off your raid gear is about who's got the bigger one.

PvP is about planning, thinking, and moving faster than the other side (be they singular or in multiples). I'm not talking about ganking. I'm talking about similar levels, in agreed upon PvP. On WoW I played on an RP server...if we follow your apparent line of thought I should have been on a PvP proving mine was bigger. Since I happen to enjoy PvP, FPS, and such things.

Games are designed to give you an emotional reaction of some sort. No reaction, and you stop playing. Even a temporarily BAD reaction is better than apathy. Apathy seems to be what you want us to get out of games...Ho hum, I just dinged 70. I mustn't get excited about it.

Meh, being or creature...really weird statement. Being posted, as it is, on a site devoted to MMO's. Games in which you spend the majority of your time killing creatures...many of them humanoid...

'Plenty of Ways' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-08-14 05:08:04 CST
Well, firstly, Scott, different activities affect different people in different ways and this grey area of FPS shooters is one where you can be draconian or not. I think Germany has decided to be draconian and ban the things - I've not said that I necessarily agree with this, as banning often has the wrong consequences, which is another issue.

What brought this to the fore is Brett's Fan faire coverage, when the Sony chief guy was saying how people "love to kill things in their games", which brought about a somewhat muffled cheer. Frankly I think they are totally wrong about this. SOME people like to kill things but Sony offer NO MMO games that you can play without killing things, so they very much have a se;f-fulfilling prophecy.

What I suggest is that MMO is the biggest thing to hit the globe for very many years and for the chief guy in one of the biggest corps in the World to have such a blinkered view is very disheartening. The Boards on this site have many trigger-happy FPD types, who have enjoyed this adrenaline rush for years. However, it has also contained many, many references to " lack of innovation", "non-Fantasy MMOs", "Not liking to kill the furry animals", which are all linked to a rather tired view of what MMO is about.

One lives a life where adrenaline can come from many things, including murder, killing and death, so I am told. This negative aspect is the ONLY thing that most videogames seem to have the brains (or in some cases the technology) to create. It's a bit like saying, well the film industry is restricted to the Horror or Rambo genre or Fantasy epic genre, when in reality (and I make no apology for guessing the figures here) this probably represents less than 20% of the films that people watch. For instance, how much killing does Harry Potter do in the films released so far? If he started going on a killing spree, then we would be quite upset and view this as a "dumbing down" of the story perhaps? Yet we accept MMOs where "Harry Potter" style figures do nothing but.

The PvP you describe, Waldo, which is more about strategy etc, is WoW's perfectly reasonable idea to make this a "consenting" activity and I have no problem with this, as long as WoW puts just as much effort into providing gameplay for people who do not like participating in this type of adversarial play, which they do not. Their lack of effort on Crafting, Social, Exploration activities, plus innovative aspects, such as politics, economics, music and arts, sport, to name a few, shows the same "John Wayne" attitude that every MMO designer out there seems to have.

'Re: Plenty of Ways' by Scott
Submitted on 2007-08-14 12:52:39 CST
Scytale, do you have any actual independent studies or figures to show conclusively that games, specifically first person shooters affect gamers negatively? There are so many different ways to trigger negative behavior in someone, from any type of media, or just their own psychosis and imagination I feel you and others will be very hard pressed to ever show viable evidence to support your belief.

You could just as well say that a heated argument, or watching a "torture porn" movie like Hostel, Vacancy, and Captivity have the same or worse affects.

Germany does seem to be very draconian and quick to ban or censor, believing it to be in their best interest given the influence of their countries past. I don't know enough of German culture and the people to know how they feel about that. Personally if that were to happen in the United States I would be infuriated as a breach of my right to freedom of speech AND expression. For the government or a group to suppress the rights of another group to express themselves is a very slippery slope, even if it is something taken so lightly as 'gaming'.

SOE's CEO John Smedley made that comment in reference to their new "free" kids friendly game called Free Realms. SOE is pursuing alternative games, but they are a corporation, not a non-profit. As a company they're only going to invest in commercially viable products, and we have yet to see an exclusively non-violent title in this market with numbers to interest a company like theirs.

The closest you'll get to a game you're describing is ones like A Tale In the Desert, Second Life, and various mini-mmo's or kids games. I just don't see a big budget non-combat MMO happening. Perhaps something might come from independent developers using one of the MMO development systems and services.

Back in College around when the first web browser came about I was playing on MUD's, and MUSH's (mush's were the variants of MUD's that didn't have the coded combat systems, used primarily for roleplay games only). I played on Shadowrun MUSH, even there where over 90% of your time was non-combat RP, you still had that 10% of crucial combat on missions, or versus other players (This game also had permadeath, and new characters often took 1-7 days to get approved because you had to write a background story for GM's to reference and hold you accountable to). Permadeath to me was very interesting because it created a situation like real life where there was severe repercussions should any player kill another, it was never taken lightly. The majority of deaths were plot related to further a story, not out of another player simply wanting to kill another player.

I also played at Hemlock MUX (a text based sci-fi RPG which had a much more complicated combat system of space combat and ground combat). PvP was very active there in comparison, but so was the roleplay. My experiences in those games were actually much richer and more interesting to me than any graphical MMO I've played to date, I find the combat a necessary part of that, and the roleplay gave it context.

We don't get that context in many of our MMO's, what little we have is only through the actions we visually perceive or assume of our aggressors. Still, I don't think any of that would matter to you, as it seems its combat itself that’s distasteful in any form?

I don't see how you can criticize WoW, you just rattled off over 7 game systems you want to see developed in addition to all those they're currently supporting, and can barely maintain or upgrade even with a development team of 70 individuals. WoW itself took 70 million dollars to build according to the Vivendi's SEC report, and it’s still consistently late to the market with expansions, missing promised features, and often cited as one of the best MMO's to date yet boring and lacking innovation.

I am one of those MMO gamers that criticizes Blizzard for not doing enough, but even I recognize gaming companies can only do so much given their resources and established design. The "John Wayne" attitude is what pays the bills until they can see enough demand for an alternative.

'There is demand IMHO' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-08-14 13:33:16 CST
This was the exact point I made on Brent's point that the Fan Faire had a vast plethora of people visiting. Problem is they were all "gamers", when MMO is about technology. You ask gamers who have been killing virtual things for years and they will ask for the very same thing. The more creative ones will say combat AND a whole bunch of other things (ref Troy's TMOG podcasts x 2).

I'm not anti-combat, as part of a rich tapestry of potential activities. I AM against supposed strategists thinking that combat is the only thing of importance in an MMO, because it is this selfish and financially-motivated attitude which is helping create this violence culture.

'Very Funny' by CDHWaldo
Submitted on 2007-08-14 14:37:52 CST
You desire the game that truly is a second life. The game where you can spend weeks not killing anything and you'll be gaining levels, respect of your fellows, etc. You'll be being productive. You'll be doing something.

The funny part is, that's the very game I desire. I want game with a realistic world. Where if I kill an orc, he's dead. Where he doesn't just respawn. He's dead. For another Orc to be there, another would have to come from the nearest Orc camp. (which could conceivably be wiped out) Where if I want new weapons I don't just go to a bench, and make one, but (being as I'll be a combat guy) I go to somebody who has devoted their "life" to the art of weapons and find one agreeable to me (that I can afford, "republic credits will do").

I want permadeath, I want a truly dynamic world, where server a and server b may look completely different because different people are on them. Where the game world changes constantly, not at the behest of a GM, but because my actions really DO something. Those ten rats I killed are dead. That group I fedex'd armor to now has better armor to defend against the orcs nearby.. Where there are no static quests.

I want a game where I could roll an alt who becomes the truly greatest alchemist ever. Creating potions never before seen or heard of. I want a game, where my actions can change the server. I want a game, where if I chose to, I could go about slaughtering innocent players. But I want that game to have the consequences of such actions. Permadeath, real dynamic guards, etc. I don't want this because I'd do it. But because it's real, and somebody out there would. I want him (her, would a her be that person?) to have that chance to express themselves.

I want a game, where the lich king whom all seem bent of defeating, is a player who chose to take that route.

*sigh* I don't see it happening anytime soon. I've got design documents started. But nothing that is ready for anyone to actually see. Way too much is sketchy, or just glossed over. I've conversed with many of my friends on my idea. One (A WoW guy that likes to while away his hours fishing) felt that the game would be too hardcore, that I'd need carebear servers for "normal" people. Stated that he'd play on a hardcore one, but that the market required carebear.

Until I get millions and can while away my hours making the game I want, I'm content to sit back, play what I have, and wait for somebody else to make it first.

'OMG! How could you!' by Leonai
Submitted on 2007-08-15 11:56:02 CST
Informing people to look at more than just what's being presented at them? How could you?! Geez - we live in a world today where most people take the news reporter's word as gold and don't look outside to validate any other potentials. How dare you make people step outside of their happy pretty box?

I'm just appalled!


*scurries back to her comfy chair to read more Harry potter...*

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