Are videogames destroying your life? No.

addiction"What is it about games like ‘World of Warcraft,’ ‘EverQuest’ or ‘Call of Duty’ that turns good people into bleary-eyed zombies who forget to pay the gas bill? And do game developers design games to be addictive?"

When MSNBC starts off an article on their site with the above paragraph I do two things. I pause, taking a deep breath. And I make sure there is nothing too sharp near my desk that could injure a roommate if thrown in their direction.

Kristin Kalning, whose title is "games editor" for, brings up the guy in South Korea that played Star Craft until he died and the couple in Reno Nevada that neglected their kids to play D&D Online. It gives me reason to be suspicious. To give her credit, she does go directly to a game developer and a doctor to get the answers to her above questions, however she picks a developer and doctor that skews the data, I think.

When asked, "Do game developers design games to be addictive?" Jason Kapalka had to respond, "Yes, totally. That’s the main goal you have when you design a game." He’s the founder of PopCap, the casual games company that made Bejeweled and current hit Peggle. The entire casual genre is based around make a quick easy to learn game that wants to keep people playing. And last time I checked, Bejeweled never killed, neglected, or made anyone have low self-esteem.

As for what turns "good people into bleary-eyed zombies who forget to pay the gas bill?" Dr. Hilarie Cash (she must be important because she went to school a lot) says, "Many gamers are people who were bored and lonely, and this is an addiction which kind of gets its hooks into them" because of the social networking aspect.

So let me get this straight–going out to a club or a bar and spending anywhere between 50 and 200 dollars on drinks, getting hammered, not remembering what you did and throwing up on yourself before you go home with a complete stranger: perfectly acceptable as social networking. Spending 15 dollars a month to play WOW and having actual conversations (be it about last nights caucus or the new expansion pack) and working together to accomplish a single goal: frowned upon.

What the hell is wrong with people?


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Author: Creighton DeSimone View all posts by

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