Game Addiction review on RPS

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Aug 042009

Niels Clark dropped by in the comment thread on the WoW addiction therapy guild to mention that Jim Rossignol has a detailed review of his new book Game Addiction: The Experience and the Effects.

What this means is that Game Addiction is damning of “grind” heavy games. At times, it seems like Clark is betraying his “not anti-games” by painting a deliberately bleak pictures of traditional MMOs. He’s quick to nod towards the complexity of these clever multiplayer constructs, and the positive side-effects of social gaming, but I couldn’t help feeling that grind-based games are beginning to become their own worst enemies when subjected to this kind of scrutiny. It seems like an impossible task to come away with a truly positive picture of their game model, and the way we gamers behave when playing them. They are not games that encourage balance in our lives.

via Rock, Paper, Shotgun: “Don’t push me because I’m close to the…” » Book: Game Addiction.

The discussion thread, needless to say, gets kind of contentious. Sounds worth picking up though!

  5 Responses to “Game Addiction review on RPS”

  1. Whoa, thanks Raph.

  2. Hmm the amazon list of what other people bought had some references to possible connection to columbine? I guess Addiction, violence and how games seem to be the problems are all the rage. Meanwhile China decided to stop treatment for game addicts. but it seems it had more to do with Dr abuse then if it worked or not.

  3. I think Neils Clark hit it when he said that “addiction” may not be the right word, at least for most gamers. If we look at other aspects of participatory entertainment, we can see that people are just as strongly “addicted” to things such as fishing, golfing, collecting memorabilia, and just about any other “hobby”. If you like something, you want to do it more than other things. Natural. Some things have greater costs and higher physical or time demands that limit them. A golfer can’t be on the course all day, every day.

    Also, between watching my kids and thinking back over my life, it seems to me that as you grow, you develop more diversity. i.e. the young are more prone to focus strongly in narrow fields, and quite naturally expand those fields as they grow. One of the key problems with level grind MMOs is that they hamper this growth by keeping the focus on one element that people like. Of course, this in speaking in generalities. You still see some people focused on level grind games and loving it. But for the most part, watching forums and blogs, it seems apparent that many gamers are ready to move on to “something more”.

  4. I think addiction is a fair term.

    I know I stopped paying EA to play UO once they started selling their updates like a drug dealer sells crack. When you already pay $10-$15 per account per month for a subscription you rather expect updates to be free, but I suppose when they only add new optional content that’s at least bearable. What EA started doing was including things in the update that were not available by other means and seriously disadvantaged you .vs. other players if you didn’t buy it. Heck, the way they sold it, you were rewarded for buying multiple copies even if you only needed one.

    When the producers of a game take on a crack model of distribution, I think that tells you all you needed to know about the typical player of the game – or at least the ones they’re targeting.

    There is also a physical component that’s rarely brought up, but the bright light from a typical LCD display is perhaps more powerful then caffeine in terms of keeping you awake while at a computer and the adrenaline rush from playing a game only re-enforces that.

  5. I guess Addiction, violence and how games seem to be the problems are all the rage.

    Summer 1972: Release of Pong, birth of industry. Golden Age of Porn, too.

    Four years later, 1976: Release of Death Race. Media firestorm. 60 Minutes profiles psychological effects of video games.

    1980s: Research into effects of video games begins to appear. (15-20 studies.)

    All the rage? Such controversy isn’t new to video games.

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