View Single Post
Old 01-14-2013, 11:45 PM
SchrodingersCat's Avatar
SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,447

Originally Posted by Helo
First, it's often diagnosed by people with less than zero psych training and who rarely play games themselves. The criteria are set by non-gamers and the label is virtually impossible to get rid of because anything you try to say to dispel it is taken as further indication of addiction.

Second, what about games makes them more addictive than other hobbies? No one, professional or otherwise, has successfully addressed this. They dont directly influence brain or body chemistry beyond what other forms of entertainment or puzzles do, so what specifically makes them more addictive?
Here are some professionals addressing some aspects of video games that make them more addictive than other hobbies. Not all addictions are chemical.

If you've got somebody slamming back $50 a bottle scotch every night who can afford to they're not an alcoholic, they're "connoisseurs."
Put a real conoisser in a room with someone who slams back $50 scotch, and he'll be mortified at the waste of fine scotch.

Someone who pays for a doctor to prescribe them prescription drugs aren't junkies, they're "pain patients."
Some are, some aren't. Of course there are people who get pain medication prescriptions to treat chronic pain. There are junkies who fake pain to get prescriptions. The system is aware and does what it can to prevent abuse.

Take a look at the popular idea of an addict which you can do easily enough by seeing what image comes to mind when you think of the word.
The first thought that comes to mind when I hear "addict" is someone planted in front of a slot machine. The second thought is myself, hunched over the laptop at 3 a.m. knowing that I really should go to bed and promising this is my last post.

"Addict" draws up images of people laying in gutters with needles in their arms or piles of cheap beer cans around them.
Perhaps it's your own prejudices that prevent you from seeing the possibility of gaming addiction. "I'm not like THEM. THEY are dirty homeless junkies. I live in a nice house with a good job. So what if I can't stop playing my game when I know I need to go to bed. I'm not an addict!"

I'll be the first to admit that I have addictive tendencies. Did you see the time stamp on my previous post? I should have been in bed hours earlier. That, my friend, is an addiction. I fully admit and accept it. Do you?

Society's misperception of addiction and who can have it does not itself negate the existence of addiction. Professionals in addictions treatment services will be the first to tell you that anyone, of any race, gender, or class, can become an addict.

Which, in my view, makes the term "addiction" worthless. Its like trying to describe an object and starting off with "It has mass."
I didn't say that all activities are addictive, I said all activities have the potential to become addictive. Huge difference. All objects have mass, and that means all objects have the capacity to acquire momentum, not that all objects have momentum. And to carry the analogy further, it depends on the frame of reference. Not all addictions are harmful. Most are. But a single man addicted to his job, earning a huge salary and enjoying his life? Still an addiction, but not necessarily harmful. But a family man addicted to his job, driving his wife away and making his kids feel neglected? Harmful. Context matters.

most people still scoff at the idea of "fast food addiction."
State your source. When I Google "fast food addiction," the entire first page of results takes its existence for granted. Who are these "most people?" They must not have computers.

My point is that any pastime can be taken to extreme levels of indulgence and games are far and away not alone in this. We tend to focus on that more because, as I said, games are a social scapegoat as well as not yet being truly accepted by our society.
I'm focusing on that here because gamers are the topic of this thread. If someone would have initiated a discussion on gambling or sex addiction, I would be focused on that. In my experience, video games receive no more of a bad rap than anything.

I just did a search for "most common addictions."
  1. Listed video games as #6 out of 10.
  2. Doesn't list video games at all.
  3. Focuses on "new addictions" compared to those that existed 10-20 years ago, and lists texting, video games, the internet, food, and self-cutting as new, increasingly common addictions, right along the old favourites like smoking, drinking, and gambling.
  4. Doesn't list video games at all.
  5. Doesn't list video games at all.

The anti-addiction folks aren't biased, you are. Assuming you don't have anyone in your life with a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction, you have no reason to pay attention to those public service announcements. But when someone talks about video game addictions, you pay attention. You feel that your personal pastime is being attacked, and you take that personally.

The reason there is more media attention on video game addiction is that it's new. People are just beginning to understand it. The media reports new things; alcoholism is old hat.

A player makes a conscious choice how much and how long to play a game. There's no mind control at work that forces them to stay in the chair any more than there's mind control that forces people to stay in a chair while reading a book.
A non-addicted player makes a conscious choice and sticks to it. An addicted player tries to make that choice, but when their time's up, they say "just 10 more minutes" and before they know it, another 6 hours have passed.

The (US) publishing industry does about $28 billion of business a year and the baked goods industry clocks in at about $30 billion per year. There's billion dollar industries that want repeat business behind EVERY product you pick up.
Only 25% of that $28b accounts for general reading, so about $7b to the gaming industry's $10B in revenue... So you've got me that books have just as much industry backing as video games. I'm just as addicted to books as video games. However the baked good industry has nothing to do with baking as a hobby. The hobby is not to go out and buy ready-made cookies, it's to buy flour and chocolate chips, and make cookies from scratch.

How do you determine that?
Personal experience and reports from psychologists. The existence of video game treatement programs and people who voluntarily enter them to get help for their own self-perceived problem.

You don't think a massive availability of cheap, high carbohydrate, low nutrient value food combined with far less social emphasis on active play has anything to do with it?
Absolutely it does. And where does that opportunity for less active play come from?

But I'll revise what I said. The culprit is not video games all by themselves. The culprit is glowing rectangular screens and the extreme availability of media for those screens, combined with parents' neglect about forcing their kids to get out of the house and be active. I might even argue that media is and always has been addictive. The first media was books. Then radio. Then TV. Now the internet and video games.

Which is absolute and utter garbage. Firing a gun in real life is as far removed from firing one in a game as its possible to be and still be in this solar system. NOTHING prepares you for actually seeing someone die in front of you. A game cant recreate the smell of the blood or hearing a person's actual cries of pain.
No, but if you were to show a modern video game combat scene to a kid in the 1950s, he'd be horrified and have nightmares about it. Likewise for a modern movie or tv scene. But acknowledged. I should have said desensitization to virtual violence. I don't think anyone ever gets used to real life violence, as any war refugee will attest.

People are so eager to derp onto a reason why someone was able to massacre a bus full of nuns without any empathy and they latch onto videogames as the route for removing one's sensitivity towards violence without stopping to consider that the motherfucker very likely had no empathy to begin with. That's one of the key traits of a sociopath; a total lack of empathy with other human beings.
That one I will grant you. No mentally sound person is going to play a bunch of video games and then think it will be a good idea to go out and shoot up a bunch of kids. Humans have always been violent, and the fact that people find violent video games so attractive really speaks more towards how we already are as a people than what video game makers make us become. If we didn't think blowing shit up was so fucking cool to begin with, then video games where you blow shit up wouldn't be popular and the manufacturers would find something else to sell.
As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.
Reply With Quote