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Michael Cheung
U of U Writing 1010 202
7 December 2014
Addiction and Video Games
Video game addiction is a disorder that has been recently added to the appendix of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (King and Delfabbro). The
symptoms of video game addiction are similar to any other addiction such as smoking or
drinking. Addicts to video games can exhibit behavioral characteristics such as withdrawal
symptoms when not being able to play, and with teenagers there are those who do not finish their
homework, act irritable, ditch school, and steal (Weinstein). Being in a modern world, it is hard
to avoid being around games as they are everywhere such as on your phone, desktop, and on the
internet. If one is easily tempted they can be sucked into games being unable to escape the grasp
of the game, and with so many genres of games there are usually at least one or two games that
will draw people in. However, if gaming companies were forced to alert players of possible side
effects of playing the games, players may be able to seek help as soon as they realize they may
have a problem.
Addiction to video games come in multiple forms such as being addicted to massive
multiplayer online roleplaying games, mobile games, and multiplayer online battle arena games.
Examples of massive multiplayer online roleplaying games are World of Warcraft and
Runescape. Mobile games examples include Flappy Bird as well as Brave Frontier. Examples of
multiplayer online battle arena games are League of Legends and DotA 2. These games are

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addictive due to the competitive nature of the games. They create a sense of belonging and for
good players a sense of superiority when comparing themselves to other players. There are
multiple stages to getting addicted to the games so most players may not notice that they are
going through the stages. The stages can begin when the player is first introduced to the game. At
first they dont think much of it, but as they continue playing the game they start gaining
confidence in playing and are gradually drawn in more as they get better and start believing that
they are superior to most of the other players, no longer treating it as much of a game but as a
way of living (NigaHiga). Players who become addicted and go through the stages in a gradual
manner do not see the addiction as a problem when confronted by friends and family. That is
why if warning labels were put on to alert players, they would be able to better confront their
problems and seek help form others in a quicker manner. While warning labels may not be the
most effective way to tell gamers of possible addiction, it is the least intrusive way to alert the
players and can be put on the box or during the loading screen. A more effective way would be to
pester the gamer while they are playing but that would make players lose interests.
In many countries such as South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, there are treatment
centers where addicts can go to get treated as well as educated. For example, to counter addiction
in the youth population in South Korea there is a midnight ban where underage players are
forced off their games as well as a policy that slows down the players connection if they have
been on for an extended amount of time (Bosker). This can help with addiction to games that
require an online connection as it can help those who cant get themselves off the computer to
sleep. Another way that South Korea tries to get their players off of their addiction is by forming
boot camps. The boot camps available are used to treat young addicts and are government
funded; they restrict the hours that the addicts can play as well as educating them on the dangers

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of playing too much (Rowe). Rowe also points out that [i]n the past five years gaming addiction
in South Korea has been linked to the deaths of at least 12 people, some of whom developed fatal
blood clots from sitting in front of their consoles for too long. Using statistical records of
gaming related deaths, gaming companies could use that information to help set further
restrictions in the games or help countries with a high player population form help groups to help
possible addicts learn limits when gaming.
If gaming companies were to make such support groups, it may help their relationships
between the addicts as well as those near the addict. By creating locations to help addicts get off
of their addiction, it can show that the companies care about the players of their games and not
just profits. For example, Final Fantasy XI included the following message we have no desire to
see your real life suffer as a consequence[,] [d]ont forget your family, your friends, your school,
or your work (Van Rooij, Meerkerk and Schoenmakers). Even though companies such as
Square Enix, who created Final Fantasy, have tried to advocate awareness in video game
addiction it is not enough of a warning. For the most part such warnings are dismissed by the
players and are not taken seriously as it is not seen as a real threat such as smoking or
alcoholism. A better way to alert players of the dangers of playing for extended periods of time
are to have little messages within the in-game text that do not intrude too much but noticeable
enough that players will see the message and get off. For example if players are playing a
multiplayer online battle arena game the company could tell players how long theyve been
playing since logging-in before they start another game in an attempt to get them to not play
another game and to do other things.
Gaming companies could also set restrictions on their games that can include a limit on
the duration that the game could play in one sitting or how long one can play in a week or day in

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general. Gaming companies dont need to focus on just restrictions; they could also put
incentives in to doing other things where an example of this would be Nintendo. Back in 2010,
Nintendo released Pokmon Heatgold/SoulSilver which came with a pedometer which would
allow players access to content away from the actual console while counting their steps. The
pedometer was known as the Pokwalker and had its own currency, the watt, that could be used
in the actual game where the currency would be earned by walking twenty steps which translate
to approximately one calorie (Bulbapedia). The game itself recommended players to walk about
10000 steps or 500 calories.
While these tactics may seem fine to non-gamers, those who actually play the games may
see the warnings as annoyances as they dont likely see the gaming as a problem. Most of the
time, the addict may see the game as a way to deal with the stress caused by their environment.
While in the short term the games may relieve stress, gamers will eventually add more stress if
they put off work that they should be doing instead of playing. As more stress builds up due to
the stacked workload they will delve further into gaming to get away from work. Gamers may
then say that the games are a hobby and a way to interact with their friends. However there is
more than one way to interact with their friends such as doing sports or going out and eating with
them. Players may also find ways to cheat the incentives, such as with the Pokwalker where
players could violently shake the pedometer to gather watts or find something that could activate
the sensor such as an old washing machine.
Gaming companies do not stress the warning of possible addiction for their games
enough. As a result there are many who fall into addiction to the games causing problems with
their everyday life such as school or work. Gaming companies also do not do much to try to help
the scenario sometimes leaving it to individual countries to help the addicts get out of their

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addiction. The stages to getting addicted to a game are so subtle that gamers do not realize the
problem and companies dont point it out. Gamers are never fully aware that they are addicted to
games. That is why more serious warnings and ways of getting help should be put out or funded
by the companies with locations set by the government.

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Works Cited
Bosker, Bianca. "South Korea Imposes Midnight Gaming Ban To Combat Addiction." Huffington Post 12
June 2010. 20 November 2014. <>.
Bulbapedia. Pokwalker. n.d. Web. 7 December 2014. <
King, Daniel L. and Paul H. Delfabbro. "Internet Gaming Disorder Treatment: A Review Of Definitions
Of Diagnosis And Treatment Outcome." Journal Of Clinical Psychology (2014): 942-955. Web.
20 November 2014.
NigaHiga. "Annoying Gamers." Youtube. Los Vegas: NigaHiga, 6 November 2014. Video. 14 November
Rowe, Raphael. "Can video gaming cross from innocent fun to addiction?" Panorama 6 December 2010.
Article. 20 November 2014.
Van Rooij, Antonius J., et al. "Video Game Addiction And Social Responsibility." Addiction Research &
Theory (2010): 489-493. Web. 20 November 2014.
Weinstein, Aviv Malkiel. "Computer and Video Game AddictionA Comparison between Game Users
and Non-Game Users." The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (2010): 268-276. Web.
20 November 2014.