There was a ‘documentary’ on the BBC the other night about the evils of game addiction. I didn’t see the whole thing but I caught part of it when I was down in the crew room at the interval, I’m not hugely convinced by the argument of ‘game addiction’, I think it’s one of those buzz words that’s used to get people up in arms over something they don’t understand. No one would mine if it was ‘sports addiction’ or ‘academic addiction’ but because we seem scared by the concept of computer games we have to find a way to attack it, especially as it’s popular.
Before I moved to London I worked in a local Blockbusters, the amount of parents who came in to rent games for their child without having any understanding of what they were renting was unbelievable at times. Often they’d be renting their 10yr old a game rated 15, or sometimes 18 rated. When this was pointed out to them they shrugged and said “it’s only a computer game”, I wanted to hit those people over the head with the game shouting “it has the rating for a reason! Would you rent a 18 rated film for your child to watch?!” I don’t even think ignorance is an excuse, I think it’s sheer laziness – all you need to do is take a passive interest in what your child is doing, read the box and look at the rating, if you’re still not sure look it up on the Parents BBFC website, it’ll tell you what you need to know about the rating (same goes for films).
Not only that but people should stop using computers and the TV to babysit their child, since you made the effort to breed you could make the effort to get to know your child and find common interests. Game with them, that’d be fun.
You could argue I have a ‘film addiction’, I love going to the cinema and get a real buzz out of the whole experience but because it’s a social event I don’t think anyone would dare start arguing ‘film addiction’, even if they knew I went on my own and preferred going on my own. It’s the same with gaming, I like the challenge and the buzz I get from playing the game but I don’t play social games such as ‘World of Warcraft’ so is it worse for me?
I had a quick look at my gaming hours, fortunately it can’t tell you how many hours I spent playing ‘The Sims 2’ as I never played it through Steam (phew), but it’s probably around the same time as STALKER… oh and it doesn’t know about ‘World of Goo’.
Just in case you’re thinking “hmmm, that doesn’t seem like many games” I have an xbox, it doesn’t tell you how many hours I’ve been playing but I have completed: ‘Assassins Creed’ (63%), ‘Fallout 3’ (50%), ‘Fable II’ (37%), ‘Half Life 2’ (25%) and ‘Dragon Age: Origins’ (32%) but only the core game.