Addicted to… games?

Definition? Addiction – ‘The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.’
Interesting how anything that you would call ‘addictive’ or when someone is ‘addicted’, it has bad connitations and that the word itself brings ideas of terrible things to come.
The previous posts about ‘Immersion’, ‘Simulacra’ and ‘Reality’ link really closely in with addiction and how addiction actually comes around. I think that the whole issue around addiction is created from this reality that we have formed. We ourselves and the media which we relay on so much upon these days have created this notion in our own heads that there is something around addiction and that there is actually an issue with addicition and the creative industry.
I do agree with the point around the Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) which are out today. With these sorts of games out people have become more and more into gaming, the reasons for this cary but the main point is that the game types are never the same. Because people are able to play with ‘real life’ people the games always vary and people’s reactions are different and un-planned unlike an AI in which it has already been pre-conditioned. Interestingly they see a form of a addection coming threw when players who play together are willing to evolve their ‘real’ life scheduale to their gamin experience, placing the MMORPG ahead of their ‘real’ world duties or needs.

The key issues that are put forward is that game addiction should be seen as an actual medical condition. That the creative industry (specifically the games industry) is demonosing youth culture, one Dr Richard Graham a child psychiatrist believes “it needs national recognition”. With the gaming world becoming more and more bigger, the industry is taking over people’s lives. “The global video games market is expected to grow from $52.5bn in 2009 to $86.8bn in 2014.” (Richard Wilson, Tiga chief executive). This issue of ‘addiction’ is creating a large amount of revenue just for the UK with it pulling in around ~£3 billion a year with it being one of the largest money earners for the UK.

The thing that I see with addiction and the games industry is that it is hard for people to not be addicted to the games that are craeted for the modern society. When looking at the theories put forward by Baudrillard, Branston & Stafford and Montola et al; I don’t see why it wouldn’t be hard for someone to become addicted. We have lost the sense of reality and within a game it defines what that reality is and forms a world that we can become familiar with. Within our own ‘real’ world we lose ourselves constantly within films, adverts and music, who can truly say that gaming addiction is an issue or even a medical condition?

Another side that one could argue is the one placed forward in terms of immersion within a game. You could say that immersion is passion and that desire to do whatever you want to do. With the drive to win or create or even destroy; that passion runs into complete immersion into a gaming environment that seem so realistic, you don’t even know where the gaming world ends. This would be a true interpretation of addiction, where the player cannot see what is real any longer. We all see this, after you play a game for so long you think about real life experiances but try to figure them out using the gaming world or when you believe that those gaming experiences you have had are real. This would again, link to Baudrillard’s idea of hyperreality.

One brilliant example of game addiction and how a gaming reality has become real. A world that has become so true that it is something tangible and now can be seen as a true skill…
Another point you can make from this, don’t mess with the Koreans when it comes to gaming.

An interesting arguement which speaks about addiction and this world that the world has created for gaming, he speaks alot about the world of the creative as well as things like the internet and downloading, modding.
His article on new breeds of gamers and games speak about 4 main points he sees around addiction; the points being Objection 1: It’s really rare, Objection 2: TV/music/books are worse, Objection 3: It’s the player’s fault/responsibility, Objection 4: Developers aren’t doing this on purpose. All four points I do agree with and he has some justifiable points, looking deeper into it, it seems that addiciton is uncontrollerable and for someone in the creative industry, we can do nothing but aim to make things that are entertaining and fun but not forget the responsability we hold to the people who are going to be using, playing and watching these things we create. Not using them in such a way that it only has been done to create revenue or use cheap tricks to submerge players.


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