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Posts with tag addictive

Jace Hall tackles media coverage of WoW addiction

Jace Hall is well-known for his comedy videos, but apparently he can also be a pretty serious dude when he wants to be. In a recent blog entry, the internet funnyman talks about a recent piece on "internet addiction" by CNN personality Campbell Brown.

Addiction is a tough topic, and WoW is an easy sell as a scapegoat. Like any activity you love, if you feel passionately about it, you should fight for its proper representation. Jace certainly is.

His stance on addiction:
"It is my opinion that human beings are capable of creating destructive relationships and associations with almost anything. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is a fundamental trait of the human condition. This trait can occasionally direct people toward the use of escapism. Sometimes this can be a necessary mode of survival and very healthy – other times is can lead to counterproductive personal and social behavior.

What that means is that, YES, someone can get so involved in watching movies, or reading books, or tweaking their myspace page, or surfing, or playing games, or swimming or drinking, or using drugs, or having sex, or ANYTHING THAT THEY FIND USEFUL TO ESCAPE WITH, that they actually begin to ignore other important aspects of their lives and it becomes a real problem."
Hall laments that news organizations and personalities seem eager to paint activities they're unfamiliar with or don't understand, like WoW, as unique and dangerous forces in addiction then countless other activities. Among those with addictive personalities or social difficulties, any activity can become addictive, and this particular report, he says, is pure fear-mongering "based ultimately on conjecture."

My personal opinion on these matters is that it's difficult to pin "WoW addiction" on any particular source, and that usually, like Jace says in his article, there are circumstances that extend far outside of the game that can cause these problems.

Filed under: News items

German Social Affairs minister calls for higher rating on World of Warcraft

Germany is reeling from a shooting rampage committed by a 17-year-old, and as happens in many of these situations, politicians are looking for answers to why a young man would do this to his community. One of the answers they've found so far is videogames. While we don't actually know if the young man played games or not (or what he played), Germany's Minister for Social Affairs Mechthild Ross-Luttmann is calling for a few games, World of Warcraft among them, to be moved up from an age 12+ rating to an adults-only classification.

The tie between the shooter and WoW is slim. But a new study over there says that 50,000 to 60,000 minors could be classified as addicted to videogames. And the combination of the two events is causing Ross-Luttman to call for stronger ratings on "addictive" games like World of Warcraft. It's also interesting to note that in the US, the game is rated T by the ESRB, which actually calls for children 13 and up to play it, one year older than the German standard.

But of course there are two conclusions here. First, every parent needs to take responsibility for what their younger children do: if these kids are addicted, parents need to step in and make sure things get straightened out. As a former employee of a gaming retail store, I can tell you that ratings only go so far. The responsibility has to lie with the parents. And secondly, while Ross-Luttmann is apparently using the shooting to try and push this agenda against addiction, the young man involved in the shooting was experiencing deep depression, and had access to firearms that he probably shouldn't have had. Changing game ratings is fine, but it won't do anything to help when you've got much bigger problems to deal with first.

[via GamePolitics]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

Swedes say WoW is as addictive as crack

We've heard a few horror stories from Sweden already about excessive WoW-playing there -- we've reported on a 15-year-old collapsing after not taking any breaks, and we've even heard from a teacher in that country who's targeted World of Warcraft as a challenge to her students' attention. But now one group up there is claiming it's an epidemic -- the Youth Group Foundation has released a report comparing the game itself to cocaine, and says that of all the game addiction cases they've encountered, World of Warcraft has played a part in every one.

Obviously, here at WoW Insider, we're fans of the game, and it's hard to blame an inanimate object like a computer for serious problems in someone's life -- while World of Warcraft is one of the easiest ways an addictive personality can manifest itself, millions of people around the world are able to play it and maintain healthy lives and relationships.

Still, if you're playing World of Warcraft (or doing anything else) so much that it's affecting your health or social life, it's time to stop and/or get help from an organization like this. We won't blame the game for causing someone to pass out (common sense says that doing anything for 15 hours straight isn't good for you) or do poorly in school, but if either of those things are happening to you, in Sweden or anywhere else, because you're playing the game, then cut it out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves

WoW Insider's preview of PopCap Games' Bejeweled addon


As anyone who's ever stayed up late for a raiding or grinding session will tell you, World of Warcraft is already an addictive game. About the only thing you could do to make it more addictive is have a game company like PopCap Games (they make some of the most popular casual games around, from Bejeweled to Bookworm to Peggle) stick one of their time-wasters in an addon. And so when PopCap came to WoW Insider earlier this week to tell us that they're planning to do just that, our minds understandably exploded.

They sent us a beta version, and for the past few days, we've wasted as much time in Azeroth as in real-life. That's not exactly true -- I've been leveling up my fishing and cooking lately, and the addon has been really helpful with all of the downtime and flight time (even if I do miss catching a cast every once in a while because I'm on a big streak). After the break, read more about just how the free Bejeweled addon (to be released later this week from PopCap) will devastate all of your formerly empty downtime in Azeroth, and check out our gallery to see the beta version of Bejeweled being played on the live realms.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Add-Ons, Screenshots, Galleries, Achievements

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