January 23, 2007

Going Cold Turkey Against Video Game Addiction

The Charlotte Observer Health section has an interesting article on serving cold turkey to starve video game addiction.

I began to argue in the early 1980s that video games were addictive, and if the research to date is not completely clear on the subject, the anecdotal evidence is compelling, to say the least. More and more parents refuse to allow their children access to these nefarious devices, but most stories that come my way involve children who are already addicted.

"What do we do now?" their parents ask, to which I advise the most effective, albeit painful, of all anti-addiction programs: cold turkey.

[…] After initially complaining that her son was on the computer "pretty much every waking moment unless he was at school or work," and after I told her that she needed to take control where he had lost control, she and her husband lost their nerve and cut him back to four hours a day on school days and eight hours a day on weekends. No, seriously. She later admitted "I obviously am a total wimp" and "I feel really stupid about not having much backbone."

The cold turkey program proved to be a success in curing video game addiction after a single day. “We stuck to our guns,” says the mother of a 17 year old gamer. “The next day, he worked part of the day and was as pleasant and relaxed as can be for the rest of the evening.”

January 18, 2007

News of the world’s first level 70 character shocked the World of Warcraft community on Wednesday. Twenty-four year old French gamer by the alias Gawell played 28 frightening hours straight to beat the Burning Crusade expansion pack, a video game which experts predicted, “would take months to complete.”

Some gamers applauded such an achievement, while the disgruntled majority ridiculed Gawell as being a “loser” and having “no life.”

MAVAV has previously raised the threat level to red in preparation of the possible dangers, such as this, from the Burning Crusade expansion pack. This is a major concern for MAVAV, as Blizzard recently announced that the World of Warcraft surpassed 8 million players world wide. We urge all parents to be on high alert until further notice.

Related: Burning Crusade Gone Gold, Threat Level Red

December 29, 2006

A press release today confirmed that the Burning Crusade expansion to Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft has gone gold and is scheduled for release on January 16, 2007.

Blizzard Entertainment® announced today that World of Warcraft®: The Burning Crusade™ the highly anticipated expansion to the world's leading subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft, will be in stores on January 16 in North America and Europe. […] In addition, Blizzard today announced that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft has reached a new milestone, with 7.5 million players worldwide.

The Burning Crusade is to introduce a level cap from 60 to 70 which is known to take nearly several months of a player's life. We consider this a severe threat to children and teens, and are urging all parents to take extra precautions leading up to release day.

December 27, 2006

gearsofwar_achievements.gif

Researchers at the University of Rochester have found children and teens are addicted to video games to fulfill their psychological needs.

We think there's a deeper theory than the fun of playing," says Richard M. Ryan, a motivational psychologist at the University and lead investigator in the four new studies about gaming. Players reported feeling best when the games produced positive experiences and challenges that connected to what they know in the real world.

This discovery comes as no surprise to the video game industry, as they were the first to implement the exploitive “high score” system into its games to addict players.

December 22, 2006

Blizzard Removes Maintenance Breaks

Parents and friends of over 7 million World of Warcraft gamers were outraged today as Blizzard Entertainment revealed plans to remove its weekly maintenance downtime in favor of a no-interruption approach.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be testing the effect of a live maintenance, where regular maintenance tasks are run during off-peak with realms live. On Tuesday, December 26 there will be no scheduled downtime for weekly maintenance. We will perform all necessary maintenance tasks while the realms are live.

Blizzard’s weekly maintenance schedule along with its “rest experience points” system have long been criticized as ineffective precautionary measures to curb long hours of continuous gaming.

November 02, 2006

Reality by Eran "pyxelated" Cantrell

A truly shocking illustration of young boy’s unfortunate addiction to the popular massively multiplayer online video game World of Warcraft.

From the artist Eran "pyxelated" Cantrell:

First, World of Warcraft- and videogames in general- were not specific inspirations in the creation of this picture. Obviously these "total experience" VR goggles don't really exist. I was more concerned with escapism in general. Not just the fact that it is a pervasive facet of our culture, but the fact that it is downright EASY. It's easy to relate to it, because everyone escapes into something when they can't handle life. I, personally, used to escape into books to avoid my problems.

Books, videogames, drugs, food, TV- anything can be used as a tool for escapism. Videogames, and other such distractions, are not the cause of the problem, they are only a symptom. If efforts are to be made, it should be at the source of things- the very nature of our society, and of our species. By attacking the symptom, and not the problem, we compromise ourselves, our civil rights and the very cause that we hoped to accomplish in the first place.

Reality by Eran "pyxelated" Cantrell [deviantART]

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