Tuesday, July 05, 2005


An article
on Yahoo that describes a video game addiction treatment facility in China.

When I read articles such as the previous one, I wish my thoughts tended more toward compassion for those described therein instead of this: "Great, now the anti-video game crusaders will have more fuel for their propaganda mills."

Because there are many conclusions to reach and none admit to one-sidedness.

It would be a harsh mistake to conclude that video games "are bad for you."

Teetotallers facilitate the shifting of responsibility to alcohol instead of keeping it squarely on the drinker. By their unbending dogma they forgive poor impulse control and anthropomorphize liquor - it becomes the scapegoat. The same pattern is repeated in every kind of restrictive reactionary movement, the cart is put before the horse - rock and roll makes your kids angry and contrary, heroin makes you steal, miniskirts will lead to teenage sex.

Being influenced is not an excuse. If we were strictly passive receivers, and some are more passive than others, then some argument could be made for lack of will. But we aren't. Having weak integrity doesn't allow you to bow to pressure without accepting responsibility for your actions.

We are creatures of habits and routines and, yes, addictions. We form dependencies because we have an intense relationship with objects and processes and society. Addictions are extreme examples of dependency - without our addiction we suffer and wither and scream and break.

I used to be addicted to a substance called nicotine. I'm long over the physical addiction by several months. But it's hard to remember a day when I didn't want a cigarette at least once, when I daydreamed about going to the store and buying just one pack. This is one tough monkey.

I wonder if I'm addicted to video games. Or the internet. I don't think I am. When I'm away from those things, certainly I consider them longingly. Then I get over it and do something else, find something else to occupy my brainspace.

Please read "Future Shock."

We are seeing video games permeate society at a remarkable rate. They are becoming ubiquitous, often before society has considered their implications, debated their merits and shortcomings and synthesized them into their media conception. They are increasing in sophistication and complexity, growing better at capturing attention and evoking emotion. It's hard to think of them anymore as "diversions," something to glance at now and then.

Acceptance is a good first step. There will always be naysayers and doomsayers.

The sad truth of any human endeavor is that it incorporates ourselves in its matrix - our needs and wants, our primal behaviors, our higher longings, our realizations and questions and attention-seeking and desire.

And our dependency.

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