PS3 News: Will Anyone Say It? Online Gaming Is Obviously Addictive - PS3 News

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Will Anyone Say It? Online Gaming Is Obviously Addictive

We need to stop dancing around this. Seriously.

In the news recently was the story of an Ohio teen who had to be hospitalized after collapsing "multiple times" during a four-day Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 marathon. Dehydration was apparently the surface culprit, but the clear underlying culprit seems clear: Addiction.

It's a nasty word and one I hate to use in association with video games, because ever since the 80s, we gamers had to suffer the constant ignorant accusations from clueless parents and members of the mainstream. The #1 most annoying belief was that video games were essentially crack and anyone who played them was instantly addicted. Having a psychology degree and knowing a little something about the term, I know "addiction" is a very strong and serious word and it almost never applies to someone who likes to play video games.

But there is a caveat. Whenever I get on my soapbox and try to explain to the out-of-touch majority that gaming is really no different than movies or any other form of entertainment, and is no more addictive than those other mediums, I have to step back and make an admission. And it's this- Online multiplayer gaming has proven to be very addictive. The only true forms of addiction I've ever heard of have involved games with names like Everquest and in general, I am firmly convinced that MMOs are far more addictive than any other type of video game.

And now Call of Duty is the most popular name in the industry today and literally millions of hours are lost to it worldwide. Of course, 99.9% of those hours (if not more) focus on the online multiplayer portion. I have never seen regular ol' casual or single-player-oriented gamers lose a fraction as much time to those who focus on MMOs or online multiplayer in general. I mean, it's not even close. If you ever find an actual case of video game addiction, I will bet every penny I own that the source of the addiction will involve multiplayer in some capacity.

You may start seeing this evidence in future studies as well. The most hardcore gamers out there won't be found collapsed somewhere because they just kept playing Final Fantasy VII over and over. Perhaps it's just as simple as that: Online multiplayer never ends. And because it never ends, people don't stop. Could it really be that simple? Perhaps it is. But I do know this- If you find someone who loves to play games, and they basically only do single-player, the chances of that person being truly addicted to the hobby are slim to none. If, on the other hand, that person spends all his time playing online, regardless of the game... Sadly, I'd say the chances have risen steeply.

That kid's mother took away his Xbox 360, by the way. She didn't need to do that. Just kill the Internet connection and I guarantee that'll cure him.

Tags: gaming, video games, online gaming, multiplayer gaming

8/8/2012 8:43:08 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (42 posts)

Temjin001
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 9:54:01 PM
Reply

It's crazy reading about things like internet cafe deaths and stuff. I don't really know what the boundary is for addiction. When WoW started to hit it's stride I tried to get into it with friends. I got about 50 hours of time in and then just lost interest. Other friends and people I know personally, found their favorite genre. Sometimes I think they're excessive, but I don't really know about that. They seem healthy, maybe lacking some clear focus.

Another friend of mine stopped playing video games because he didn't want it to be a distraction in life. But in it's place he just watched more movies ( he was also a movie buff). No time was really saved, the void was filled with something equally as "lost" or "wasted." Personally, I don't understand how people can watch two movies back to back (unless we're talking Star Wars or LotR =p THat's hard for me to do.

But anyway, more to the online stuff. While these sort of stories cause me to want to attack multiplayer gaming, I think there's a lot to consider. I do think MMO's and the thrill of competitive online games can bring out the worst in some people. But I also think there's a good many, probably the vast majority who know where their priorities are. I hope anyway.

WoW has had over 10 million active players for a long time, and other MMO's have a big draw as well. And COD's and FPS games in general draw in gamer's by the millions. If gamers prefer playing online over single player games, fine. I suppose that makes them the more marketable, more attractive game type.

Personally, I like online games. I like fighting games online, specifically. For me action games exhaust me after 30-60mins, especially fighters. I do feel the most videogame fullfillment from my bouts online. It's pure game play. And it's mono y mono skills that draws out a lot of excitement in me. I love walking away from great matches, hopefully learning just a bit more, becoming just a bit sharper, and wiser in play. The game play does feel infinitely rewarding.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:04:59 PM

For it to be addiction, it has to impede progress in your daily life. It has to affect your health and usually means you can't keep a job. It's a real sickness, which is why it's rare.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 11:52:54 PM

thankfully that doesn't sound like me, Ben =)
I find video games to be a good way to take breaks. I'd be sad if they weren't around.

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xenris
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 9:44:40 AM

I don't hold a degree in psychology, however my dad has been practicing for 30 or so years. He often does interviews on our local tv stations and he has done a number of them on video games. As local kids have died as a result of video game abuse. What I seem to remember him saying in most of his talks was that it was more of a process addiction, like shopping or gambling in that you become addiction to a pattern or process of doing something. However there isn't a chemical or drug keeping you doing it. Outside of the chemicals you release in your body from completing the process.

I would think there are degrees of addiction. I know the severe qualities of someone who is addicted to say cigarettes. But I think the subtlety of video game addiction is what is scary.

I went through a phase when I was a teen where I would not hang out with friends because I wanted to play a game, but I would tell them I was busy with something else. I had other friends who did it too. While it didn't effect my health because I became aware of it and realized real life wasn't all that bad, it did affect my social life, and marks in school.

I definitely think people get addicted to video games more than just the extreme cases we see or hear about that result in death or near death. Although the degree of the addiction is less severe, and I suppose not a TRUE definition of the word, but can be a problem none the less.

On a different topic I became addicted to exercise and it DID effect my health. I just constantly pushed myself, and the sad part was everyone around me just thought I was a hard worker. Until I crashed from severe over reaching. I think what I'm trying to say is you can get addicted to all sorts of things but they might never get out of control like a substance addiction, but that if you don't become aware of what your doing whether thats on your own or someone close brings it up, then you might spiral down that path.



Last edited by xenris on 8/9/2012 9:45:23 AM

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Temjin001
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 10:59:44 AM

more poeple should be addicted to excersize ;)

I've been hitting the gym hard for the last several weeks, mostly weight training. Best shape I've been since my early twenties.
And btw, Wheat protien isolate may be cheap, but it tastes like liquid death. never get it. and I'm not one of those Muscle Milk creme puffs who turn their nose up at anything that doesn't have like 10 grams of fat per serving =p

Last edited by Temjin001 on 8/9/2012 11:00:24 AM

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xenris
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 12:27:52 PM

Good job Temjin!!! It is true I think most people would be better off addicted to exercise than what we have now >.< I was just stating how ANYTHING can get out of control.

I would say stick to just good old fashioned milk if your not lactose intolerant, just make sure its really good quality. Or if your feeling really squirelly you can try goat or sheep milk, as they are easier to digest and rich in protein as well. I personally think most protein powders are a waste of money. I only have one as a back up in case I can't get a good meal in, and its a vegan blend(not that I'm vegan) because I can't do dairy, or whey as I don't gots the mutation for it :P It makes my head ache really bad.

Good on you for exercising though. I love hearing people getting more active its always awesome.

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Temjin001
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 2:23:38 PM

thanks. and I'll keep drinking my expensive powders that tell me I'll gain 10 lbs of rock hard muscle directly to my arms and chest =p

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:13:13 PM

Having no life and being addicted are two very different things.

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cLoudou
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:36:48 PM

In your opinion.

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:56:04 PM

That's a pretty good opinion. I mean Ben did say in another comment that addiction would somehow impede on your daily life. I mean if you devote most your days to playing games, surely everyone can agree that's keeping anyone from being productive.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:21:44 PM

It's not being singled out. It was a news story in the media that inspired the article.

And as far as I'm concerned, the only reason CoD is so popular is because in truth, its online multiplayer is, for some people, a drug. Thousands upon thousands of hours for lone individuals. Skyrim wouldn't boast 1/100th of those hours.

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cLoudou
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:25:56 PM

I don't think Ben is singling out COD as the main culprit. He was just using it as an example because of its popularity will have a greater effect.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 11:53:48 PM

who's that avatar? Looks like Cypher from VIrtual On. sort of.

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 1:48:42 AM

If you keep count you will find that World Of Warcraft is much, much more often mentioned in these regards than COD is.

I guess Ben use COD as an example instead simply since this is a console centric site, and COD arguably is the largest online game for consoles.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/9/2012 1:50:25 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:47:24 PM

It's sort of important, especially when it comes to kids and the sheer number of kids who play Call of Duty.

And you're absolutely right that junk food is addictive. The excessive salt and fat is basically what does it.

And you don't want to ask me if those things should be available....as far as I'm concerned, junk food is essentially killing us (and also turning us into prescription junkies) and should disappear. I don't think we need anything that has no redeeming value.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 11:42:56 PM

Prohibition only never works once a product reaches a certain attachment point with people. We're too stupid to let it go, so of course banning it won't do anything...because addiction is playing a role.

We know what's bad and what isn't. We all do. There's nowhere near as much gray area as some people want us to believe.

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xenris
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 9:58:54 AM

I agree people should look at the junk food. Over half of the things in grocery stores should be banned, let alone fed to children who are trying to develop their bodies and minds.

As a fitness trainer and coach, I am really passionate about the food I eat and try to eat everything from scratch. Basically I haven't eaten anything from a package in about 8 years except for stuff that is clean like, organic baked corn chips that have 3 ingredients or something like that you know. But everything else is pretty much veggies, brown rice, barley, clean organic meats, fruit etc all locally purchased from farmers I know around here.

Problem is how ben says it. You can't just remove things passed a certain attachment point. It goes for everything from food to cigarettes.

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kraygen
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:39:12 PM
Reply

I agree, but sadly the main stream media will turn this into a "look gaming is evil" campaign and ignore the reality that different people become addicted to different things.

I don't find it surprising, as gaming becomes more popular I'm sure we'll hear of more and more cases like this. Not everyone is an addict, but some of us are and some of us just haven't found our "drug" yet.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 10:48:15 PM

Use your own junk food description. It can be addictive and oh yes, it's definitely evil, I say.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 11:44:51 PM

I agree that we shouldn't be told what we can and can't do, and can and can't like.

But what if we reach a point where an entire society is quite literally killing itself? I wonder.

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telly
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 10:59:32 AM

It's an unpleasant question -- very few people like the idea of government stepping into their lives and telling people what they can or can't do about anything, let alone video games -- but if it becomes a serious public health issue, I think you have to consider reasonable measures to protect people from themselves.

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duomaxwell007
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 11:11:42 PM
Reply

offline gaming is just as addictive as online games... for example if you cant/wont go out to look for work because youd rather stay home and play games all day or youd call out sick from work to play the newest (single player online) game that came you that day... what do you call that is not addiction?

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cLoudou
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 12:17:28 AM

Which is the point Kuroyukihime was trying to make except he/she (sorry) made SP sound like the greater of the two evils

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 1:46:16 AM

No it isn't. It simply is not.
There is an ocean of difference between calling in sick the day after a big release of an offline game, and to have your entire life in ruins and suffer from intense and utterly real withdrawal symptoms.

One is merely enthusiasm. The other is a sickness.

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ProfPlayStation
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 3:39:48 AM

As Ben pointed out in the article, this is a misusing of the term "addiction." Addiction is something which creates a physical need that a person may be unable to control, or have extreme difficulty in breaking away from it. It is a serious condition which people trivialize when they call people "addicted" because they play games for a couple of hours.

Not looking for work because you'd rather play video games is simply laziness and unbalanced priorities.

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duomaxwell007
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 7:24:12 AM

well according to someone i had a similar argument with about a month ago ... even goin as far as saying "if youre not sitting in a corner having withdrawls because you havent gamed in a week then its not addictive" he claims ANYTHING that releases endorphin in the brain is addictive, that includes drugs, alcohol, video games and even food.

But answer this question then.. what about those people who play everquest hours and days on end that started off "perfect" before they started played but when they started they couldnbt stop and ended up quitting their jobs and neglecting thier wives and children, or what about the guy that killed himself over it.... what would yuo call that? addiction or laziness?

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ProfPlayStation
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 10:10:50 AM

"when they started they couldnbt stop and ended up quitting their jobs and neglecting thier wives and children"

Yes, that would be addiction. When the activity in which you feel a compelling need to indulge (not a want--a need) causes negative effects in your life and you can't break away from it.

That's different from saying: I don't want to go to work, I'd rather game because it's so much fun. I'm not addicted to the beach if I decide to quit my job so that I can go there every day to enjoy the sun. I'd be irresponsible, not addicted.

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duomaxwell007
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 5:12:01 PM

well when I say "theyd rather stay home and play games then work" I dont mean they literally SAY that.. in that case yes youre right that is laziness or priorities being messed up... what I mean is say the allure of getting up in the morning and playing video games til they get sleepy the following night is so fun, appealing to them that they lack the mental will to be able to tell/force them selves "ok its about time to turn this off and maybe look for work as i SHOULD be doing" that would be an addiction right?

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Snaaaake
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 3:12:01 AM
Reply

It can be addictive, firstly, if you keep getting great score you'll want to keep it up till god knows when.
Second, if you keep getting killed you'll keep on trying till you're satisfied and then go back to the first option.
The thing is, you gotta KNOW how to control yourself.

To be honest here, I can game for days if I choose to but I don't and never will.
My longest record stands at 26 hours straight, was still in school that time and my family all went abroad for holiday while I chose to stay at home.
Called in delivery from Pizza Hut and played Maple Story all day, started at 6am, looked at the clock at times to make sure I take my lunch and bath.
Didn't care about sleeping at all until 5am next day, keep telling myself I''ll go to sleep after this quest but I didn't.
I eventually stopped and go to sleep, don't how I did it but I did.
After turning off my PC and it was 8am, I was like," My goodness, felt like I just vibrate my body at lightspeed."
And that was the first and last time I ever did a marathon.
My advice, DON'T EVER DO A VIDEO GAME MARATHON EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU CAN.

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ProfPlayStation
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 3:24:18 AM
Reply

I wholeheartedly agree with the article, with one exception: I don't believe that it's the never ending element of online games which causes real addiction. After all, Skyrim essentially never ends, yet that does not inspire the kind of life wrecking behavior that online games can cause.

I think it has much more to do with online games creating a feeling that you MUST be there, for your guild, your team, your ranking, whatever. Online games--MMOs in particular--are specifically structured so as to create this feeling, that your presence is required at all times. Single-player games do not function this way.

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Beamboom
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 4:12:47 AM

You are absolutely right. It pretty ironic that is in fact is the human element of online gaming that creates the addiction.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/9/2012 4:13:25 AM

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Excelsior1
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 3:51:17 AM
Reply

Ask me this question before that month long PSN outage and I might have answered differently because I did not realize I was addicted to online gaming yet. After about 3 days of no MP with my friends I started to get quite annoyed. I wasn't curled in a ball rattling like some junkie but I sure the hell missed the rush of adreniline one gets going up against live human competition.

For me, there are few gaming experiences that rival the thrill of going up against high level competition in an online game. There are some extremely high level and talented online gamers out there that can humble you pretty damn quickly if you can't adapt and think on your feet quickly. Temjin mentions above that he loves walking away from great matches hopefully learning a bit more. That is exactly how I feel and like he says it is very rewarding.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 8/9/2012 3:52:43 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 4:11:43 AM
Reply

Online gaming is addictive, there is no question about it. But claiming it is the only form of addicting within the media is pulling wool over your eyes. Heck I even admit it myself I find myself playing games for 7 hours at a time, while I couldn't watch a movie or read a book for that long.

Take Trophies for another example, I know I used to be addicted to getting them now I'm over the 1'500 point they're losing interest. But look at the new MGS4 trophy patch, it requires you to get all of the emblems, that is at least 10 playthroughs which require specific tasks like Chicken playing for over 35 hours. I just platinumed all the MGS HD collection, so I feel I really have to get this one done too. But then I also feel that way as MGS is one of my favourite gaming series (second only to Final Fantasy).

Then you look at a lot of formulas of games. Even back to platformers like Crash Bandicoot, which you can complete by just beating all the levels, but when you have all the Gems and Relics too, it just never feels enough. Or GTA with is hidden packages/pigeons - I am sure I am not the only one who couldn't be bothered and used a walkthrough. But I still felt a need to do it.

What makes a game more addictive is the interactivity. You get from it what you put in. Now when I get a new RPG like Final Fantasy I want to explore absolutely everything. which at times can lead up to over 100 hours. But for a game (especially RPG's) we love sidequests, it adds more value to the game. Look at XIII, everyone even complained when the sidequests were reduced to monster hunts.

As for online, I have to admit it's not something I ever took seriously, I just got bored of killing people in deathmatches. Though I did clock 200 hours on Metal Gear Online as that allowed more much more interactivity and fun. But I never cared for leveling up my rank and whatever else.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 4:33:28 AM
Reply

I was absolutely addicted to FFVII and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater on the PS1. with FFVII I stopped going to school and lost my job before I realized "ok enough is enough". Then I got THPS and boy did that one hook me, I spent hundreds of hours playing just the two boards the Warehouse and Chicago Tournament. I got so good at those two boards that I went down to OU, OSU, and Kent and played against what they called their best players and crushed everyone one of them by at least 100,000 points. It didn't help that I had a dealer of a certain powdery substance living with me at the time, as we would stay up for days at a time playing that game. I used to love all the college kids who would drive upwards of 3 hours because they thought they could beat me, I even remember how dozens of people would gather at my house to gamble on the matches as well... For how bad I was at the time they sure were good times :)

Then the only online game that I got addicted too was Battlefield 2: Modern Combat. The difference with that one is I was able to keep my job, however I got sick all the time because I would rarely sleep. I also bought the game like 6 months after it came out and let it sit on my shelf for another 6 months before I played it, once I started playing it I didn't touch another game for well at least 3500 hours of playtime. I ended up being in the top 100 worldwide and in the top 30 for the Engineer class, which I still consider my best gaming feat since I started playing a year after most people.

Now I don't get addicted to any games, luckily through all the mistakes with addiction that I have made over the years, I have become pretty self aware and notice these things before they get out of control.

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ethird1
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 5:33:03 AM
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COD Black Ops 2, is going to rule the planet.

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Solid Fantasy
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 5:36:21 AM
Reply

To be optimistic, if everyone started taking the time to make this distinction we could see single players taking less of a back seat in the long term. I can't play a match online for more than a hour at best. So I like to think I'm immune, but I certainly understand how online gaming could suck you in.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 7:34:24 AM
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Addicted? What? Nooo....I can quit whenever I want!

...I just don't want to right now :p

I'll be honest, there is one game where I have devoted well in excess of 600 hours to, and that's the online portion of Uncharted. But I think it's just because it's so damn good, rather than being addicted to it. I believe so, anyway.

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tridon
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 8:16:37 AM
Reply

By looking at my brother and the shakes he gets when he can't be online with Battlefield 3, I'd say it's definitely addictive. That said, I've tried online gaming multiple times with titles like Uncharted 2 & 3, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty 4, Burnout: Paradise and more and I can honestly say that I have zero interest in it. I do enjoy the occasional game of Battlefield 1943, but that's about it. I'd take a single-player story-based adventure over MP any day of the week. I do miss offline co-op play, though. Sucks that I can't sit down and play a racing game with a friend unless anymore.

Last edited by tridon on 8/9/2012 8:18:26 AM

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xenris
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 10:04:30 AM
Reply

I think that online video games definitely have addictive qualities. Filling up an XP bar, unlocking things, prestige ranks, that good feeling you get when you dominate in a match etc.

All these things create the perfect environment for people to get addicted. Its that classic carrot on the stick set up and it works brilliantly.

But like everything its up to us to become aware of our problems and be honest with ourselves. To teach our children boundaries and good ethics so they will be less likely to be sucked into these addictive games.

Its not the games fault even though they do use sneaky tricks to lure you to play, it is ultimately up to the person in this case, whether or not they continue to stagnate their life because of video games.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 10:50:09 AM
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I admit to some fear when I hear somebody really digs World of Warcraft because my mind just goes "Okay this person is a different kind of gamer" I know it isn't always true but yeah there are stereotypes within stereotypes that may have some truth to them.

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THEVERDIN
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 12:57:05 PM
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As my dad would've said DUMB ASS!!!!!!

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JonnyR
Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 4:31:06 PM
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okay lets just take it as fact that online gaming can be very addictive. That doesnt excuse gamers (and the parents of young gamers) from excersising a little social responsibility.

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