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Gaming Addiction Not About Enjoyment

Just about anything can be addictive. But recently, experts have examined the addictive quality of video games, and Professor Dmitri Williams unveiled some results at last week's GDC. Williams, one of the leading minds in the gaming realm, was an expert witness at the U.S. Senate on the constitutionality of game banning laws, and referenced research by A. Fleming Seay in terms of game addiction.

Seay defines addiction as a "problematic use" of a product, and when an "entertainment product dominates and displaces other behavior, causes conflict, and not playing causese anxiety." While there are those of us who just say, "hey, just stop," others realize just how damaging addiction - any addiction - can be. Ironically enough, Seay also found that those who suffered from "problematic use" of video games weren't actually playing a game they liked. In fact, it was just the opposite. He believes the victim would simply perform the same actions over and over again to satisfy the addiction, but they drew no pleasure from those actions.

After citing this work, Williams stated that he believed we should start looking into gaming addiction and "problematic use" before the afflictions really take hold. As he said, "Coming up with a solution to that is better than sitting in front of Congress in ten years." Well, while we don't really know anyone who might suffer from true-blue gaming addiction, we certainly have to agree with that comment.

3/12/2007 Ben Dutka

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