Having treated all types of addictions for more than 15 years, Orzack says there's little difference between drug use, excessive gambling and heavy game playing. And with millions of gamers hooked on mega-popular massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), she believes the problem is growing rapidly. In fact, Orzack says as much as 40 percent of World of Warcraft players are addicted to the game. TwitchGuru talks with Orzack to find out more about the issue of game addiction, and the effects of games like World of Warcraft
RW: When did you first begin to feel that video game addiction was a real problem?
Dr. Orzack: Well, 11 years ago, when I first started looking into this issue, everyone thought I was nuts. But if you fast forward to today, with all the amazing technological advancements, a lot of people now feel this is a real problem. I think things really began to change with video games around 1998 or 1999 with the rise of the Internet, and the introduction of some of the more well-known MMORPGs.
RW: How bad is the problem? What do you see today at the hospital's Computer Addiction Service?
Dr. Orzack: I'm pretty much swamped with people asking me for help. A lot of people are asking me to get help for their teenaged children, boyfriends, spouses and sometimes themselves.
RW: So more often than not, the addicted person isn't seeking help?
Dr. Orzack: That's correct. Usually, some type of intervention is needed. Video games used to be contained in arcades, so there were certain limits imposed on the amount of time that you could play them. Now, with the Internet and computers in most people's homes, it has become harder to control. (Emphasis mine.)
"Michael, we've all come together today to tell you that you need to stop. Go outside and get a girlfriend. For the love of God, go outside and get a smack addiction. Just stop...playing...Warcraft..."
The point is there is a balance. Some people just can't handle that. It shouldn't affect your work or ability to function. If you're not bathing and eating or you are skipping work to play. It's then a problem.
Guild Wars is the cure. Skill versus time played. In essence, its the way the game it made. Perhaps we should begin hunting down these developers for providing the addiction. The War against Computer Gaming Addiction.
Maybe there's a moral responsiblity on the side of the developers to create a business model that does not include endless hours of play to begin enjoying the game.
If she played WoW or any other good MMORPG, she would understand...
At least there is also chat involved. It is human interaction, just not face to face! It's a pity there aren't more girls playing out there. Would people still complain then?
There are a few WOW players in my extended family. I'm convinced that this game is going to drastically lower the pregnancy and STD rates among high school students over the next few years.
Considering how pale (and nerdy-looking) they likely are, I'm glad they're not going outside to have sex. It's fine if some people have a pasty nerd fetish, but I just don't swing that way.
These studies crack me up. Once I was at a party (tee hee), and I realized that I was so bored to death by the morons I was surrounded by that I wished I had been home and playing a video game instead. Note that I have had friends whose company I enjoyed very much and preferred to videogames, and similarly I have enjoyed playing online with some other people.
It's all a matter of the doctor's perception: When I am surrounded by fun people or total idiots at a party, I am considered normal. When I am home playing online (with/against idiots or fun people), I am considered a miserable addict. There's apparently not a chance that the much larger online pool of people could provide better company, either.
I agree with Koray, though in my case there's a bit more to it. I'm one of those borderline ASD people --probably very mild Aspberger-- and have difficulties with "real life" interaction with other folks (and no, I don't blame Mercury or Thimerosol or what have you. I do wonder about Neptune sometimes, tho...). Doesn't mean I don't like interacting with others; I just don't really know how to very well at all.
The virtual worlds in games like WoW and such filter out all the stuff that I can't interpret: body language, slight glances, subtle expressions and all that other non-verbal stuff that most people can track effortlessly. Within the limited, well-defined modes of interaction available, it's actually possible for me --someone who's always sat on the sidelines watching people but never really comprehending them-- to be truly social.
Ya know, maybe there's a worthwhile study in all that somewhere.
G Barnett: Sorry to hear that. However, you have to wonder what people with Aspergers did before the advent of computers. I don't think many of them forced themselves to mingle with the general population and got better at it. Chances are they were just inescapably miserable, read too many books and didn't show up on anybody's radar. Now you get to be truly social with your label.
Since body language is a more primitive form of communication, I am not sure it is going to remain all that important, either.
I've cured my MMORPG addiction at least three times(EQ, EQ2, WoW four if you want to count the miserable SWG). Now I'm waiting to start it again in January.
My wife will be so happy.
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