Sunday, January 27, 2008

Killer video games

We all know that it’s said that videogames kill, they cause us to kill others and act violently. We discussed this in the post about videogame violence, but what about violence done to ourselves because of videogames? If you’re not familiar with the story there was a man in South Korea who died from online gaming after playing for 50 hours with no breaks. Are people becoming so addicted to video games that they are literally dying from it?

The story of the 28 year-old Man dying in an internet café may seem a little extreme but as I looked more into this I found that there or more incidents of people collapsing from prolonged videogame playing. One tragic story that I ran across was of 21 year-old Shawn Woolley who shot himself minutes after playing Everquest, the same online game that the South Korean man had died from. Shawn Wolley’s story is a little different though, the article I read explains that Shawn Woolley had quit his job, isolated himself from his family, and on Thanksgiving morning of 2002 Shawn had shot himself to death.

I think videogame addiction is real, personally, I don’t play games that you have to invest hours and hours in. I love videogames and there are plenty of games that I have days of my life invested in. I think for Final Fantasy X I have at least 60 hours logged in for that one game. This pales in comparison to most gamers but to me that is two and a half days of my life that is gone. I do have to admit that I’ve never sat down for a 50 hour marathon of videogames but even though I know some have died from it, it does sound somewhat enticing.

The question remains then, do videogames kill? There is no straightforward answer to this question. Like any addiction is it the substance that kills? Or is it the people who abuse the substance that kill themselves? As I have said before I think people make their own decisions. Videogames might have an addicting quality to it but I would not compare it to the addictiveness of an opiate. If the people who play these games realize that they have spent at least 24 hours in one session playing a game maybe they should reevaluate what they are doing with their lives. Easier said then done I guess.

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