*The month of February is most popularly known as being the month in which Valentines Day co-exists with a holiday dedicated to a stack of dead presidents.
Circle of Life theorists no doubt rejoice and hold massive parties on the savanna (in the shadows of Pride Rock) during this prelude to spring. A sweeping trend in both the mainstream and gaming presses this month (2/06) has been on the topic of gaming addiction. Long the whipping boy for politicians and presidential candidates, vide games have once again come to the forefront of the pathetically bored American Press. Love, candle-lit dinners for two, and discounted cars are all topics for another time and place. The topic of gaming addiction rules the day, and I wish to wade forth into this “dreaded” territory. I will warn you dear reader, we are about to enter a virtual abyss of stupidity. So please pull up a chair, and continue this adventure below.
Every new form of media has been met with intense scrutiny by the generations introduced to them. Radio at one time was probably called a great evil; television, a sign of the impending apocalypse. Scrutiny and distrust generally apply to the nouns we have failed to be properly introduced to. Nearly a decade since the inception of videogaming, the mainstream press continues to poke, prod, and accuse a media format they themselves know nothing about.
On the almighty chopping block of media’s grand altar, World of Warcraft (WoW) is actively being examined. Known for destroying many a marriage, this massively multiplayer online (MMO) game has claimed the lives of nearly 8 million subscribers. I don’t think that addiction is the problem here. I believe that the outcries from small African governments, who quake in fear over WoW’s powerful economy, have become too great for the media to ignore. In an age in which Hollywood often sets the political tone of the nation (or so they would like to think), WoW is soon to be the next campaign against Aids or even Darfur. Whispers that I have personally heard from the Internet (yes, it talks to me) have even gone as far to say that Al-Qaeda has integrated the games leveling concepts into their terrorist training camps. Addiction should clearly be the media’s last worry in the face of the global threat that is the World of Warcraft behemoth.
In closing, videogames indeed can be addictive. Although I would argue that they are just as addictive as any other hobby or recreation. Moderation and self-control are key to living. So wise up dear readers and learn to control yourselves! Otherwise, the government might soon be doing that for you…but that is a topic for another day.
*A note to our readers: This article was originally written/ posted to JBG in February of 2006.