Games can be addictive, huh?

Me ill in bed yesterday, image courtesy of my laptop's webcam

Whilst getting over lurgy that was undoubtedly the product of going to a children’s Birthday party at a local bowling alley on Saturday, I did watch BBC Panorama’s Addicted to Games? entry last night.

It “helpfully” ignored most other media incarnations of “addiction” or indeed obsession, and seemed to insinuate that games were the only media medium that people could become addicted to. Forget people who go insane over the X Factor, Football matches or the latest episode of Coronation Street and also spend lots of time on these at the expense of friends, families and jobs…

Corrie is only 12 years older than Pong. Soap operas are never demonised, yet games are.

Fellow BeefJack lovely, Lewis, has editorialised on the programme today over at BeefJack. And I completely agree with his views on the matter.

Perhaps what I found most annoying was that despite their efforts to highlight the gaming obsessed, at no point did Panorama look at those who don’t spend all their waking hours playing games i.e. most people. Y’know, people such as myself or my partner and just about every good friend I’ve got. So at no point did they consider how people may behave in a way that doesn’t lead to addiction, or have a kind of personality that doesn’t lend itself to addiction.

And why on Earth the makers of this programme seemed to think that going out and getting rat arsed drunk was an acceptable alternative to playing videogames, I will never know. It’s like saying, “Please replace your addiction with this addiction as it’s more socially acceptable.”

Also, there’s the main point, for despite the increasing popularity of games there are sections of society, who can speak rather loudly (i.e. the middle class serving press), that seem bent on portraying games as not “socially acceptable”. It’s Gothic novels all over again.

The programme also failed to pick up on the extreme lack of good parenting in many of the “addiction” cases. As Sam Jordan over at Nukezilla pointed out:

One mother failed to notice that her son was playing a videogame for 16 hours a day and only until he was smashing her house up did she become properly concerned, calling games “a dangerous tool in” in her home.

I’m not addicted to games, but I’m rather pissed off right now. Sigh.


5 thoughts on “Games can be addictive, huh?

  1. Quite frankly, the piece was a polarised example of how documentary can’t always be taken seriously.

    It’s obvious the presenter had an axe to grind, and even his body language while watching people playing computer games was closed and judgemental.

    Not to mention the fact that they didn’t discuss the reasons behind addiction – the fact that their lives obviously sucked and found grinding on WoW more fulfilling.

  2. Great post, Em! Also enjoyed the BeefJack piece by Lewis. I meant to watch last night, but completely forgot. Sounds like I didn’t miss much – where was the research? The facts? The case studies? A poor, inconclusive programme by the sound of it!

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