First of all, I noticed the presenter during the introduction had red eyes. I was left red in the face with anger by the end of the show.
My main issue with the show is that it does not do any research into whether games are addictive but instead pushes an anti-games agenda. The music is the likes of Prodigy, which of course is hard edged and obviously selected to give games a rather sinister feel. Throughout the show they do mention that there is no proof that gaming is addictive in the medical sense. In fact Ian Livingston provides an excellent response which Panorama followed up with “he is right to a point”, without detailing the “point” and where he was incorrect. Perhaps he was right up until the point at which he finished talking.
I completely agree that people can be addicted to games. If you have little social life (which face it, growing up many “geek sorts” can be like), gaming is always going to be an attractive option. Some games can have you hooked. I know that my Football Manager play times are insanely large and as with many titles, the “15 more minutes” or pushing for the next level/item can leep you coming back. However is it an addiction in the same manner as alcohol, smoking and drugs? You’ve gotta be kidding me. As far as I’m concerned, being addicted to games is similar to TV, MSN, Facebook and the Internet in general.
Simply saying these kids or people should “go out” isn’t always that simple. Where to? In modern society many things cost money nowadays, streets are packed with parked cars so you can’t have a kickabout and there’s all too often a “stand off” attitude of leaving kids alone for an entire day. As for adults, they do have more responsibility for their own behaviour but you can hardly walk down the street, make a few friends and find a girlfriend now can you? Going out by yourself is lonesome and no one would enjoy that. Of course work colleagues, clubs/social groups and the internet can help out here, but it isn’t always as easy as just putting down your controller and “going out”.
The solution is surely parenting? If a kid / teenager is left alone throughout the day, don’t complain when they become introverted. If parents are actively involved in their child’s life, they should be able to gain a greater understanding of what they are doing. This of course allows for you to act if they are becoming a little obsessive. I’m not suggestion regularly interfering, but have lunch at the table and ask about their day. Keep consoles / PCs in the lounge and be around to keep half an eye on whether they are playing. Oh and if life the kids on Panorama they stare at the screen for 2 hours without blinking, turn it off for fuck sake! If you’ve let it get that bad, major parenting fail. I’ve heard many cases where trying to restrict a child’s access to games has led to tempers flaring. I’m pretty sure as a kid I got in tempers because I was made to eat my veg, told to tidy up or wasn’t allowed any more sweets. Parents should take responsibility and control their kids, not just leave them be then whine about it when they are too far gone.
As for adults who play WoW for 12 hours a day, get a fucking life. Don’t blame the games. Don’t blame the industry. Don’t moan about lack of information / warnings. By the time you are 18-20, let alone 30+ you should be mature and intelligent enough to realise “I should stop playing about now” and show a little restraint. I couldn’t help but think that the people they interviewed about games addiction were just sad geeky tools. As far as I’m concerned, it is the individual’s fault for being chucked out of University. And if these sad bastards do waste their lives away, well thats maybe a result for the gene pool!
In fact I’ve been a little on the addicted side in the past, although not all that bad. However I have an addictive nature. I lose a lot of sleep from being hooked to TV shows and I am obsessed with football (my gf will testify to that!). Despite this I am able to cope without games quite happily, providing there is something else to do that I enjoy. Whilst growing up I was told to quit playing games when I’d been on for too long. Instead I was encouraged to go outside an play sports and of course, work hard at my school work. Since then I’m still massively into my gaming but with moderation. Social life does of course have an impact.
It was scary hearing about Korea. I was already aware of the issues, however again this is a social thing rather than games being to blame. The Panorama show did mention that gaming over there is treated like a sport with celebreties. There is a different mentality towards games and it has turned into a genuine major problem. Could the same happen in the UK? Sure, if we let it. However will that level of games addiction inevitably happen over here? No!
So, I’m not happy with the content of the show. It is nothing more than an attempt to once again publically lambust the games industry despite there being absolutely no genuine evidence to back up the bile being spouted. Naturally this isn’t a new thing for the BBC. I read a lot of their sports articles and it reeks of sensationalism and bias. Amazingly they even deliberately misquote individuals to create headlines… the BBC! I have seen a few other “investigative” shows by Panorama and they have always came across as preachy or attempting to provoke scandal from much ado about nothing. How about doing some proper investigative journalism for your show Panorama?
On a side note, I’m hooked on 24 right now. Has me staying up into the early hours craving one more episode. ZOMG TV shows are too addictive and Kiefer Sutherland is to blame for me sleeping in the other day! Wahhh Wahhh. Alternatively, I really ought to show more self-control. ^_^