Addicted to Games?

March 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Addicts exist in all forms of society, be it alcohol, gambling or video games. Video game addiction is the latest to pop up in the media as being a great concern for today's youth. According to some studies, nearly 10% of American youth (ages 8-18) are clinically addicted to playing video games.

Should you, parents and authorities be concerned?

According to one study, approximately 23% of youth felt they personally were addicted to video games, while 44% claiming their friends are addicted. Assuming that addiction is generally a negative phenomenon, these youth are concerned about themselves and their peers.

Potential negative eddects of video game addiction are:

Detachment from reality

Gamers who spend many hours playing games are by definition not paying attention to what is happening in the world around them. They can become interested in the fantasy or make-believe world inside the game than in the real world.

Violent Personality

Many adults have raised concerns about the violent nature of many video games. Indeed, at least a few cases exist of teens acting out the actions modeled in games, although hard data is hard to com by.

Games such as Grand Theft Auto include theft and sexual crimes. Parents obviously are concerned about their children taking part in these activities, even if it not "real".

More common is the "war" type of game where the gamer merely shoots another combatant.

Impact on Physical Fitness

Just as having a desk job often correlates with an overweight condition, so young adults who are heavily into video gaming have a tendency to be overweight. Clearly when sitting on a couch or the floor playing a game, one cannot be burning off many calories, although the Wii Sports and Wii Fit have addressed this issue to a degree. In addition, many gamers tend to snack on junk food and sugar-laden soft drinks while playing for long periods of time, which as a regular diet can cause obesity and diabetes in the future.

Mental development and thinking habits

Gamers addicted to playing video games may also suffer in their mental development, especially if homework and reading are neglected. While some gamers have argued that many games require critical thinking to play them successfully, others point out the nature of the typical game is quite limited in scope. In other words, one is limited by the world in which the game developer wished to create. Also, video games have been accused of reducing children's attention spans, both in and out of school.

Gamers' perspective

In response to claims of video gaming addiction, gamers point out several facts. First, addiction can take many forms, and video gaming addiction is much less harmful than say, alcohol or drug addiction.  Second, many adults have addictions such as to caffeine and sugar and they seem to function reasonably well in society.

Advancing video game technology means games are becoming more realistic and immersive. This may mean an increase in video game addiction. The debate as to whether video game addiction is truly harmful will continue to be hotly debates, as gaming is becoming one of the biggest forms of media to date. The industry is on par, even in front of, the movie industry in terms of revenue.

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Console Parties are the way to go

January 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Haven't got in on the idea of console parties yet? Where've you been for the past decade?

The concept is very simple indeed. The thing about gaming is that if you have lots of people over, one console is never, ever enough (this is something that amers have known since the Atari 2600- you can never have too many consoles in one place). So first of all, in order to do this you need a bunch of friends with consoles they can bring over. If you know people who are into console gaming, some of them undoubtedly have a console or two. In order to keep things diverse, you should have separate consoles with different games at the party. Whioever would have thought console gaming could be a social thing? ;P

An ideal collection for a console party would be to get an Xbox 360, another of any of the three consoles, and specifically a Wii, and all the controllers needed. Then, get Halo 3 going on the Xbox 360, either Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour on whatever console you choose, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii. Now, doesn;t that sound like a recipe for an awesome evening in? The multiplayer action in Halo 3 and Brawl should keep you and others engaged for hours. Also, not only will the music game on the other console engage those playing, but it will provide a varying musical atmosphere made up of some of the best songs ever bashed out.

Over the years, there have been alternative variants on the Console Party. For an example, see the "Party Console Party."

For example, if you are more partial to party games when it comes to parties, well, it's a free country. But if that's what you want, you're probably not going to get it on the current Xbox 360 or PS3, as there are virtually no good party games on either console. For that sort of thing the Wii is the right place, with unprecedented, highly-rated and darn well established party games like WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, and Rayman Raving Rabbids. Or maybe you're hoping for an all-out shooter party. The Xbox 360 and PS3 may have fantastic graphics, but when it comes shooter control schemes, nothing paralells the Wii. For four-multiplayer shooting action on the Wii, Medal of Honor: Vanguard is a viable option.

Just remember- it's only a game. You're not actually onstage in front of screaming fans. You could be, just strip to your boxers and play Guitar Hero in front of an open window. Then the screams may well be from your neighbours.

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