28 January 2009

Gaming addiction - Old problem new awareness?

So a few weeks ago a player on the MUD went postal and started player killing everyone. Some logged off most retaliated. At that point the player started whining that people were cheating and reported to the Administration the perceived cheat.

The admin looked into it, spoke to the players involved separately, spoke to witnesses then ruled it as not a cheat or a rule infraction. The admin then informed the accuser and the accused of the decision. The accuser was upset.

Phrases were uttered like I have spent so much on this game and I do not have a job. I will leave and take my friends with me. This game is my life. I have nothing out side of it, don't take it away.

Obviously this player has issues. The issues are not game related, but personality related. This person (whether it was true or a put on) has now told everyone who plays the MUD that they are not capable of functioning in the real world and has retreated to games as his life. True or not the thought is sad. There are people who rely on outside sources to validate themselves to the world.

We see it in business, people can;t function if they lose their prestige, they fall apart if their department is taken away. In relationships it is what makes people stalkers and in personal ties hobbyists who turn into fanatics.

It is a form of addiction and of escape from reality. So why are there so many these days, or are there? Is it like the perceived increase in woman gamers, just easier to find people or is it truly new phenomenon? Where does the responsibility of the game owners and other players start and finish. Most states have tap laws so that bar tender may not overserve a guest. Should game owners siteban perceived addicts?

On the other hand.. If this is a fairly new problem, why is gaming the chosen form of escape now? What is it replacing? Television, books, or something similar? Or is it because people cannot meet face to face as they did. Are the less tolerant of differences in spite of the lip-service paid and as a result ostracize those who do not fit into a their image of themselves. Or worse does it allow those who are insecure to hide rather than try?

I do not know and am seeking an answer. It worries me that so much mainstream emphasis is placed on gaming lately. All I do know do know that games are supposed to enrich life not be life.

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