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Computer Games: Addictive and Time-Consuming
Entertainment plays a big role in everyday life. “Games, video, computer, online games, Playstations, etc can be used as entertainment and stress relief by many.” (Woolley). Games are created to give people some time of pleasure and fun, time to get away from the world and don’t think about the problems they face. But entertainment has become a business. Companies dealing with entertainment business make millions of dollars by (for example) putting a single computer game on sale. Their success depends on their products, and if the product is an MMO (mass multiplayer on-line) Game then their success will be great. Because even though MMO Games are created with the same purpose of a normal game – to entertain, they do cause addiction.
Marie Winn says “the essence of any serious addiction is a pursuit of pleasure, a search for a 'high' that normal life does not supply.” in her Plug-In Drug (“Electronic Heroin.”) She presents watching television as a serious addiction, comparing it to heroin addiction and alcohol addiction. Accordingly MMO Games addiction is very similar to what she explains about television addiction in her essay. She says “television experience allows the participant to blot out the real world and enter into a pleasurable and passive mental state. The worries and anxieties of reality are as effectively deferred by becoming absorbed in a television program as by going on a 'trip' induced by drugs or alcohol. And just as alcoholics are only vaguely aware of their addiction, feeling that they control their drinking more than they really do, people similarly overestimate their control over television watching.” (“Electronic Heroin”) MMO Games share this very serious problem with television addiction. They give people pleasure, and can be used as an escape of the real world entering that “passive and pleasurable mental state” in the game’s fantasy world the same way the television gives the ‘escape’ to television viewers. The main reason MMO Games rise the addiction issue is the way their game-play is arranged.
Single player games offer players a set of objectives and when it is completed then the game is over and the fun and pleasure of that game is over. Unlike single player games, MMO Games give the player a character and place him in a fantasy world where he can experience virtual adventures. All players from the whole world are placed in this fantasy world with the help of today’s World Wide Network and friends from different sides of the Earth can join forces and play together to finish a quest or an objective given to them in the fantasy world. The key that MMO Games offer unlike any other computer game is the unlimited time of fun. They are not limited by time because the fantasy world is like our normal world and life in this fantasy world goes on like in our world. It is constantly changing and more and more objectives are inserted in this world so that players can be challenged more and more every next time they log in with their character. Adam Shaikh in his essay A Look into MMO Gaming says “It is extremely common to find that players have spent well in excess of 500 hours playing any particular character, and during this time they gather a group of friends and attachment to their character. This means that giving up or changing to an alternative game, resulting in the loss of that character, is something that is difficult to do.” (Shaikh)
Shaikh also mentions that publishers of MMO Games benefit from the addictive nature of their products because the more time a player has spent on his character the more difficult it will be for him to discontinue playing with it and turn to another game. Additionally, he says, players continue to play the same game, not changing to a competitor’s one, paying the monthly fee to remain a part of the certain fantasy world in which he has already spent an enormous amount of time. “When you have spent 500 hours on a character, throwing it away and starting again is much less appealing. Therefore once you have a player hooked, it is much easier to keep them, even if a superior title comes along.” (Shaikh) This knowledge makes a connecting bridge between MMO Game Publishers and Tobacco Companies. Both businesses are so similar in that their product is of an addictive nature, but they want this characteristic to remain because this means more smokers buying cigarettes, or more players ‘hooked in’; thus more income from daily cigarette packages sold, and more monthly fees paid to remain in the fantasy world of the game.
Liz Woolley in her article “Head to head: Is online gaming bad for you?” goes strong in this arguing that MMO Games are addictive, she says – “For some, the enjoyment turns to suffering when they become "addicted" to the games. They no longer have the "choice" to play, but are driven to play. They leave their real lives and join others in a fantasy land, and they can't leave. They no longer bathe, clean house, interact with family and friends, or go outside.” (Woolley.) And not only Woolley, but also Lynn Hall, who is MMO Game player for more than three years, says that MMO Games are addictive. She says – “It can rob you of your spare time - not so bad - but it can also rob you of time you should be spending with friends and family.” (Woolley) These two authors just confirm what many other people say, and even though Lynn Hall is on the side that protects MMO Games she still agrees that they are addict
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