BBC One's Panorama to Tackle Game Addiction

December 1, 2010 -

The BBC program Panorama will tackle the subject of videogame addiction in a show set to air on BBC One Monday, December 6, at 8.30 pm UK time. Reporter Raphael Rowe interviews school and university students that have dropped out to tune into videogames "for up to 21 hours a day" and "experts" who urge that more research is needed on the subject. The program, which C&VG is calling a "documentary," further promises to "reveal the hidden psychological devices in games that are designed to keep us coming back for more."

The episode is called "Addicted to Games?" and will air December 6. You can learn more about Panorama’s programming by visiting bbc.co.uk. Details on this particular episode were not available on the web site, but we'll bring you more info when we have it.

Source: C&VG


Comments

Re: BBC One's Panorama to Tackle Game Addiction

I really don't see why this is a controversial or surprising issue.  Of course there is game addiction.  It is a "behavioral addiction" similar to what one might see with gambling, sex, exercising and sports, work, shopping, pain and cutting, eating and food, internet usage, and even spiritual addiction.  More specifically defined as "is a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences, as deemed by the user himself to his individual health, mental state, or social life."  My only two complaints about this issue are:

1.  Non gamers that separate gaming addiction from other behavioral addictions as something new and more insidious than the others, something that needs to be addressed by attacking the video games themselves.

2.  Gamers so defensive of anything negative about thier favorite hobby, that they outright deny that such compusion exists, or try to divert attention by arguing symantics about the definition of "addiction" (even though behavioral addiction is a widely accepted disorder).

Re: BBC One's Panorama to Tackle Game Addiction

There is no such thing as sexual addiction, it's an excuse for poor behaviour (usually by rich celebrities who want sympathy).

Re: BBC One's Panorama to Tackle Game Addiction

Some things:

1) I trust Panorama. It's generally been exemplary investigative journalism, cutting to the point and free of bullshit.

(For those not familar (ie, anyone not British), Panorama is a current affairs program that has investigated topics ranging from hot-button issues of the day to scoops relating to actual, significant public-interest issues. Their wikipedia entry contains a list of their finer moments.)

2) There ARE devices in games, outside of core gameplay mechanics, that are inserted into games to make them more compelling than they would otherwise be. That's why every other goddamn game these days has some sort of shoehorned-in RPG mechanic where you get XP and level up to unlock arbitrarily better stuff. That's why random item drops were gradually added to Team Fortress 2. That's why the proliferation of achievements hapened. Hell, it's the sole reasons MMORPGs (and even JRPGs) are successful. I could write a goddamn doctoral dissertation about TF2 in particular, and about the profit argument (that must have existed) behind the scenes that inevitably lead to the monetization of the most steadfast "game first, profit second" videogame in recent history.

3) The actual debate is likely to (correctly) take for granted that there are addictive elements in games, and center around the question of whether these elements are harmful. IE, would an otherwise non-addictive personality fall victim to them, can they be the sole focal point of a person's downward spiral or just an aggrivator, etc, etc.

Re: BBC One's Panorama to Tackle Game Addiction

"hidden psychological devices in games that are designed to keep us coming back for more."

The fact that they're fun and engaging? That's not particularly well hidden...

I hope this turns out to be a serious investigation of a behavioural problem, not just another piece of agenda-driven scaremongering.

Re: BBC One's Panorama to Tackle Game Addiction

And here I thought British TV programming was charming.  So the same folks who brought us Iggle Biggle are prone to nonsense "documentaries" just like in the US.

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