Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Killer Video Game

There are a number of reports circulating about a 28-year old South Korean man that died after playing the online battle sim game Starcraft for 50 hours. (Pravda: Korean boy dies after 50 hours of computer games)

Anytime something of this nature occurs, it spawns debate regarding the dangers of online games, pen & paper games, or anything else the person did to the extreme just before they died. The key point in all cases is the obsessive nature of the person involved. Doing anything for 50 straight hours is simply not normal. The end result would be the same if the person were simply playing solitaire.

To be sure, the online games are potentially addictive. They're designed to keep you coming back. Like anything else that is potentially addictive, there are people that simply can't handle it. The bottom line, though, is this becomes an issue of personal responsibility. A 28-year old must assume responsibility for their own actions. A parent must assume responsibility for the actions of their children. It is not the responsibility of game manufacturers, internet cafe owners, or the guy sitting next to you to police your actions when playing an online game. It's unfortunate that the debate invariably goes down that path.

The lesson in all this is two-fold.

  1. Know your limits and be aware of the warning signs of addiction. If you're doing anything, online gaming or otherwise, that isolates you from family, friends, work, or any other normal daily activity, then you should seriously consider changing your behaviour.
  2. Parents should be aware of what activities their children partake and should moderate that appropriately. Children that spend an excessive number of hours doing something that detracts from family, friends, school, etc. is a parenting issue.

Come to think of it, Item #2 is good advice for a lot of things, not just online gaming.

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1 comment :

Alan Fraser said...

It couldn't have been the twelve gallons of coffee he drank, the cartons of cigarettes he smoked, or the fact that he weighed more than the average SUV. I don't know if any of the above are true and that's because no-one has even asked.