http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2002/10/15...egaming_021015How lame, as if we need more uninformed people telling us what's good for us. I don't really care for online RPGs but I really hope this idea isn't taken seriously.Warning labels needed for some online games: parent
Last Updated Wed, 16 Oct 2002 13:48:56
TORONTO - Scientists and concerned parents are warning some online games can be addictive.
The current craze is a game called EverQuest and there are about 400,000 players in North America. Some of them average 25 to 30 hours a week playing the game.
"It takes your mind off things that are happening in normal life," says Tracy Montague, a single mom of three in British Columbia. Montague takes on the persona of Chanteez the Soul Charmer six nights a week.
EverQuest players can interact 24 hours a day. A recent study of 2,000 players shows 45 per cent admitted to being addicted.
"You lose everything. You are inside the screen," says Brian, a player from Washington state who got help from an addictions counsellor.
"They call it 'Evercrack,'" says Jay Parker, the counsellor helping Brian. Parker says he's seen a lot of EverQuest addicts and says the game is designed in a way that hooks people.
"It never ends," says Parker. It never says 'game over — you won.'"
Liz Woolley of Wisconsin says her 21-year-old son Shawn became so addicted, they fought over his game time.
"He was getting withdrawn, he wouldn't listen to me. We were fighting and I became the bad person — I was trying to keep him away from his enjoyment," says Woolley.
Shawn was diagnosed with depression and eventually killed himself with EverQuest up on his computer screen.
Dr. Alain Dagher of the Montreal Neurological Institute thinks he's figured out why interactive games are so addictive.
Dagher just finished a study that shows that the brain reacts the same way when a person is playing a video game as when they're taking drugs. Dagher suspects EverQuest may have the same effect.
"It may have something in common with addictive drugs in that it may release dopamine in the same brain areas as addictive drugs."
Dopamine is known as the "chemical messenger" of the brain. It is similar to adrenaline in that it can boost a person's senses. Dopamine affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response, and the ability to experience pleasure and pain.
Woolley says advertising for EverQuest which shows the words "feed your online addiction" is proof the company knows the game's affect on people.
She wants Sony to put warning labels on the game. Sony officials have yet to respond to the request. EverQuest is about to be released in the huge Chinese market.