So the Darling Wife handed me the first challenge last night. After we’d put the little ones to bed, she gave me an envelope with the challenge card in it. I was nervous. I opened the envelope and read the challenge out loud. “Some say that when you were younger, you used to be a halfway decent artist with your medium of choice: colored pencil. Some say that when gaming took up more time than you actually had available, this talent got lost in the megabiscuits and kilohorsefeathers that run through your console. Now’s your chance to prove whether gaming has had an effect on that particular talent or not. You have the rest of the evening until bed time to compose and color a picture. Finishing the picture doesn’t matter, what we’re looking for here is a comparison to see whether your skills with the pencils has deteriorated. You get points deducted for not coming up with something suitably imaginative.”
I received my pencils, paper, and sharpener, and left to my own devices. It actually took me a while to think of what to draw, and after the first hour, I barely had much on the page. But eventually I actually got into the swing of it and started to enjoy the process. I hadn’t enjoyed creating a drawing like this in years! I didn’t finish the drawing, but for comparison’s sake, here’s the unfinished drawing I did last night compared to one I did back in 1993 when I was at the height of my skill.
Back to the topic of addiction, a study has been released by the National Institute on Media in San Francisco about gaming addiction, and they compare video game addiction to compulsive gambling.
“The present study was designed to demonstrate whether pathological gaming is an issue that merits further attention,” Institute director and assistant professor of psychology Douglas Gentile wrote in the report.
“With almost one out of 10 youth gamers demonstrating real-world problems because of their gaming, we can conclude that it does.”
What’s particularly worrying is the kinds of behavior that the kids will indulge in just to get a gaming fix.
The most typical symptom was children skipping household chores in order to play videogames, the report indicates. […] Girls were more likely than boys to try to cut back on videogame play to refocus on their home or school responsibilities, according to the research.
Some of the children said they lied to friends or family about how much they play videogames and a few even said they stole to get games or the money to buy them.
According to rumor, in Japan they’ve actually got a law in effect that forbids certain video games from being released on a weekday because of the dip it causes in work and school attendance (can anyone verify this??). Is this a sign of the times? Maybe Marx needs updating: video games is the new opiate of the masses.