In August, 2005, a 28-year-old man colapsed in an internet cafe in South Korea and later died.
According to reports at the time, he’d been playing Starcraft for 50 hours with few breaks. Local police figured he died from heart-failure brought on by exhaustion.
While it’s rare to hear about gamers actually dying from their addictions, the problem clearly exists. This why the Smith & Jones Wild Horses Centre in Amsterdam has a new program for compulsive gamers.
The Need for the Program
According to the centre’s website, the need for the program became apparent when staff interviewed clients who’d come in for drug or alcohol addictions and found a small number were also addicted to video games.
The site goes on to explain that many of the symptoms described by the game addicts were similar those experienced by junkies and alcoholics: obsessive thinking, health problems, long-term damage to personal relationships and career problems.
In fact, the 28-year-old Korean man had been fired for missing work to play video games short before he died.
Many experts point to the increasing popularity of online multi-player games like MMORPGs(massive multiplayer online role playing games) as a reason why the problem seems to be getting worse.
These games provide an entire virtual world to be explored while allowing players to interact with others all over the world. They can join guilds to team up, collect money to buy bigger and better iteams and gain experience to become stronger.
The desire to become stronger and gain more is what leads to the compulsive play. This can be seen by a glance at eBay these days, where virtual property in these online worlds is up for auction, some of it going for insane prices. Players are actually willing to part with real money to gain more in the games.
Fighting Compulsive Gaming
To combat compulsive gaming, the Smith & Jones program offers not only detox and therapy but also takes patients out to the wilderness for “high-adrenaline” activities so they can find thrills in the “real world.”
The centre’s website acknowledges that 80 per cent of gamers are fine but aim’s to help the ones with real and serious problems.