Sexism, Gamers Contd. Discussion

Helo

New member
I apologize, this is slightly off-topic, but I just read this amazing article, and it repeats a whole bunch of stuff these 'nice guys' say. It's about misogyny in the world of gamers, and I wept through most of it. It's long, and beautiful, and it has gone a long way towards healing me tonight.

http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/22786_To_My_Someday_Daughter.html
I've seen that article before and while I do agree with most of the major points, I think it misses a couple of important things.

First, THIS is the article that spawned the one you linked to. Its character assassination, pure and simple. It may not have been intended that way but that's how it reads; girl dates a guy who turns out to be a NERD and the author doesn't date NERDY people. If you say something that sounds stupid and cruel, even if it's fucking genius once you actually analyze it, be prepared for people to treat it as though it were stupid and cruel.

People's responses to it were just as stupid as the piece they were responding to and most of the ones I read were incredibly sexist and mostly male. I dont, however, feel that that's a systemic problem and I'll elaborate on that later.

Second, I take Tait's point about someone not wanting to play second-fiddle to a hobby or game. Someone who is the "world champion" of anything indicates a strong need of a time investment and many people may not be down for that kind of dedication. That said, she gave no indication that she'd bothered to find out if that was the case AND she declared it in an outright mean way.

She basically went (and we don't even know if she did, she doesn't indicate doing so in the article but we'll assume that Tait's assertion is correct for the sake of argument) "world champion -> big time investment -> not enough time for a real relationship -> loser." Once that math was done, she didn't say "I'm sorry but I dont feel like we'd be able to have a real relationship because of the time commitment difference." No, she said "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people" like he's some kind of date rapist or burgeoning sex offender and the article tries to warn people against ending up in a date with someone like him.

Third, the makeup of the gaming community is not what it was ten or even five years ago. Female gamers are between 40-50% of the gaming community (depending which study/game/platform you're talking about) so painting it as a "boy's world" doesn't fly with me anymore. That said, many of the vocal people you do run into with multiplayer games ARE male and are generally young. If anyone would like to cast their minds back to when they were in the 14-18 demographic and ask if they made the best behavioral choices that could be labeled smart today. When someone points out a case of harassment where a female gamer is being targeted, look at who is doing it; generally young (14-18) boys. The average age for a gamer is 30-35 years old.

The call of sexist with the justification of harassment of female gamers is being dropped on the entire gaming community and I dont see that its justified considering that roughly half of the community is female and most of the offenders are young men when the average age is 30-35. This is behavior that is not new in human development, it went on when ALL of us were kids but was generally pushed off as "boys will be boys." If you dont believe me, read Calvin and Hobbes; its cute in certain situations and raging sexism in others.

Labeling the gaming community, or even that subset of players who do attack female gamers, as sexist misses a broader problem; that demographic are dickbags, to use a technical term. They're jerks to EVERYONE; male, female, black, white, gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat, rich, poor, domestic, foreign, it doesn't matter. How many stories do you see about someone getting tormented by other gamers where the victim isn't female? Plenty. Taking what is, in essence, schoolyard behavior and couching it as some pathological hatred against women really does a disservice to everyone because more often than not its behavior that the people who engage in it grow out of as they begin to understand that people WILL punch you in the face for saying stuff like that.

I know for a fact that someone is going to take this as my trying to make excuses or rehashing "boys will be boys" but that isn't my intention at all. The commends in Tait's article were horrendous at best but if we start blaming that kind of behavior on pathological hatred of women, we miss opportunities to really curb or deal with that kind of behavior.

Getting back to the article, Bereznak basically went on a bad date and responded by venting her annoyance in an extremely high-school type way. A negative response should have been expected and I feel very little sympathy for her with regards to people being angry. The sexist comments, absolutely over the line. I feel like if she had written the article in such a way that made her sound less shallow, she'd have gotten less of a negative response.
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
Female gamers are between 40-50% of the gaming community (depending which study/game/platform you're talking about) so painting it as a "boy's world" doesn't fly with me anymore.
Mmmm, I would say that the female gamers need to weigh in on this more. I don't know that boys can accurately determine whether something does or does not feel like a "boys club" to the non-boys. For instance, there are still MANY mainstream game stores with clerks in their 20's or 30's that give females trying to buy certain games grief, either trying to "make" them admit that they're actually buying the game for a brother, boyfriend, or husband or steer them towards different games that "would be more your speed". Even without the EXTREME douchebags who are assholes to EVERYONE, there's a LOT of smack talking that centers on gender and sexuality, portraying being female or gay as a negative thing.

November Rain and I were talking about this article earlier today, and my conclusion was that this behavior is present in MANY groups of men (though certainly not all), whether it's a group of music fans, or sports fans, or whatever. The only difference here is that somehow this idea has developed that gaming groups are less misogynistic than others, which just isn't the case. They're as misogynistic as anywhere else in society, but perhaps it is just now being realized how automatic and deep-seated that misogyny is.

(For the record, I'm a pen-and-paper-and-dice gamer, not an online gamer, so any misogyny I've faced has been in person, which makes it easier to deal with and hopefully squash early.)
 

NovemberRain

New member
First, THIS is the article that spawned the one you linked to.

*That* is what caused all this fuss? Holy cow. Thanks for linking, I just didn't have the heart to look it up after I read Tait's. That was completely unworthy of the maelstrom it caused.

It was one woman, whining about a bad date. It is so not even close to character assassination.

I feel very sad that Tait felt the need to respond with an article, what, five times as long as the original?

Its character assassination, pure and simple. It may not have been intended that way but that's how it reads; girl dates a guy who turns out to be a NERD and the author doesn't date NERDY people. If you say something that sounds stupid and cruel, even if it's fucking genius once you actually analyze it, be prepared for people to treat it as though it were stupid and cruel.

I didn't see anyone say that what she said was genius. She was saying she doesn't date nerds, a simple fact and preference to which she is perfectly entitled.

Can you explain to me exactly what was cruel about it? I also don't see the word 'loser' anywhere in her article.

I, myself, don't date people with underage children. If someone didn't bother to mention that they had them, I might be equally inclined to a similar story, if I had a blog/platform. Is that cruel? She did point out her failure to take care of her own boundaries.

People's responses to it were just as stupid as the piece they were responding to and most of the ones I read were incredibly sexist and mostly male. I dont, however, feel that that's a systemic problem and I'll elaborate on that later.

I disagree. I think the responses were totally out of proportion to the perceived insult. Even if it had been stupid and cruel, the responses were overblown. Why the hell should anyone who is not Jon fucking Finkel care what one woman thought?

Second, I take Tait's point about someone not wanting to play second-fiddle to a hobby or game. Someone who is the "world champion" of anything indicates a strong need of a time investment and many people may not be down for that kind of dedication. That said, she gave no indication that she'd bothered to find out if that was the case AND she declared it in an outright mean way.

She very clearly said she'd neglected to do her own research and find out.

She basically went (and we don't even know if she did, she doesn't indicate doing so in the article but we'll assume that Tait's assertion is correct for the sake of argument) "world champion -> big time investment -> not enough time for a real relationship -> loser." Once that math was done, she didn't say "I'm sorry but I dont feel like we'd be able to have a real relationship because of the time commitment difference."

Why should she be sorry?

And let me tell you, the next gamer that approaches me for a date has a much higher price of admission than the last one. Because Tait describes my experience exactly. And he wasn't world champion of anything. Just a gamer.

No, she said "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people" like he's some kind of date rapist or burgeoning sex offender and the article tries to warn people against ending up in a date with someone like him.

I wish to heaven someone had warned me. Had I read Tait's article 10 years ago, my life might look damn different today.

Third, the makeup of the gaming community is not what it was ten or even five years ago. Female gamers are between 40-50% of the gaming community (depending which study/game/platform you're talking about)

That's a HUGE 'depending upon.' I highly doubt that gamers are 40-50% female. I do think there are more women playing games than 5, 10 years ago. But being a female who plays one or more games does not a gamer make.

so painting it as a "boy's world" doesn't fly with me anymore. That said, many of the vocal people you do run into with multiplayer games ARE male and are generally young.

Not a 'boy's world' but MANY of the people you run into are male.


If anyone would like to cast their minds back to when they were in the 14-18 demographic and ask if they made the best behavioral choices that could be labeled smart today. When someone points out a case of harassment where a female gamer is being targeted, look at who is doing it; generally young (14-18) boys. The average age for a gamer is 30-35 years old.

The call of sexist with the justification of harassment of female gamers is being dropped on the entire gaming community and I dont see that its justified considering that roughly half of the community is female and most of the offenders are young men when the average age is 30-35. This is behavior that is not new in human development, it went on when ALL of us were kids but was generally pushed off as "boys will be boys."

My experience of the gamer community is the 30+ year olds, and my experience is that they are far more obnoxious (in the way Tait's article describes) than I would expect from the population as a whole in that age range.

Labeling the gaming community, or even that subset of players who do attack female gamers, as sexist misses a broader problem; that demographic are dickbags, to use a technical term. They're jerks to EVERYONE; male, female, black, white, gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat, rich, poor, domestic, foreign, it doesn't matter. How many stories do you see about someone getting tormented by other gamers where the victim isn't female? Plenty. Taking what is, in essence, schoolyard behavior and couching it as some pathological hatred against women really does a disservice to everyone because more often than not its behavior that the people who engage in it grow out of as they begin to understand that people WILL punch you in the face for saying stuff like that.

The fact that they are jerks to everyone does not change the fact that they are sexist douchebags. I don't see how that misses the broader problem; nor how it mitigates it or points us in a better direction for fixing it.

I know for a fact that someone is going to take this as my trying to make excuses or rehashing "boys will be boys" but that isn't my intention at all.

Several very wise people I knew were fond of saying 'good intentions and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee out of a machine.' The fact that it is not your intention to do so, does not mean that you didn't do so.

The commends in Tait's article were horrendous at best but if we start blaming that kind of behavior on pathological hatred of women, we miss opportunities to really curb or deal with that kind of behavior.

I would really like to hear your ideas for how to really curb and deal with that behaviour. It makes me feel like punching people in the face, so I have a hard time imagining how to make it better. And I could really use some hope in that direction right now.

Getting back to the article, Bereznak basically went on a bad date and responded by venting her annoyance in an extremely high-school type way. A negative response should have been expected and I feel very little sympathy for her with regards to people being angry. The sexist comments, absolutely over the line. I feel like if she had written the article in such a way that made her sound less shallow, she'd have gotten less of a negative response.

I still don't understand how it's shallow to have preferences and boundaries.

I don't think she would have been under any delusions that she would not get negative responses. But the maelstrom was completely out of proportion (again).



Oh, and thanks very much for bringing it to a separate thread!
 

NovemberRain

New member

ThatGirlInGray

New member
and then there was moar:

http://unsubject.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/2012-your-year-in-gaming-misogyny/

Clearly, if we just accepted that teenagers are douchebags, it wouldn't be such a big deal.:rolleyes:

Oh, that was a GREAT article. I don't usually read the comments online, but I'm glad I did this time, if only to reiterate to myself that there REALLY ARE people out there who truly don't think sexism happened in the gaming culture until people started talking about it. Moronic, but out there and something we all have to deal with one way or another.
 

Helo

New member
*That* is what caused all this fuss? Holy cow. Thanks for linking, I just didn't have the heart to look it up after I read Tait's. That was completely unworthy of the maelstrom it caused.

It was one woman, whining about a bad date. It is so not even close to character assassination.
When you publically denounce someone else in the way Bereznak did for the reasons she presents, I find it difficult to classify it as anything else.

What would the motivation be for attempting to publically humiliate a guy who, according to her own story, made the mistake of choosing an odd first-date venue? She never said anything about him being rude, nasty, or otherwise uncouth.

I didn't see anyone say that what she said was genius. She was saying she doesn't date nerds, a simple fact and preference to which she is perfectly entitled.
If that's your preference, that's totally fine and I dont think any rational person would fault it. What I have issues with was her approach.

She accused the guy of "infiltrating" a date then recoiled when she found out what he did as though he'd told her he was a convicted sex offender. I keep using the high-school metaphor for a reason; she reacted the way "popular girls" in high-school did when interacting with "nerds." She trashed him for no other reason than she felt he was beneath her because of what he chose to do with his time.

Can you explain to me exactly what was cruel about it? I also don't see the word 'loser' anywhere in her article.
Her writing has the net effect of calling the guy a loser and her reaction doesnt speak to a great deal of respect for her date.

As I said, it's the contemptuous "I dont date NERDS" attitude that I find utterly distasteful especially when, by her own account, he acted like a perfectly reasonable guy who had done nothing wrong and certainly nothing deserving of her ire.

If she had written her cautionary tale from the standpoint of "We met and I found out he was a lot nerdier than I usually look for in a partner, so I didn't continue things" the article would have been bypassed with no controversy.

I, myself, don't date people with underage children. If someone didn't bother to mention that they had them, I might be equally inclined to a similar story, if I had a blog/platform. Is that cruel? She did point out her failure to take care of her own boundaries.
There's a massive difference between having underage children and being nerdy.

I disagree. I think the responses were totally out of proportion to the perceived insult. Even if it had been stupid and cruel, the responses were overblown. Why the hell should anyone who is not Jon fucking Finkel care what one woman thought?
I agree with you on that as far as the sexist comments go. Those were completely and totally over the line. As to the rest, no sympathy whatsoever. You trash an underserved someone like that and to a point I have no sympathy for the consequences that bite you in the ass.

And let me tell you, the next gamer that approaches me for a date has a much higher price of admission than the last one. Because Tait describes my experience exactly. And he wasn't world champion of anything. Just a gamer.

I wish to heaven someone had warned me. Had I read Tait's article 10 years ago, my life might look damn different today.
That's another HUGE issue I have with that particular point; its GAMING. We wouldn't be having this part of the conversation if it was golf or baking or collecting thimbles or reading books or making art. For some reason, I see more people complain about gaming being a timesink for the people they love than anything else and 99 times out of 100 it comes from someone who isn't a gamer.

If you're spending your time on stuff that the rest of society feels is acceptable, you've got a hobby. If you're spending your time playing games, you're an addict/immature/socially malformed/disturbed.

That's a HUGE 'depending upon.' I highly doubt that gamers are 40-50% female.
I'm only quoting the statistics.

I do think there are more women playing games than 5, 10 years ago. But being a female who plays one or more games does not a gamer make.
For the purposes of discussion, I dont think its helpful to start throwing around jargon and alternative definitions. A gamer is someone who plays games on a regular basis and this is the most commonly accepted definition.

Not a 'boy's world' but MANY of the people you run into are male.
In certain settings and games, yes.

My experience of the gamer community is the 30+ year olds, and my experience is that they are far more obnoxious (in the way Tait's article describes) than I would expect from the population as a whole in that age range.
Its true that games do often provide a refuge for anti-social individuals regardless of age so that you're more likely to run into them in a gaming environment but I dont see anything about a game that intrinsically attracts assholes.

The fact that they are jerks to everyone does not change the fact that they are sexist douchebags. I don't see how that misses the broader problem; nor how it mitigates it or points us in a better direction for fixing it.
There is a difference between being a jerk and a sexist douchebag. Being a jerk is often a fixable condition, something one can be trained or grow out of with time and influence. Being a sexist douchebag is a more systemic problem that comes from crappy values regarding women in general that are often much more deeply rooted and harder to change.

Jerks are often just jerks regardless of their method of choice. They'll just as soon call a new player a "fag" when that new player kills then as they will screech and hoot at a female player. They're not sexist and they're not homophobic, they dont hate and fear gay people and women. They're looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance. On a game, that's often insults and the low-hanging fruit of insults are usually to question one's sexual orientation (if the target is male) and make sexually harassing comments (if the target is female).

I do have something of a solution, or rather a resolution, more on that later.

Several very wise people I knew were fond of saying 'good intentions and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee out of a machine.' The fact that it is not your intention to do so, does not mean that you didn't do so.
Then that, quite frankly, is not my problem.
 

Helo

New member
I would really like to hear your ideas for how to really curb and deal with that behaviour. It makes me feel like punching people in the face, so I have a hard time imagining how to make it better. And I could really use some hope in that direction right now.
Hmm, hope I'm not to sure I can provide, but some form of resolution, why not?

Wait.

That's it. That's the plan.

Wait.

We have to look at the parts of the problem we can reasonably expect to effect and change. Aggressive, dickish behavior has been around since time was only now we cant channel it off by sending the boys off to raid a neighboring city. The impulse to be a jerk will ALWAYS be there and the (perceived) anonymity as well as the false courage online games give to people will be a perfect staging ground for it as long as it exists.

Since we cant change human nature or the fundamental structures of the internet, what CAN we change?

We can change the way we interact with each other and focus on changing our attitudes towards other people. As things become more socially accepted, the targeting of them drops off. When I started gaming, "fag" was the insult du jure for other gamers. As the LGBTQ community has come into it's own and been accepted, the use of that particular slur has dropped sharply because fewer and fewer people will tolerate its use. As more and more women come into gaming, the truly misogynistic attitudes will simply be sidelined and ignored while the jerks will move on to something else. This is a process that is already ongoing and shows no signs of slowing down.

People are already marginalizing and shutting out people who truly have these ideas that we find abhorrent. That process is going on socially as well as in our digital societies and what we need to do is wait for that process to come around to the issues we find important. We can help accelerate that by creating and nurturing environments that reform the behavior of jerks and sideline true misogynists.

I play EVE Online regularly and one thing I absolutely demand from a corp (in game group) is that they have at least one female player among them. I do that because I now have an idea that that group is likely going to be more mature and more accepting of different kinds of gamers, including women. If more people start doing things like that and actively voicing that they dont want to be a part of a group that is going to treat other people negatively, you'll see that push speed up even more.

I still don't understand how it's shallow to have preferences and boundaries.
Its not. The author's approach is the difference between "I dont date Catholics because Catholicism and Catholics tend to share values that I disagree strongly with" and "I dont date Catholics because they're Catholic."

One is a stated preference, the other is an implied inferiority. It may sound like a small difference but, in the words of a famous man, like a small piece of glass lodged in the urinary tract, small things can cause big problems.

I don't think she would have been under any delusions that she would not get negative responses. But the maelstrom was completely out of proportion (again).
Then I have to question why she wrote the article. If she wanted to warn people, why create a horror story out of something that isnt really a horror story?

Oh, and thanks very much for bringing it to a separate thread!
No prob :) I think its an interesting topic that bears discussion.
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
Jerks are often just jerks regardless of their method of choice. They'll just as soon call a new player a "fag" when that new player kills then as they will screech and hoot at a female player. They're not sexist and they're not homophobic, they dont hate and fear gay people and women. They're looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance. On a game, that's often insults and the low-hanging fruit of insults are usually to question one's sexual orientation (if the target is male) and make sexually harassing comments (if the target is female).

As a high school teacher, students are NOT allowed to say, "That's so GAY!" in my classroom. I don't care if they're actually homophobic or not. I don't care if they have gay friends or not. I don't allow them to say it because it perpetuates an idea that using sexual orientation (perceived or actual) or gender identity (perceived or actual) as an insult IS OKAY. When it is NOT OKAY. In the paragraph I quoted above you do the exact same thing, minimizing the effects of males using orientation or gender to insult. As if it were somehow justafiable, because they're just "looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance." That is in NO WAY an acceptable reason. If it were not tolerated by the gaming community in general, they would eventually stop doing it and find other, more gender-neutral ways of insulting teh noobs. Allowing anti-gay and misogynistic behavior to continue without challenging it is as bad as spreading it yourself. This is absolutely one case where if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the over-arching problem of societal acceptance of this behavior.
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
That's another HUGE issue I have with that particular point; its GAMING. We wouldn't be having this part of the conversation if it was golf or baking or collecting thimbles or reading books or making art. For some reason, I see more people complain about gaming being a timesink for the people they love than anything else and 99 times out of 100 it comes from someone who isn't a gamer.
Ummm, because statistically speaking a LOT more people spend a LOT more time and money on gaming than is usual for most other hobbies. For whatever reason it seems to be very addicting for some. There may be the occasional person who fails classes or loses a job or relationship due to too much time spent baking, but it's far more rare. There are lots people who can balance gaming as a fun, non-detrimental part of their lives, but there's also lots of people who can't.

ETA: Other high-cost, long-hours hobbies, like golf, can indeed cause rifts in relationships, if it isn't an interest the people in the relationship share.
 

Helo

New member
As a high school teacher, students are NOT allowed to say, "That's so GAY!" in my classroom. I don't care if they're actually homophobic or not. I don't care if they have gay friends or not. I don't allow them to say it because it perpetuates an idea that using sexual orientation (perceived or actual) or gender identity (perceived or actual) as an insult IS OKAY. When it is NOT OKAY.
And that's the kind of influence that we need that will help to diminish and eventually eliminate using that kind of language, I applaud it fully.

In the paragraph I quoted above you do the exact same thing, minimizing the effects of males using orientation or gender to insult. As if it were somehow justafiable, because they're just "looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance." That is in NO WAY an acceptable reason. If it were not tolerated by the gaming community in general, they would eventually stop doing it and find other, more gender-neutral ways of insulting teh noobs. Allowing anti-gay and misogynistic behavior to continue without challenging it is as bad as spreading it yourself. This is absolutely one case where if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the over-arching problem of societal acceptance of this behavior.
There's a difference between accepting and condoning.

I dislike rain. Its cold, its wet, it makes travel difficult. I dont condone rain but I know there is nothing I can do to make it stop raining so I have to accept it's existence.

The same goes with people acting like jerks. You will never get rid of that kind of behavior. Ever. That goes across all gender, racial, sexual, and cultural lines. I'm not attempting to minimize at all, I am trying to get people to understand that there IS a difference between someone who acts like a jerk and someone who is truly prejudiced; someone who just acts like a jerk can have their behavior corrected by their surroundings and the input of their peers. That's why what you do in your classroom is important; it shows the kids that they're in a world that does not accept that kind of treatment of other people and they're less likely to use that kind of language.

People are going to act like jerks no matter what you do. The only thing you can do is help create an environment that is as unreceptive as possible to that sort of behavior and you'll see it moderated quite a bit with enough time and pressure.

Ummm, because statistically speaking a LOT more people spend a LOT more time and money on gaming than is usual for most other hobbies.
Lets take golf as an example, its a nice establishment game.

It requires special shoes and special equipment as well as clubs and course fees just to play the game. Punch that stuff into Amazon and see how high that price will go. There are clubs, ONE CLUB, that goes for upwards of $1,000. That's one club, the game is generally played with an assortment of them.

ANY pass time can be taken to ludicrous level of expense.

For whatever reason it seems to be very addicting for some. There may be the occasional person who fails classes or loses a job or relationship due to too much time spent baking, but it's far more rare. There are lots people who can balance gaming as a fun, non-detrimental part of their lives, but there's also lots of people who can't.
At the risk of derailing the thread, I'm not sure I agree.

People may not loose jobs because of excessive baking but they certainly can put on large amounts of health and relationship endangering weight. Spending time gaming is almost universally looked at as an unproductive waste of time by non-gamers and even we gamers (yes, full disclosure, I am a gamer) tend to be sheepish when we stay up till 4am playing a game we're really into.

I think we're more likely to HEAR about gamers having an unhealthy balance because society isnt yet that accepting of games. We're far better than we've been but we've got a ways to go.

ETA: Other high-cost, long-hours hobbies, like golf, can indeed cause rifts in relationships, if it isn't an interest the people in the relationship share.
Absolutely true.

But you have to ask yourself when Googling addiction, which activity brings up a joke site as it's first result and which brings up the Betty Ford clinic as its first result? That gives you a pretty good idea of where people's general values are situated.
 

Tonberry

New member
I absolutely agree with Helo about the original article being out of line. While I don't think it deserved any sexist comments, I definitely think it deserved negative comments. It doesn't matter that what was "wrong" with the guy was being nerdy, as opposed to any other particular taste. What matters is the woman's reaction.

I mean, replace it with something else, it's just as offensive.

"I realised he was a doctor. Strike one. He then told me he was often on call for surgeries. Strike two. I can't believe I wasted time on a guy like this, and I hear he scammed his way into OTHER dates, too!"

The problem isn't her "boundaries" of not dating a nerd (I'd call that tastes, not boundaries). The problem is that A) she doesn't treat the guy with any respect, which is obvious from the fact she choose to go with public humiliation (even named the guy in question, why did she need to do that? She could have stayed vague) and B) she assumes, like it's common sense, that any other woman would also think he's undatable for the same reasons.
Now, NovemberRain, you don't date men with children. Do you consider that nobody else would want to date them? Do you go and warn people to stay away from a guy because he's got kids, even when you don't know their preference? Do you assume anyone who has a date with him will be crushed to realise he has children?

As for the reaction article, I think this guy is full of good intention, but I found him very condescending towards women in a few points in his article, basically saying "I know these women think they think/want this, honey, but the truth is, these poor dears don't know and I know better than them. They're just brainwashed!"
Actually, it reminds me of how people deal with women in poly configurations. They often say the same kind of things. "I have to defend them because they don't realise they need to be defended!" Well fuck you, asshole.
 

BrigidsDaughter

New member
As a female gamer who has run the gambit, LARP, table top, miniatures, video games, I have not had the experience of not belonging or feeling like the odd man out. My current table top game has an 50 - 50 split, if you include the GM, of men and women. I've experienced more sexism in church, the SCA, and college.

I read about this exchange last month and tbh, there is more to the story than is posted here. This woman actually was forced to tame down her initial trash talking of him and gaming by her editor. The community was not kind to her on Twitter, but neither was she kind to members of our community.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
Lets take golf as an example, its a nice establishment game.

It requires special shoes and special equipment as well as clubs and course fees just to play the game. Punch that stuff into Amazon and see how high that price will go. There are clubs, ONE CLUB, that goes for upwards of $1,000. That's one club, the game is generally played with an assortment of them.

ANY pass time can be taken to ludicrous level of expense.

People may not loose jobs because of excessive baking but they certainly can put on large amounts of health and relationship endangering weight. Spending time gaming is almost universally looked at as an unproductive waste of time by non-gamers and even we gamers (yes, full disclosure, I am a gamer) tend to be sheepish when we stay up till 4am playing a game we're really into.

I think we're more likely to HEAR about gamers having an unhealthy balance because society isnt yet that accepting of games. We're far better than we've been but we've got a ways to go.

I do think there really is something about video games that makes them more addictive than other hobbies. It's not uncommon for gamers to reject all in-person social interaction in favour of their games. I have the same concern about people who can't go 15 minutes without checking fb or who can't drive past a casino without going in and maxing out their credit cards.

A person can be addicted to anything. In general, addictions are harmful. Indeed, whether a certain activity interferes with your day to day life is the deciding factor in something being an addiction rather than a hobby. For me, 4 a.m. is a reasonable bed time (I'm nocturnal by nature), so that in and of itself isn't an indication of addiction. But if you need to be up at 7 a.m. for work and you regularly stay up until 4 a.m. playing your game, then that's probably going to interfere with your ability to function.

Hobby bakers don't tend to stay up until 4 a.m. baking on a regular basis. They might do it now and then before a big bake sale or for a special project. But they don't tend to compulsively need to finish one last batch of cookies before they'll go to bed, only to find that that batch of cookies leads to a new secret recipe for biscuits. Now they have to bake the biscuits or else they'll spend the whole next day thinking about that biscuit recipe!

At the end of an 18 hole course, you don't typically go back to the first hole and start again. You go back to the clubhouse with your friends, have a beer, and go home. Most people who join $1000 clubs are businessmen, for whom the sport makes more money than it costs. Many important business decisions are made on the golf course, and not participating puts you out of the game. Besides, golf is a sport. It's not much of a sport, granted, but it does involve some physical activity. Video games promote sitting in your chair, eating unhealthy convenience foods because you don't want to take too much time away from your game by cooking a proper meal. So does the internet. So does reading good books.

Video games are different from baking or reading books in that they're backed by a huge industry whose sole interest is profit. They want to make video games addictive so that you'll buy them, buy the expansion packs, and pay the monthly subscription fees. They're in league with the hardware producers, urging you to upgrade your system every 6 months to keep up with the newest games.

To be clear, I'm not bashing gamers or video games as a whole. I love video games. The other day, I heard "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" come on in the car, and I had an incredibly strong urge to go home and play Fallout 3.

What I'm bashing is gaming addictions. And make no mistake, very many gamers are addicts. And that, I'm pretty sure, is what most people have a problem with, and not video games themselves. That, and the fact that many children and young people spend much more time inside sitting down than they used to, because of video games, and that it's leading to a generation of sedentary, unhealthy people. Many video games are also accused of desensitizing people against violence. That's what I like about Minecraft; it encourages you to think creatively, and the violence is very cartoony.

Now back to this nerdy world champion Magic player. Quick search shows that one of his tournaments has a top prize of $40,000. Certainly validates spending 20+ hours a week practising your "hobby." But let's face it, at that point, it's not a hobby: it's a career.

In regards to their date, I'm confused. Did he blindfold her and drag her to the show in against her will? Did she not participate in the planning of her own date? She has only herself to blame if she left it up to him and she did not approve of his choice. But then she went on a second date with him. She already knew he was a nerd who likes one-man Jeffery Dalmer shows. Why the fuck did she go on a second date with him, and then act all surprised that he was exactly what he appeared to be?
 
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Tonberry

New member
As someone who plays videogames, I agree that they are more addictive than other games, such as tabletop games for instance. It might be due to the stimulation it provides which is different. Either way, I've had times playing video games for hours on end, forgetting to eat, realising I had played all day when I noticed it was the end of the night.

This has never happened to me with other games, especially social games. Social games (tabletop RPGs, board games, card games) have a strong social component, which means taking a break to order pizza is still part of the experience. With video games, you are more "inside" of them, meaning you need to get "out" of the experience to do something else. It's similar to movies in that aspects, except that you can get tired of movies faster because they don't require as much input from you, and constantly receiving information only is more "boring".

Mind you, with this being said, I have had similar experiences with movies and TV shows, watching episode after episode and forgetting about everything else. So I would say video games should be seen as "video" rather than "games" in the addictive department.

When I play a card game, or a board game, I get tired faster. I've played a pen and paper RPG for 6 hours, but that's pretty much my maximum. I've played a video game for 20 hours and only had to stop because I needed to sleep, not due to boredom.

I love videogames, and I would not want them banned or restricted (I think it's everyone's responsibility, just like with other addictions) but I would be dishonest if I said I did not think they were addictive, just like gambling, and in a similar way, actually, or being rewarded for playing.

I think it's absolutely possible to moderate yourself though, and I think that the time spent playing, on its own, isn't what matters, as some people might actually have a career that revolves around gaming, in which case it's not intruding with their lives, since it's part of their day to day life in a way that doesn't hurt the rest of it.
 

Helo

New member
I do think there really is something about video games that makes them more addictive than other hobbies.
I have a problem with the idea of "video game addiction" for a couple of reasons.

First, it's often diagnosed by people with less than zero psych training and who rarely play games themselves. The criteria are set by non-gamers and the label is virtually impossible to get rid of because anything you try to say to dispel it is taken as further indication of addiction.

Second, what about games makes them more addictive than other hobbies? No one, professional or otherwise, has successfully addressed this. They dont directly influence brain or body chemistry beyond what other forms of entertainment or puzzles do, so what specifically makes them more addictive?

Third, the entire concept of addiction absolutely reeks of classism. I know this is going to sound like some crazy rant but its true regardless; addiction is a poor people's disease. If you've got somebody slamming back $50 a bottle scotch every night who can afford to they're not an alcoholic, they're "connoisseurs." Someone who pays for a doctor to prescribe them prescription drugs aren't junkies, they're "pain patients." Take a look at the popular idea of an addict which you can do easily enough by seeing what image comes to mind when you think of the word. "Addict" draws up images of people laying in gutters with needles in their arms or piles of cheap beer cans around them.

I absolutely accept that certain substances can cause a reaction where the body develops a dependency on them and that people can develop a psychological dependence on activities, substances, and objects. However I think most people combine the two under the label of "addiction" without understanding that doing so renders the term absolutely worthless; if you can develop an "addiction" to something as benign as table salt, then ANYTHING is addictive and the term ceases to have any real meaning.

It's not uncommon for gamers to reject all in-person social interaction in favour of their games. I have the same concern about people who can't go 15 minutes without checking fb or who can't drive past a casino without going in and maxing out their credit cards.
That can be carried over to ANY group of people engaging in almost any activity; you will always have loners who would prefer not to be social. Games do lend themselves to that use better than other pastimes but they are by far not the most socially isolating activity you can engage in and that's becoming even more true with modern games.

A person can be addicted to anything.
Which, in my view, makes the term "addiction" worthless. Its like trying to describe an object and starting off with "It has mass."

In general, addictions are harmful. Indeed, whether a certain activity interferes with your day to day life is the deciding factor in something being an addiction rather than a hobby. For me, 4 a.m. is a reasonable bed time (I'm nocturnal by nature), so that in and of itself isn't an indication of addiction. But if you need to be up at 7 a.m. for work and you regularly stay up until 4 a.m. playing your game, then that's probably going to interfere with your ability to function.
This is part of my point; games are targeted specifically because they're not yet truly accepted by the generation that gets to make the rules regarding what is socially acceptable and what isn't as well as being a convenient social scapegoat. People eat food that fucks up your body in countless (and completely measurable) ways and yet most people still scoff at the idea of "fast food addiction." Every time there's a mass shooting in the US, the news coverage soon after the event almost inevitably claims the person was "addicted to violent videogames" and there have been several instances when that claim was made where the person wasn't even a gamer.

Hobby bakers don't tend to stay up until 4 a.m. baking on a regular basis. They might do it now and then before a big bake sale or for a special project. But they don't tend to compulsively need to finish one last batch of cookies before they'll go to bed, only to find that that batch of cookies leads to a new secret recipe for biscuits. Now they have to bake the biscuits or else they'll spend the whole next day thinking about that biscuit recipe!

At the end of an 18 hole course, you don't typically go back to the first hole and start again. You go back to the clubhouse with your friends, have a beer, and go home. Most people who join $1000 clubs are businessmen, for whom the sport makes more money than it costs. Many important business decisions are made on the golf course, and not participating puts you out of the game. Besides, golf is a sport. It's not much of a sport, granted, but it does involve some physical activity.
My point is that any pastime can be taken to extreme levels of indulgence and games are far and away not alone in this. We tend to focus on that more because, as I said, games are a social scapegoat as well as not yet being truly accepted by our society.

Video games promote sitting in your chair, eating unhealthy convenience foods because you don't want to take too much time away from your game by cooking a proper meal. So does the internet. So does reading good books.
They do nothing of the sort. A player makes a conscious choice how much and how long to play a game. There's no mind control at work that forces them to stay in the chair any more than there's mind control that forces people to stay in a chair while reading a book.

Video games are different from baking or reading books in that they're backed by a huge industry whose sole interest is profit. They want to make video games addictive so that you'll buy them, buy the expansion packs, and pay the monthly subscription fees. They're in league with the hardware producers, urging you to upgrade your system every 6 months to keep up with the newest games.
The (US) publishing industry does about $28 billion of business a year and the baked goods industry clocks in at about $30 billion per year. There's billion dollar industries that want repeat business behind EVERY product you pick up.

Claiming they want to make them addictive is fine but I see no indication that they have any basic mechanism in them beyond a book or a movie and I have yet to see any media blowhards screeching about book or movie addiction. The idea sounds plausible but if you run it through its paces, it reveals itself as a ludicrous concept.

What I'm bashing is gaming addictions. And make no mistake, very many gamers are addicts.
How do you determine that?

And that, I'm pretty sure, is what most people have a problem with, and not video games themselves. That, and the fact that many children and young people spend much more time inside sitting down than they used to, because of video games, and that it's leading to a generation of sedentary, unhealthy people.
You don't think a massive availability of cheap, high carbohydrate, low nutrient value food combined with far less social emphasis on active play has anything to do with it?

Many video games are also accused of desensitizing people against violence.
Which is absolute and utter garbage. Firing a gun in real life is as far removed from firing one in a game as its possible to be and still be in this solar system. NOTHING prepares you for actually seeing someone die in front of you. A game cant recreate the smell of the blood or hearing a person's actual cries of pain.

People are so eager to derp onto a reason why someone was able to massacre a bus full of nuns without any empathy and they latch onto videogames as the route for removing one's sensitivity towards violence without stopping to consider that the motherfucker very likely had no empathy to begin with. That's one of the key traits of a sociopath; a total lack of empathy with other human beings.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
Helo said:
First, it's often diagnosed by people with less than zero psych training and who rarely play games themselves. The criteria are set by non-gamers and the label is virtually impossible to get rid of because anything you try to say to dispel it is taken as further indication of addiction.

Second, what about games makes them more addictive than other hobbies? No one, professional or otherwise, has successfully addressed this. They dont directly influence brain or body chemistry beyond what other forms of entertainment or puzzles do, so what specifically makes them more addictive?

Here are some professionals addressing some aspects of video games that make them more addictive than other hobbies. Not all addictions are chemical.

If you've got somebody slamming back $50 a bottle scotch every night who can afford to they're not an alcoholic, they're "connoisseurs."

Put a real conoisser in a room with someone who slams back $50 scotch, and he'll be mortified at the waste of fine scotch.

Someone who pays for a doctor to prescribe them prescription drugs aren't junkies, they're "pain patients."

Some are, some aren't. Of course there are people who get pain medication prescriptions to treat chronic pain. There are junkies who fake pain to get prescriptions. The system is aware and does what it can to prevent abuse.

Take a look at the popular idea of an addict which you can do easily enough by seeing what image comes to mind when you think of the word.

The first thought that comes to mind when I hear "addict" is someone planted in front of a slot machine. The second thought is myself, hunched over the laptop at 3 a.m. knowing that I really should go to bed and promising this is my last post.

"Addict" draws up images of people laying in gutters with needles in their arms or piles of cheap beer cans around them.

Perhaps it's your own prejudices that prevent you from seeing the possibility of gaming addiction. "I'm not like THEM. THEY are dirty homeless junkies. I live in a nice house with a good job. So what if I can't stop playing my game when I know I need to go to bed. I'm not an addict!"

I'll be the first to admit that I have addictive tendencies. Did you see the time stamp on my previous post? I should have been in bed hours earlier. That, my friend, is an addiction. I fully admit and accept it. Do you?

Society's misperception of addiction and who can have it does not itself negate the existence of addiction. Professionals in addictions treatment services will be the first to tell you that anyone, of any race, gender, or class, can become an addict.

Which, in my view, makes the term "addiction" worthless. Its like trying to describe an object and starting off with "It has mass."

I didn't say that all activities are addictive, I said all activities have the potential to become addictive. Huge difference. All objects have mass, and that means all objects have the capacity to acquire momentum, not that all objects have momentum. And to carry the analogy further, it depends on the frame of reference. Not all addictions are harmful. Most are. But a single man addicted to his job, earning a huge salary and enjoying his life? Still an addiction, but not necessarily harmful. But a family man addicted to his job, driving his wife away and making his kids feel neglected? Harmful. Context matters.

most people still scoff at the idea of "fast food addiction."

State your source. When I Google "fast food addiction," the entire first page of results takes its existence for granted. Who are these "most people?" They must not have computers.

My point is that any pastime can be taken to extreme levels of indulgence and games are far and away not alone in this. We tend to focus on that more because, as I said, games are a social scapegoat as well as not yet being truly accepted by our society.

I'm focusing on that here because gamers are the topic of this thread. If someone would have initiated a discussion on gambling or sex addiction, I would be focused on that. In my experience, video games receive no more of a bad rap than anything.

I just did a search for "most common addictions."
  1. Listed video games as #6 out of 10.
  2. Doesn't list video games at all.
  3. Focuses on "new addictions" compared to those that existed 10-20 years ago, and lists texting, video games, the internet, food, and self-cutting as new, increasingly common addictions, right along the old favourites like smoking, drinking, and gambling.
  4. Doesn't list video games at all.
  5. Doesn't list video games at all.

The anti-addiction folks aren't biased, you are. Assuming you don't have anyone in your life with a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction, you have no reason to pay attention to those public service announcements. But when someone talks about video game addictions, you pay attention. You feel that your personal pastime is being attacked, and you take that personally.

The reason there is more media attention on video game addiction is that it's new. People are just beginning to understand it. The media reports new things; alcoholism is old hat.

A player makes a conscious choice how much and how long to play a game. There's no mind control at work that forces them to stay in the chair any more than there's mind control that forces people to stay in a chair while reading a book.

A non-addicted player makes a conscious choice and sticks to it. An addicted player tries to make that choice, but when their time's up, they say "just 10 more minutes" and before they know it, another 6 hours have passed.

The (US) publishing industry does about $28 billion of business a year and the baked goods industry clocks in at about $30 billion per year. There's billion dollar industries that want repeat business behind EVERY product you pick up.

Only 25% of that $28b accounts for general reading, so about $7b to the gaming industry's $10B in revenue... So you've got me that books have just as much industry backing as video games. I'm just as addicted to books as video games. However the baked good industry has nothing to do with baking as a hobby. The hobby is not to go out and buy ready-made cookies, it's to buy flour and chocolate chips, and make cookies from scratch.

How do you determine that?

Personal experience and reports from psychologists. The existence of video game treatement programs and people who voluntarily enter them to get help for their own self-perceived problem.

You don't think a massive availability of cheap, high carbohydrate, low nutrient value food combined with far less social emphasis on active play has anything to do with it?

Absolutely it does. And where does that opportunity for less active play come from?

But I'll revise what I said. The culprit is not video games all by themselves. The culprit is glowing rectangular screens and the extreme availability of media for those screens, combined with parents' neglect about forcing their kids to get out of the house and be active. I might even argue that media is and always has been addictive. The first media was books. Then radio. Then TV. Now the internet and video games.

Which is absolute and utter garbage. Firing a gun in real life is as far removed from firing one in a game as its possible to be and still be in this solar system. NOTHING prepares you for actually seeing someone die in front of you. A game cant recreate the smell of the blood or hearing a person's actual cries of pain.

No, but if you were to show a modern video game combat scene to a kid in the 1950s, he'd be horrified and have nightmares about it. Likewise for a modern movie or tv scene. But acknowledged. I should have said desensitization to virtual violence. I don't think anyone ever gets used to real life violence, as any war refugee will attest.

People are so eager to derp onto a reason why someone was able to massacre a bus full of nuns without any empathy and they latch onto videogames as the route for removing one's sensitivity towards violence without stopping to consider that the motherfucker very likely had no empathy to begin with. That's one of the key traits of a sociopath; a total lack of empathy with other human beings.

That one I will grant you. No mentally sound person is going to play a bunch of video games and then think it will be a good idea to go out and shoot up a bunch of kids. Humans have always been violent, and the fact that people find violent video games so attractive really speaks more towards how we already are as a people than what video game makers make us become. If we didn't think blowing shit up was so fucking cool to begin with, then video games where you blow shit up wouldn't be popular and the manufacturers would find something else to sell.
 

Helo

New member
I accept fully that someone can become psychologically dependent on something to the point where it becomes a serious problem, including videogames.

My basic assertions are:

1. Psychological dependence and addiction are different things
2. Videogames are not inherently more or less prone to causing psychological dependence
3. The focus on videogame "addiction" is motivated primarily by profit and class distinctions
4. The correlation with anti-social behavior is a symptom rather than a cause
5. The criteria for and mechanisms of videogame "addiction" are terribly vague
6. It is a charge that is impossible to defend against

Put a real conoisser in a room with someone who slams back $50 scotch, and he'll be mortified at the waste of fine scotch.
The social stigma is still largely absent; alcohol abuse is tolerated (and even encouraged) in many settings and with people associated with higher socio-economic status.

Some are, some aren't. Of course there are people who get pain medication prescriptions to treat chronic pain. There are junkies who fake pain to get prescriptions. The system is aware and does what it can to prevent abuse.
Prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing in the US and when you see a parent gargling a mouthful of Zoloft, most people's reaction is to make jokes; "Mommy's Little Helper." When's the last time you heard heroin referred to as "Daddy's Little Helper?" Prescription drug abuse is becoming more stigmatized because its starting to filter down to the lower classes but by and large its still a middle and upper class problem and as such it gets treated with far more levity than something like cocaine.

The first thought that comes to mind when I hear "addict" is someone planted in front of a slot machine. The second thought is myself, hunched over the laptop at 3 a.m. knowing that I really should go to bed and promising this is my last post.

Perhaps it's your own prejudices that prevent you from seeing the possibility of gaming addiction. "I'm not like THEM. THEY are dirty homeless junkies. I live in a nice house with a good job. So what if I can't stop playing my game when I know I need to go to bed. I'm not an addict!"
That's definitely a possibility. I also look at my own behavior and I can see that it doesn't stray into unhealthy territory; I have two great relationships, I have a steady job, I'm very healthy, I have an active circle of friends, I'm extremely engaged in politics, and I don't spend vast sums of money on games. And yet I will still sometimes stay up till 4am gaming or pull 12 hour marathons, I dont see that as unhealthy and therein lies the rub; I dont see any problem with the way I handle things yet someone who has read one website can immediately diagnose me as an addict and there is nothing I can say that can defend against that. They dont have to know anything about games, anything about psychology, anything about ME, and yet they can drop a very serious accusation.

I'll be the first to admit that I have addictive tendencies. Did you see the time stamp on my previous post? I should have been in bed hours earlier. That, my friend, is an addiction. I fully admit and accept it. Do you?
I think you're very quick to pull out the addiction label. Simply because you stay up late on a website, how does that make you an addict?

Society's misperception of addiction and who can have it does not itself negate the existence of addiction. Professionals in addictions treatment services will be the first to tell you that anyone, of any race, gender, or class, can become an addict.
Again I dont dispute that there are substances that physically change brain chemistry and activities to which people can become psychologically dependent. I'm not for one second suggesting we just ignore things like smoking or alcohol abuse.

What I AM saying is that the definition of addiction is often so broad and applied to so many things that it ceases to have any meaning whatsoever. If I may respectfully use yourself as an example; citing staying up late on a website as a sign of addiction seems incredibly hasty.

I didn't say that all activities are addictive, I said all activities have the potential to become addictive. Huge difference. All objects have mass, and that means all objects have the capacity to acquire momentum, not that all objects have momentum. And to carry the analogy further, it depends on the frame of reference.
I take your point but that sounds an awful lot like "six of one half dozen of the other." If all activities have the potential to become addictive, what exactly about them gives them that potential? That would seem to indicate its the PERSON involved and the repetition of the activity is to serve the needs of that person rather than the activity fostering the need for repetition of the activity in the person.

Not all addictions are harmful. Most are. But a single man addicted to his job, earning a huge salary and enjoying his life? Still an addiction, but not necessarily harmful.
I would dispute that but that's a topic for another thread and for the sake of argument I accept it.

But a family man addicted to his job, driving his wife away and making his kids feel neglected? Harmful. Context matters.
True, but then again how many people do you know who are addicted to their jobs who are leading a healthy life?

State your source. When I Google "fast food addiction," the entire first page of results takes its existence for granted. Who are these "most people?" They must not have computers.
Try telling someone you're eating McDonalds because you're addicted and see how fast the "personal responsibility" lectures come out. There's a trend amongst the granola crowd of calling fast food addictive that some people (usually the people EATING the food) have latched on to but by and large just talk to people. Bring up people who've sued fast food restaurants for making them fat, the ranting will begin in earnest.

I'm focusing on that here because gamers are the topic of this thread. If someone would have initiated a discussion on gambling or sex addiction, I would be focused on that. In my experience, video games receive no more of a bad rap than anything.

I just did a search for "most common addictions."
  1. Listed video games as #6 out of 10.
  2. Doesn't list video games at all.
  3. Focuses on "new addictions" compared to those that existed 10-20 years ago, and lists texting, video games, the internet, food, and self-cutting as new, increasingly common addictions, right along the old favourites like smoking, drinking, and gambling.
  4. Doesn't list video games at all.
  5. Doesn't list video games at all.
If you watch media coverage and the dialogue in popular culture (which tends to harbor a lot of the conceptions and values we have as a society) videogame addiction is the buzz. "Treatment" centers are opening up all over the country and helping fan the flames for money.

The anti-addiction folks aren't biased, you are. Assuming you don't have anyone in your life with a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction, you have no reason to pay attention to those public service announcements. But when someone talks about video game addictions, you pay attention. You feel that your personal pastime is being attacked, and you take that personally.
Fair point, but I would be more inclined to take the idea seriously if it had the weight of an actual explanation that didnt apply to every other form of entertainment. Virtually every charge you can level at videogames to support them being "addictive" is a trait shared by a multitude of other media and no one is making a fuss about addiction to them.

I'm not sure what else to call that except selective targeting of new and poorly understood media.

The reason there is more media attention on video game addiction is that it's new. People are just beginning to understand it. The media reports new things; alcoholism is old hat.
And again that's part of my point; the vast majority of people waving the "videogame addiction" banner know zip squat about games at all. They've seen a 30 second clip of GTA and they're off to the races.

A non-addicted player makes a conscious choice and sticks to it. An addicted player tries to make that choice, but when their time's up, they say "just 10 more minutes" and before they know it, another 6 hours have passed.
I do that with countless activities, am I addicted to all of them? That's the sign of being engaged and interested in what you are doing.

Only 25% of that $28b accounts for general reading, so about $7b to the gaming industry's $10B in revenue... So you've got me that books have just as much industry backing as video games. I'm just as addicted to books as video games. However the baked good industry has nothing to do with baking as a hobby. The hobby is not to go out and buy ready-made cookies, it's to buy flour and chocolate chips, and make cookies from scratch.
The basic point is you have money-grubbing motherfuckers behind every product on the shelves and they ALL have motivation to want you to buy more of their crap.
 

Helo

New member
Personal experience and reports from psychologists.
I would very much like to see these reports as I have yet to see a satisfactory (hell, ANY) explanation of the mechanism of action in videogames that triggers addictive behavior.

The existence of video game treatement programs and people who voluntarily enter them to get help for their own self-perceived problem.
People buy DVD rewinders and inject lethal poison into their faces to look pretty. What people buy and sell are EXTREMELY poor indicators of reality.

Absolutely it does. And where does that opportunity for less active play come from?
Correlation does not equal causation.

But I'll revise what I said. The culprit is not video games all by themselves. The culprit is glowing rectangular screens and the extreme availability of media for those screens, combined with parents' neglect about forcing their kids to get out of the house and be active. I might even argue that media is and always has been addictive. The first media was books. Then radio. Then TV. Now the internet and video games.
I would contend the problem goes even deeper than that and we refuse to see it, but again that's an entire new topic.

No, but if you were to show a modern video game combat scene to a kid in the 1950s, he'd be horrified and have nightmares about it. Likewise for a modern movie or tv scene. But acknowledged. I should have said desensitization to virtual violence. I don't think anyone ever gets used to real life violence, as any war refugee will attest.
If you showed The Land That Time Forgot to a kid in the 1950's they'd have been terrified of it; our cultural norms change over time depending on their environment. A kid in the 1850's could slit the throat of a goat, gut it, and skin it without ever flinching whereas a kid in 2010 would probably ralph if they saw it happen in front of them.

That one I will grant you. No mentally sound person is going to play a bunch of video games and then think it will be a good idea to go out and shoot up a bunch of kids. Humans have always been violent, and the fact that people find violent video games so attractive really speaks more towards how we already are as a people than what video game makers make us become. If we didn't think blowing shit up was so fucking cool to begin with, then video games where you blow shit up wouldn't be popular and the manufacturers would find something else to sell.
From what I've seen and learned, people who abuse games do so for two reasons; self-medication and self-stimulation.

Those who self-medicate are depressed and are looking for an escape from the world that they find in games. They find a safety and a codified system of understandable and masterable rules that they can interact with, they find a sort of equality and meritocracy all in one where they can both be safe from the hostility of the world as well as develop mastery at something. They're looking for a world they can understand and influence in meaningful ways.

Those who self-stimulate are looking for control. They feel powerless or jaded and games are a way to regain control and see new things that you otherwise wouldnt be able to. Violent fantasies can be enacted with no repercussions and you can become respected for being the best at something.

In both cases you have people who are using games as a means to an end. They are both using games the way someone else would use drugs and eventually they want to spend more and more time in that world because they like the feeling being there gives them. Over time, that stops being effective and you get people who snap and either implode or explode.

In both cases, nothing about the game specifically is drawing these people in. They're looking for some medium that can give them the feelings they're looking for and they find it in games. If games weren't around, they'd be going to movies or TV shows. Without movies or TV shows, they'd go to books and so on down the line.
 

BreatheDeeply

New member
I'm returning to the original article and, IMHO some male gamers are jerks (and even worse then jerks) to women.

Before you flame me for saying that generalisation! Please let me go on... (Digging myself a hole here I'm sure...)

  1. Male Nerds/geeks are largely uncomfortable around women (not all, but many, maybe most - no one knows for sure because there are no studies)
  2. So they usually never make the first move with women in a dating sense.
  3. And therefore have fewer opportunities for meeting the right girl.
  4. And so tend to fixate on the few (or one) girl they know.
  5. And when that doesn't work out, they don't see this as an opportunity to move on, instead, because they know it might be a long time before meeting another girl, they take it very personally. And get very angry. And take it out on women.
.

There is such a simple solution to this. One that smart guys already know.

MALE GAMERS WHO HATE WOMEN: Put down the controller/mouse. Step away from the game. And go get some dates!!!!!!! OMG. It's so easy, keep up a good, long-term plan to becoming an expert dater. Fix yourself up. Be the guy you know you want to be. Go on dating sites like its a COD Mission. Google "how to date" more then "where to buy WOW gold". ok?

You will get rejected, that's ok, because you are also not asking girls you're not interested in on a 2nd date (get it! Now you're the rejector and they're the rejectee, notice they don't hate men just because some guys don't call them back?)

The above will transform you from a 90lb, girl-hating weeny to a 90lb lover-of-all-things female who has women laughing at your txt jokes (which aren't funny but they laugh anyway cause they LIKE YOU!)

Ok, bit tongue-in-cheek but the point is male gamers who hate women NEED to get a clue about all this. You really don't want to hate women. Why do i say that? cause its 2013 and not 1983, women are AMAZING (so are guys, of course - I never bag my own kind!) and you are not your father's generation. get with the program.


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SchrodingersCat

Active member
My basic assertions are:

1. Psychological dependence and addiction are different things
2. Videogames are not inherently more or less prone to causing psychological dependence
3. The focus on videogame "addiction" is motivated primarily by profit and class distinctions
4. The correlation with anti-social behavior is a symptom rather than a cause
5. The criteria for and mechanisms of videogame "addiction" are terribly vague
6. It is a charge that is impossible to defend against

Ok, good point, I see where you're coming from and I don't disagree.


Prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing in the US and when you see a parent gargling a mouthful of Zoloft, most people's reaction is to make jokes; "Mommy's Little Helper." When's the last time you heard heroin referred to as "Daddy's Little Helper?" Prescription drug abuse is becoming more stigmatized because its starting to filter down to the lower classes but by and large its still a middle and upper class problem and as such it gets treated with far more levity than something like cocaine.

I personally have never heard of prescription drugs being referred to as "Mommy's Little Helper" and to hear that people do causes me sadness. But you're right that the average person doesn't really have an understanding of addiction, and that can lead to substance abuse and problem behaviour that people don't recognize as unacceptable.

I thought cocaine was thought of as a rich man's drug? In movies, it's romanticized as classy. Meth and crack are what I think of as the low-class drugs.

They dont have to know anything about games, anything about psychology, anything about ME, and yet they can drop a very serious accusation.

And I agree that diagnosing someone you don't even know is not acceptable. I realize it probably seems like that's what I was doing, but I wasn't. My intention was to point out a behaviour that sounded like it could be a problem, in order to trigger your conscious analysis of whether it is or not. I don't know you, and I accept you as the authority on you, so I accept your analysis.

I think you're very quick to pull out the addiction label. Simply because you stay up late on a website, how does that make you an addict?

This whole conversation got me thinking and talking to my girlfriend, who unlike either of us DOES have a degree in Psychology. She agrees that my behaviour is probably not an addiction, more of a compulsion or habit. I'm inclined to agree, since I don't spend every waking moment thinking about the internet, I don't arrange my schedule and life around it, nor do I reject all other activities in favour of it.

If you showed The Land That Time Forgot to a kid in the 1950's they'd have been terrified of it; our cultural norms change over time depending on their environment. A kid in the 1850's could slit the throat of a goat, gut it, and skin it without ever flinching whereas a kid in 2010 would probably ralph if they saw it happen in front of them.

Aww I still cry every time I see that movie. But I was never scared of Sharptooth, so I see your point.

I tried to break a chicken bone once for soup, to get more flavour out. It grossed me out so much, I did an "ew ew ew" dance around the kitchen, and turned the whole process over to my husband.

Point made.

From what I've seen and learned, people who abuse games do so for two reasons; self-medication and self-stimulation.

I think you've hit on a good point: the difference between "abusing" something and "being addicted" to it. I've always thought of them both as "a problem" and lumped them together, but you make a good point about the distinction.
 
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