Death by gaming

I recently listened to a really interesting Radio 4 program (Crossing Continents) on computer game playing in Korea, where gamers (or e-sportsmen) are considered cool and there is no concept of nerd. When can I go?

On the down side, the program also discusses the issue of gaming addiction, which is particularly real in Korea where competitive multi-player games are so embedded in the culture, and there are cases of players dying from game addiction, basically by forgetting to eat, drink, sleep, and not urinate on themselves (in Internet cafes, apparently) until their hearts pack up with stress.

The show ends with some doom-laden facts and figures about how gaming addiction may become more common in the west in years to come. While I don’t doubt that addiction is a real issue in any context, I do worry that the potential of games is sometimes negated by this issue. You don’t hear people saying that exercise is a bad thing because it’s possible to get addicted, but I have heard the same said about computer games.

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