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posted by mattie_p on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:11PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the games-watch-you! dept.

siliconwafer writes: "An article in The Economist raises some interesting points about addiction to video games, drawing from psychology and sociology to describe why certain people prefer certain types of games, and why they might become addicted to them. It is suggested that to discourage addiction, game designers could have their games recognize addictive behavior and respond to it by encouraging gamers to take breaks. Do game designers have any responsibility to recognize addictive behavior, or does this responsibility fall solely on the gamer (or the gamer's parents in the case of a minor)?"

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Koen on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:22PM

    by Koen (427) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:22PM (#6613)

    Games want to be addictive (but they hate to be anthropomorphized.)

    Many game designers try to make their games as addictive as possible. I remember reading something about the techniques they use for this, like achievement systems - I'll try to dig it up later today.

    The only game I have ever seen saying 'take a break' during the loading screen was Baldur's Gate 2 (IIRC) - and then it drops you among a horde of enemies.

    Suppose this site would say "you have to wait 10 minutes to log in, because we detected you're getting addicted."

    If a game refuses to continue because the player is playing to much, the game risks to lose that player. I guess most game designers will not be willing to do something like that, and there is no way to force them to do this.

    --
    /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Sir Finkus on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:28PM

      by Sir Finkus (192) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:28PM (#6620) Journal

      I've noticed it in some mmorpgs, like Guild Wars. If you play longer than a few hours it will start giving you increasingly insistent messages about taking breaks. I don't think it ever kicks you off though.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by monster on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:45PM

        by monster (1260) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:45PM (#6626) Journal

        Some Nintendo games do the same. I've seen it with Super Mario Galaxy (1 & 2) and Wii Sports, and I would guess they are not the only examples.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by davester666 on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:14PM

          by davester666 (155) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:14PM (#6850)

          Except now, most mobile games and even browser-based games that are free-to-wait are explicitly designed to be addictive, to get the person to spend more and more on in-app purchases.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by TheLink on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:50PM

        by TheLink (332) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:50PM (#6679) Journal
        I've seen those warnings, often it's because I stay connected while doing other stuff (go for dinner, browse etc). Thing is Guild Wars 1 isn't really that addictive compared to other games - in the past years they have added stuff (titles, collections etc) for the OCD people to complete and addict themselves on, but given it's not a subscription based game, or a F2P one there really isn't as much motivation to get people hooked (they've got your money already - they only need enough players to keep playing so that maybe more other players would sign up - nobody wants to buy a dying game[1] that might get closed down soon[2]).

        I keep playing GW1 because it's fun - I don't even care that much if I lose GvG matches (I do care if I made too many silly mistakes though- and we lose as a result, but I'm fine if I did well and it wasn't me that messed up big time). It's like "bowling night" - you play, you have fun even if you get last place. For PvE I team up with other random human players just for variety. There are lots of people who take it very seriously though.

        [1] Unfortunately GW1 seems to be dying - fewer people playing because fewer people are playing (it's not that addictive after all and many left to try GW2) but there are people working together to try revive certain stuff (e.g. every day at 10pm EST they try to start Fort Aspenwood matches - and it seems to be kind of working - I've actually managed to play FA matches). And Anet does try with weekly events - AB is alive and active this week.

        [2] NCSoft shutdown City of Heroes after all, and they own Guild Wars.
      • (Score: 5, Funny) by mojo chan on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:48PM

        by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:48PM (#6772)

        I heard that some EA games do this by not giving you any more turns for a few hours, but you can make an in-game purchase to continue playing. I knew they were just looking out for people's well-being, not the money grabbing bastards the media makes out.

        --
        const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
      • (Score: 1) by hybristic on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:31PM

        by hybristic (10) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:31PM (#6981) Journal

        I played a game called MapleStory a long time ago, and after one hour you would get system messages that said: "You have been Mapling for X hours, take a break and come back later".

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Koen on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:56PM

      by Koen (427) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:56PM (#6640)
      --
      /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:03PM (#6785)

        This is why I don't enjoy video games like I used to, once I learned I was being psychologically and emotionally manipulated all the joy went out of it. It's like processed food made with monosodium glutamate, I want to keep eating it even though it's not very good.

    • (Score: 1) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:23PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:23PM (#6656) Homepage Journal

      I'd answer the subject's heading with a resounding HELL, NO!

      What a dumb concept. A game designer is not responsible for your OCD. If you have OCD, stay away from games, gambling, and anything else that may trigger your illness.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TheLink on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:31PM

      by TheLink (332) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:31PM (#6666) Journal

      Many game designers try to make their games as addictive as possible

      That's the easy way out though. The problem is if too many players and creators assume addictiveness in a game is normal or a priority, or worse- the only thing to aim for.

      To me there's a big difference between wanting to keep playing a game because it's really fun, and wanting to keep playing a game because you feel compelled to- due to various psychological tricks.

      It's like the difference between eating something because it is really delicious and eating something because you feel compelled to - trained to finish everything on each plate, or feel like your efforts so far would be wasted if you didn't, or because you would fall behind if you didn't (finish that last piece of chicken breast or you won't have enough protein and lag the rest of your bodybuilder friends).

      Yes both can result in unhealthy results (overeating/playing too much), but with the first sort you are more likely to say "it was worth it". You might say it with the latter sort if the game has enough redeeming stuff, but I've played some games which really weren't fun (and stopped after not finding enough fun). There really are games which make players feel like they need to keep doing something, and players can't honestly tell you those bits are fun. There's only a little bit of fun when they complete a stage after hours/weeks of effort.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:46PM (#6674)

      >I guess most game designers will not be willing to do something like that, and there is no way to force them to do this.

      You're right. Since we don't have a society built on laws there's no possible way we could impose arbitrary requirements on any group of people.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Koen on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:36PM

        by Koen (427) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:36PM (#6719)

        >I guess most game designers will not be willing to do something like that, and there is no way to force them to do this.

        You're right. Since we don't have a society built on laws there's no possible way we could impose arbitrary requirements on any group of people.

        The laws of your country or the laws of my country?

        If it is your country, the game makers will set up shop in my country - all it takes is a colo server.

        --
        /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by unimatrix on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:41PM

      by unimatrix (1983) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:41PM (#6722)

      The narrator in Stronghold would chime in "You've been playing a really long time my liege" and "How 'bout a snack my liege" if you played more than about an hour during a sitting.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:25PM (#7246)

        Any game in which the narrator calls the player "my liege" is inherently addictive for me.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:43PM (#6822)
      Dungeon keeper 2 would once in awhile tell you to take a break. Or ask if you were still alive... :P
    • (Score: 1) by mvar on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:02PM

      by mvar (2539) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @11:02PM (#6989)

      I remember that in BG2. "While your party members don't need to eat, remember that YOU DO"
      the first time i thought it was a joke.. 6 hours later, it made sense

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by CynicGalahad on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:25PM

    by CynicGalahad (1275) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:25PM (#6615)

    If one considers the amount of bugs in somce games which hinder the ability to play any length of time (Battlefield constant crashes, for instance), the feature is already present.

    What happens if I fall ill, get stuck at home only with a single pizza delivery number and crappy cable? Can't I play until one of them kills me?

    More monitoring? Nanny government, now corporations? We have cigarettes, coffee, several addictive legal drugs, etc. Why the concern with games?

    Leave my addictions alone!

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:41PM

      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:41PM (#6623) Journal

      More monitoring? Nanny government, now corporations? We have cigarettes, coffee, several addictive legal drugs, etc. Why the concern with games?

      Because games don't bring the same level of income/taxes as ciggies or legal drugs? Why would it be allowed to you to waste time consuming something less profitable?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by clone141166 on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:26PM

    by clone141166 (59) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:26PM (#6616)
    No. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_h eadlines/ [wikipedia.org]

    Well, they can try if they really want to. But any game that starts pestering its players to stop playing it isn't just going to have players taking a break from it, it's going to have players abandoning it completely.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tempest on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:54PM

      by tempest (3050) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:54PM (#6635)

      Depends on the "pestering" I guess. I still play Tera which hits the usual generic Korean MMO addictive points, but every hour it pops up a message saying you've been playing for "X" hours. There's been more than a few times I lost track of time and thought "has it been that long already?", and logged off. I'd assume most would just ignore that kind of message, but I think there's merit to reminding people how much time they've invested in a game. Most people I knew who into World of Warcraft were afraid to type in /played.

      • (Score: 1) by Peristaltic on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:19PM

        by Peristaltic (3122) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:19PM (#6705)

        Yep. I was about to jump in and say that personal responsibility has to start somewhere, even for the addicted.

        On the other hand, having some kind of optional, unobtrusive reminder to help you synchronize back to the real world now and then might not be a bad idea.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by akinliat on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:54PM

        by akinliat (1898) <reversethis-{moc.liamg} {ta} {tailnika}> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @10:54PM (#6987)

        Depends on the "pestering" I guess.

        Exactly. It's a game. If they're going to try to get you to take a break, then it ought to be in a fun way. For instance, they might suggest that you go do something else utterly strange. Pull a string from fortune, and incorporate it the way that Slashcode does. Try to be witty, or clever, or just silly.

        What you don't want is a message that sounds like your mother/wife/partner/judgemental-pet-of-choice. That's the sort of thing that games are supposed to help you get away from. You could even go so far as incorporate external activities into the game somehow (achievements?).

        Bottom line, I know that I'm increasingly aware of just how bad it is for me to sit almost perfectly still and stare at a screen for hours on end. Like many, though, I can easily lose myself in a game, especially the complex sorts that I prefer. It'd be nice to have a periodic reminder to get up and move around, and if it's also amusing, it would add something to the game as well.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by weeds on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:02PM

      by weeds (611) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:02PM (#6784) Journal

      Headline ends with "?" answer is "No"

      I think this is becoming the SN meme.

      An addictive personality can become addicted to just about anything, pulling out eyebrows, purging, even working out or running. Just exactly how are we going to decide which ones the "supplier" should be required to build in addiction preventing or alleviating systems? AFAIK, I can stop at the store on the way home and buy a bottle of Gin and drink the whole thing without it warning me of my behavior or telling me to take a break.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:13PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @07:13PM (#6849) Homepage Journal

        That's not addiction, that's obsessive-compulsive disorder. As to headlines being answered with "no", that comes from a newspaper reporter named Betterage, who coined "betterige's law of headlines" and then prompty broke that law himself.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:26PM

    by c0lo (156) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:26PM (#6617) Journal

    Does soylentnews have any responsibility to recognize addictive behavior, or does this responsibility fall solely on the contributor?

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by clone141166 on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:50PM

      by clone141166 (59) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:50PM (#6631)

      In no event shall SoylentNews be liable for any special, consequential, incidental, potential, optimal, suboptimal, direct or indirect damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of sleep, sanity, socks or any pecuniary loss) arising out of the use of or inability to use this news service.

      Now where is NCommander, I need my next fix...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:55PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:55PM (#6638)

        Mumble-mumble... something about some difference between responsibility and liability

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:58PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:58PM (#6687)

      Does the economist website have a responsibility to recognize and develop a treatment plan for readers holding irrational or anti-social or inhumane economic beliefs? When they take care of that little problem I'll pay attention to these dudes in glass houses throwing rocks.

      The hidden narrative of most mass media FUD articles about the evils of any modern piece of technology is that being addicted to their legacy product is a great idea, but there must be something medically or psychologically wrong with a person who doesn't share the same addictions as themselves. The hope is someone who was about to power off or click X will be intimidated by peer pressure.

      Someone who plays Mario Kart instead of watching Oprah reruns is obviously in need of diagnosis and treatment; why else would anyone flee legacy media? We're all great over here, even if no one comes here no more because its too crowded, or so they say...

    • (Score: 2) by lhsi on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:32AM

      by lhsi (711) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:32AM (#7198) Journal

      Does soylentnews have any responsibility to recognize addictive behavior, or does this responsibility fall solely on the contributor?

      I get messages about attaining SoylentNews achievements (attaining achievements is something that could be attributed to gaming addiction), but following the link to see all of them doesn't show me anything. Maybe that is their way of preventing user addiction :-)

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:38AM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @08:38AM (#7203) Journal

        Maybe that is their way of preventing user addiction :-)

        This and capping karma at 50.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by scruffybeard on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:27PM

    by scruffybeard (533) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:27PM (#6618)

    I don't believe that the game maker has any responsibility in this regard, and that many games are designed to addict you in one way or another (I'm looking at you Candy Crush). Many games already recognize when the player is trapped in a loop, and while it would be nice for the game to suggest a break, most just offer you a cheat, for a price. In the end, it is the gamer's (or parent's) responsibility to manage his behavior, and learn when it it time to quit.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Lagg on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:38PM

    by Lagg (105) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:38PM (#6622) Homepage Journal
    Parents learn to be parents and adults learn to have some goddamn self-control. I'm so tired of this "do my job for me" bullshit. A video game is a program, programs do what you tell them. Not the other way around. If ls(1) were to spit out "Take a break from the shell for two minutes" what would you think? These proposals are no different. We should stop treating them like they are. People these days need to grow some balls or get them removed so as to not propagate this thinking further. The amount of parental and self-entitlement in these sorts of proposals blow my mind. And let's not even get into the pain in the ass that would create for the guys writing the code. Programmers here know what I'm talking about, it'd be adding really bad bloat to add a timer that spits out a warning. That's enough reason to shoot this crap down the first time you see it. Nevermind ethical concerns
    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Fry on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:50AM

      by Fry (642) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @01:50AM (#7046)

      You're ignoring the fact that some game designers *try* to get players addicted. Adding something that recognizes that that goal has been met in spades isn't a bad idea.

      "Programmers here know what I'm talking about, it'd be adding really bad bloat to add a timer that spits out a warning."

      Programmer here. Really bad bloat to add a timer? Really?? It would be trivial to count user actions (like mouse activity) and suggest a break when some threshold was met. A simple timer would ignore cases where the user was actually doing something else (like typing IMs on his phone or whatever)

      • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:23AM

        by Lagg (105) on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:23AM (#7661) Homepage Journal

        I'm not ignoring it, in fact that's the goal of all people doing games. They want people to play it. That's the entire point. Yes I'm aware of the dirty tricks con men like Zynga use to exploit the mind but still that is not enough justification to impose this crap on people. This mindset is a lot like the "internet addiction" one, equating video games with drugs because they want to be lazy assholes and not practice self-control and meanwhile everyone else pays for it. And yes it is bloat, it's not simple to add a timer because it's wasteful. Counting actions every frame or input event is dumb and adds unnecessary dirtiness to the code. I know this because I've been forced to add such things before. There's a big difference between recognizing a threshold has been passed (i.e. an objective met thing, something present in virtually all games after atari) and pestering people because you think they've been playing too long. That right there is the height of arrogance if you think that you're qualified to write code that does such a thing. What purpose would it serve anyway? World of Warcraft has quest completed alerts right? Do people stop playing for 24 hours at a time because of that?

        One more thing regarding the timer: Add such a timer to a game and look at it in a debugger or profiler. Either you're using a polling based timer or a threaded one. Watch how wasteful they are and how much overhead they create. If you really think that it's not bloat then you are not a programmer. You're what we call a code monkey.

        --
        http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bart9h on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:45PM

    by bart9h (767) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:45PM (#6625)

    Don't remember which, but there was a game which just displayed the time you spent playing.

    It's subtle, but has a nice effect on remembering how you could be wasting your time with it.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by dotdotdot on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:51PM

      by dotdotdot (858) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:51PM (#6633)

      I thought that was the score. I kept playing to see how high I could get it.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Koen on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:20PM

        by Koen (427) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:20PM (#6654)

        My son goes about it this way: Steam shows how long he has been playing his games. When he is looking for team mates, he tries to get players who spent a lot of time on the game. It is just a measure of experience to him.

        --
        /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
    • (Score: 1) by etherscythe on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:53PM

      by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:53PM (#6776) Journal

      Steam does this with most games as well

      --
      "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
  • (Score: 1) by Silentknyght on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:55PM

    by Silentknyght (1905) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @02:55PM (#6639)

    Don't bother RTFA. I did, and it doesn't amount to much more than the question posed in the summary headline: "should videogames recognize addictive behavior?"

    I think it's a foregone conclusion that some people can & do become addicted to videogames. Regardless of the headline---"Should" games recognize it---the more important question is "could" games recognize it. I'd argue that no, of course not; a videogame cannot make any valid measurement of the level of "addiction" of its players. Perhaps a "player" is a bot, or a shared account, or an otherwise well-adjusted individual going on a binge? It would need to be able to assess them in real space, and I daresay that we don't want our games to do that.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Moru on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:13PM

      by Moru (1248) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:13PM (#6648)

      It's important that we as friends to the addicted dare to point out similarities with other addictions and the behavior of the game-addicted person. Only we have a chance to see the addiction, a running timer in a game does not know anything about the problem.

      http://www.video-game-addiction.org/symptoms-compu ter-addiction-teens.html [video-game-addiction.org]

    • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:48PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:48PM (#6676)

      I think it's a foregone conclusion that some people can & do become addicted to videogames.

      I am not so sure. Yes there are people who use video games excessively, but is that really addiction or is it some other underlying issue like depression? I used to have problems with seasonal affective disorder (now I just take Vitamin D pills in the winter) and would crawl into my cave and play video games for long periods. So I think it's hard to tell if the video games are causing someone to withdraw from society and normal activities, or if they're more of a coping mechanism for someone with other problems.

      On the other hand, I think we have all experienced the "one more turn" or "one more level" effect, and not logged off when we should have and ended up staying up till 3 in the morning the night before work/school. That reward feedback of completing something, leveling up or researching that next civilization advance (Civ used to hit me pretty hard) is, as I understand it, similar how addiction to alcohol or cigarettes or gambling work.

      It's entirely possible that both kinds of people exist -- addicts and those to use games to deal with depression. If so, that might lead to a perception that addiction is more common than it is.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ZombieBait on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:55PM

        by ZombieBait (3100) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:55PM (#6734)

        That reward feedback of completing something, leveling up or researching that next civilization advance (Civ used to hit me pretty hard) is, as I understand it, similar how addiction to alcohol or cigarettes or gambling work.

        I agree, but I find it strange that this type if article always looks at games only. Any hobby, taken to excess, has the potential to be detrimental to someones health, career, relationship, etc. If someone spends an entire weekend reading a book cover to cover, hurts themselves while they're out skiing or is a zombie at work because they were up until 4am finishing a woodworking project, society tends to congratulate these people on their hard work and dedication. If the same results are due to wanting to see how the latest Final Fantasy ends or from finishing off your scale replica of the Death Star in Minecraft, suddenly it's a serious mental disorder that must be prevented/treated.

        • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:09PM

          by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:09PM (#6791)

          That's just because "normal" people's priorities are screwed up. If you finished a scale replica of the Death Star in Minecraft, I would definitely congratulate you for your hard work and dedication! :-)

          --
          [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 1) by nightsky30 on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:15PM

    by nightsky30 (1818) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:15PM (#6651)

    I've already seen some games do this.

    Somewhat late to the game you might say...

    Ba'dum cha

  • (Score: 1) by GungnirSniper on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:26PM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:26PM (#6660) Journal

    A handful of colleagues that do typing-heavy work have an app that reminds them to step back from their keyboards and do hand exercises every so often. If I recall, some game consoles (Wii?) have similar reminders.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:10PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:10PM (#6698)

      Conveniently, the legs need circulation and stretching, the eyes need to refocus in the distance, the stomach needs a small cup of water, the hands and wrists need a break, the back needs stretching and posture improved all about once an hour. Usually I walk to the bathroom even if I don't need to go. I don't feel bad in the least because it only burns a couple minutes while my smoker coworkers seem to light up about ten minutes outta every thirty and the sports-nerds are even worse by spending 25 out of 30 minutes talking about their fantasy leagues and the like.

      Its much like serious hiking... counter intuitively, take lots of short water breaks to get further, faster. Slowest way to hike is to be in a hurry. Programming is about the same way.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Buck Feta on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:28PM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:28PM (#6662) Journal

    As I understand it, some online games like Farmville and Candycrush are designed from the ground up to encourage addictive behavior.

    --
    - fractious political commentary goes here -
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:34PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 25 2014, @03:34PM (#6667)

    Its a subtle cry for the hardest of hard AI. The author is asking boring generic grind games (but not life and work) to #include ai.h such that you get a board certified medical doctor to make a medical diagnosis and both create and follow up on a treatment plan, just like any other addiction. Umm yeah wake me when they get that far as I've got some other apps for that simple to include AI.

    Its about as moronic as asking for vending machines to contain registered dietician AIs or cars engine computers to contain municipal traffic court judge AIs.

    To a lesser extent its a generic slap in the face of human skilled trades. Can't wait till I can replace my doctor with a cheap AI. Maybe if I cheer on the CEOs they'll see me as a good quisling and throw me a doggie bone. As for the human beings, well, just like every other skilled trade, let them eat cake, after all that strategy has never resulted in problems historically.

  • (Score: 1) by JeanCroix on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:19PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:19PM (#6704)
    I thought we were going to talk about the best sources for Skooma.
    • (Score: 1) by ementaler on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:48PM

      by ementaler (1796) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:48PM (#6727)

      Children should be educated from an early age about addictive behavior. Heck, parents as well. Too many times have I seen them trading games for child's compliance. Sad.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Nesh on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:46PM

    by Nesh (269) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @04:46PM (#6726)

    TV or books? Or media like facebook, twitter, news sites?
    What about sports? Too much sports clearly is a health risk.
    While you're at it: chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol, cake, pizza ... these could use some rationing as well.

    What's up with the focus on games anyway?

    • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:23PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @05:23PM (#6757)

      What's up with the focus on games anyway?

      I presume it's partly the neverending search for a scapegoat.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 2) by mtrycz on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:14PM

      by mtrycz (60) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:14PM (#6891)

      Chockolate can't tune itself to how much are you eating of it.

      Computers, on the other hand, can watch your patterns, and compute if/when your patterns are "at risk".
      Because, why not?
       
      I'd find it most useful for Slot/VLT Machines, tho.

      --
      In capitalist America, ads view YOU!
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RamiK on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:25PM

    by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @06:25PM (#6802)

    With high scores you can at least claim to be promoting competitiveness and self-confidence like in sports. But with generic collectibles and achievements you're really just milking the OCD cow...

    --
    compiling...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:25PM (#6954)

      and the sad part is that it works so well

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Serial_Priest on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:53PM

    by Serial_Priest (2493) <reversethis-{gro ... {legnagnisucca}> on Tuesday February 25 2014, @08:53PM (#6931)

    Without the right to engage in self-destructive behavior, there is no freedom. Almost anything in excess is dangerous, but the alternative to allowing excess is implementing suffocating social/political rules. As others have pointed out, the principle extends far beyond gaming. Why not police other "suboptimal" activity? Ban soft drinks, medicate hyperactive children, obey authority, drink the Kool-Aid. It's all a piece of the same awful pie.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by krishnoid on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:24PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday February 25 2014, @09:24PM (#6952)

    There's one reference to Zynga hiring a behavioral psychologist [time.com], and other references indicating that they explicitly design games for addiction.

    In protest, one game developer, Ian Bogost, created a game intended to be a conspicuously pure expression of this [bogost.com]. And to his chagrin, it was a big success [npr.org].

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by naubol on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:24AM

    by naubol (1918) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:24AM (#7025)

    I have known so many people who've spent at least several years being deeply addicted to games and wound up, I would say, better off for it. Not just speaking to the numerous studies of late which are showing that games can develop cognitive skills useful in other domains, I also think they can help build a shattered self-esteem and teach people to delay gratification for a more significant reward. In an odd way, the very thing that makes them addictive can also teach life skills that are quite valuable.

    At some point, it seems people get over the addiction and move onto the real world. But, instead of that looking like a process where one is "recovering" from video game addiction, it often appears to be more like they're graduating from an easier game to a much harder game. And, once they find traction in that much harder game, life becomes more addictive than the video game.

    Which brings me to my final point, life can give you all these stimuli which generate addictive behaviors under the right circumstances. It is probably where we got them from, ney? But, getting that stimuli to work for you so that you can "get a life" is sometimes very difficult for some people and the video game can act like training wheels.

    In the mean time, what makes people take solace in video game addiction may make them horrible spouses, friends, children, employees, or citizens, but from the long perspective, it might take them to higher heights. I don't think the answer on video game addiction is that it is intrinsically bad and a "locked in state". It might be for some people in some situations, but we first should acknowledge that it is a very real possibility that we might not wish to deter people from video game addiction in some circumstances.

    As a person who was both heavily addicted to books and video games, nobody told me I was wrong for the former but everybody told me I was wrong for the latter. I view both "addictions" as essential to my happiness and sense of place in my current life. I no longer play video games. Although I still read, just not with the same relentless fervor, and with probably a very different emotional approach. In a hundred years, it may be as inconceivable to say "you're addicted to video games" like how nobody says "you're addicted to books" in contemporary times.

  • (Score: 1) by monk on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:31AM

    by monk (3337) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @12:31AM (#7028)

    Granted, psychology is a primitive science at this point, but it seems reasonable that our understanding will improve. We've seen examples already of some very well thought out coercive monetization [gamasutra.com]. What will be possible in the future?

    A good analogy might be asking someone with a visual disability to sign a contract with faint enough print in sections that they don't even realize the print is there.

    Eventually there will be enough tricks and enough science that none of us will be able to see the fnords.

    --
    This sig intentionally left blank.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:56AM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:56AM (#7119) Journal

    (Testing to see if comments are still working, but while I'm at it, and to keep things on-topic...)

    Keep it simple: I would think that a user-selectable "timer" would be a relatively simple approach. Have the user decide how soon/often they want to be "nudged" back to reality. Whether it be by an explicit message, by a modification of game behavior, or whatever.

    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 1) by VanessaE on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:24AM

    by VanessaE (3396) <vanessa.e.dannenberg@gmail.com> on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:24AM (#7775) Journal
    It's my time to spend. I'll decide what I want to do with that time. If that means getting obsessed in some game, I don't need the game telling me to go take a break or whatever - my own body is quite capable of reminding me of that, thank you.