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)?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".