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)?"
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.