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 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.