Chicago (IL) - A soon-to-be published Swedish report by the Swedish Youth Organization and The Youth Care Foundation has determined that World of Warcraft plays a serious role in gaming addiction, being as addictive as cocaine. They even cite that there is not a single case of gaming addiction where World of Warcraft is not involved.
Sven Rollenhagen of the Youth Care Foundation said, "There is not a single case of game addiction that we have worked with in which World of Warcraft has not played a part."
In November, 2008, it was reported by The Local online site that a boy from Laholm (northern Sweden) was admitted into the hospital after playing World of Warcraft for 20 hours continuously.
Although there is currently no medical diagnosis of the condition, 170 of the 2000 calls received by the Youth Care Foundation related to video games, and it is believed this new report will shed light on the growing trend as World of Warcraft has grown significantly in popularity since that time.
See The Local.
I'll be 40 this year, and I have never been much into gaming for gaming's sake. In the late 1990s I went to several Quake LAN parties, but that was more for the social aspects than raw game playing alone as I never really cared how well I played, but enjoyed the company. Also, as a software developer, I was able to enjoy the game for its 3D effects and the way it merged sound and graphics so well. Very nice.
I've played WoW a few times, along with other online fantasy, Sci-Fi and action games. I can say truthfully they're not for me. I don't see why someone would want to sit down for hours on end playing a game when there are so many other things to do in life. On the other hand, I do enjoy going to old steam engine and tractor shows, farming shows with original horse-drawn equipment, and I am pretty good at rebuilding car engines. I'm also a certified welder, so my interests are wide and more hands on with real, tangible things being my goal.
Still, I recognize the dangers our youth today face with these games. I have seen kids sit down for six or more hours without moving from a single spot except to get more potato chips and a soda, or run to the bathroom.
I think maybe this summer would be a good time for many of the parents out there to put away the PS3 and Xbox360 and grab the camping gear to spend a weekend with their kids at some local park under the stars with a campfire, watching the fish swim during the day, hearing the frogs jump into the water as you traipse along a trail, skipping stones, fishing, boating, hiking, and really just being together. It's social, bonding and very important to just be around each other doing diverse things. In fact, when two or more families do this together it lightens the parental load, and is even more fun for the kids.
Of course, being a child of the '60s ... I could have an antiquated view of life and living. A famous country musician once wrote: "There's only two things in life which make it worth living. It's guitars that tune good and firm feeling women." So ... perhaps to each his own.