Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

January 6, 2011 -

A Herald-Tribune article details the odd work situation that Ryan Van Cleave finds himself in since writing his book, "Unplugged: My Journey Into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction." The topic of his book, game addiction, does not sit well with some faculty and students at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., where he teaches English and writing, because the school has close ties with the field of video game development.

The article describes him as somewhat heretical, because the school teaches computer animation, comparing him to a Hershey employee warning consumers not to eat chocolate.

His book talks about the early days of video games, but the focal point is his addiction with World of Warcraft. According to his book, it lead to all kinds of odd behavior, like wearing adult diapers to shave off away time from his computer. Delightful. He blames his 40-hour-a-week addiction to WOW for his broken relationship with his wife and children and his general disconnection from life.

His story has certainly given him a lot of national attention; he has been offered appearances on the Dr. Phil show and has been asked to speak before groups that deal with game addiction. Some argue that he is simply an opportunist, writing a book on a subject that is hot. Whatever the case, he certainly is taking advantage of the situation, according to the paper: his business cards now read "Digital Addiction & Recovery Consultant."

While Van Cleave may consider himself a "recovering game addict," he is not pushing the issue on campus where works. He would like to see his colleagues in the game design program find ways to integrate ethical questions into the curriculum though. But colleagues like Jim McCampbell, who oversees the college's computer animation program, disagree strongly with Van Cleave's talk of more ethics in game design. In an email to the paper he said that students already "have a considerable amount of ethics taught in their game design courses" and that they focus "on creating art rather than gameplay."

He went on to say that the college does not encourage game design that lures gamers in with "psychological tactics" either: "As an artist, of course I want you to be deeply immersed in my game. That's why I made it." But he adds that "at no point would I have used the principles of mind control to persuade you to do something that you didn't want to do."

He also points out that, at some point, personal responsibility must be recognized and acknowledged:

"We tend to blame anyone but ourselves for our choices, but in the end it was that ... a personal choice that was made," he wrote, adding: "Don't confuse a psychological disorder with a lack of self-discipline."

Despite his disagreement with Van Cleave, McCampbell said that he would welcome greater debate on campus about the issue. One Ringling student thinks raising the issue on campus would receive a mixed reaction:

"I think it would cause a lot of controversy and a lot of talk and that might be a good thing," said Athena Torri, a senior studying photography.

Commentary: One thing that Van Clave might want to acknowledge is that he might suffer from addictive personality disorder. In other words, some people are more susceptible to getting addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, eating, gambling, and other disorders due to genetics.


Comments

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

What a load of crap. This is like a former heroin addict asking the pharmaceutical department of his uni to be 'mindful' of creating addictful products.

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

If a person can become addicted to video games he can become addicted to anything.  There aren't any chemicals flowing from the console into the players brain.  The addicted player just has an adictive personality.  Take away video games and he'll become addicted to something else.   It's really quite simple.  

Pwnage of Empires Xbox 360 Indie RTS

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

Too bad his last name isn't Van Cleef.

Would fit perfectly with his so called WoW addiction...

and 40 hours a week on wow is nothing compared to a lot of the hardcore raiders that play that game.

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

Lol, yeah, now that you mention it.  40 hrs a week is the "low end" of hardcore gaming.  I knew a married couple in my WoW guild that managed to put in 30 hrs a week, each.  They played after the kids went to sleep (once stopped a BWL raid for 45 minutes when one of the rugrats woke up with a sore throat), they both had jobs (guy worked out of home), were even in the process of moving to a new home.  And they still managed to put in 30 hrs easy.

I can see where his obsession with WoW might strain a marriage with a wife who isn't a gamer, but 40 hrs is hardly worth a book.  Or diapers...

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

no joke.

40 hours a week, 7 days = 5.714 hours avg gaming a day

if you can't go 5.7 hours without crapping your pants maybe you should see a doctor

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

This is the worst kind of "recovering" addict.  Behavoral Addictions are real, but are attributed to problems in the person's life, or to a mental imbalance.  But he's going out there and blaming the activity, instead of analyzing what's wrong with his situation that made him retreat into gaming so obsessively.  Ultimately, when his time in the spotlight is over and he's no longer making money off his book, he'll still won't have dealt with whatever lead him to his addiction in the first place.

And I'm saying this as a person who went through an MMO addiction myself (though nowhere near as severe as to wear diapers... yikes).

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

Exactly.  He, as will Dr. Phil and so many others, is blaming the sand he stuck his head in to avoid other issues.  "I stuck my head in the sand to avoid problems.  The sand was so enticing.  It's the sand's fault."  :/

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

It's absurd, isn't it.  He's actually telling developers to stop making games "too fun."

Re: Game Addiction Author At Odds With College Colleagues

Which is less than a percent better than telling developers to not make games at all.

 
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Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
 

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