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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Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoThough I am also not sure we can say NYC failed. Rent control helped the people it was intended for and is considered a failure by the people it was designed to protect them from.04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoIf they change the rules, demand will plummet. Though yeah, rent control probably would not help much in the SF case. I doubt anything will.04/15/2014 - 1:35pm
TheSmokeyOnline gamer accused of murdering son to keep playing - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2014/04/15/21604921.html04/15/2014 - 11:50am
Matthew Wilsonyup, but curent city rules do not allow for that.04/15/2014 - 11:00am
ZippyDSMleeIf SF dose not start building upwards then they will price people out of the aera.04/15/2014 - 10:59am
Matthew Wilsonthe issue rent control has it reduces supply, and in SF case they already has a supply problem. rent control ofen puts rent below cost, or below profit of selling it. rent control would not fix this issue.04/15/2014 - 10:56am
NeenekoRent control is useful in moderation, NYC took it way to far and tends to be held up as an example of them not working, but in most cases they are more subtle and positive.04/15/2014 - 10:24am
PHX CorpBeating Cancer with Video Games http://mashable.com/2014/04/14/steven-gonzalez-survivor-games/04/15/2014 - 9:21am
Matthew Wilsonwhat are you saying SF should do rent control, that has never worked every time it has been tried. the issue here is a self inflicted supply problem imposed by stupid laws.04/15/2014 - 8:52am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Government created price controls don't work though. They may keep prices down for the current inhabitants, but they are the primary cause of recently vacated residences having astronomical costs. Look at New York City as a prime example.04/15/2014 - 8:50am
NeenekoI think free markets are important, but believe in balance. Too much of any force and things get unstable.04/15/2014 - 7:25am
NeenekoWell, the traditional way of keeping prices down is what they are doing, controls on lease termination and tax code, but it will not be enough in this case.04/15/2014 - 7:24am
Matthew WilsonI said that already04/14/2014 - 4:22pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, The could also lower prices by increasing supply. Allow high rise apartment buildings to be built to fulfill demand and prices will drop.04/14/2014 - 3:48pm
Matthew Wilsonthe only way they could keep the price's down, would be to kick out google, apple, amazon, and other tech companies, but that would do a ton of economic damage to SF, but I am a major proponent of free markets04/14/2014 - 2:54pm
NeenekoThe community people are seeking gets destroyed in the process, and the new people are not able to build on themselves. Generally these situations result in local cultural death in a decade or so, and no one wins.04/14/2014 - 2:09pm
NeenekoWell yes, that is the 'free market', but the market is only a small piece of a much larger system. The market does not always do the constructive thing.04/14/2014 - 2:06pm
 

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