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Jan 04, 2006



I really enjoyed Yi-Shan-Guan and the parallels between the racism Chinese workers were subject to in 19th century America and the racism Chinese workers are being subjected to in MMOs. You draw some convincing analogies.



Interesting stuff as always, Nick - Yi-Shan-Guan intersects in interesting ways with Jerry Kang's work, which I've been thinking about quite a bit recently - with respect to the multiple levels at which we find racial mapping in VWs. [FWIW - I think Constance's examples were from Lineage II, not FFXI].

Your addiction piece I'm a little less clear on - I understand your concern about the mass media messing up any labels professionals attach to phenomena like MMORPG addiction, but the documentation of the phenomenon - since the early days of MUDs (I was just poking though Sinha's Cybergypsies yesterday - and in the 1980's an addiction which cost $6/hour could bankrupt you pretty fast...) is pretty staggering. You recognize this at the beginning of the article, but I'm not sure how helpful criticism like this is:
>If someone dies while watching TV, that is not newsworthy. If someone dies on a golf course, you can bet that you won’t see it on the 7 o’clock news.
Are there cases where people have died as a direct result of TV watching habits (other than long-term health) - akin to the DVT cases discussed here recently? I don't know many people who have undertaken 10, 20 or more hours in marathon golfing sessions until they go "snow-blind". Even the TV addicts I know tend to fall into a lethargic slumber rather than force themselves to stay up until they level.
>By calling it “online gaming addiction”, the media encourages us to think that we’re dealing with a very new problem.
In your article, you focus on the motivation factors (depression, self-esteem) - but in your other work (Ariadne, I think - as well as the virtual skinner box stuff) you also point out a number of ways in which MMORPGs create attraction and retention factors that aren't necessarily associated with other activities (even online ones). Is it not helpful for us to think about such phenomena as (partially) distinct from other addictions, much like gambling creates a set of pressures and attraction factors usefully distinguished from (say) heroin or shopping?


While attitudes toward MMOs and WoW in particular aren't mentioned in the survey, the "playing together" data implies what many of us have long known. For most of us married folk, especially 71% of men, 'WoW aggros spouses.' (And someone noted in-game the other day, the aggro radius increases with your level. :-/ )


Peter - Thanks for pointing out the FFXI -> L2 attribution error [just fixed it].

With the addiction piece, I struggled and still struggle with many of the points you bring up. The record on gaming deaths sound scary, but it's not clear to me that seizures during TV watching are not under-reported because the *cause* is seldom attributed to the media itself. With the Korean piece you mention, the problem is that normal work in our networked business corporations do the same thing - long periods of stress, low physical activity, sudden visual stimulation via computer screens.

Yet at the same time, I'm very aware of how extreme gaming can be. What I struggle the most with is - we don't really know how extreme golf, TV, or work gets because we don't treat, study, or publicize them as potentially pathological ...


Mike said: 'WoW aggros spouses.'

Great point. I've also heard it referred to as "RL aggro management" :)


The revelation that 54% of respondents had previous experience in textual worlds is staggering. Where did they all play?

Maybe people who played the old MUDs are more likely to answer Nick's questionnaires than people who haven't.


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