About a week ago I overheard someone talking about a professor who had spent a whole class period lecturing about video game addiction. He seemed to think it was all a joke, like it’s not a real concern, which is an attitude I find interesting. I wanted to tell him about the episode of Intervention where a guy gave up his family and most of his friends for some video games, or the cases I’ve read about where people have died because they forgot to eat or drink while playing video games.
Certainly you can’t say video games are on the same level as something like crank, but if you compare them with marijuana, you’ll see video games kill more people (though admittedly the numbers are still quite low) and suck away more physical time away from individuals. I can’t help but wonder if many people feel that video game and television addiction is not a real problem because it’s not illegal. Cops aren’t willing to point guns at people and destroy their lives over video games, so therefore they can’t be a real problem.
The day after hearing the guy talking about his class, I saw that Hulu had the first five complete seasons of Lost. I’d tried watching it once and found the first episode to be simple violence porn that somehow didn’t hit me as anything interesting. This time I gave it another chance and have found myself completely addicted to Lost. I’m not sure if I’m subconsciously trying to prove the guy wrong or what.
I’ve been addicted to other television shows in the past, when I’d get them from Netflix or download the torrents. I’ve been addicted to shows like Farscape, The Sopranos, Firefly, 24, Star Trek Enterprise, Arrested Development and probably a few others that I can’t think of, but Lost has just a little stronger pull. I’m already on the third season and it’s this endless string of underground lairs, secret experiments, mysterious fires, lies and deceit, capturing, torturing and mysteries that go on and on and on in an endless tease of questions. I watch one episode after another, and even now am trying to divide my attention between this entry and yet another episode. It’s sucking my life away and my only consolation is that it will end at the sixth season… but there will always be another amazingly entertaining show to get sucked into.
So I’ve been thinking about why television is a bad influence this last week and have read a few arguments on the web. Fortunately a few have pointed out the importance of avoiding over-simplification and claiming that all television or video games are bad, but what I didn’t hear much of was the issue of the sheer volume of time that these activities steal away from people.
So by embedding this in my post am I considered an enabler now? Damn you Hulu for sucking my life away!