I want to be honest: I do not like gaming. Never liked, and never had enough patience to play any game.
When Friends on Sale was launched on Facebook, I criticized so many of my friends for having no sense and said that selling and buying the person even virtually is wrong. Then I played and loved it. I was contradicting to myself, my principles, whatever I have said before. At that moment I understood that probably that is what people feel when they become online-gaming addicted. I tried Mafia Wars and ended up asking what actually people find interesting in it.
Incidents with Alexandra Tobias’ killing her kid for interrupting Farmville game or Joseph Johnson of Chicago being charged with murder after allegedly shooting his companion in the head while playing an Xbox game are horrible. Guns don’t kill people, people do. Games are not responsible for these incidents, people are. However, I remember Facebook giving 20 credits for free on my account for me to try the games. I can only guess how many people got addicted on that time.
Yes, online games are interesting and create communities. They have some messages and educational values in them. They teach to react quickly and think strategically. They bring people together. At the same time, and the most importantly, they bring tons of money to the developers and owners of these games. This is just another form of gambling and psychological manipulation. Although, saying this I am one of those who believe in myths about gambling.
I remember Garret questioning what happens if people spend at least one percent of their spare time, let’s say which they spend watching TV, to do something useful. I spent some time with Wikipedia this week and now I am a firm believer that I would prefer people coming together and implement crowdsourcing projects like Wikipedia, rather than gaming online. I would rather read one extra book or watch a movie than thinking of unlocking the multifunctional guns online or living virtual second life or playing chess with some random stranger.
I would donate money to the people in need rather than losing them online. Call me old fashioned.