PlayStation Nation


I came across this book at the bookstore of a college I frequent. I took a glance at it and decided to buy it. It wasn’t very expensive and figured it would be a good read.

Right off it assaults the reader with anecdotal statistics of people the author knows who have had to combat their children playing video games too much.

As a gamer, my first instinct was to think that the parents mentioned in the book over-reacted to their children’s playing habits. Then again, I can only vouch for my own mileage, everyone else’s is different.

Then I realized that this book is only narrowly focused. It only talks about how people (mostly children) can become addicted to video games (I know it can happen). As a Psychology major, one of my favorite subjects was Internet Addiction. As far as I know not much research has been done on this subject.

Viewing this book in the light of being an early look at Internet Addiction really brought me around. I was ready to trash this book for being what it is – a rally against video games.

But deeper than that it’s a warning. It’s okay to play, just do so in moderation.

Before I play my favorite MMO, I’m greeted with a message telling me not to forget my family, friends, job, and other responsibilities. As the opening to Mystery Science Theater 3000 used to say, “It’s just a show, you really should just relax.”

That’s not to say I don’t think video game/Internet addiction is a problem, it is. I used to have a friend in England I talked to quite a bit. One day he told me he just got World of Warcraft and I didn’t hear from him again for six months. He told that he’s spent quite a bit of time playing WoW. He gave me the figure for how many hours he’d played the game. The result equaled 90 days. Nearly 3 full months of a 6 month period was spent playing WoW.

In August I compiled a time inquiry regarding my own time playing Final Fantasy XI. I’ve been playing FFXI since March 2007. As of August 2009, a full 10% of my life was spent playing FFXI for that time span. In 28 months I spent 10% of my life playing FFXI.

Of course, that doesn’t take into account what I did with the other 90% of my time. I worked a job, read books, met with friends, etc. You could hardly call me a reclusive shut-in.

I guess the message is: Be careful with how you spend your time because once it’s spent, you can’t get it back.


One Response to “PlayStation Nation”

  1. Interesting.

    Some years ago, before video games really hit mainstream attention and all, finding books about the cultural impact of video games was pretty tough. My two favorites ended up being “Game Over: Press Start To Continue” (second edition) which was a history of Nintendo up through the end of the SNES, and then “Joystick Nation” which was a great compilation of articles about video games as more than just mindless entertainment – a bit like reading The Escapist, actually. If you can track down a copy of Joystick Nation I would say pick it up ASAP.

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