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Friday, March 09, 2007

Are you an obsessive online gamer?

As a follow-up to my discussion on online gaming addiction, I received this email from a recovered gaming addict that I wanted to share. I wanted to hear from other gamers to see if physical numbing or problems also result from intensive playing.

"Hello: I play World of Warcraft which I'm sure must be responsible for a great deal of online addiction. I have gone through periods of playing somewhat intensively which I may do for up to 4 hours 4 evenings in a week but then I am suddenly so bored with it that I don't touch it for a month or two then repeat the cycle. So maybe a binge addiction! Anyway, the purpose of this message is to comment on your online survey: Are you an obsessive online gamer? I am a nurse and one thing I have noticed is that frequently people are playing to a point of physical harm. I am in a guild that actually meets every once in a while in San Francisco (so real face time with fellow guildies which I think is unusual) and often they have what seem to me to be tendonitis and other repetitive stress/overuse injuries such as Carpal Tunnel (although as a nurse naturally I would leave diagnosis up to the physicians!). Also I often hear (on Ventrillo which many gamers use for audio) or see (in online comments) remarks that people have tingling or numbness in the nerves of their hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders, or necks, any of which could be the onset of more serious conditions. People seem to accept all this as part of gaming, especially heavy gamers who go on "raids" (something I'd never do) which take hours and hours maybe three times a week to complete. Therefore I think you need to add a question to your online gaming questionnaire: HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED/CONTINUED TO PLAY AN ONLINE GAME AFTER YOUR HANDS OR AMRS BEGIN TO HURT? In this case I am not even addressing lower back pain and possible damage to spine/cartilage, or damage to vision, both of which I suspect as a result of computer use. I think it would be good to see something on your questionnaire about this."