Given that the vast majority of American and Canadian households now have computers, internet access, and in many cases game consoles, access to video games has never been easier. Videogames are a multi-billion dollar industry and sales increase steadily year after year. An eagerly anticipated new game title can easily surpass the box office receipts of major movie releases. For example, Halo 3 for the XBox 360 brought in $170 million in its first day while Spiderman 3 earned $59 million on opening day.
Considering the size of the game industry, consumers have an almost overwhelming selection of titles to choose from. However, some choices are better than others...
When parents shop for a new game for their child they are able to check the ESRB rating printed on the front of the box to see if the content is appropriate for the age of their child. For example an "E" (Everyone) rating indicates that the game is "suitable for ages 6 and older", while a "M" (Mature) rating indicates that the game has content "suitable for persons age 17 and older".
How can one avoid the most addictive video games? Unfortunately there is no rating to indicate the potentially addictive nature of the game. Of course it would be nearly impossible to devise a rating system for "addictiveness" - and TechAddiction certainly does not believe that this is a practical solution. As we have written before, most people can play most games without becoming addicted - they know when to stop and are interested in many activities other than gaming. However, there are certain games which do seem to have a higher risk of turning into an addiction.
What are the most addictive video games?
Based on the clients I see in my own clinical practice, from speaking to other therapists, and from newly emerging research in the field, you may want to reconsider your decision to get involved with the following games due to their potentially addictive nature. A list of the most addictive video games may include:
1) World of Warcraft 2) Everquest 3) Second Life 4) Diablo 2 5) Eve Online
The easiest way to be a non-smoker is to never start. Similarly, the best way to avoid becoming addicted to a game is to not buy it. Simple, but true. Hopefully, being aware of some of the most addicitve video games should help you avoid bringing these games into your home.
If you are considering buying one of these video games, ask yourself if it is really worth the risk. What do you have to lose by starting one of these games? Well, depending on who you are: Your marriage, your boyfriend / girlfriend, your school grades, your university degree, your scholarship, your savings, your friends, your health, your job...
There are literally thousands of other video games which are less likely to become addictive. Again, TechAddiction realizes that most people can play these games without becoming addicted, but if you haven't already started playing, why take the risk? When you see these games in a store, you may want to just keep walking - you have nothing to gain and potentially a lot to lose.
One final thought: You may have noticed that all of the most addictive video games listed above are MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games). In next month's tip, TechAddiction will outline why this type of game seems to result in addiction more than any other genre.