If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

UK TV vs Videogames: A One-Sided Fight

If you're a fellow Britisher, you may have caught a staggeringly unpleasant, one-sided and sensationalist half-hour of fact-free garbage on ITV earlier tonight. It's about videogames and addiction, and because a handful of young people they document demonstrate significant emotional or social problems and play videogames a lot, this of course means games are monstrously addictive with tragic long-term consequences. It couldn't possibly be that they play videogames for too long and too intensely because of their other problems or circumstances, could it? NO NO NO DON'T TALK SENSE.

It's irresponsible, partisan and sickening reporting, whose entire argument is based around a bunch of non-gamers saying that they think games are bad. Games are addictive because a man says they're addictive, apparently. Listen out for the number of times the word "believes" is used. It also rants about the case where one online gamer killed another's lover - which is entirely irrelevant to the programme's chosen topic of addiction, but because it's all games are bad m'kay, hell, let's thrown it in there anyway!

I'm not offended because I work in the games industry (because, let's be honest, it's an industry often capable of poor taste and judgement, and even exploitation*). I'm offended because insidious pseudoscience is being passed off as news and fact. If another programme wants to say games are dangerously addictive and has the facts to prove it, then I promise I'll listen politely and even rethink my views on the matter if the weight of empirical and scientific evidence is strong and thorough enough. But all this offers is a pre-determined agenda.

Oh, there are a few facts. 43% of kids surveyed, for instance, say they felt angry when their parents tell them to stop playing games. And this is, of course, because they're addicted. Not because they're pissed off that their parents are forcibly stopping them from having fun. Couldn't possibly be that.

This poisonous trash will probably make you angry. You should watch it anyway, to see just how low the British media can sink, and the straws that anti-game campaigners can so desperately grasp at. You can watch it here - it's available on ITV's site for the next seven days, but non-UK folk will need some sort of proxy/IP-fiddling tech to watch it.

Well, at least they didn't interview Anne Diamond.


* While I don't - hey! - believe in gaming addiction as any sort of chemical thing, I do worry that some games/developers knowingly rely on proven compulsive elements - e.g. pervasive item collection and multiple forms of levelling up - at the expense of more interesting or satisfying design. This isn't something I can back up at present, hence I'm not going to film a documentary about it.

Tagged With

About the Author

Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer

Contributor

Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

Join the Rock Paper Shotgun supporter program

Sign up today and get access to more articles like these, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and help us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information

Comments

We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More News

Latest Articles

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch