UK Nanny State: Let's Send Gamers to Rehab

Across the pond, a British Member of Parliament wants to send gamers to state-funded rehab. Citing an Indiana University study that claims gaming weakens self-control, Labor MP Keith Vaz proposed that the National Health Service should "provide effective support to those who suffer from internet or gaming addictions."

Vaz is no backbencher. As the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Vaz has some clout in Parliament. Fortunately, only one other MP, Liberal Democrat Sir Bob Russell, has joined Vaz's motion.

While there has been much debate over what behaviors are "addictive," video games don't qualify. Video game addiction is not part of the Diagnostic and Standard Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the Bible of psychiatry. Back in 2007, the American Medical Association decided that excessive gaming did not constitute a psychiatric addiction and should not be considered in the updated DSM-V, which will be published later this year. This exclusion is very telling since even grief could soon be added to the DSM-V as a form of depression.

Gaming and grief are just the latest behaviors to be stigmatized. Reason contributing editor and psychiatric renegade Thomas Szasz put it best:

Old diseases such as homosexuality and hysteria disappear, while new diseases such as gambling and smoking appear, as if to replace them.

Furthermore, the more recent research attempting to "prove" gaming addiction is wanting. Take that Indiana University study. While its conclusions garnered a lot of attention, it only had 22 test subjects. So it's a real strech to extrapolate those findings to the millions and millions of gamers across the world.

In addition, what truly matters is not the addictive desideratum per se, but the compulsive drive behind it. Jacob Sullum explains:

The proliferation of officially recognized addictions shows that the essence of the problem is not the irresistible power of any particular object of desire. What matters is an individual's relationship with that object, which in turn depends on his personality, values, tastes, preferences, and circumstances. This is one reason why attempts to prevent addiction by banning the things to which people become addicted are fundamentally misguided.

Of course, even for those extreme cases of gaming dependency, it's unclear why the NHS needs to be involved. In 2009, Broadway Lodge became the first rehab clinic in the UK for gamers. That same year, the Lodge served only 400 people of all mental disorders, not just gaming. 

All in all, this medicalization is the softer, gentler side of statism. Since the myth that violent video games cause crime has been debunked, regulators need a new justification for restrictions. Unsurprisingly, Vaz has also had a long history of censorship. Back in 1989, he marched with Islamist fundamentalists in order to ban Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, arguing that "there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech." To support his call for gaming restrictions, he has attempted to link the massively popular Counter-Strike to race shootings in Sweden and compared Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to the July 7, 2005 bus bombings in London. Just last Christmas, Vaz wanted a debate on restricting violent video games, just in time for holiday shopping. In a line proving that sometimes straw men are all too real, Vaz declared, "This is not about censorship—it is about protecting our children."

Helen Lovejoy would be so proud.

Here's Reason on video games. Greg Beato elaborates on how medicalization can be "darkly comic." And if you're jonesing for more Szasz, be sure to read Sullum's July 2000 interview.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Skyrim is less addiction than lifestyle.

  • ||

    I "just say no" to Skyrim.

  • Tony||

    I "just say no" to Rimming

    Doctors orders!

  • ||

    I don't know how you do it. Once I got my new bow enchanted with a fire enchantment and found how fun it was that things catch on fire when I shoot them, that was pretty much the end of my life during non-work hours for a while...

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    I love casting fury spells on enemies and letting them kill each other. Then I go invisible, sneak up on the last survivor, and slit his/her throat. It's great, and oh, so enjoyable.

  • ||

    I am aided by the fact that I have no free time. I couldn't play more than (at most) a few hours a week even if I bought it. Shit, I still have Mass Effect 2, The Witcher 2, and Fallout 3 sitting in my Steam account, never being played. I learned my lesson. I'm just trying to get through Bioshock, for fuck's sake.

    I don't know what I will do when Diablo 3 or Borderlands 2 comes out. I guess I'll just stop sleeping.

  • ||

    I bought the Withcer 2 and haven't touched it, since I can't stop playing Skyrim.

    Fallout 3 is one of the best games of all time and I am not much of an FPS fan, although the ending does totally suck.

    The only reason I am getting so much gaming time is that my wife is out of the country for a couple of months.

  • KDN||

    I blew through ME2 twice last year while I was laid off, it's a really fun game and I can't wait for the sequel. Though it would be nice if BioWare gave it a sandbox element for some additional replayability. Instead I'll be left with the likely disappointing multiplayer mode.

  • ||

    I liked the mod/tweak for Mass Effect 2 that allows you to wear whatever you want, on your ship or on missions, so I wore an Alliance officers' uniform, and felt like a real badass because I wasn't kissing Cerberus' ass. I'm such a fucking rebel.

  • KDN||

    I'm going to have to check that out. Anything else to look into? This is the first time I've even heard ME2 is moddable.

    I find it funny that it's one of the best games I've ever played but I never even would have bought it if it wasn't on sale for $9 at Amazon.

  • Korduroy Kristen||

    I played some game a few weeks ago where I was in a snowy village and I gathered minions that went around and destroyed shit. It was really fun conceptually, but I can't work those fucking controllers with their brazillion buttons and joysticks, so it just becomes frustrating.

  • ||

    PC + WSDA, that will solve your joystick woes.

  • KDN||

    PC is a superior platform. Though I wish I could buy a freakin NHL game, instead I'm stuck with FIFA. Stupid pirates.

  • ||

    PC is vastly superior, but I have a XBox controller for The Witcher because it's much better for the gameplay of that particular game than the keyboard.

    For a 1st person shooter, though...keyboard and mouse all the way.

  • ||

    I like fallout 3 much better on my Xbox 360, but that is pretty much the only game I can say that about.

  • ||

    That is relatively easy to acheive when the console companies need to get 10 years out of each new console release before releasing a new one.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I just checked it out and the 360 has been out for over 6 years. Let's get going guys. We demand new stuff!

  • Korduroy Kristen||

    Yeah, it was an xbox 360. It wasn't mine, though, so I didna waste any money. The only game I play with any regularity is The Sims. I was thinking of getting one of them Wii Fits so I can ski all year round (and especially since an expensive vet visit ensured I wouldn't be skiing at all this year).

  • ||

    You could get the Kinect for your 360. Not sure what has come out for that lately, I don't pay much attention to it unless my wife and friends are up for some mindless girly games that allow you to jump around and look silly. The bowling is pretty fun, for a while.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm in the process of upgrading my computer to handle it. I've got to get through Skyward Sword anyway.

  • ||

    It is running fine for me on my 5 year old PC with only an old Pentium dual core, 4G of Ram, and a Radeon 5750 graphics card, with everything set to max. Graphics look very nice.

    I want to upgrade also before Risen 2 is released.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    One of my ram sticks broke so I'm down to 3G. My graphics card isn't 9.0 compliant. On an unrelated note I should probably upgrade from the original XP OS.

  • ||

    "...and I have to walk uphill both ways in the snow just to reboot it."

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Don't be ridiculous. It reboots on its own. I have to go uphill both ways in the snow to turn the monitor on.

  • ||

    3 Gigs of RAM is perfectly sufficient for a game. It's the video card that matters most, followed by CPU and hard drive read speed (depending on how often the game loads shit from disk).

    For example, I would often check how much memory Borderlands was using when I was playing and it was always steady at about one gig.

  • ||

    It is now. But I suggest anyone going with a new i7 processor go 64 bit and get at least 8G of Ram. Future games will take plenty advantage of this. Give a programmer more memory and they will find a way to use it all. Agree with you about the video card though, buy the best one you can afford and throw the rest of your money at the best monitor you can afford.

  • ||

    I have this hooked up to my 50" plasma. I can run Witcher 2 on max settings and it doesn't even breathe hard.

  • ||

    Sounds awesome. I am lookin at getting a new TV when my wifey gets back from her trip. Right now, my 23" Samsung monitor blows away the cheapy pos LG TV that I currently have.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's not even expensive...

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Yeah, I just haven't bothered to get a new graphics card yet because it's fine for all the other (older) PC games I play, and right now I'm putting most of my video game time into Skyward Sword so it's not a pressing issue. It's a much higher priority to spend my money on hookers and blow.

  • ||

    There's no reason you can't have all of those things. I found a way.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    My raise isn't effective till Feb 16th!

  • ||

    After several busted PNY GeForce vid cards, I'm proud to say I've turned to EVGA and never looked back. I'm lookin to SLI my GTX 460. best 160 bucks I've ever spent.

  • ||

    XP? Yes, time to upgrade (: And when you get your new system, go with the 64 bit OS, it can take advantage of more Ram and I'm sure some newer game releases will take advantage of all of that extra horsepower.

  • Bingo||

    I dunno, I wasn't too impressed. It wasn't anything we hadn't already seen in Morrowind and Oblivion.

  • ||

    Skyrim is so far superior to Oblivion that there really is no comparison, IMHO. I hated Oblivion, both Risen and Two Worlds II are better than Oblivion.

  • ||

    Are you fucking kidding me, dude? Two Worlds and its sequel were worse than Duke Nukem forever.

    I found Oblivion very fun, but I shit you not, Hyperion -- if Bethesda collected, say, 5% of the mods that have been made for Oblivion, went back in time, and released the game with those mods as vanilla components, it would be one of the best things ever invented by human beings. So much fucking win.

    And I haven't even started Skyrim, damn me. Is the Empire badass in it?

  • ||

    No,I'm not kidding you. Two Worlds was horrible, but Two Worlds II is one of the best action RPGs ever released. Have you actually played it? Sound like you are basing your opinion solely on one. Then 2 games are nothing alike.

    If you haven't played Skyrim, then you don't know how much better it is than Oblivion. It is FAR superior in every way.

    The Empire is .. not sure yet, I haven't really made any allegiance in the game, I'm just a rogue wanderer doing different missions for folks and getting as powerful as I can get. and killing dragons occaionally.

  • ||

    Is the Empire badass in it?

    No.

    They tried to execute me and failed so 60 lvls later I joined the Stormcloaks and killed them all.

  • ||

    The Stormcloaks are asking me to take the oath to join them, after I killed that Ice Wraith thing. But I am skeptical of joining them. I don't know, they may be Republicans or Democrats...

  • ||

    I've been playing a while, and I still don't like any faction. So I've joined none.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The true libertarian way.

  • ||

    I'd have joined one if they didn't all seem so dickish.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'd have joined one if they didn't all seem so dickish.

    Ooooh, so they're just not your form of statism. TEAM YELLOW RRAWR!!!

  • Sudden||

    They're both dickish in their own way. I figure I'll go through the game twice so I can experience both questlines. Personally, the empire seems less dickish, without all that Euro-right nativism and such, while the Empire seems to be just appeasing their Thalmor masters until the time comes that they can fight back.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'd have joined one if they didn't all seem so dickish.

    See, this is why Skyward Sword is so great. I just go around killing shit, not dealing with any jerks, and trying to help this pumpkin girl plow her field so we can lay some seeds.

  • A Serious Man||

    Which faction does a libertarian support in that game? The imperials or the religious fundies?

  • ||

    I went with the Empire because Ulfric is a dick. But then I also played through the Dark Brotherhood questline, because fuck the Empire.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Spoiler warning:

    Since the Empire needs a new Emperor after you complete the DB quest line, I'm hoping the DLC will allow you to assume the role of Emperor and lead a war against the Thalmor.

  • ||

    I was disappointed that you can't fight the Elf Nazis. That needs to be the subject of a new game, rather than a DLC, if they're going to do it right.

  • KDN||

    I'm not sure the Thalmor will still be around in the next game; Bethesda likes to skip forward a lot. You might have to get your rocks off by repeatedly invading the Embassy or Northwatch Keep.

  • ||

    Yes, but the Elf Nazis are in desperate need of a smackdown. If Bethesda doesn't give that to us, they're pricks.

  • ||

    Just what have the Elfs done to you Warty? Did they kick your ass? They did didn't they? (:

    I have been able to take them on successfully by knocking them down with a shout and then moving in on them quickly with a good melee weapon. They are too quick for archery unless you have lots of space and can stealth attack them.

    I just want to kick the arse of that Beeotch in Fellglow keep... after I get a little more powerful, I don't want to be humiliated again...

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    What have the Elves ever done? You mean other than trying to wipe out every race other than Altmer? I guess nothing. I kill any Thalmor I see. My wet dream as Dragonborn is to lead Paarthurnax, Odahviing and an army of dragons into Summerset Isle and burn all their shit to the ground. Basically turn their country into an Elder Scrolls version of a glass parking lot.

  • ||

    Is there a history to this? Skyrim is my first game of the Elder Scrolls series. I played Morrowind only a little because my son was playing it. And Oblivion I tried to play and just did not get into it at all, so quit playig it. So, for me, I don't know much about the Elves.

  • Sudden||

    The history is disjointed and the whole Thalmor takeover occurs in the time that separates the events of Oblivion and Skyrim. But as you're playing Skyrim, you can learn of all this through dialogue and reading.

  • ||

    I'm with you. When I was in the embassy, sneaking around, I killed and killed again.

  • Sudden||

    Glitches have shown that the game has Cyrodiil and Morrowind mapped. There is a very good chance that DLC that gets released accesses these areas. I fucking hope so. It would be so badass beyond comparison.

  • Jay||

    Also Ulfric does the same thing to the Foresworn that the Empire does to the Nords. Granted, the Foresworn are kind of the Tamril Tigers of Skyrim, minus explosives, but still.

  • ||

    Every time I'm fighting Foresworn, all I can think of is the line from Army of Darkness:

    "Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?"

  • ||

    Also Ulfric does the same thing to the Foresworn that the Empire does to the Nords.

    Huh?

    I can't think of one quest or story line or comment that ever links Ulfric with the forsworn.

    In fact the Forsworn hostilities are all found on the far western side of the map in The Reach...which is squarely in the imperials territory.

    Also the origins of Forsworn/Nord conflict predates the Stormcloaks and I think even predates the Empire itself.

  • Sudden||

    He might be referring to Ulfric and the Dunmer. A regular dunmer apartheid. Anyhow, I made an imperial who is gonna turn and join the stormcloaks. I'll probably do a second playthrough with an Altmer that joins with the Empire to fight the Stormcloaks.

    I personally love how the game makes the choice morally ambiguous, with both sides suffering some very deep character flaws.

  • ||

    I personally love how the game makes the choice morally ambiguous, with both sides suffering some very deep character flaws.

    This frustrated me to no end because simply put i could kill every damn person in the world, yet there is no path for me to take over as king/emperor/jarl.

    Talos was the dragon born who saved Skyrim...he had a path to become emperor and later to become a god....I won the rebellion, saved the world..i even saved HEAVEN ITSELF!!!...and all I get is pat on the back by Ulfric and one congratulations from some knee hurt city guard.

    I AM A GOD!!! GIVE ME THE DAMN EMPIRE!!!

  • Sudden||

    The hope is that whatever DLC they release allows you to rise to the level of Emperor and fight against the Altmeri Dominion for independence. Keep in mind, there are glitches that have exposed that almost all of Tamriel is mapped in Skyrim and that has people wondering if the DLC will allow us access to Morrowind and Cyrodiil as part of a larger game. I hope so. I'd gladly drop another $60 to have the game essentially doubled.

  • The Nerevarine||

    If I can't have Morrowind, you sure as shit can't have the Empire.

  • KDN||

    Ulfric led the Nords in re-taking Markarth from the Forsworn rebellion after the Empire had to abandon Skyrim; since they have their own weird religion it's kind of analogous. Jarl Igmund will tell you all about it if you ask him.

  • Sudden||

    Oh, ok. I haven't done much in Markarth and the forsworn areas yet, although I have seen that there is something afoot there. I'll definitely delve into it deeper. I do have to admit that I love the dwarven architecture of that area.

  • ||

    Ulfric led the Nords in re-taking Markarth from the Forsworn rebellion after the Empire had to abandon Skyrim

    yeah I must have missed that.

  • Jay||

    If you play the quest (can't remember the name) where you get thrown in jail with the Foresworn, the Foresworn tell you how, during the war between the Altmer and the Empire, the Foresworn re-took control of the Reach, their ancestral home. After the was, however, Nord, led by Ulfric, came and brutally took the Reach back from the Foresworn.

  • ||

    I went with the Empire because Ulfric is a dick.

    What the fuck?!?!

    And General Tullius isn't?

    Not to mention the fact that the fuckers tried to execute you.

  • KDN||

    You find out how much of a self-aggrandizing ass Ulfric is if you do the main quest without having joined a faction. I'm neutral on the factions, but Ulfric is the more dickish of the two, imo.

  • ||

    I could not let the Empire get away with nearly chopping off my head..so i did not do the peace tready roubt.

    Still The Stormcloaks cause is more just...religious freedom. What is frustrating is why can't I challenge Ulfric like he did with the High king?

  • ||

    I haven't figured that out yet, so I won't join anyone. I am being totally rogue up to this point. In the Gothic series it was easy to figure out who the Libertarians were, they smoked the most swampweed (:

  • Seer||

    Cosmopolitan empire or xenophobic natives? Empire.

  • ||

    libertarians believe in religious freedom and the Imperials are going along with the Dominion's religious purges of Talos.

    So the Stormcloaks are the most libertarian in this regard.

    But to be honest I think the Forsworn are the true libertarians.

  • ||

    One day, The Foresworn will revenge themselves upon all of Skyrim by flooding their message boards with anthropological quote spam.

  • ||

    Nord poodle!

  • ||

    Thanks for the tip JC, I feel like I need to join a faction soon, and I just knew it wouldn't be the Empire, too establishment.

    Aren't the Stormcloaks racists?

  • ||

    Some are, some aren't.

    Of course the Imperials are none to kind in regards to the Nords so it is an even split really.

    In truth it is hard to find anyone who is not racist and/or a religious fanatic....all blame some identifiable group for their ills.

  • Sudden||

    Wha? There are tons of Nords within the Imperial army. Beyond that, the only reason the Imperials banned Talos worship is because the Altmeri Dominion demanded it. They don't even enforce the ban. Hell, why would the empire seek to ban the worship of Talos, since he was originally Emperor Tiberius Septim?

  • ||

    Beyond that, the only reason the Imperials banned Talos worship is because the Altmeri Dominion demanded it.

    Read "The Talos Mistake" in game...the Emperor full on supports outlawing the worship of Talos.

  • Sudden||

    Written by the Imperial Liaison to the Altmeri Dominion and written as a piece of propaganda on behalf of those Thalmor Nazi fucks.

  • cynical||

    Because they barely fought the Thalmor to a draw the first time, and banning Talos worship was part of the peace treaty; the current emperors don't claim descent from Talos, to it's not a huge concession to them.

    Of course, the Empire only defeated the Thalmor the first time because of the assistance of Skyrim, so by driving a hard wedge between the two provinces and depleting their resources in a civil war, the Thalmor are just setting them up for a second invasion. IIRC, they did something similar with Hammerfell in their terms.

  • ||

    OH GOD I HAVEN'T PLAYED SKYRIM IN 6 HOURS OH GOD I NEED IT NOW

  • Zeb||

    So are you all trying to convince me that video game dorks really do have a problem and need to be locked up, or what? If so, I'm almost ready to have you forcefully committed, keep up the good work.

  • ||

    And just how to you propose to do that Zeb? Aren't you afraid of us crazed free radicals?

  • o3||

    my buddy said he was gonna get really high & game instead of joining his buds for a drunkin football playoff fest in a man's man cave. >that proves gaming destroys self-control.

  • Nanny State Addiction||

    the National Health Service should "provide effective support to those who suffer from internet or gaming addictions."

    What am I, chopped liver?

  • sarcasmic||

    I lost a semester to Silent Death.

    Anyone else remember that game?

  • ||

  • Auric Demonocles||

    C&C: Red Alert 2. Best game ever?

    Answer: Yes.

  • ||

    I always played as the Americans because you could create an invincible base with all those free paratroopers. What a great game.

  • Bingo||

    No way, the zeppelins would chew them up.

    And everyone knows that Generals was the best game in the series. Suicide bombers and Chinese hackers, hell yes!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Kirovs pretty much sucked. I played several thousand matches and the only strategy involving them that I had ever seen work a decent percentage of the time was to rush it with a Desolator underneath them to kill any IFVs or flak troopers.

    The two things I thought that could have made the game more balanced were to improve the Soviets' air and navy units.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You could also sometimes win the entire game with one quick paradrop. The Americans were pretty clearly the best Allied nation to play as (unless you were in a very high resource map... then France might equal out).

    If I was playing as the Soviets I would play as Iraq. Usually a very strong response to the (likely) American opposition.

  • Bingo||

    Is anyone else extremely disappointed in the alt-text?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It's there so I'm giving it a pass today.

  • Jeff P.||

    Will someone please distribute downers to northeaster football fans who won't shut the fuck up about the Superbowl?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I live in Boston and all I'm hearing on the radio is about Thomas skipping the White House. I would kill for more Superbowl talk.

  • ||

    Really, they need to cut him. Immediately. His kind have no place in freedom-hating Boston. Tampa, on the other hand. . . .

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Will someone please distribute downers to northeaster football fans who won't shut the fuck up about the Superbowl?

    U mad bro?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Portal sucks.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Sounds like Vaz needs...an arrow in the knee. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

  • ||

    Please let it be a flaming fire arrow.

  • Tim||

    A product like that doesn't sound very safe. Was the CPSC consulted?

  • ||

    The CPSC were all wiped out in stealth attacks using flaming fire arrows.

  • ||

    Labor MP Keith Vaz...

    Is there rehab for statist authoritarian fuckheads? If so, can they please send Vaz there immediately?

  • Loki||

    The only cure for that is a bullet to the brain pan I'm afraid.

  • Paul||

    So I've got this support class DIZZOWN in Battlefield 3. You put a S.A.W. in the right hands-- you can lay the hurt down.

  • Cowboy||

    Psh. SKS recon is where it's at. 4x scope/foregrip/laser with g18c. Set up a MAV on a point, and a radio beacon just outside in case, and areadenial all game long. Plus with the 4x you can usually hit targets at nearby points when you get bored. on Caspian I'll set up shop at Delta, and wreck shop on C, B, and A, and anyone dumb enough to try and rush the rocks.

    Support IS nice though, especially on tank heavy maps. I love me some C4.

  • Paul||

    I get killt every time I try to bust a tank with C4. Although on tank-heavy maps I always carry it.

    I can never hit a dang thing with the mortar. It always moves before I can get the shot off.

    I've gotten a nice little system down in operation Metro and Seine crossing where I get up into a 2nd story apartment with good street coverage, set up the claymore perimeter and start chippin' nails. Occasionally I'll hear a *boom* and get a kill credit. Turn around, set back up, spray street... rinse, repeat.

    If I have squad members up there with me, like a sniper and an occasional assault stopping through I keep dropping ammo and get huge resupply bonuses.

  • Seer||

    Is that first picture of Vault Boy? What perk and game is that?

  • ||

    That's from Fallout and Fallout 2. It appears when you get addicted.

    By the way, the original Fallouts, especially Fallout 2, were vastly superior to Fallout 3.

  • ||

    Not if you couldn't use VATS and watch mutant body parts flying around in 3D glory.

  • ||

    VATS was there. And far superior.

  • ||

    Why do you hate Bethesda and puppies?

  • guy in the back row||

    Fallout: New Vegas was awesome!

  • ||

    I want it, Fallout 3 was great. It's only like $15 now. If I ever stop playing Skyrim I might buy it.

  • cynical||

    The death animations were more varied and grimly hilarious. I especially liked fire death, where people run around, engulfed in fire and flailing their arms over their heads until they fall down, completely charred.

  • Killersontherun||

    Similar experience I'm having at the moment with System Shock 2 as compared to Bioshock. Cinematics of how that story was told Bioshock is among the best, but gameplay was stripped down. Irrational Games announced the other day they are going to include a 1999 mode:

    In addition to the normal game mode, BioShock Infinite will include a "1999 Mode", so named for the release year of System Shock 2, a game worked on by Levine and several other Irrational Games developers. 1999 Mode is a more challenging version of the game, requiring the player to make mutually exclusive specialization choices, such as choosing which weapon type that Booker is proficient at, which may make later parts of the game difficult to complete, and may require the player to reload from earlier saved games to manage their resources better.

    However, on the flipside they are also talking about OWS elements to make the game 'relevant'. Blech!

  • ||

    BioShock already had a OWS element. They were the fuckers that wrecked the place.

  • ||

    The BioShock games have a really retarded premise. I realized it wasn't going to be any different with BioShock Infinite when I saw the trailer and how everything in the floating city is patriotic.

  • cynical||

    They work better as taken as fables about extremism. In the big picture, they're basically thematically cartoonish, in order to help beat idiots upside the head with their point. But in the details, the characters and subplots tend to be more plausible and humanized.

  • Killersontherun||

    Good one!

  • Loki||

    If by "OWS elements" they mean a mode where all the enemies are dirty hippies then that could be pretty awesome.

  • cynical||

    I think they've always planned that -- I don't think the socialists are going to be the good guys any more than the nationalists (incidentally, the player character is a former Pinkerton). Well, some of them might be, but mainly as a way of showing how the others went off the moral track, the Bakunin or Goldman to a Marxist antagonist (or, in Bioshock terms, the Bill McDonough to the Ryan).

    It was the same way in Bioshock, though. Sure, Andrew Ryan was an uncompromising extremist asshole (and a traitor to his own ideas as things began to crumble). But Fontaine was actually worse. The Objectivist got relegated to the role of stand-in for The Many, the Rand Villain got to be SHODAN. Of course, even as far back as Thief you have this Levine/Spector Aristotelian approach to ethics (two virtues at odds with each other, turning into vices at the extremes). Maybe even as far back as Serpent Isle, since that was a Spector joint.

  • National Health Service||

    Of course, even for those extreme cases of gaming dependency, it's unclear why the NHS needs to be involved.

    *looking over reading glasses*

    The NHS always needs to be involved.

  • Brett L||

    Maybe they should just do to gaming addicts like they did to the 'bater in Sons of Anarchy. Cut off all the digits except for two thumbs.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    And subject them to a lifetime of Pong? You bastard.

  • Old Mexican||

    Labor MP Keith Vaz proposed that the National Health Service should "provide effective support to those who suffer from internet or gaming addictions."


    New undeclass alert!

  • Old Mexican||

    In a line proving that sometimes straw men are all too real, Vaz declared, "This is not about censorship — it is about protecting our children."


    It's always about protecting the children. Whose children, you may ask? Those born in his mind by immaculate conception. They talk to him all the time, the noisy little bastards.

  • ||

    it is about protecting our children

    Oh my, as soon as you hear those words coming out of the mouth of a courrupt bureaocrat or politician, you know that the citizens are about to lose yet more civil rights.

  • ||

    Nancy Pelosi is going use this thread as evidence in her new war against violent video games.

  • ||

    I don't take anything that comes from that shitty island anymore -- not even cynically. If you told Keith "The Ball-Gobbler" Vaz many kids in America play with real rifles and drive at 14/15, he'd suffer an aneurysm and blow up.

  • Killersontherun||

    I recall an alarmist report a month or so ago about how scientist have found that video games and internet activity reshape the brain.

    Doesn't every learned behavior do that? Be it riding a bicycle, learning German or how browsing on line?

  • ||

    Hyperion:

    How's the framerate on your PC with Skyrim?

  • ||

    It's good. Almost no lag at all, with everything on Max. Occasionally, very occasionally, I will get a little choppy lag that lasts a fraction of a second, but almost all of the time it's very smooth. Did you read the comment I posted with my comp specs? It's 5 years old, but the video card is only a couple of years old. I'm running Win7 32 bit.

  • Abe Froman||

    Gaming is such a dirty, disgusting habit. You: take a shower once in awhile, mkay? This dolt on the subway, playing that game -- doesn't he know this is my space too? Yet he subjects my irreplaceable ears to his piercing beeps, squeaks, and fist-pumping high-fives. How inconsiderate can you get?

  • Smelly Gamer on Subway||

    It's either that or beat the shit out of you and take your wallet. Which would you prefer?

  • Joe M||

    I got a copy of a little indie game called Terraria for Christmas, and that game is fucking crack. It's a combination of a build/craft anything sandbox and an old school 2D action game like Metroid or Castlevania. I highly, highly recommend it, especially since it's only $10 on Steam, and often goes on sale for 50-75% off. I think I've played it every single day for the last month.

  • ||

    Gaming addition is best handled by the private sector.

    I personally sponsor a local chapter of PA (Pinochle Anonymous) for those addicted to pinochle. Similar to A.A., we offer an easy 80 step program to go through (double deck minus nines = eighty), and like A.A., we believe in four (4) higher powers, one power in each suit (really 4 aces in each suit which would be 4x4=16, but some get trumped so we call it 4 powers for simplicity sake).
    Some don't make it through all the steps, but are welcome to start anew.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    I was pathetic enough to become addicted to a game that used stick figure graphics.

    But hey, at least it's free...

    http://www.kingdomofloathing.com

  • Yawn||

    a British Member of Parliament wants to

    I stopped reading there.

  • NotSure||

    Its the labour party not "labor".

  • ||

    Ah, labour. Which someone stands for authoritarian party of small minded dickheads.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Civ IV is as habit-forming as crack cocaine.

    It is known.

  • Joe M||

    Yes. The best iteration of an excellent series, and far better than the thin gruel known as Civ V.

  • ||

    To say that Keith Vaz is an elitist is an understatement. It is disgusting to even see him on TV over here, he is always on about how he knows what is best for you.

  • cynical||

    Escaping from Arkham Asylum doesn't actually make one a psychiatric renegade.

  • steve||

    "Vaz is no backbencher. As the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Vaz has some clout in Parliament. "

    Correct, but the salient point is that he is an opposition MP, so he can scream and shout all he likes, he will get laughed at.

  • ||

    Replacing harmless things such as homosexuality and hysteria with other harmless things such as gambling and gaming just proves that the state wants to control how we live our lives and punish us for not marching in lockstep to their drumbeats.

    Vaz is a douche bag!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    So it's a real strech to extrapolate those findings to the millions and millions of gamers across the world in virtually every state in the union.

  • شات عراقنا||

    thank u

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement