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I'd say that I agree with this only to a certain extent. I think it depends on the game at hand, and how one plays it. For instance, I've been having a lot of fun playing the Battlefield 2 demo lately; I'm constantly discovering new strategies to subvert my enemy, using the geography, the tools at my disposal, and teamwork in ways I hadn't thought of before.

On the other hand, no, I don't know that there's more to GTA than guns, drive-bys, and hookers. I didn't play it for very long, but most of the enjoyment I derived from that game came from shooting hookers and cops, stealing cars, beating random people in the street with baseball bats and running them over. It kept me entertained, yet I came out of it feeling like I could've spent my time better. This isn't necessarily to say that the GTA games can't be "good" for you in some way, but that I was interacting with them in a way that wasn't particularly good for me.

In my opinion, this contrast between BF2 and GTA is the difference between satisfying gameplay and addictive gameplay. It depends on both the game itself and the way a particular player interacts with it; but the bottom line is that satisfying gameplay involves you actively thinking in new ways, and addictive gameplay has you passively doing the same kind of thing over and over without much thought. For me, most games start out as satisfying and then became addictive after a few hours of play, which in Johnson's terms probably means that they're good for me at first but eventually become bad.


An addendum: actually, I wouldn't necessarily say that addictive gameplay is bad for you, and I wonder if "addictive" is even a good word for it. Sewing, for instance, doesn't constantly challenge a person to think in new ways (at least insofar as I know), but it is undoubtedly a soothing activity that has its own benefits aside from the finished product. In other words, maybe there's not necessarily anything bad about the idea of "zoning out" at all.

At the same time, though, that's not to say that all addictive gameplay is good for you, either. I'm not really sure how I feel on that topic, I guess.

Mister Toups

Well. Except for JRPG's.

Adam Carstens

I'd also like to point out the book I helped write (ahem) called "Got Game", which came out last year. You can read more about it at http://www.gotgamebook.com.

Our firm does research on gamers and how they're different from others in positive ways. We've got some of it posted at http://www.nslg.net/games.html -- check it out! More ammo for the fight...


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