Gaming is bad for romance, claims MTV

MTV's True Life airs episode about game addiction

Game addiction is a topic that's been nearly done to death since the American Medical Association first considered adding the term to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) back in 2007. However, it seems there's still room for discussion from different perspectives.

This week, MTV's True Life TV series aired an episode titled "I'm addicted to videogames." The show featured one stereotypical gamer -- that is, a college-aged white male -- named Barry and an African-American female gamer named Charisse who both struggled to maintain romantic relationships and their gaming habits. (Personally, we think bad taste in music is more likely to affect a relationship than gaming habits, but that's just us.)

Feminist blog Jezebel points out that Charisse's story challenges conceptions about "gaming addicts" and gamers in general. For one thing, she plays a wide range of games from FarmVille to Halo as part of her "addiction." For another, says Jezebel, it debunks a gaming myth that all guys think gamer girlfriends are hot. Plus, "If girl gamers are invisible to the industry, black girl gamers might as well be unicorns, frolicking on a Lisa Frank folder somewhere."

Meanwhile, an article in a Kent State University student publication looks at the social side of video game addiction. Rather than being hooked on games, the article argues, it's a feeling of fellowship that people are addicted to:

These two perspectives differ from arguments about impulse control and social anxiety disorders that many other articles discuss when talking about game addiction. Though we're still a good two years away from another AMA discussion about whether or not to include the term in the DSM, it's interesting to see video game addiction evolve into a cultural point of interest.

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AJ Glasser

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