As gamers, we are used to being made to feel like geeks and losers, and continuously being told that our pastime is either dangerous or immoral, sure to turn us into psychotic, wild-eyed killers who will skin babies alive before boiling them in a vat of our own urine. Normally these scare stories are accompanied by a picture of a kid in a darkened room, blankly staring at a screen while his childhood slips away from him. Well now we’re being told that two hours spent playing FIFA 10 is like snorting a line of coke.
The man who made this claim, Steve Pope, has also claimed that he doesn’t need statistics or research to back up his information (‘I don’t rely on reports’), and that statistics are ‘lies, lies and more lies’. Instead, he prefers to rely on what claims he sees in his experiences as a doctor. However, as you can see from this Rock, Paper, Shotgun article, the man himself has offered no evidence at all (by the way, there has never been a proven causal link between gaming, addiction and violence), and was unable for contact, until texting them the following statement, which implied their journalism could kill people:
‘The human being can be, in my professional opinion, addicted to anything it finds pleasurable. There are links between the highs of gambling, and game stations which cause a similar pattern of behaviours in the brain as does class A stimulant drugs. There is a weight of evidence to support this.
‘The test for me with any addictive process is are your actions having negative consequences. I see first-hand the consequences of overuse of game stations usually with the sufferer using the game to escape the reality of life. And to the addictive personality this is dangerous. Invite your readers to take the test in the paper. I don’t do labels. I want people to recover and have balance in their life. The physical consequences are also horrific for the child of today which can lead to ill health through obesity etc. Please be balanced in your reporting as your views may kill people.’