Pointless Daily Mail article: Are online games as addictive as heroin?

Videogames have long been a target for the ill-informed, spite-filled rag that is The Daily Mail, and now they’re in the line of fire again after the “newspaper” suggested online games could be as addictive as heroin. The usual healthy sense of perspective, then.

Tom Rawstorne’s article begins by retelling the tragic tale of a UK woman whose dogs starved to death because she was hooked on an unnamed MMO game.

It’s a damn sad story to be sure, but wait, was it really the fault of the games? Well, probably not. To his credit, Rawstorne points out that the woman was later found to be suffering from severe depression following the death of her husband, and the games provided her with a distraction. He even admits that the depression may have played a part in the woman’s behavior, which is very big of him (especially as it completely undermines his own point):

“Any obsessional behaviour, they argue, is caused by deeper, underlying problems. In this instance, that would appear to be true.”

Rawstorne then mentions that Halo: Reach is OMG super-popular, thus proving that games are INFECTING EVERYBODY. Then he interviews a 17-year-old World of Warcraft player who says he “has to put in the hours” on the game, and that he’s “drifted away” from his real-life friends. So because this one guy plays too much Warcraft, GAMES = HEROIN. Right.

Then there’s a woman who plays a lot of games on Facebook. Then a doctor who runs an anti-addiction clinic is wheeled in to confirm that yes, games can be addictive, and we should all be Very Afraid Indeed. This is where the heroin quote comes in. In all of this, a representative from the games industry gets about three lines to present a counter-argument.

To sum it up, it’s a shabby, stinking turd of an article, thoughtlessly farted out with all the usual Daily Mail tricks present:

– Taking a few super-extreme cases and tarring everybody else with the same brush.
– Constant use of terms such as “they” and “some people”, as in “Some people say …” and “They argue …”. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
– The only pro-gaming voice in the entire article given barely any space to argue the other side.

All the hallmarks of desperately poor journalism, in other words. Shame on you Rawstorne, you plum, and in the words of the great E. Blackadder, I hope your mother dies in a freak yachting accident.

Gosh, that feels better.

See also:[Video] The Daily Mail Song

[Via Daily Mail – and no, I’m not giving that cancerous rag the dignity of a functioning link. You have Google if you really must supply them with hits]