The Pleasures and Pains of Video Game Addiction

An in depth research paper video game addiction

Pleasure & Pain; Video Game Addiction

A analytical essay on the causes, effects, and principles of video game addiction


                The most important characteristic of a video game is that it is pleasurable, but what happens when fun and pleasure leads to pain and social corrosion? understanding video games and its potential for pleasure and or deliverance of pain is critical for an organic and modern society. That is why this analytical essay will cover the most fundamental aspects of video game addiction. In doing so the mystery of this phenomenon may be alleviated. The first two paragraphs will explain  in-depthly as much detail as needed for you to understand the bare basics of causes, and effects, of video game on: the individual and society. By cause, whats meant to be interjected? The causes of video game adiction is its influence over a person(s) life. The power to affect the lives of not only the individual but as small a scale is as it may be; The effect on the society as well. For example soldiers who go into Iraq, that as a child played nothing but killing games. Eager to shoot at the first hostiles they see. When the effect comes into scrutiny within the second paragraph all of the actions that render after video game addiction will be analyzed: from lack of focus in school to the over aggressiveness of an entire metropolis. The third and final paragraph will be explaining the utilitarian principles and it is application to video games, and the users of them. The analysis shall open the eyes of the reader to a brand new media form that must be taken seriously, especially in the case of the younger users. Let us begin.


                The cause of video game addiction is wide and complex. Just like any other forms of addiction psychologists believe there are steps to assessing the type of addiction at hand. They have many methods for getting a reading on the scope and strength of this new addiction. For example, surveys. In 2003 a survey was conducted on video game addiction among adults. What Douglas and Manny have found is not surprising but it has fortified and validates stereotypes that have no mathematical backing prior.

“Addicted adolescents spend more time playing video games” (Hauge & Gentile, 2003)

“Addicted adolescents have higher hostile attribution scores” (Hauge & Gentile, 2003)

                “Addicted adolescents report lower academic grades” (Hauge & Gentile, 2003)

As you can see these are all things any half-witted human could figure yet the confirmation with numbers means so much in the psychological world. Yet all these reports are only the result of video game addiction.        We can see with the causes we have a two pronged assault on the users. One is the preexisting psychological tendencies for addiction in general, then as the icing on the cake of this social destruction you have the actual design of the video game itself. Now with the case of preexisting conditions it lays dormant in many different people, it comes out only when these sources of fun have a chance to be abused. With this of course they can’t be taken against video games because preexisting conditions can be triggered by many different things, but when it comes to the addictive design of video games, they have no excuse. What’s worse is that video game addiction is encouraged in the video game industry and is held to be a key point in any excellent award winning game. This fact was highlighted by the University of Oxford in a periodical.

“Addictiveness is universally held to be one of the hallmarks of an excellent game, in which games can win awards for being addictive, and in which a developer  unabashedly boast for putting the most addictive system into their games” (Foody, 2006)

A huge cause of video game addiction is the fact that the video games are designed from the get-go to be addicting. Shamelessly put into the system of even games aimed at children. When these facts are brought forward the developers cannot fold their hands and walk away from the responsibility of video game addiction; they are part of the cause whether they like it or not. The two causes can be viewed on the side of both the consumer and the producer but what are the effects of this addiction.


                The effects of video game addiction vary from case to case but it is never absent. This is because every cause has an opposite effect in most cases the effects are negative impacts on the user’s life. Now what makes the effects of video game addiction so important is that negative effects also affect people around the addict, so what that means when the effect is multiplied in the millions video game addiction can most likely affect the social structure of not just a city, or a country, but the whole world if left unattended or uncontested. For example, you have many young adults who enjoy violent video games. Majority of these young adults suffer from a warped reality (Kem, 2005)now with these warped over aggressive teens, they join the military. Then they take their over aggressive attitude and warped reality and become soldiers that are more easy on the trigger and fire on civilians. A scenario like this is possible and understandably must have happened before because the military in the US has already created a specialized video game that trains young children in the art of military combat and puts recruitment ads in their videogames, on top of all this they offer the game for free. This is only one of many examples of how video game addiction can affect society. Now this is on the large scale, on the single user scale of affects there are a plethora of documented effects. Murray State University found some similar effects among video game addicts they go as follow: nervousness, lack of interest, withdrawal, isolation, and ext. They tend to separate a person from all social groups like family so on the individual level you can’t see anything dangerous but that doesn’t make it right as we will find out because it doesn’t just give pleasure and pain to the user but causes pain to the people around the user as well.

Pleasure & Pain

                The Utilitarian principles transfer very well to the cases of video game addiction. This is because the laws and rules written by the founder and co-signer of the principle fit with the system used by video game designer’s almost 1:1 ratio! This has to do with two words: Pleasure, and Pain. Bentham and Mills created the utilitarian theory under certain rules a brief explanation: an action is good if it creates pleasure with the least amount of pain. So to a quick glance, video game over users could be seen as a just act accord to Bentham and Mills. This is because of course video games do indeed create pleasure in people. Yet just because people play video games for longer does not mean that the pleasure will also increase. At a certain point in a user’s video game career the overall time playing video games per waking minute start to decrease pleasure and increase pain. Maybe not for the user, but for the people around them; a double point against the act of playing video game. So it is safe to say that Bentham and Mills would be for the use of video game playing responsibly and against the abuse of video games.


                Yes video games create pleasure but as we could see pleasure can always lead to pain. Yes there are also causes and effects to video game addiction. On the society and on the individual but all everyone has to do is enjoy video games responsibly and then everyone will be happy individuals, their family, and even Mr. Bentham

With proper ethical application scrutiny, and care video games can be enjoyed with minimal fallback. Now tell that to your 10 year old world of war craft player.



Works Cited

Foody, B. (2006). Practical Ethics. University of Oxford.

Hauge, M., & Gentile, D. (2003). Video Game Addiction Among Adolescents: Associations with Academic Performace and Aggression. Minnesota: National Institute of Media and the Family.

Kem, L. (2005). Gamer Addiction: A threat to student Success! NACA.


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