《魔兽世界》（World of Warcraft）或是《无尽的任务》（Everquest）等游戏在世界各地拥有数百万甚至数千万玩家群体，但对一些玩家而言，这些游戏已经变成了一种时间杀手。
有些人认为，当走向这样的极端时，强迫性的游戏就会演变成酗酒一样的病症。在线玩家匿名协会（On-Line Gamers Anonymous）的创始人Elizabeth Woolley称，她的儿子十年前曾沉溺于《无尽的任务》无法自拔，“在挣扎了一年半之后，他最后在电脑前结束了自己的生命。”
Online Games Can Be Addictive To Some
Players Report Losing Jobs, Money While Playing Games
Online computer games can provide entertainment and social interaction for players, but for some, they can become an obsession.
Games like World of Warcraft or Everquest have hundreds of thousands or even tens of millions of players around the world. But for some of those players, the game has become more like an addiction.
“I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything,” said “Sam,” a 23-year-old gamer. “I wasn’t going to work.”
Sam said Final Fantasy ruled his life for five years.
“Some days, I’d be there all day,” he said. “Get up at 8 in the morning. Be there until 2, 3, 4 in the morning sometimes.”
Sam eventually lost his job. He said he would even skip family outings, pretending he was ill, just to stay in the online world.
“It’s like, why do I want to leave when I have all this stuff here?” he said.
Games like Sam plays are called massively multiplayer online role playing games. Players typically pay a monthly fee for access to the game, in which the player’s character teams up with others around the world.
He said the games are set up to encourage people to keep playing to get better items.
“They purposely make this stuff hard to get so you keep paying them money every month,” he said. “You keep wanting to stay and play. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Joshua Hufton, of Londonderry, studies online games.
“They’re essentially making players want to play more, want to get better,” he said.
Hufton said the games are designed to get players hooked, and it’s easy to replace the real world with the virtual one.
“Projecting into an avatar exactly what you can’t be or do in real life — that is an addictive quality for a lot of people,” he said.
While News 9 was interviewing Sam in a location with public wireless Internet access, another man who overheard the interview said he also feels addicted to online gaming. The man didn’t want to be identified but said he is a husband and father in his late 40s.
“I haven’t shaved in two days, because I didn’t have the time,” he said.
He said he plays a game called Pets on a social networking site for hours a day. When he can’t get an Internet connection, he said, he’ll take his laptop to the nearest public wifi spot.
“It’s almost like wanting a drink, being an alcoholic,” he said.
Some say that when taken to such an extreme, obsessive gaming can be an illness like alcoholism. Elizabeth Woolley, founder of On-Line Gamers Anonymous, said her son got hooked on the game Everquest 10 years ago.
“After struggling with him for a year and half, he ended up committing suicide in front of the computer,” she said.
Woolley created On-Line Gamers Anonymous after her son’s death. She said the site gets about 1,000 inquiries per day. She suggests a rehab model similar to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
“It’s not any different than an addiction to alcohol or drugs, because when it starts affecting your life in a negative way and you can’t stop it, you’ve got a problem,” she said.
Such games can also have a significant financial cost. Aside from the monthly fees many charge, players of some games can spend more money to buy points or items to use in the game. Both Sam and other man who said he felt addicted to gaming said they spent hundreds of dollars each month — sometimes skimping on other bills — to pay for their gaming.
“The light bill is $200, and I’ll pay $180,” said the man at the wifi hotspot. “The next day, I’ll pay $150. I know I have a problem.”
Sam said he is working to beat the problem. He said he quit gaming cold turkey last year, but he relapsed in the fall. He said he hasn’t touched a game in three months.
Blizzard Entertainment, maker of World of Warcraft, the world’s largest MMORPG, said that “day-to-day life should take precedence over any form of entertainment.” The company said it has built in natural breaks to its game and also has features that can set limits on play time. （source:wmur）