Videogame addiction is a serious issue. It plagued Chad Joseph in hit KoopaTV game Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!! and it threatened to ruin my own life. Maybe it already has ruined my life and I just haven't come to grips with it. I thought that wait-to-play games could stop it, but if you end up being a cash whale then that's not helping. Now we're at the point where we're evolving in revenue models to pretty much be virtual casinos. Obviously, those are designed to get you addicted and lose your money for prizes of zero value. Sweet deal if you can manage it and rope kids in.
But this isn't a passive-aggressive attack on Nintendo. It's... some level of defence. I guess.
Turns out that in Russia, there is this moronic man who is suing Bethesda for 500,000 rubles (which is a little under $7,000) because Fallout 4 is too addictive. As a result of his addiction, he got fired from his job ('cause he was absentee) and divorced from his wife ('cause... who would want to be with a pitiful man who puts a videogame over their spouse?) and he's seeking vengeance. Apparently he just played it for three weeks straight and didn't eat OR sleep. Is he trying to put a third option in the Eating vs. Sleeping Splatfest, being "screw my biology I'll just play games day and night"?
The money is for emotional distress. But is Bethesda responsible for causing emotional distress?
In a twisted-logic way (which is what lawyers use, though our favourite lawyer—whose games are having a sale that's ending really quickly—does it affably) then Bethesda is indirectly responsible. After all, through their good game design, they totally captivated their audience into wanting to play!
I swear, if we get big disclaimers proclaiming, "THIS GAME MAY BE ADDICTIVE" in the start-up for every game or on the game cases or as a replacement for the loss of instruction booklets, then I'll be mad. Russia doesn't even mandate those for cigarettes, though a lot of other countries do.
Folks should be aware about addiction not through mandatory labeling that is an attack on free speech, but through... I dunno, common sense, I guess?
Why didn't the wife just obliterate the husband's Fallout 4 copy in some dramatic moment? Throw it out the window! Just like Elaine did!
Anyway, it's a matter of personal responsibility. We shouldn't punish Bethesda, Nintendo, or any other videogame company for making a game that completely grips your attention and won't let go. That's hard to do! That's a game design triumph, not something to be sued.
|Everyone remembers in Seinfeld when Elaine Benes threatened to throw George Costanza's copy of Fallout 4 out the window. (Disc inside, not just the box.)|
Straw-man counterargument taking what I'm saying to absurdity: “But Ludwig, it's a chemical engineering triumph that cigarette manufacturers can pack so much addictiveness into a little stick! That shouldn't be something to be sued!”
...Well it's not really a strawman since I don't think cigarette companies should be sued for emotional distress, either. Back in the days where they claimed that smoking actually was HEALTHY for you, yeah, I'd say that's a good reason to sue them. That reminds me...
Yeah... Seinfeld is just too good.
|Everyone also remembers when Elaine actually DID throw Fallout 4 out the window! George just freaked out!|
Unlike cigarette-smoking, the majority of people who play Fallout 4 won't have their lives destroyed by addiction. (Not to say that smoking is a certainty of your demise — look at Mark Block!) Videogames exploit pre-existing tendencies within people. They don't create new ones like smoking would. If I'm scientifically wrong on that, show me. And most people don't have those pre-existing violently addictive tendencies.
I consider it a lot more noble to be an achievement of psychology than to be an exploit of chemistry. Is that a legal defence? No, but Fallout 4 was a tool for the people who ditched that guy to cause his own emotional distress. Maybe he should sue his company or his ex-wife for emotional distress, and not the game. Or, obviously, he should just take responsibility for being a sucker and have the courage to seek help. Maybe he can't afford help and that's why he's suing for 500,000 rubles?
By the way, 500,000 rubles is obviously just a made-up high round number. It's a shame that, if Bethesda made Fallout 2 as good in 1998, this guy could throw 500,000 rubles around and get the equivalent of $31,000. ...And for all the crap we give him, part of the reason for the ruble's collapse since then is thanks to sanctions by President Barack Hussein Obama.
Thanks, President Barack Hussein Obama, for devaluing the complaints of a moron from Russia!
Did Ludwig just say something positive about Obama? It's probably time to end the year on that note, but there's one more article to go for KoopaTV's (and everyone else's) 2015! If you've been paying attention, you'll know what it is. And if it happens to be really addictive (it isn't) then please don't sue KoopaTV!
Here is that article and game. See if you're addicted.