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Role Playing (Games)

Gamers Are Fitter (and Sadder) Than You Think 341

missb writes "According to NewScientist.com, online gamers are no 'couch potatoes'. US researchers quizzed players of the role-playing game EverQuest II, and found adult gamers to be in better physical condition than the average American. The downside, however, was the gamers reported more cases of depression and substance abuse than their compatriots."
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Gamers Are Fitter (and Sadder) Than You Think

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  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @08:53AM (#25053333)

    Not that I do either, but the fact of illegal substance use is not evidence of a problem itself, more an indicator that the person has little regard for this area of law, and may be disconnected from society/not buy into its values. This links up with depression and dissatisfaction.

  • by b96miata ( 620163 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:00AM (#25053411)

    It's a bias you *always* have to account for in articles about public health, unless they come from the most unbiased clinical sources possible. (and even then, summaries by mass media usually throw the abuse moniker in)

    To a large portion of the media/"public health" professionals, any use of an illegal substance, even moderate and responsible, is "abuse". These are the same people who define 5 drinks in 24 hours as a "binge".

  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:03AM (#25053445) Homepage Journal
    Well, if by 'better shape' they mean less obese that the avg. American, it is probably due to them being too engrossed by the game to go buy junk food. They're not in better shape, they've just starving a bit more than the average US citizen.
  • Re:Everquest 2? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jim_Maryland ( 718224 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:25AM (#25053701)
    I haven't seen demographics from any of the games you listed, but I play WoW and most of the guild members (approximately 35 on regularly) and friends (6 real life, approximately 15 unguilded or other guilds) I play with are at least 30 years old. I'd put a quarter of them over 40 and one is 60. Now I realize it is a small sample, but so far my experience is that WoW doesn't have a younger audience.
  • Re:Erm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:38AM (#25053891) Journal

    You're not kidding. I can't count the meals I've missed because I wanted "just one more turn!" at Civilization.

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot . ... t a r o nga.com> on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:56AM (#25054121) Homepage Journal

    I bet if you performed a self-selected survey on any group you'd get slightly better than average results.

  • by rgviza ( 1303161 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @10:03AM (#25054235)

    I'd agree with this. I just cancelled all of my accounts.

    I started mmo gaming to hide from a failing marriage, after marriage counseling failed. My wife started getting meaner and meaner, so I started gaming to bury myself in my office and hide from it.

    We recently decided to get a divorce. I dropped all of my accounts, started working out again and I've never been more happy in my life. "Hardcore" gamers are usually either escaping from something, or addicted to gaming. Neither situation is conducive to happiness. I'd guess that the ones who are escaping from something are more often also abusing(caffiene, pot, beer, whatever).

    I don't think gaming directly causes the unhappiness, it's caused by the circumstances surrounding the gaming. I started gaming *because* I was unhappy. Obsessive compulsive gamers tend to lose their jobs and families because of the gaming. My marriage was already on life support so it was sort of reversed.

    Casual gaming is also pretty prevalent and that's perfectly healthy. I'd bet that they'd get much different results interviewing casual gamers.

    I quit because now I have better stuff to do and the source of my pain is gone. I'm also looking better because I cook my own food out of fresh ingredients ;). I feel really bad for addicted people. They have to hit rock bottom to quit. I never had to do that. Well actually, it's probably more accurate to say I hit rock bottom before I started gaming.


  • Re:Erm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dwiget001 ( 1073738 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @10:07AM (#25054313)

    Ii play EQ2, have for years.

    I am also a competitive fencer (olympic style sword-fighting).

    I am in very good shape.

    I also rarely drink (a beer or two maybe every 2 or 3 months)

    About the only substance I could be called upon for abusing would be water (I live in Florida, gotta stay very well hydrated).

    And, gosh darn it, I am very happy.

    Obviously, they didn't survey me.

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @10:56AM (#25055161) Journal

    Hmm... if I go by the people I know that play WoW (sorry, I don't know any EQ2 players - Guild Wars yes, Conan yes, but the majority I know play WoW), most I know are in better-than-average physical shape. In fact, I know only two overweight people that play WoW, but I know many more overweight people that do not.

    As for depression, I can see that - I think many adult MMORPG players that stick with it are stretched to the limits by daily stress (whether it be work, kids, schedule, or whatever) and use it as a release, but by doing so, they are sacrificing sleep and that results in more depression. The other problem is the game itself can make you unable to relax, so getting to sleep itself is a problem (thus probably more substance abuse like drinking or smoking pot in order to sleep, which leads to bad sleep).

    I had problems like that both as a musician and a MMORPG player, and in both cases I had to quit drinking (I never did other drugs except smoked cigs/cigars, but I quit that early - food was more important than a bad habit). I feel best if I set a fixed quitting time, which for me is 10PM, and give myself 1/2-1 hour to wind down before sleep (with a 6AM no snooze wake-up). Unfortunately for me, that means having to be away from games entirely for some periods of time - I'm salaried and work to a schedule, so if it's after 10PM when I get home, I don't play games or work on my OSS project - and yes, I tentatively schedule time for both (not to mention "hang out with my wife time," but her need for 10 hours of sleep always gives me some evening time).

  • by hesiod ( 111176 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:36PM (#25056837)

    > if you say you don't NEED a certain drug, and are right now formulating a rationalization against these words of mine, then congratulations: you are probably an addict.

    False dichotomy much? If someone smokes pot once a month, then they are a dirty addict? Once a year? Once a week? Once a day, just because they enjoy it so much?

  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:39PM (#25056881) Homepage

    While everyone else is lying about their health, I'm going to be brutally honest:

    1. I'm 300lbs
    2. I imbibe a gallon or two of beer/liquor each week
    3. Cocaine's a hell of a drug
    4. Nethack, baby!

    All that to say: there is absolutely no unique correlation between gaming habits and fitness. You could have any hobby/pastime in the world, if you overdo it, it can be bad for your health. If you knit 23 hours a day, you're (hopefully) gonne die. If you run marathons 23 hours a day, you're definitely gonna die.

    Hell, if you jerk off 23 hours a day, you're gonna die (and be featured on CSI:Miami).

    Someone needs to lay the fuck off of gamers. Just because a bunch of nutso kids in Columbine liked to play Doom, doesn't mean gamers should be treated as odd little lab rats.

  • by Thiez ( 1281866 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:31PM (#25057861)

    You are right. Even the article is tagged "correlation is not causation". Nowhere in the article or the summary is said 'Gaming causes X'. If anyone has bothered to read it (Welcome, you must be new here, haha we're having so much fun) they would have noticed that the researchers SPECULATE on causes for the differences between gamers and other people, but they don't say X causes Y. Because they know that they can't prove that. Because they KNOW "correlation is not causation".

    GGP says:

    > It's a shame, because it affects the conclusion. IMHO it should be -

    But there is no conclusion in the article, EXCEPT for concluding that the stereotype of gamers being overweight is incorrect. They support this 'conclusion' by gathering statistics, by making an observation. No correlation or causation was involved.

    > because i, and many others i think here on slashdot and elsewhere are pretty sick of the smarmy "correlation is not causation" kneejerk response

    Aye. I hate how stories keep getting tagged 'correlationisnotcausation' for no good reason. Whenever a headline says 'X linked to Y' we get that tag, but those articles rarely suggest 'X causes Y', because the scientists ain't crazy either, so the tag just stands there to remind us how clever we all are on /. .

  • Re:Erm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @03:35PM (#25060113) Homepage

    It's really not just a weight thing. I'm extremely thin (to the point where most people would probably think I'm anorexic) yet I hover somewhere between depressed and horrendously bored 95% of the time. I don't touch MMOs but I've certainly spent my fair share of time and then some playing games, though I'm mostly just writing code these days. It's really a more generic social issue - I've got a 300lb gamer-obsessive friend who's always having a blast, even when there's not a controller in his hands. I'm still trying to figure out his trick.

    Point being it's not just you, and it's certainly not because of being overweight. I had a neighbor who was suicidal and he was quite healthy, physically at least. I'm not going to be the guy that gives out sage advice on the subject because even if I know it would help I won't/can't follow it myself, probably for the same reasons you wouldn't follow it either (an "it wouldn't help" attitude, at a very high level; though it goes much deeper than that)

  • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kklein ( 900361 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @06:37PM (#25062979)

    these are increasingly just becoming a way of life, much like television and books, to an increasing amount of the population. Is watching 2 hours of TV after work escapism? Is reading a novel? What about a nice solitary hike (not as exercise, but just to blow the stink off)?

    Thank you. I am an English teacher (language, not lit.), but even I am sick of people putting these things on a hierarchy of "best" to "worst" (and always putting gaming at the bottom!).

    Reading is escapist. What it has going for it, though, is that it's cheap. A book can give you quite a few hours of entertainment for as little as free, if there's a good library nearby.

    Television is escapist. What it has going for it is that it is popular and gives you something to talk about with other people the next day. I don't particularly like sports, but I always watch big games like the World Cup or the Super Bowl, just so that I can join in conversations the next day at work. Those are always a lot more fun than the watching, IMO.

    Gaming is escapist or highly social. I'll admit, however, that I prefer to play alone. To me, it's the same as reading a book. But EverCrack players do it for the socialization. I love to play online games (BF2 with the Project Reality mod) with people on the PC or the Xbox (Chrome Hounds), especially since everything has VOIP now. That's a social experience.

    Of all the hobbies I've discussed here, only reading is an almost purely solitary act. Finding someone else who is reading or has read what you're reading is a lot harder than someone who saw the game last night, or finding someone on a game server. No one is going to argue about the intricacy of stories told in these media (John Carmack was wrong when he observed that no one asks for basketball to have a story--it's the story that people love about sports)--books win. But the "loner" stigma of video gamers is wholly undeserved--they are the most social of the bunch!

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson