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August 21, 2010

How much gaming is too much?

Is it bad to play games for...3 hours a night? Ten hours a week?

How about 20,000 hours in 5 years?

A gamer is suing NCsoft, makers of Lineage II, because he became so hopelessly addicted to the game that he couldn't function.

Craig Smallwood claims that NCsoft never warned him that it could be that bad, and that they should pay him for it.
"Hawaii-resident Smallwood played Lineage II for more than 20,000 hours between 2004 and 2009, during which time he became 'psychologically dependent and addicted' to the game, according to court filings posted by Wired.
NCsoft, however, 'never gave [Smallwood] any notice or warning of the danger of psychological dependence or addiction from continued play,' according to the case. 
A Hawaii judge recently threw out some of Smallwood's claims, but refused to dismiss the entire case, and let it proceed on claims of negligence, gross negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress."
Can you believe this? Twenty thousand hours in 5 years? That amounts to almost eleven hours a day of the same game. Does this guy work? Eat? Sleep? Or does he fit the common gaming stereotype of being in Mom's basement, just gaming away?

Smallwood was evidently banned from Lineage in 2009 for allegedly taking part in an elaborate "real-money transfer" scheme (which I guess is a no-no in the game). When he was banned, he claims he was "unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing, or communicating with family and friends." Did he do any of that anyway?

This judge is an idiot. Smallwood wants $3 million, and the judge lets this go ahead?

But wait, it gets better!

Do you know why Smallwood claims he was really banned? It's not for trying to make money off of the game. Oh no!!!!

Smallwood says that "NCsoft's real motive was to get users locked out of Lineage II so they would upgrade to its new release, Aion."

Yep, it's all a marketing ploy!

Have you heard reports of mass Lineage banning? I know I haven't.

Is it just me, or is this insane? If you have an addictive personality, you will get addicted to games like this. It's not the game's responsibility that you can't control yourself! It would happen with any game, not just Lineage. How many people are addicted to World of Warcraft? Even if they are, I doubt they spend 11 hours a day playing it. Ok, they may do an eleven hour session of the game, but to average eleven hours a day?

That's your obsessive issue, not NCsoft's.

Who's the bigger idiot: Smallwood or the judge? Personally, I'd say the judge. Smallwood sounds sick (I'm not denying his need for therapy and his emotional disturbance based on being addicted to the game; I'm just denying that NCsoft has any obligation to warn people about it), but the judge is supposed to be sane and he still came up with this ruling.

Are we going to start getting warnings similar to the ones that are on games now about seizures?

"Warning: play this game at your own risk. We don't know what risks those may be, but anything can happen when you play this game. So watch out."

Has it come down to this?

Guys like this just give us gamers a bad name. There have been so many posts on Game Informer Online lately complaining about being insulted and teased by other people because we game (just read at least one today!).

It's hard to fight it when guys like Smallwood are out there trying to make money off of it.

(h/t: Fox News' Red Eye show)


  1. uugghh,,, humn,, I thought u were talking about me.. lols.. 11 hours a day? that guy needs to get a life real bad.. I'm an addict (to all kinds of game) but 11 hours a day?? my God..

    the judge rules:
    1. the judge always right
    2. if the judge is wrong, read the rules #1.. lols

  2. This is even more stupid than that woman sueing Disney because Donald Duck allegedly groped her at DisneyLand, causing "emotional distress, sleeplessness, nausea, etc etc".

    I thought I was bad... but 11 hours a day on the same day? Clearly an emotionally and intellectually challenged individual!

  3. I haven't done it myself, but I can see 11 hours of playing in one day.

    In ONE day. Not an average. Holy shit!!!!

    I hadn't heard the Disney story. That's just weird too.


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