The focus of this paper will be to investigate if, in fact, there is any scientific validity in the allegations raised by mainstream America that the violent content in many of these games combined with extensive game play is fostering an addiction to gaming which may increase violence or other negative behavior within society.
Prior to investigating whether addiction in gaming occurs and how it may negatively impact the hard core gamer's personality and behavior, a brief history of the video game industry and development is presented in order to better understand the gaming culture and development. Video games have a relatively recent, yet intense, history. It started, believe it or not, in the early 1960s. A game called Spacewar was created in 1961 (Kohler, 2005). After this, the newly coined term "video games" started its path toward the entity we know today. Simple video games then found their way to the then newly created computers. Pixels, or small boxes of color, were used to create basic two-dimensional pictures on the screen. The creation of player versus player games came soon after, followed by coin operated arcade machines. In time, people were able to take the games home with them. Companies such as Atari and Coleco Vision brought arcade quality gaming to the home by plugging into the TV. Handheld controllers that hooked up to the systems themselves allowed early generation gamers to play the games they loved without the bulk of the entire arcade.
As time passed gaming became even more intense. The quality of the graphics, game-play, and the power of the systems themselves grew tremendously. This allowed hundreds of colors instead of tens, thousands of pixels instead of a handful. Even as it reached its peak with systems such as the Super Nintendo, the flat pixel was soon outdated. Created in the late 1980s, a polygon allows for 3D graphics, something revolutionary for its time and still in use to this day.
Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) are the current gaming technology having far reaching popularity with the gamers of today. Therefore, they are an important topic when researching video game addictions as a large portion of video game purported addiction can be attributed to MMOs such as World of Warcraft (WoW) and Final Fantasy XI. In these types of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games the game play is tedious. It takes hours to become stronger and train your skills. One must be willing able to expend vast amounts of time to progress even a little in this online world. Also, a competitive atmosphere is created as you can check other people's items and, subsequently, compare them to your own. People can spend hours upon hours trying to defeat a monster to obtain a special game token or power within the game. Often enough the item does not appear or someone else might get it. This leads to frustration; however the player may feel that they must try until they have achieved the desired goal losing sight of the amount of time they devout to game.
The next logical area to investigate is to determine why people play video games. Many people find a game's ability to bring them into another world very appealing. They can sit and play a game for hours just getting absorbed with the character they are playing as. The world that is being presented to them is much