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Psychologist asks designers to shorten quests to fight addiction

Eliot Lefebvre

It's impossible to play video games without noticing that some people have downright unhealthy gaming habits. Addiction to games is discussed a great deal, often without solutions being offered. Dr. Zaheer Hussain does propose a solution in a recent study, however, arguing that game designers need to cut down on the length of quests to prevent people from forming unhealthy habits. He suggests that designers need to look at the structure of the game and how mechanics might encourage pathological behaviors.

You may feel like it's a good suggestion or you may feel like it's comparable to fighting alcoholism by selling beer in smaller bottles, but the study goes into more detail than that simple suggestion. The study, which was published in the Addiction Research and Theory journal, recommends steps be taken before games see the sort of government administration as seen in countries such as China and South Korea. It ultimately concludes that anywhere between 7-11% of all gamers suffer from "pathological" behavior. The full paper can be purchased by those interested for closer review.

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