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Journeyman III

World Health Organization - Gaming Disorder

This is a reprint of an email I sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) that I thought you all might be interested in.  If the new classification causes damages to AMD's business, I would think AMD might be due legal remedies.


December 25, 2017

Gaming Disorder


Hello, Merry Christmas, to you, if applicable:

I would like to add some historical perspective to the thin definition provided via the news service referenced above.

Early computer games rivaling modern games emerged as a result of simulations for military and space endeavors.  There was usually an end training purpose associated with possibly considerable amounts of time spent on computer simulations (see NASA Apollo missions for example).

Regarding computer simulations now being considered as causing potential medical disorders, the modern era of games, although they appear to represent simulations of various sorts, they often become disassociated from this original applicable fundamental training intent (eg flight simulator, crash the simulator instead of the plane before getting in the actual cockpit).  This modern disconnection from end purpose appears to lead to an abstract end point that appears to be the basis for describing excessive use of simulations as psychological disorder.

Excessive use of simulations in the past, earned you a seat in the cockpit of the actual vehicle.  Thus rather than describing computer simulations, of substantial interest to the trainee's (the game players), as creating psychological disorders, it seems more appropriate to describe those particular simulations as lacking a recognizably useful and actionable purpose for the simulation.

The lack of a classification system for computer simulations sounds more like what the film/movie industry rating system attempted to tackle, where the audience is warned in advance of the nature of the potential effect of the production on viewers via specific comprehensible more well-known terms.  For computer simulations this might present itself as something like: Rated R for no recognizable applicable use; Rated M for recognized for developing math skills.

A generic disorder that implies grouping all computer simulations under the terms of a medical disorder seems inappropriate and counter productive, over-generalizing the more easily recognizable appropriate boundaries of authority.

If WHO's intent is to create a rebellion among game players, possibly to satisfy the next round of Star Wars movie goer's, then by all means, disregard the history of the purpose of computer simulations.

Moreover, modern medical training and remote medicine would not be what it is without computer simulations, the best "players" of which get to go on actual missions that save actual lives.

The lack of an easily recognizable association between the simulations and the psychological health of the players is just as likely to be a problem with the classification as is the simulation itself.


Tim Reago

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