Along with drinking beer, sleeping late and eating nothing but pizza, playing video games has become a stereotypical college activity.

Whether it’s the Madden football tournament held every year at Super Bowl time, playing in the various tournaments put on in the dorms or simply having a 2 a.m. Mario Kart game at a friend’s house, playing video games has become a major part of college life.

But, just like pretty much everything else that is associated with college students, psychiatrists are now saying that video games can become an addiction. The students most at risk, according to an article by Dr. Kimberly Young on, are those who play massive multiplayer online roll playing games.

As difficult as that is to say, it’s much easier to explain. These games, according to Young, involve players joining up over the internet to go on various missions and try to get their characters as powerful as possible.

“Like a drug, gamers who play almost everyday, play for extended periods of time (over 4 hours), get restless or irritable if they can’t play, and sacrifice other social activities just to game are showing signs of addiction,” according to Young’s article, “Addiction to MMORPGs: Symptoms and Treatments.”

“I really only played it as a way to keep in touch with my friends,” said Joe Calabrese who recently stopped playing World of Warcraft. “Seeing how into it some of the people playing are, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you could become addicted to something like that.”

Todd Bingham ’08 sees much of the responsibility falling on the parents themselves.

“Video game addiction stems from the parents who use video games and television to raise their children,” he said.

Regardless of the causes, video game addiction is becoming a growing problem in America and around the world. Along with internet addiction, this problem is quietly becoming a problem with teenagers.

Some of the major games in this industry are Ultima Online, EverQuest and World of Warcraft. Even the names suggest that these are not merely games to be played lightly, but are an ultimate experience, that you will play forever and which may eventually take over your world.

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