This has gotta be a joke – of course video games are a drug.
In order to define what constitutes a drug, one must first examine the drug addict. If you’re looking for a way to kill a Friday afternoon, visit your friendly neighborhood methadone clinic and say hi to one of the patients. The average methadone addict, as you’ll find, suffers from such symptoms as muscle spasticity, difficulty breathing, disorientation, constipation and even comas. Next, go call on that fellow in your dorm who’s up at 2 a.m., hacking and slashing his way to level 70 in “World of Warcraft” while wearing his “Rogues Do It From Behind” baby tee that’s two sizes too small. Advantage: drug.
Some drugs can also be characterized by their ability to open new pathways of creativity in the minds of the user. According to the manual for Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System, “One day the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopaa tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving mushroom people were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horse-hair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin.” Mario’s goal is to ingest said mushrooms that make him grow to superhuman size… or chew the leaves of a flower that make fire spurt magically from his clenched fists. Advantage: drug.
The fact is that video games are the hip new designer drug of our generation. Their users suffer from the psychological cravings of Johnny Crackhead and the physical builds of a stoner living next to a Hot Pockets factory. But so what? Half our generation is either prescribed Dexedrine or has the body mass index of Shamu. We might as well just call it what it is – an addiction – and let evolution decide who is smart enough to know how to game responsibly.