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"For developers, the goal of this new generation of open-world games is stimulating a player’s sense of adventure in ways that emulate the real thing. Jean-Sebastien Decant, creative director for the latest Far Cry installment, New Dawn—which puts players in a carefully rendered postapocalyptic Montana—says, “The key is to provide as much agency and as many surprises as possible.” Worlds are designed to make players expect the unexpected—say, a hermit living in a wilderness cave—just as one might stumble upon a bear in Yellowstone. Maura Reagan, a former ReStart therapist, suggests that the simulations satisfy something primal in her clients, similar to what they might feel if they were climbing Mount Everest or descending the Amazon: a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and empowerment. “These guys are getting the hero’s journey,” she says, “but digitally.” "At ReStart, the issue seems settled: staff and clients talk about gaming like they would any other addiction. Rae tells me about a 13-year-old boy who was “using” World of Warcraft a dozen hours a day. Stories about game addicts run the gamut—lost jobs, dashed hopes, broken marriages. Rae mentions a man who fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his car after a gaming marathon at a convention. Another man developed deep vein thrombosis in part from sitting in his game chair too long. He eventually lost a leg to amputation"
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“While it seems strange to think that the virtual outdoors could substitute for the real thing, science is beginning to suggest that it often does. Recent studies have shown that the same parts of your brain that get stimulated during a hike can get fired up by screen time in a digital wilderness. Colin Ellard, a neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, has studied the phenomenon, and he says that “when we engage in game play, certainly with immersive virtual environments, we’re probably reproducing a lot of the same patterns of activity in the brain that are produced by real environments.”” I take issue with this because of the way mirror neurons work while watching something like soccer- the neurons responsible for kicking a ball activate when we see someone kick a ball. Neuron wise- the brain of the person kicking the ball and the brain of the person WATCHING the person kicking the ball are very similar in terms of activation patterns. One wouldn’t claim that the patterns of brain activity are enough to justify that both people are getting all the benefits of playing soccer. More research on cognitive addiction needs to be done overall, it’s just as much an issue as physical addiction, if not moreso.