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Violence and video games

Sep 2007: The debate around video games and violence rears its head every few months. But are the right questions being asked?

Like most of the electrified world, I am currently hypnotised by Puzzle Quest.

A variation on the classic task of matching three gems, it integrates role playing game elements into a simple puzzle game, producing something that has all the short-order appeal of Tetris, and all the long-term pull of Final Fantasy.

And hypnotised isn't a word I use lightly. The gentle clatter of gems and the steady whirl of primary colours soon become all-consuming.

It's not that it's hard to stop playing, it's that it's pointless. Just because my DS is closed and my eyes are back on my work doesn't mean that I don't see Puzzle Quest every time I blink.

Just because it's time for bed doesn't mean I'm not battling an Ogre Mage on the inside of my eyelids.

It's a phenomenon most gamers are familiar with. If you're spending a lot of time with a game, it becomes your mental screen-saver, popping up when your brain isn't occupied.

It's most obvious with visually simple, repetitive games like Puzzle Quest, but it can happen with anything.

Read full article at BBC Technology News
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