Ever since video games became a thing, we’ve seen parents worry about their offspring becoming hopelessly addicted. However, in a world where screentime is possible literally anywhere in the world thanks to the rise of the smartphone, it seems quaint to recall that, way back in 1998, the media was losing its collective mind over the idea that kids might play “more than 2 hours” of video games in a single day.
The archived news report – originally broadcast on ABC 15 in Phoenix, Arizona – looks into the issues with video game addiction, focusing on youngster Shane Erwin and his love of N64 games like GoldenEye 007 and 1080 Snowboarding. While it’s clear that other gaming brands exist, the fact that the report chooses to focus almost entirely on Nintendo’s system might not have been the best PR for the firm – especially at a time when it was losing ground to Sony’s PlayStation.
Shane’s exasperated mother is also called in, and brands her son a “Nintendo junkie”, while child psychiatrist Eric Benjamin says that too much time looking at a screen and not enough time communicating with others is bad for any child’s development (the report ignores the fact that many games – especially on the N64, which has four controller ports – encourage social play).
The report even ponders the question of whether or not this really is “addiction” or if it’s just a “phase that children will outgrow.” The fact that many people who grew up with the N64 are still playing games today might suggest that it’s not a phase, so it must be an addiction, right?
We dread to think what the same reporters would make of the world of video gaming today, but back in 1998, they were clearly very, very worried indeed.
Thanks to Drewski’s Archive for sending this in!