Letters for January 1, 2009

Wages of Warcraft

Re “I was a video game addict” by Gabriel Francisco (SN&R Feature, December 18):

I was a very happy outgoing girl before my boyfriend (now husband) built me my first computer. I was into [PlayStation], but the Internet opened a new world for me and my family.

He had been playing online games for a while when I had just started my gaming. Sadly, now, going on five years later, today my dad called me from back home in Sacramento and tells me to read this article. He found it for me because of my worry about my husband’s addiction. As he said that, a shame came over me as I minimized my World of Warcraft screen.

Now, I’m nowhere near as bad as my husband, but I do admit I have an addiction. I only ever started playing because it was the only way I could get through to him to have some part in his life. It’s always hurt me to know we get along best when we are talking on a game, using emotes instead of really cuddling and kissing. We fight a lot, and I normally hear, “Why are you so angry now? You used to be so sweet.” I go off about how he used to be fun and wanted to go places.

It makes me think back before I knew anything of World of Warcraft, and yes, I was happy. I try to be that sweet person, yet I find myself in the back of my head watching someone who doesn’t seem like me attack and yell at others.

I’ve tried to walk away but find myself back in the world three to six months later. My husband comes home after work and tries to bargain with me to give him more play time. He gets mad if I say no. He says he needs WoW to relax. It hurts to have to act like a mother to my husband, giving him a curfew.

Don’t forget, it saves us money. But the last four years, it’s done nothing but made us enemies just sleeping in the same bed.

Name withheld by request
Jacksonville, Ark.

Addicts, take responsibility

Re “I was a video game addict” by Gabriel Francisco (SN&R Feature, December 18):

I’ve been a gamer for many years, ranging from the classic dice-rolling [role-playing games] such as Dungeons & Dragons to real-time strategy games such as StarCraft and Command & Conquer. Growing up, RPGs opened up my imagination, and it was a lot of fun. Still is. I don’t consider gaming to be “mind rot,” and to assume such a broad generalization is, well, rather naive and simplistic.

Yes, I’ve seen people consumed by gaming; I’ve also seen people consumed by religion, politics and sports. As a reporter, I’ve covered stories where I’ve seen people’s lives devastated by meth and alcohol.

I know a lot of people who are software engineers—from my girlfriend to a number of good friends of mine—who game a lot. RuneScape. WoW. Fable. Other games. Aside from their gaming, they all have productive, normal lives.

A caveat should be noted. The writer of this article admits that he has an addictive personality. OK. Fine. He dealt with it as he saw fit. But should this story be used as a template to judge others who game? No. There are many people who game, who are made of sterner stuff, have productive lives and have avoided his pitfalls.

Anything can be addictive, but don’t blame it. It’s the addict who has to take responsibility.

That being said, I’m gonna play some StarCraft. I’ve got some Zergs to nuke.

Brad Smith
Citrus Heights

Video games aren’t the problem

Re “I was a video-game addict” by Gabriel Francisco (SN&R Feature, December 18):

I found it interesting that the author of “I was a video-game addict” both admitted he has a problem and also condemned video games as a “modern-day epidemic, the parasite, the mind rot that we call video games.”

This is exactly the kind of condemnation that Jack Thompson and hysterical parents look for to prove the evils of video games. This is akin to a sex addict condemning sex, and saying that it is an epidemic, implying it should be removed from society.

Just because he has a problem doesn’t mean video games are the problem. There are millions of people who enjoy video games responsibly, who have never lost a job, relationship, nor failed a class because of them. Nor have we become serial killers, for that matter.

Video-game addiction is more appropriately referred to as obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it is possible to have that for a multitude of harmless behaviors, like hand washing. Condemning the behavior is just another form of denial. In this case, the author is denying responsibility for his own problem.

Mark Abrams

Keep reading the news!

Re “Stop reading the news” (SN&R Letters, December 18):

After reading the letter by Scott Hadley, it’s obvious that he not only puts down newspaper buffs, but anything he disagrees with.

James Sakauye

Story of substance

Re “Women of substance” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Feature, December 11):

This was a story of substance.

I am an African-American who lived in Sacramento during the late 1950s until 1967. I attended the elementary school named Argonaut in the Freeport Manor area, when the now municipal airport (the Executive Airport) was the major airport.

I am glad my childhood was spent there with my best friend Donna Evans Burke. The summers were the best!

Continue to rise and shine, being wonderfully blessed.

Mary Rhodes Patterson
Compton, Calif.

Just a few more checks

Re “Your 401(k) on socialism” by Bob Schmidt (SN&R Essay, December 11):

Sorry, Bob, but I’m not feeling ya.

You’re right about both capitalists and bureaucrats having a knack for screwing things up, but they each do it in the name of good short-term decision-making based on the rules and incentives of the day. Sure, Ford didn’t sell the Cardinal here, but as you point out, they did in Europe, where the rules and incentives of the day were different. Gas was more expensive (because of higher bureaucrat-imposed taxes) and people were poorer.

Small cars didn’t start to sell well in the states until the early ’70s OPEC oil embargo mess, which is when Detroit started to screw up. They’ve been paying for it slowly ever since. Centrally planned economies, with their good of the people approach, also have problems adjusting, as your good friends in the former USSR would be happy to explain.

As in most things, a middle course might be just the thing: a system with market incentives and penalties but with big-picture oversight. We can’t afford to leave this stuff to the capitalists or the bureaucrats, but to both in appropriate measure.

Your 401(k) sucks in the short term because the system was unbalanced. We just need a few more checks.

J. Maness
El Dorado Hills

People are the problem

Re “Your 401(k) on socialism” by Bob Schmidt (SN&R Essay, December 11):

Is capitalism or government the problem? What about the human element? Yes, Houston, there is a problem, but it isn’t a problem that can be fixed by any political or economic theory. It’s the human problem.

Capitalism, in theory, is perfect. Socialism, in theory, is perfect. Communism, in theory, is perfect. But in all societies there is a volatile element that is introduced to our seemingly perfect political theories: human nature. Greed and lust. Passion and desire. The same elements that create works of art can also bring down a nation. Corruption on any level is inevitable.

Let’s examine capitalism further: a free market, with no government regulation. It is theorized that good businessmen will prosper because consumers have the knowledge to not go to bad businessmen. For example, doctors wouldn’t be regulated by the government, but that’s OK, because the doctor who has a tendency to kill people won’t have a successful practice [since] people won’t go to him.

However true, people would still have to die in order for the trend of death to come to the surface. And this is assuming “Dr. Kevorkian” tells all in regards to his records.

Not to mention that “cheaper” is sometimes seen as “better,” regardless of safety. This is also assuming that we consumers have the medical knowledge necessary to decipher between a good doctor and a bad doctor. But—minus the human element—good business people prosper while untrustworthy people don’t, and the world goes on, full of butterflies and flowers.

The fact of the matter is that we need government regulations because people can’t always be trusted and consumers make terrible decisions. However, corruption in the government or bad decisions made by the government are very possible and, as demonstrated well in recent years, affect us all. Again, input human element here.

So [what’s] the answer? Houston, we have a problem.

Morgan Alanna


In a recent dining review (“As the sushi world turns” by Greg Lucas, SN&R Dish, December 24), we neglected to clarify that chef Billy Ngo in fact owns Kru and is responsible for the restaurant’s menu, ambience and overall “inventive élan.” Taka Watanabe, chef at Ju Hachi, is only a minority investor.