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The South Korean government recently released a video warning the general public about the dangers of video game addiction. The 25-second ad, which has already been edited and re-released following complaints about its content, shows the ways in which overexposure to video games can adversely affect the mental health of otherwise healthy young men and women.

It’s also spectacularly stupid.

Gaming blog Kotaku reported earlier this week that a bizarre government-funded “game addiction” ad had recently begun airing on screens installed in public areas in South Korea. Apparently, passersby were shown images of young adults exhibiting a series of abhorrent behaviours, such as a smartly dressed young man playing a smartphone game and then looking off camera wearing an expression of abject horror and a woman constantly tapping her index finger on an imaginary mouse while sitting in a cafe.

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These behaviours, the ad suggests, are the result of video game addiction, and it asks the general public to consider whether they too have experienced such feelings or confused fantasy and reality as a result of too much digital playtime.

Here’s the ad as it originally appeared:

And here it is in its new, edited version after members of the public complained about its content:

Those of you who frequently read my ramblings on these here pages will know that I’m an enormous video game nut. Left to my own devices and without proper people around to give me a helpful poke, I’ll gladly spend my entire weekend doing nothing but playing games, drinking red wine and eating cheese (hey, I’m a nut but I’m a classy nut). Even so, I consider myself to be a fairly normal, level-headed human being, and I’ve never had trouble drawing a line between fantasy and reality. True, after getting really into Black Ops 2‘s online multiplayer a few years ago, I have to confess that the sight of a plane passing overhead had me looking forward to my next play session and being able to shoot down enemy UAVs lest they gave away my position, and during my Nintendo 64 years I’d imagine taking out the occasional CCTV camera, GoldenEye style, whenever I spotted them in my town centre.

But that’s where the blurring of fantasy and reality ended. At no point did I dive into the prone position and await the arrival of a squad of enemy players, and as far as I know Liverpool city centre still has all of its security cameras, so I can’t help thinking that Korea’s game addiction advert was made entirely by people who have never played a video game in their lives or who secretly still wonder whether having their photo taken will steal a little bit of their soul.

▼ And let’s be honest, if this guy was really addicted to violent video games he’d at least know how to throw a decent punch…

do you even game, bro

Korea does, admittedly, have a something of a problem on its hands with video game addiction. Young men especially have been known to become so obsessed with online games like Starcraft and its ilk that they’ll happily spend every waking hour at internet cafes or cooped up in their bedrooms playing them. If their constant gaming is becoming hazardous to their health or affecting those around them then certainly something needs to be done to help them. But rather than presenting video game addicts as borderline schizophrenic granny-punchers – who yet somehow still have the mental wherewithal to maintain a solid skin-care routine and attend job interviews – perhaps a better warning about the dangers of spending dozens of hours at a time playing video games would be to create an ad showing a sallow-faced twenty-something with a neck beard and a beer (wine?) belly checking his bank balance and realising that he’s pissed all of his money away on pizza deliveries and Puzzle and Dragons?

▼ It’d be a lot more convincing than the sight of this idiot freaking out in Disneyland, that’s for sure.


Source: Kotaku US, YouTube 1, 2
Feature/insert images: YouTube