October 1982

Pac Man may be hazardous to your health

   The US is undergoing an invasion of Space Invaders, Pac Man and Tempests that no real-life army commander can outmaneuver. This attack is just one stop short of overtaking the new generation, and its effects are widely controversial.
   Millions of dollars are being voluntarily seized from the pockets of teenagers, who spend their free time loitering at the local arcade. Only a small number of people, though , are collecting the profits of the hottest industry around.
   Now it appears that the Pac Man pro can be mentally addicted and not able to stop until his money is gone.
   On the other hand, everyone has the right to make his own choice of how he spends his free time and money. He also has the free will to try to overcome the addiction.
   Video games are often frowned upon because of some possible "ill" health effects. Those computers with push-button devices can strain the finger muscles resulting in a symptom similar to "typist's finger."
   Ophthalmologists also have discovered that the luminous flashes of sky rockets across the screen in a darkened room can harm the eyes if continually viewed.
   There is also the obvious fact that playing video games are a major cause of lack of exercise.
   Video games' benefits are also under study, and there may be optimistic effects as well. Anxiety and stress can be eased because the player projects any anger or frustration onto a video enemy rather than people.
   It seems evident then that video games both help and hinder. As with many inventions, the effects are diverse. Most important, the individual has the right to weight the options and decide if Videomania is his "beep" or not, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer.