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Today it seems like blaming video games for social or moral decline might feel like something new. But fears about the effects of recreational games on society as a whole are centuries old. History shows a cycle of apprehension and acceptance about games that is very like events of modern times.
And despite the Buddha’s concern, chess has not historically raised concerns about addiction. Scholars’ attention to chess is focused on mastery and the wonders of the mind, not the potential of being addicted to playing. In the middle part of the 20th century, one particular type of game emerged as a frequent target of politician concern and playing it was even outlawed in cities across the country. That game was pinball. But the parallels with today’s concerns about video games are clear. What do you think?