In November of 2001, Shawn Woolley, a 21-year-old EverQuest played, shot himself in front of his computer while playing the popular MMORPG. In the days and weeks that followed the tragic suicide, it would become apparent that Woolley had forsaken virtually every aspect of his real life for the fantasy realm of EverQuest. This was something that people close to Shawn Woolley already knew; in fact Shawn's mother Elizabeth "Liz" Woolley had tried to get her son professional help. When she turned to doctors and mental health professionals and explained that her son was addicted to a PC game, her concerns and pleas fell on deaf ears. At the time, the idea of a clinical addiction to video games was scoffed at, and even today the idea isn't widely recognized. As a result, Liz Woolley started On-Line Gamers Anonymous to help bring attention to the issue and also provide support and references to treatment and counseling. But even today, the subject of game addiction isn't given much credence.
But for all the talk among gamers and media pundits about how "addictive" a particular game can be, is it so surprising that a number of hardcore gamers develop a psychological addiction to MMOs?