http://www.gamesetwatch.com/wowoo.jpg Tom Coates, who 'thinks up neat stuff for Yahoo!' and is a long-time weblogging figure of note with his Plasticbag.org site, has posted a particularly interesting post on reaching Level 60 on World Of Warcraft, querying, well, the basic make-up of why we play games.

He notes: "I've started wondering whether a game could still be considered good if you want to play it a lot but at the same time resent the time that it takes from you. What if you find it boring but still somehow can't put it down. Can you love and hate a game at the same time and still call it 'fun'? Can a game be a narcotic, or a guilty secret or an addiction? Can it be a fruitless activity without value that still feels good?"

His conclusion: "Apparently you can get a character on World of Warcraft to level sixty in about three months of consistent after-work play. Personally, my experience has taken me three times that length of time, and has been squeezed around long hours on work projects and more travelling than I've ever done before.... Let me put it this way - while I feel no massive compromise to my life is occurring now, while my relationship with the game is merely grudging at the moment, I can imagine coming to hate the game and yet still wanting to play it. Is that an extraordinary statement?"

In fact, Coates is genuinely concerned that "we as a culture [could be] starting to construct toys that are too effective and end up hurting people", and that exact issue continues to be a source of fascination, to me and everyone associated with the game biz, no doubt. [Via Andy.]