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September 10, 1982

Space Invaders Obsession

Author Affiliations

Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC

JAMA. 1982;248(10):1177. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330100017009

To the Editor.—  Americans are caught up in an electronic video-game "craze."1,2 Of note have been recent reports of medical complications of playing Space Invaders.3,4 We wish to report a psychiatric complication of this game, which we have termed Space Invaders obsession.

Report of Case.—  Three men, aged 35, 27, and 25 years, each with obsessional personality traits, reported a sharp increase in time, energy, and money devoted to playing Space Invaders in the immediate weeks before their respective marriages. Each man at least quadrupled his frequency of playing the game (up to 15 times per week), and each reported fantasizing about it before falling asleep at night. One man began taking his fiancee on "dates" to play or watch him play Space Invaders. Another of the men delayed his honeymoon excursion for an hour to "get in a few more games." The third man began to spend