Addiction and Video Games

One of the most common problems people have with video games is the chance and the common reality of Gaming Addiction. When someone is addicted to video games, it isn’t in the sense that most people think of; Kid sits in room playing video games all day and never plays outside. While that can be a beginning moment, it’s not real gaming addiction. Gaming addiction is far more intense than that.  It is the inability to find interest in the real world and spend your life submerged into an alternate one. I know there are plenty of people who feel this way, as do I, but the difference is some people don’t know when to press ‘save and quit’ and deal with the drudge of everyone’s shared reality on Earth.

I feel that the topic doesn’t have much resolution that is universal, but I mention it because a recent two part episode of Extra Credits made a really compelling point by talking about both the logical and personal issues associated with game addiction.

Extra Credits:

Gaming Addiction Part 1

Gaming Addiction Part 2.1

Gaming Addiction Part 2.2

At the end of it all you come to realize that you have two options, either overcome the addiction or give into it. To be afraid of the real world is irrational.  You cannot fear life because life is whatever you decide. If someone feels they want to play games and never go outside, let them, it only effects themselves and I can relate to most gamers when saying reality has nothing to offer more than what I can get inside a video game. While I don’t lock myself from the world, I do spend more time playing games and watching anime than the average person. I can tell you more about video game and anime characters better than our own presidents, and I remember events in games and episodes of anime more than I remember important dates in history. But all of that is by choice, not because I am being controlled by anything, or because I am afraid, I just find the real world to be boring and prefer the alternate world to the real one. In the end it is just a video game, or it is just a show, or it is just whatever you are addicted to. You can always quit at any time, it just depends on how strong your resolve is.

SebastianSB’s Take:

Back when I played World of Warcraft I knew a few people who seemed to be genuinely addicted to the game.  They would wake up in the morning, eat their three meals while playing the game, maybe shower during mid-afternoon, then go back to sleep.  It became distressing to watch them pass up or even vehemently refuse their chances to spend time with friends or family.  Sure they could go down to the beach, but then they wouldn’t have time to gather the gold they need to purchase that epic flying mount this week.

After hundreds of hours you might be able to kill this guy for a less than 1% chance of getting one of his weapons.

I was sure that I would never fall into this trap, but then I tried raiding.  Before I knew it World of Warcraft had become a full time job.  Killing some boss monster for a 5% chance to get a dagger that had a 50-50 chance of going to either myself or the other rogue in the group had become the most important thing in the world.  We eventually managed to kill Illidan, the big bad boss of the Burning Crusade expansion pack, but my habits had begun to change for the better long before that.  I had become painfully aware that I was being manipulated into devoting days of my life to making sure that a set of meaningless numbers would increase periodically.  Years later I would learn from Extra Credits that this mechanic was known as Skinner’s Box.  I realized that I wasn’t even enjoying the game any more.  I was mostly just continuing out of habit and a fear of losing contact with the friends that I had made.  I quit and refocused my attention on my studies.

I plan on playing The Old Republic once it eventually hits the shelves because Bioware is one of my favorite developers out there.  I’m not afraid of how the game will affect me because I know that I’ve matured greatly since my time with World of Warcraft.  I’ll enjoy the game, but I won’t stop learning to play my guitar, I won’t stop practicing with my digital art, I won’t let it interfere with my geology degree, and I sure as hell won’t be letting it stop me from having experiences like the one I had last night.  Five friends and I went walking through the woods, flashlights in hand, with the only other source of light being the stars.  We laughed, talked about bad horror films, and generally scared the crap out of each other.  Video games are an incredible source of entertainment, but they’ll never replace nights like that.


One Response to “Addiction and Video Games”

  1. i’m happy i got out of my call of duty obsession 😀 and extra credits is amazing 😀

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