Editor's Note: Gaming Addictions

Gaming Addictions

All media is designed to suck you in - so why do games get all the flack? This issue of The Escapist looks at games addiction from both outside and inside perspectives.

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I had very much the same experience with WoW. I made some characters, I enjoyed playing, but they all just trailed off and I started playing other games. At level 20 the levelling time increased enough that I just started playing other games.

Not intentionally, just when I looked at my game list as to what to play, WoW stopped being picked.

If you want to know the real reason; it's because there are quite a few generations of people alive who were born before video games and see it as a waste of time as opposed to their Crossword puzzles that keep their mind limber. It's the old George Carlin adage "other people's stuff is shit and your shit is stuff."

I've had similar experiences with games (GTA San Andreas comes to mind) where I was compelled to play continuously but was able to stop when other needs arose but the same has happened to me with really engrossing books too (the Harry Potter series comes to mind). Thankfully my wife sometimes gets just as obsessed with a game or a book so she's very forgiving with me.

For those of every generation who live very disciplined lives of obsessive distracting productivity(and I'm not even going to get into that whole pathos), any activity that takes up so much time is a waste. I'm reminded of another quote, this one by HL Mencken: "Puritanism -The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

For those who do get too addicted to a game, they should find other things to do that they find just as interesting. I recommend martial arts: sparring is kind of like a video game. Or find a good book that's in your preferred genre: if you like Tom Clancy's games, you might like his books too. You did know he writes books too right?

GonzoGamer:
if you like Tom Clancy's games, you might like his books too. You did know he writes books too right?

He does !!!

Nah seriously, just like Julianne, I have the "oh shiny!" issue so it's hard for me to get addicted to a game. The worst for me was "the summer of rpgs" I had quite a few years ago when I completed FFVI, Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana 2 on my computer in one summer.

Addiction is relative. If it wasn't WOW, EVE, or CSS it would be something else. You can't pick on one thing as evil. My mom is addicted to Pogo, she will sit for hours to get her weekly badges. She plays horrible flash games with the stray hope that she will win the jackpot spin. She has well over 100 million tokens that aren't worth anything. At least MMORPG's don't offer the promise of untold riches. Fight the real enemy!

GonzoGamer:
If you want to know the real reason; it's because there are quite a few generations of people alive who were born before video games and see it as a waste of time as opposed to their Crossword puzzles that keep their mind limber. It's the old George Carlin adage "other people's stuff is shit and your shit is stuff."

I've had similar experiences with games (GTA San Andreas comes to mind) where I was compelled to play continuously but was able to stop when other needs arose but the same has happened to me with really engrossing books too (the Harry Potter series comes to mind). Thankfully my wife sometimes gets just as obsessed with a game or a book so she's very forgiving with me.

For those of every generation who live very disciplined lives of obsessive distracting productivity(and I'm not even going to get into that whole pathos), any activity that takes up so much time is a waste. I'm reminded of another quote, this one by HL Mencken: "Puritanism -The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

For those who do get too addicted to a game, they should find other things to do that they find just as interesting. I recommend martial arts: sparring is kind of like a video game. Or find a good book that's in your preferred genre: if you like Tom Clancy's games, you might like his books too. You did know he writes books too right?

GTA was highly addictive for me, too. Open world games like that tend to become an obsession to complete every possible thing in the game. Doesn't mean it isn't fun, but when you find yourself still up at 5am trying to get that last hidden item, it might be time for a break...not that I've done that. :)

Whiskey Sam:

GonzoGamer:
If you want to know the real reason; it's because there are quite a few generations of people alive who were born before video games and see it as a waste of time as opposed to their Crossword puzzles that keep their mind limber. It's the old George Carlin adage "other people's stuff is shit and your shit is stuff."

I've had similar experiences with games (GTA San Andreas comes to mind) where I was compelled to play continuously but was able to stop when other needs arose but the same has happened to me with really engrossing books too (the Harry Potter series comes to mind). Thankfully my wife sometimes gets just as obsessed with a game or a book so she's very forgiving with me.

For those of every generation who live very disciplined lives of obsessive distracting productivity(and I'm not even going to get into that whole pathos), any activity that takes up so much time is a waste. I'm reminded of another quote, this one by HL Mencken: "Puritanism -The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

For those who do get too addicted to a game, they should find other things to do that they find just as interesting. I recommend martial arts: sparring is kind of like a video game. Or find a good book that's in your preferred genre: if you like Tom Clancy's games, you might like his books too. You did know he writes books too right?

GTA was highly addictive for me, too. Open world games like that tend to become an obsession to complete every possible thing in the game. Doesn't mean it isn't fun, but when you find yourself still up at 5am trying to get that last hidden item, it might be time for a break...not that I've done that. :)

I have; and I was still having fun.

Really, I tend to get the same way with open world games too (most recently Fallout 3) but San Andreas really sucked me in more than any other game; there was just so much to do and I really wanted to do and collect everything.
But as engrossing as GTASA is, the worst I did was take a day or two off work. For the most part I still lived my life normally it's just that all my free time (and some sleep time) was spent with that one game.

Then again, as I said before, the Harry Potter books had a similar effect on me when I first read them and once again I called in sick because I was up until 5 am reading. Normally reading that late will put me right to sleep.

I think for non-gamers there's a greater tendency to say "[insert name] is addicted to that new game he/she just got!", but they don't realise that said person hasn't actually finished the game - they forget that the experience of a game is (generally) much longer than a movie or a book.

I've never been addicted to a game, and I say most people who think they have may be a little confused. Addiction/obsession is where the object (in this case, a game) is affecting other aspects of your life, for a long period of time. Really enjoying a game for a week or two, even a month, is not addiction; it's just you enjoying a game.

Also, Sword of Truth sucks you in. Last Christmas holidays, ah...

Games are a tool. They can only be as healthy or as harmful as the people using them, make them.

To me, games fall into the category of entertainment as a whole. The differences seem to be mostly technical, not substantive, when compared to any other form of entertainment.

Because of some failures in my life I started "using" games to replace my reality. When my life became more painful then I wanted to face and work through, I turned to games to occupy my mind so I didn't have to face up to what was real. It truly was addictive behavior, but could have easily been replaced by drug or alcoholic addictions (or too much TV) because of how I was using it, not by nature of the thing itself. If I turned off the games I would just spend time watching movies. Again, the problem wasn't the games, the problem was me trying to find a way to not have to face reality as it really is.

For now I am on self-enforced probation. I realized that I do need to work through some things, and I hope to come back to games when I can use them for healthy enjoyment, not addictive avoidance/replacement behavior. When I was last playing I was leading a very successful and active new Corp in Eve Online. I hope all the guys are doing all right, and it hurt a lot to leave. But I did truly have a problem the way I was using games. (I had switched to Eve after the last expac from Warcraft came out. I finally got fed up with the players I was forced to team with. I had 3 70s. I tried some Warhammer, then ended up in Eve for a few months.) By the time I finally quit, I had put countless hours into the games, had no job, was in debt, and had no friends. Again, I was a game "user" using them to escape my life, not a "player" using them to enhance my life.

I still come here to watch Zero Punctuation every week. I have started looking towards getting my life back together. I read Atlas Shrugged and am getting into economics and other social issues. I am trying to find more healthy and productive outlets for my need to explore, build, create, and conquer. I do hope to return to games in the future, but I hope to be bringing friends, and to play in a much more healthy way.

I was worried that I was addicted to computer or video games until one night I googled game addiction and started reading stories of people that were really addicted to EQ.

After reading those stories I realized, I never missed any sleep, work, always spent time with the wife and kid. I was ok.

But those stories really scared the hell out of me.

I had withdrawal symptoms from guild wars when on holiday. Really, WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS! wtf?

I can remember some serious gaming hours with Diablo II. These days I hardly play any games at all. I think once you get to a certain age the stamina just drops off. lol

Gaming is BAD if, like me you cannot revise because you're too interested in a game.

I believe its possible to be addicted to gaming just the same as martial arts, skateboarding, IMing, exercise, eating or anything else that would give one pleasure.

Again I will use the same argument that I use for many things, 'Personal Responsibility, and Moderation'. If I let my self play WoW for 96 Hours a week and become addicted, its not Blizzards (or a video games) fault, its mine.

The world has become a place where moderation is not practiced as much as it should be. Addiction is no small matter, but if I use crack for 20 days straight, 9 times a day, it is no wonder that I become addicted to it.

Unless you can't hold a job, your killing yourself slowly, getting physically sick from not playing, etc. etc., I don't think it is such a condition that warrants professional help.
My advice to those people are, UNPLUG the system (or uninstall it on a computer) and go outside, or get a hobby/girlfriend.

[Off topic]The same w/ violence in games, if I let my child play Manhunt, GTA, FO3, and other games like those, all his life and don't teach him that 'violence isn't the answer', 'people don't come back in real life', 'there's no reset button in real life', blah blah blah, then its no wonder that he will think its okay to bash someone with a pipe, or blast on someone.[off topic]

Sorry for the long-winded post I just feel that people should be in control of themselves and not have the government control what we do if its simply a matter of self-discipline.

 

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