194: The Five Habits of Highly Addicted Gamers

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

The Five Habits of Highly Addicted Gamers

It's easy to spot the odd rituals and behavioral tics that signal addiction - even if the "substance" in question is a videogame. Dean Sherwin examines a handful of these curious gamer habits.

Read Full Article

Dean Sherwin:
The Five Habits of Highly Addicted Gamers

It's easy to spot the odd rituals and behavioral tics that signal addiction - even if the "substance" in question is a videogame. Dean Sherwin examines a handful of these curious gamer habits.

Read Full Article

From my experiences it's only novice players who move the controller or themselves with what's on screen. When I was a games tester there was a guy who did it all the time and it was a point of mockery (friendly banter).

If you're an experienced game player you realise that turning the controller isn't going to make the on-screen car turn more sharply. Moreover, moving your head isn't going to enable you to see around corners in the game.

...I'm not an addict, okay?
I'm not.
...Stop looking at me like that, I can quit any time I want!

...Hi everyone. My name is Max, and I'm an addict.
Hi, Max...

beddo:

Dean Sherwin:
The Five Habits of Highly Addicted Gamers

It's easy to spot the odd rituals and behavioral tics that signal addiction - even if the "substance" in question is a videogame. Dean Sherwin examines a handful of these curious gamer habits.

Read Full Article

From my experiences it's only novice players who move the controller or themselves with what's on screen. When I was a games tester there was a guy who did it all the time and it was a point of mockery (friendly banter).

If you're an experienced game player you realise that turning the controller isn't going to make the on-screen car turn more sharply. Moreover, moving your head isn't going to enable you to see around corners in the game.

Heh, I do that and I am a very experience gamer. It's just because I'm extremely immersed in whatever task I'm doing. I think it helps me in many ways as I don't usually miss a trick and don't miss any details.

The glare.. Hurts.. so.. good..

I honestly don't know if I'm addicted to gaming. I've been addicted to individual games in the past, playing them religiously, but never to the point where I couldn't put them down and walk away. That is once the blisters had started forming calluses and my eyes were crusted open from not blinking. Then I back away from the computer. Sometimes.

Addiction, obsession or hobby, gaming gives a lot of people a lot of quirks. I think we're more interesting for it.

I knew I had passed into the dreaded addict category when a dream I had about a school reunion turned into capture the flag!

beddo:

Dean Sherwin:
The Five Habits of Highly Addicted Gamers

It's easy to spot the odd rituals and behavioral tics that signal addiction - even if the "substance" in question is a videogame. Dean Sherwin examines a handful of these curious gamer habits.

Read Full Article

From my experiences it's only novice players who move the controller or themselves with what's on screen. When I was a games tester there was a guy who did it all the time and it was a point of mockery (friendly banter).

If you're an experienced game player you realise that turning the controller isn't going to make the on-screen car turn more sharply. Moreover, moving your head isn't going to enable you to see around corners in the game.

Haha, I've been playing video games for about fifteen years now and I still do those things.

Frankly- and this is anecdata I'm presenting now- I'm far more concerned about the people who will all be playing a game together, but not communicating out loud, and you cannot get their attention unless you get a message to them in-game.

beddo:

Dean Sherwin:
The Five Habits of Highly Addicted Gamers

It's easy to spot the odd rituals and behavioral tics that signal addiction - even if the "substance" in question is a videogame. Dean Sherwin examines a handful of these curious gamer habits.

Read Full Article

From my experiences it's only novice players who move the controller or themselves with what's on screen. When I was a games tester there was a guy who did it all the time and it was a point of mockery (friendly banter).

If you're an experienced game player you realise that turning the controller isn't going to make the on-screen car turn more sharply. Moreover, moving your head isn't going to enable you to see around corners in the game.

I was gonna come here to say pretty much the same as Beddo (and I noticed that other people replied the opposite). Maybe its just personal, but I think that if you are an experienced gamer, you should be able to play not devoting 100% attention to it. Or maybe that's just sports games, where patterns seem to emerge, so you can build up two identical goal-scoring plays in a football game without thinking too much about it.

I have a particular tic some people have noticed when I'm just using a computer: I blink less. I actually stop blinking. Some friends of mine have found it really scary, since they'll look over during a lecture and wonder why I'm not blinking.

I would, however, dispute that modders can be considered addicts. In some cases, surely. Others mostly use mods as a method of showing prototypes of their own games. An example would be the Half-Life mod Gunman Chronicles, which Valve later had published, or the entrants for the Make Something Unreal competition, who would have their mods released as a full game. In fact, a number of mod-makers have been hired by the company who made the original, thus getting a job from their mod. The most well-known examples are Team Fortress and Day of Defeat.

So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible

I don't know what your experience is with video games, but I would guess you don't know any gaming addicts. I know "Top X" lists are all the rave in magazines these days, but this seems like a rather unfounded list for something that is so easily diagnosed. Let me give you a few ideas of what "Gaming Addiction" is really about:

1. The person stops caring about the real world around them, and chooses to live vicariously through a virtual one. (The next 4 fall into this general category, but I think this sums up the beginning of the addiction)
2. The game(s) take precedence over the person's real needs, such as eating, exercising and general hygiene. This is why South Park depicts a fat, unkempt loser eating cheetos.
3. The game(s) become more important than the person's job, family and friends.
4. The person develops reasons or excuses as to why he/she can spend so much time playing the game(s). They say "Oh I just gotta finish this one level" or "I just gotta get this achievement", and the task takes them hours, if not days to complete.
5. When the person becomes immersed in the game(s) while not playing it.

These might sound like a drug addicts habits, but that's because addictions always trend toward the same ends. These are very real issues, one's I've had to deal with personally to some extent, and with others around me. Regardless of the circumstances the point remains the same, when you become enveloped in a specific substance/world/state of mind, it will become all that matters.

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible

I don't know what your experience is with video games, but I would guess you don't know any gaming addicts. I know "Top X" lists are all the rave in magazines these days, but this seems like a rather unfounded list for something that is so easily diagnosed. Let me give you a few ideas of what "Gaming Addiction" is really about:

1. The person stops caring about the real world around them, and chooses to live vicariously through a virtual one. (The next 4 fall into this general category, but I think this sums up the beginning of the addiction)
2. The game(s) take precedence over the person's real needs, such as eating, exercising and general hygiene. This is why South Park depicts a fat, unkempt loser eating cheetos.
3. The game(s) become more important than the person's job, family and friends.
4. The person develops reasons or excuses as to why he/she can spend so much time playing the game(s). They say "Oh I just gotta finish this one level" or "I just gotta get this achievement", and the task takes them hours, if not days to complete.
5. When the person becomes immersed in the game(s) while not playing it.

These might sound like a drug addicts habits, but that's because addictions always trend toward the same ends. These are very real issues, one's I've had to deal with personally to some extent, and with others around me. Regardless of the circumstances the point remains the same, when you become enveloped in a specific substance/world/state of mind, it will become all that matters.

a single post better than the whole article

spuddyt:

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible....

a single post better than the whole article

Why thank you =D

Arcticflame:

beddo:

Dean Sherwin:
The Five Habits of Highly Addicted Gamers

It's easy to spot the odd rituals and behavioral tics that signal addiction - even if the "substance" in question is a videogame. Dean Sherwin examines a handful of these curious gamer habits.

Read Full Article

From my experiences it's only novice players who move the controller or themselves with what's on screen. When I was a games tester there was a guy who did it all the time and it was a point of mockery (friendly banter).

If you're an experienced game player you realise that turning the controller isn't going to make the on-screen car turn more sharply. Moreover, moving your head isn't going to enable you to see around corners in the game.

Heh, I do that and I am a very experience gamer. It's just because I'm extremely immersed in whatever task I'm doing. I think it helps me in many ways as I don't usually miss a trick and don't miss any details.

I also do this, in certain cases, and while I am not an extremely experienced gamer, I think it shows how immersed I have become in a game: I consider it a good thing. :)

spuddyt:

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible

I don't know what your experience is with video games, but I would guess you don't know any gaming addicts. I know "Top X" lists are all the rave in magazines these days, but this seems like a rather unfounded list for something that is so easily diagnosed. Let me give you a few ideas of what "Gaming Addiction" is really about:

1. The person stops caring about the real world around them, and chooses to live vicariously through a virtual one. (The next 4 fall into this general category, but I think this sums up the beginning of the addiction)
2. The game(s) take precedence over the person's real needs, such as eating, exercising and general hygiene. This is why South Park depicts a fat, unkempt loser eating cheetos.
3. The game(s) become more important than the person's job, family and friends.
4. The person develops reasons or excuses as to why he/she can spend so much time playing the game(s). They say "Oh I just gotta finish this one level" or "I just gotta get this achievement", and the task takes them hours, if not days to complete.
5. When the person becomes immersed in the game(s) while not playing it.

These might sound like a drug addicts habits, but that's because addictions always trend toward the same ends. These are very real issues, one's I've had to deal with personally to some extent, and with others around me. Regardless of the circumstances the point remains the same, when you become enveloped in a specific substance/world/state of mind, it will become all that matters.

a single post better than the whole article

This.

I play Counter-strike Source Competitivly and Ive gotta side with Ultra on this one.

The style of the article sounds like a parent with kids or a purely console look at the querks of addicted gamers.

For those who dont game at my house, as I'm shouting/communicating at my team during a game, it must sound pretty severe...

Left for Dead is a great example for going nuts because if you get incapacitated by an infected zombie all you CAN do is yell for help. From anyone not used to the scene, it's a pretty one sided conversation...

Im just happy the neighbors haven't called the police yet, thinking im being murdered or somthing :P

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible

I don't know what your experience is with video games, but I would guess you don't know any gaming addicts. I know "Top X" lists are all the rave in magazines these days, but this seems like a rather unfounded list for something that is so easily diagnosed. Let me give you a few ideas of what "Gaming Addiction" is really about:

1. The person stops caring about the real world around them, and chooses to live vicariously through a virtual one. (The next 4 fall into this general category, but I think this sums up the beginning of the addiction)
2. The game(s) take precedence over the person's real needs, such as eating, exercising and general hygiene. This is why South Park depicts a fat, unkempt loser eating cheetos.
3. The game(s) become more important than the person's job, family and friends.
4. The person develops reasons or excuses as to why he/she can spend so much time playing the game(s). They say "Oh I just gotta finish this one level" or "I just gotta get this achievement", and the task takes them hours, if not days to complete.
5. When the person becomes immersed in the game(s) while not playing it.

These might sound like a drug addicts habits, but that's because addictions always trend toward the same ends. These are very real issues, one's I've had to deal with personally to some extent, and with others around me. Regardless of the circumstances the point remains the same, when you become enveloped in a specific substance/world/state of mind, it will become all that matters.

I second this, though I believe the original 5 in the article can be an indicator someone may be becoming addicted to games, they aren't in themselves signs of an addiction.

spuddyt:

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible

I don't know what your experience is with video games, but I would guess you don't know any gaming addicts. I know "Top X" lists are all the rave in magazines these days, but this seems like a rather unfounded list for something that is so easily diagnosed. Let me give you a few ideas of what "Gaming Addiction" is really about:

1. The person stops caring about the real world around them, and chooses to live vicariously through a virtual one. (The next 4 fall into this general category, but I think this sums up the beginning of the addiction)
2. The game(s) take precedence over the person's real needs, such as eating, exercising and general hygiene. This is why South Park depicts a fat, unkempt loser eating cheetos.
3. The game(s) become more important than the person's job, family and friends.
4. The person develops reasons or excuses as to why he/she can spend so much time playing the game(s). They say "Oh I just gotta finish this one level" or "I just gotta get this achievement", and the task takes them hours, if not days to complete.
5. When the person becomes immersed in the game(s) while not playing it.

These might sound like a drug addicts habits, but that's because addictions always trend toward the same ends. These are very real issues, one's I've had to deal with personally to some extent, and with others around me. Regardless of the circumstances the point remains the same, when you become enveloped in a specific substance/world/state of mind, it will become all that matters.

a single post better than the whole article

Yup.

Article wasn't great... based on anecdotal evidence and, in some places, a bit misguided in its logic (Really? becoming a modder is a sign of detrimental addiction? I'd say working on a mod is more likely an indication that someone is rather motivated - they want to MAKE entertainment rather than passively consume it). I don't really buy the argument that someone working on a mod is necessarily "obsessed" with the original game; they simply see an interesting framework that they can build their own game on top of.

Clemenstation:

spuddyt:

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible....

a single post better than the whole article

Yup.

Article wasn't great... based on anecdotal evidence and, in some places, a bit misguided in its logic (Really? becoming a modder is a sign of detrimental addiction? I'd say working on a mod is more likely an indication that someone is rather motivated - they want to MAKE entertainment rather than passively consume it). I don't really buy the argument that someone working on a mod is necessarily "obsessed" with the original game; they simply see an interesting framework that they can build their own game on top of.

Honestly, I would consider a modder more of a hobbyist than the passive gamer. They are trying to develop the game into something else that they can enjoy and take pride in, much more so than earning an achievement. It's the same difference between a guy who "likes cars" and a guy who works on cars. One is content with driving the car as it is, the other is always looking to adjust it, make it better, make it different, etc. I believe the latter is much more admirable as a hobbyist.

theSovietConnection:

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible...

I second this, though I believe the original 5 in the article can be an indicator someone may be becoming addicted to games, they aren't in themselves signs of an addiction.

I think you're right in that the author's 5 can lead to addiction, but I believe you and the author are confusing "game immersion" with "game addiction". Games are supposed to be immersive, something you can really get into. You need to feel like you are the character, and there is nothing wrong with that. Fallout 3 was a perfect example of that element of gameplay, which all critics applaud.

However, the difference between immersion and addiction can seem like a gray area. I believe "immersion" affects the way the individual interacts with the game, and it stops there. "Addiction" is when playing the game effects the way the individual interacts with reality.

I can't decide whether to be bothered or not by the fact that I hold some of these tendencies with my favorite games... But there always needs to be a goal for me as well... Something new to reach, or even something old, again... Like prestige mode in COD4. Can't say that I will stop once I reach 10th prestige, but for now I'm completely content continuously playing the game until I reach my lofty goal...

I agree with the author and Ultra because people show addictions in different ways. My father (who is a weekend gaming addict - he comes to my place on the weekends to play FPS games) moves his head, leans closer to the screen, and talks to his teammates (only plays single player games like Call of Duty) until my mother calls him on his cell phone to tell him to get his ass home.

There are also people who are addicted like Ultra has stated. I find Ultra's list to be more of mmo addicts.

I guess I've been lucky through my life to not get addicted to much and if I do get addicted I can break it (takes a lot of work, but have done it). All it really requires to not get addicted to anything is moderation.

I also think another point of addiction is if the person playing a game gets upset when asked to do something. This happens to me quite a bit and if I catch myself doing it I find it kind of funny.

Er, what? Those are signs of addiction?

The controller movement was something I'd attribute more to newbies who don't yet understand that the controller does not have motion sensing (and hey, now it DOES) and mimicing the regular control system for whatever you're controlling doesn't work. The only time you could see me turn the controller around was on the C64 but back then we were using joysticks that could barely withstand the force of being used.

Talking smack to the AI kinda makes it feel more interactive and helps a bit with feeling like a movie hero (who talk smack ALL THE TIME), after all that's the feeling most games nowadays try to create. I mostly talk to my computer when I voice responses out loud before typing them in discussions, I think of it as a way of exercising my spoken English (it's not my native language and I only use it in text form usually so I had trouble in the past when actually trying to speak with someone rather than use text), I think I've become more fluent that way.

Modding is something completely different from gaming addiction, in fact from what I see most modders pretty much quit gaming. Modding can cause a fall into the coding zone, that feeling where everything around you stops mattering as you write your code to implement what you wanted to and your brain focusses only on the task you face. The coding zone, as the name implies, can be reached from all programming and possibly even all creative tasks. Modders often spend long times only modding, not touching any game except for implementation testing. That's not a gaming addiction.

Messing around (or "emergent gameplay" if you like buzzwords) has been around for a long time and I'd say that's the pioint where you actually PLAY. The kind of playing that children do. A child who only uses Lego according to the instructions would be weird, why is it expected that a gamer always plays according to the regular rules? Why can't we toy around with the system until we break it and see it fail gloriously? Hell, wasn't there an article about exactly that on here titled something like "Play like a 5 year old"?

Killing Sims seems like a normal part of The Sims, I think every random casual player has already done that. It's the whole building up/tearing down aspect that makes people pick stuff from the disaster menu in Sim City or use the demolition feature in Lego construction programs.

Wow....do they have places you can go to where you can meet other addicts..I imagine playing against them would be awesome!

I develop random tics occasionally... I guess I may have to check myself in the future... But to be honest, they only become bad (that I've noticed) for a short while after I am removed from gaming for a period. For example: I work at a summer camp each summer. No tv or videogames present there, for 3 months, my entire summer. Not like it is a problem for me to leave the media behind, considering I love the Rocky Mountains to death, but in retrospect, my tics do flare for a portion of the beginning of the summer, and then towards the end when I am slowly returning to my annual "gamer life... Is it my fault though that videogames help alleviate the stress of college, work, and my love life during the "work" portion of the year?

Suicide gaming is best in free-roam games. TES, GTA, Fallout, but games with crazy weapons and explosions is good too. I also talk to the game characters at time but its more of an anger thing I think. Like in SW/DW games after beating a guy to almost being defeated then an ally finishes him off, taking the credit and reward as well. I tend to rescue them less (and they almost always end up needing it >:D)
For me though, you can tell I am addicted based on how much I bother to know what is happening, and none does it more for me than TES games, considering I spent hours last night reading up on TES lore, and even have my character's year of birth known.

I have to agree with some of the above posters... this article could be the Star Wars Missile Defense System for its accuracy. There's a BIG difference between an enthusiastic gamer (who might do all five of the article's activities) and an addicted/obsessive one, who might display some or all of the symptoms offered by UltraBlumpkin. I'm honestly pretty disappointed that this site - whose features I generally respect and enjoy reading - would put out such an unresearched, half-assed "flavor piece". This is the kind of misinformation that gets the non-gaming general public so worried about games.

Write about *real* addiction, not healthy enthusiasm. This article helps no one.

UltraBlumpkin:

theSovietConnection:

UltraBlumpkin:
So the "5 Habits" you seem to identify are:

1. Intense Concentration
2. Talking to the game/AI
3. Modding/Altering the game
4. "Emergent Gameplay" - which I would call "creativity"
5. Suicide Gamers - limited to games where this is possible...

I second this, though I believe the original 5 in the article can be an indicator someone may be becoming addicted to games, they aren't in themselves signs of an addiction.

I think you're right in that the author's 5 can lead to addiction, but I believe you and the author are confusing "game immersion" with "game addiction". Games are supposed to be immersive, something you can really get into. You need to feel like you are the character, and there is nothing wrong with that. Fallout 3 was a perfect example of that element of gameplay, which all critics applaud.

However, the difference between immersion and addiction can seem like a gray area. I believe "immersion" affects the way the individual interacts with the game, and it stops there. "Addiction" is when playing the game effects the way the individual interacts with reality.

I know the 5 the author presents are also good indicators of immersion (I'm admittedly guilty of 1,2 and 4), I was more just pointing out that a game addiction doesn't always come off as obvious as a drug addiction might. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that.

I hope I'm not the only person who saw this article as cruft.

That was the stupidest thing I've ever read from a gaming site. Is this guy on the blacklist yet?

My mum made a very good point to me when I mentioned that I was reading this topic and had my PS2 on. She said that a sign of gaming is that you play games whilst reading articles about gaming.

so a sign of being addicted to food is watching the cooking network while eating dinner? the principle issue with addiction is harm, otherwise its just a habit.

My only weird tendancy is the (ab)use of the Penetrator/Hammerhead in FEAR
...Where others collect butterflies, I'm collecting enemy soldiers
:D

You want to know what addiction is? Let me tell you what addiction is. I've been addicted (emphasis on the past tense).
Addiction is living on a diet of one cup o' soup a day (if that) because you can't be bothered to eat unless your stomach is literally in pain from lack of food.
Addiction is when the reason all you can eat is cup o' soup is because you allot yourself $5 a week for food so that the rest of your money can go towards buying new games.
Addiction is when you daydream about playing your latest game anytime you are forced to leave it for reasons such as school and work to the point where it affects performance.
Addiction is getting 4 hours of sleep per night because the only way you'll go to bed is when you're to tired to see the tv screen anymore.
Addiction is shutting yourself off from the rest of the world because they can't/don't/won't share in your obsession.

This article's 5 signs are nowhere even remotely close to addiction. These 5 signs are, as others have said, only signs of immersion and creativity.

Back when I played Baldur's Gate lots I always had a horrible compulsion to 'save' before making a big decision IRL. That's the wierdest gaming tic I've ever experienced.

I need to apologize in advance for the following criticism; I normally try to be constructive, but I can't let this stand:

Good lord, what a terrible article - worst I've ever read on this site. You can include me in the growing list of readers who think this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. The list would be accurately titled, "5 things that some people do, some times, that can be associated with gaming, but maybe not."

Gaming "tics"? Besides the fact that anyone's grandma, if shown how to play a racing game, will likely be leaning and tilting as she corners, putting "Body English" on actions is pretty common to most activities. Ever heard of bowling? Talking to the AI? So my dad is addicted to carpentry or plumbing because he swears at his tools when he hits a rough spot? These two habits have absolutely no correlation to addictive behavior, gaming or otherwise.

The next two might have a slight correlation, but they probably correlate much more strongly to other behaviors. Are aspiring filmmakers addicted when they create their own mini-epics with Mom & Dad's camcorder? And isn't turning a game into a sandbox pretty much what we encourage in our children?

The last one is the only thing that comes close to something that is both specific to gaming and indicative of issues that might lead to addiction. Too bad the author chooses some made-up phrase ("suicide gamer"?) when there is a well known term: griefer. The fact that he doesn't realize this, nor does he use it as a starting point for what could be an interesting exploration of the relationship between boredom, griefing and addiction, just underscores the uselessness of the piece.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here