194: The Lost Years

The Lost Years

A semester-long bout of Quake II multiplayer cost Jorge Garcža a college degree and his friends' and family's trust. But it also helped him learn how to play games while managing his other responsibilities.

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Good to read such a thoughtful, balanced account. Makes a change from crazed ranting either for or against the entire field of gaming.

And congratulations on putting your life back together. Hopefully an inspiration to anyone going through something similar.

Good read. One of the interesting things about addiction is how much it really boils down to a semantics argument. Most addiction groups like AA don't even allow people to use the word. The reason being that the average person in one of these groups isn't there because they think their vice is bad or harmful, quite the contrary. You instead just acknowledge that something is preventing you from having the life you want to have.

Way to front-load your story with the caveat that games are not causally responsible for your experience. Taking personal responsibility for choices made is something that people rarely do these days, especially when it's so much easier on the ego to blame an entire medium, or a company for selling you things, or society in general.

Clemenstation:
Taking personal responsibility for choices made is something that people rarely do these days, especially when it's so much easier on the ego to blame an entire medium, or a company for selling you things, or society in general.

True but you know that when stories of gaming addictions come up, you get a bunch of gamers (let's say, some of the escapist readers) blindly come in and yell "games are not addictive it's all a government conspiracy" and that attitude isn't helping either. Games can be addicting to some people, let's face the facts already and both side should stop hiding their heads in the sand.

ShadowKirby:

Clemenstation:
Taking personal responsibility for choices made is something that people rarely do these days, especially when it's so much easier on the ego to blame an entire medium, or a company for selling you things, or society in general.

True but you know that when stories of gaming addictions come up, you get a bunch of gamers (let's say, some of the escapist readers) blindly come in and yell "games are not addictive it's all a government conspiracy" and that attitude isn't helping either. Games can be addicting to some people, let's face the facts already and both side should stop hiding their heads in the sand.

For sure, for sure. It's natural to be defensive about an activity you enjoy, particularly when people are suggesting that it's unequivocally harmful and / or a waste of time.

But when you say "Games can be addicting to some people", I think we should really be focusing on "some people" rather than "games"; those dudes could be addicted to any number of substitute activities. Can you really blame an entire medium for the lax self-control of individuals? That's the kind of blame-passing that results in retardedly frivolous lawsuits, where people spill coffee on themselves and then sue the company that sold it to them because they weren't warned it was hot.

Notice that people who talk about 'getting past' video game addiction are usually the ones who realized that their own behaviour needed to change, not the ones who sat around complaining that society was in the wrong for offering them a buffet of indulgences.

Hi my name is Zackery Keys, I am a WoW addict. I haven't logged on in two days now... -twitch-

As a college student struggling against the siren call of wow (not at this very moment mind you, the servers are down) I understand what you're talking about. I only just realized a few days ago how much it's sapping my initiative and dedication to my work so I'm clamping down on my play time. Great article, thanks for sharing.

Gawd... For one, it was a good article, but I don't really agree with the wording.

This whole article is choke-full of things like addiction, going cold turkey, irresponsible, wasted life/years, coming off of [substance]...ect. You treat video games like it's cocaine or heroin or something, and I don't like the comparison.

First of, I belong to the same generation and same general setup. 56k->college->broadband->"wow, awesome"->long nights of gaming...etc. But I still don't consider my gaming a life-braking, threatening addiction. Sure, I play my games whenever I can, and it does chip away at my responsibilities a fair bit (I myself flunked out of college once, but that had other reasons involved too). In the sense of devoting very much time to gaming and related activities, I'm an addict. I'm a fucking video game whore, in fact. I can't get enough of the stuff. Still, I built my life around it fair and square. I have a (part-time) job reviewing PC games (and I'm soon gonna start working full-time at network maintenance at the university). I'm majoring in Computer Sciences and learning stuff about games, I'm here at the Escapist reading and socializing with other gamers...etc. Games are an integral part of my life, and I refuse to let go. Why should I? I have a job that I enjoy doing and is also my hobby, unlike 90% of people working today. I have many friends IRL and even more friends I never even saw in real life, still, I'm happy to have them. And yes, I spend most of my free (and not free) time sitting in front of my computer... playing games mostly. Am an addict? Guess so. Am I happy? Hell, yes I am.

I refuse to believe the ancient wisdom, that "life has to suck to have a meaning", that anything remotely fun or entertaining must be inherently bad, addictive, sinful, unhealthy...etc and has to be kept under guard. I refuse to believe that having fun is just a mere illusion because life inherently sucks and we are here to suffer, because that gives life meaning. Bullshit! If it means giving up games and related stuff to have a "normal" life, I don't want normal. I won't go cold turkey because some people consider it laughable, childish, counter-productive and not suited for an adult. Tell ya what: I don't care. I accomplished more in my 24 years of living, than most of these die-hard traditionalists and sceptics (realists) will in their entire life. I defeated a fucking dragon today, right before finishing my college assignment with a friend on MSN, and right after I went back to build my factory complex in X3:TC.

Gaming is a form of life, and NOT AN ADDICTION. Deal with it...

A very good article and I think the hangup some people are having is a knee-jerk reaction to having our favorite pastime called a possible addiction.

The very fact that there is no chemical reason that gaming should be addictive makes some of the comparisons faulty (the reason a heroin addict shouldn't use heroin again has more to do with chemistry than the lure of a lifestyle), however our brain is hardwired to make the body crave experiences that give us a pleasant pay off. If studying gave me the same intrinsic reward that gaming does then I wouldn't also be a near 30 year old about to get a bachelors.

Stephen King's book "Hearts in Atlantis" tells a story about a group of college kids who are in danger of flunking out (and being shipped to Vietnam) over the card game Hearts. I've known people in my (too) long academic career who have flunked out due to basketball, going to Disneyland, gambling, shopping, road tripping, working out, and even video games. In each case the activity itself isn't what is addictive, it's the fact that some people's brains react to a specific positive reinforcement inherent in that activity in a more extreme way.

Yes, video games can become addictive and the phenomenon should be brought up and discussed as a serious issue in the gaming community. Is everyone a potential target for this behavior? No, but those of us who are drawn to the games are more likely to be.

A larger issue of happiness (from addiction) vs. fulfilling life is tougher to see as both terms are completely arbitrary. In reality, no one can take a look at someone Else's life and say that they are unfulfilled or not contributing to society. Also, I'd bet that 99% of the population lacks the perspective to look honestly at their own life and make that same judgment in the present tense. For what it's worth, I take the advice my grandpa gave me after he left a rehabilitation clinic for drug abuse. He said that he loved every aspect of his life as a junkie. The only thing was that the drugs were blocking his view of how much else the world had to offer. That's the ruler I measure my own activities with and I use it for all my activities be it work, school, or play. If any one activity clouds the rest of the wonders in the world, it's time to step back.

(with the admission that I am ruining the end of this post I have to admit that, again, with chemical dependency issues it's not time to step back. It's time to run away and never go back.)

I really enjoyed this article, if only for the way it made me think. A lot of people seem to just love using the term "game addict" to describe my way of life, and of course, I don't think I'm a game addict. I do know a lot about the popular games out there, and the ones with good and bad reviews, but I don't have to go out and buy every single one. It all boils down to what you would use to describe a gaming addict. Is a gaming addict simply someone who loves gaming? Some would say yes, some would say that it's a stupid idea. Is a gaming addict someone who doesn't do anything besides game all day? Perhaps. But by this very train of thought, you're opening new doors for other arguments. What a person spends all day working out? Is he a working out addict now? No, he's doing it for the health benefits. But what if he isn't even out of shape? Does he just do it for the enjoyment? What I want to know is what makes gaming so special.

Playbahnosh:

Gaming is a form of life, and NOT AN ADDICTION. Deal with it...

You could say that for marijuana users as well. That doesn't mean one cannot get addicted to it in another sense (I won't be discussing the addictive properties of marijuana!)

Games can be very addictive. So I will very much agree with Jorge Garcia's conclusion. The transition is the most important. It can be a way of life (the adult aspect) or just a very, very time-consuming form of entertainment. The latter can lead to addiction. I was never addicted to any particular game for long periods of time, like the writer, but sometimes I get hooked with a game so much I think about it all the time, neglecting all other activities just to play it (recently Victoria, B-K: Nuts & Bolts, Civilization IV). And I'm sure that for some people it's worse than my "case".

I thought all leading psychology experts refused to say gaming could be classified as an addiction because there was no scientific evidence proving it as such. I thought they all say that gaming "addicts" are always people with deeper, diagnosable social problems who are employing games as a means of escaping reality. And that while they may really get into escaping reality as often as possible, the gaming itself is not "addicting", in that there is no biochemical dependency on doing it.

Of course I guess we can use the word "addiction" to mean anything we regularly compulsively do when we know we probably shouldn't. But that seems a rather wrong definition. If that's the way we're defining it, then I'm addicted to posting on the Escapist forums, I'm addicted to eating microwavable pizzas, and I'm addicted to pointing out flaws in people's arguments and getting way too into showing them how wrong they are.

And I always thought I was just mildly asocial and a procrastinator, looking for any and all excuses to avoid responsibility. Which sounds far worse. But that seems more honest to me.

Of course I haven't had a cigarette in two hours, five minutes and 16.5 seconds, so you'll have to forgive me if a I'm snarky.

*twitch*

Excellent article. I don't bother getting hung up on the word addiction; depending on how you frame it, almost any activity that gives someone pleasure (even perversely, like cutting) can be addictive, or nothing is addictive, other than a very narrow class of drugs that induce withdrawal symptoms. But as anyone who has ever recovered from those drugs can tell you, the physical withdrawal is trivial compared to the psychological draw, and that draw is shared with all of these lesser addictions.

That said, we should be glad that our addiction is gaming. Sure, in its extreme form, it can be life (or at least lifestyle) destroying, but so are all of the other addictions. What it doesn't do is destroy your health (couch potatoism is an easily reversible condition compared to liver damage, lung cancer or AIDS). Despite what people might think, it doesn't destroy your pocketbook either; gaming is pretty affordable compared to most compulsions; alcohol & tobacco have a lower max outlay, but the rest (shopping, gambling, illegal drugs) get pretty pricey pretty fast. And gaming won't land you in jail, or entangled with criminals, like drugs, gambling, etc.

I wouldn't consider myself a full-blown addict, but I teeter on the edge. I started college in 1985, and I spent too much time playing rogue and empire on the schools unix boxen, as well as too much time playing boardgames & card games with the other time wasters. I had to take a year off, so it fell nicely into the "learning experience" category of becoming an adult. But it goes to show that modern, online games aren't a necessary requirement for gaming addiction, they're just a more conspicuous monkey.

That basically happened to me, but not to such an extend, I really let my grades drop the first of my two semesters, so know I;m working my ass off trying to get them back up.

So, does your wife think these were lost years?

Clemenstation:

ShadowKirby:

Clemenstation:
Taking personal responsibility for choices made is something that people rarely do these days, especially when it's so much easier on the ego to blame an entire medium, or a company for selling you things, or society in general.

True but you know that when stories of gaming addictions come up, you get a bunch of gamers (let's say, some of the escapist readers) blindly come in and yell "games are not addictive it's all a government conspiracy" and that attitude isn't helping either. Games can be addicting to some people, let's face the facts already and both side should stop hiding their heads in the sand.

For sure, for sure. It's natural to be defensive about an activity you enjoy, particularly when people are suggesting that it's unequivocally harmful and / or a waste of time.

But when you say "Games can be addicting to some people", I think we should really be focusing on "some people" rather than "games"; those dudes could be addicted to any number of substitute activities. Can you really blame an entire medium for the lax self-control of individuals? That's the kind of blame-passing that results in retardedly frivolous lawsuits, where people spill coffee on themselves and then sue the company that sold it to them because they weren't warned it was hot.

Notice that people who talk about 'getting past' video game addiction are usually the ones who realized that their own behaviour needed to change, not the ones who sat around complaining that society was in the wrong for offering them a buffet of indulgences.

No, I totally agree with you. I was more concerned about the attitude of some people that say you absolutely cannot be addicted to gaming.

Playbahnosh:
Gaming is a form of life, and NOT AN ADDICTION. Deal with it...

I'm pretty sure that someone paying WoW 12 hours a day is not "living gaming" but rather ruining his life with a pretty nasty addiction. Of course, we can argue for days on the medical terms but I think you know what I mean.

I'm 21, academically disqualified in my 3rd year, and have spent a year gaming obsessively, when not working.
It's good to have hope that I will grow tired of this shit, grow up, take responsibility, and start living like a proper human being.

Until then, screw you and screw everything else. There are no consequences to what I'm doing, and if there are, they can go screw themselves too. And screw people who insist I ought to "plan" my life. I'm perfectly happy NOT planning ANYTHING.

You can't make an addict quit. He has to want to quit himself. And I DON'T want to quit. I'm very happy with where I am.

ShadowKirby:

Clemenstation:
Taking personal responsibility for choices made is something that people rarely do these days, especially when it's so much easier on the ego to blame an entire medium, or a company for selling you things, or society in general.

True but you know that when stories of gaming addictions come up, you get a bunch of gamers (let's say, some of the escapist readers) blindly come in and yell "games are not addictive it's all a government conspiracy"

when have you EVER come across someone who would say something like that?

you haven't

ShadowKirby:

Playbahnosh:
Gaming is a form of life, and NOT AN ADDICTION. Deal with it...

I'm pretty sure that someone paying WoW 12 hours a day is not "living gaming" but rather ruining his life with a pretty nasty addiction. Of course, we can argue for days on the medical terms but I think you know what I mean.

Fo sure! I know what you mean. But there is a real difference between 'addiction' and 'human idiocy'. I mean, common sense. People playing WoW 26 hours a day are retards, not addicts. They are not playing it because they can't stop playing it no matter what they do, they are not playing it because its a bare necessity to avoid cramps, pain n stuff and they don't enjoy it anymore, they just have to play....no. Did you ever meet or saw a drug addict? I had a friend many years ago who sunk into substance abuse, and it was horrible even from outside. That man got so burnt out that it's indescribable.... horrible...

Now, show me a WoW player, who sells his TV, couch and would even sell his organs just to pay the subscription, who lives off food found in dumpsters and steals stuff just to pay the electric bill and subscription... no, MMOG and game addiction requires a certain lifestyle, a certain level of life... it's not like you are dead broke but keep on WoW-ing, just because you can't 'quit'. Sure, there may be some sorry-ass retards who are so disconnected from reality, that they simply 'need' WoW to survive, but these people are not like this because of games, they all have some underlying cause of their disorder. If there weren't any games around, they would've found other outlets for their obsession...

Methinks...

Playbahnosh:

ShadowKirby:

Playbahnosh:
Gaming is a form of life, and NOT AN ADDICTION. Deal with it...

I'm pretty sure that someone paying WoW 12 hours a day is not "living gaming" but rather ruining his life with a pretty nasty addiction. Of course, we can argue for days on the medical terms but I think you know what I mean.

Fo sure! I know what you mean. But there is a real difference between 'addiction' and 'human idiocy'. I mean, common sense. People playing WoW 26 hours a day are retards, not addicts. They are not playing it because they can't stop playing it no matter what they do, they are not playing it because its a bare necessity to avoid cramps, pain n stuff and they don't enjoy it anymore, they just have to play....no. Did you ever meet or saw a drug addict? I had a friend many years ago who sunk into substance abuse, and it was horrible even from outside. That man got so burnt out that it's indescribable.... horrible...

Now, show me a WoW player, who sells his TV, couch and would even sell his organs just to pay the subscription, who lives off food found in dumpsters and steals stuff just to pay the electric bill and subscription... no, MMOG and game addiction requires a certain lifestyle, a certain level of life... it's not like you are dead broke but keep on WoW-ing, just because you can't 'quit'. Sure, there may be some sorry-ass retards who are so disconnected from reality, that they simply 'need' WoW to survive, but these people are not like this because of games, they all have some underlying cause of their disorder. If there weren't any games around, they would've found other outlets for their obsession...

Methinks...

I never said (and if I did I was wrong) that gaming "addiction" was the same thing as drug addiction. Drug addiction, or smoking for that matter, is something physical while gaming "addiction" is more like gambling addiction. Now, you call that human idiocy but I'm sure doctors would rather talk about a psychological condition. Addiction may not be the right word but find me a better one and I'll use it.

ShadowKirby:
I never said (and if I did I was wrong) that gaming "addiction" was the same thing as drug addiction. Drug addiction, or smoking for that matter, is something physical while gaming "addiction" is more like gambling addiction. Now, you call that human idiocy but I'm sure doctors would rather talk about a psychological condition.

ahem...

...but these people are not like this because of games, they all have some underlying cause of their disorder. If there weren't any games around, they would've found other outlets for their obsession...

I do agree that there must be some psychological cause. Depression, [whatever] complex, some obsessive compulsive disorder or something. Hell, psychology has terms of every single behavioral element, just slap 'disorder' or 'complex' on the end, and presto, you have a diagnosis. I bet, if you were examined by a clinical psychiatrist night now, he would find at least something wrong with you if he looks close enough, and this goes to every single human being on Earth. I can only cite the '12 Monkeys paradigm': if you suddenly found yourself inside an insane asylum, could you prove you don't belong there? I guess not.

ShadowKirby:
Addiction may not be the right word but find me a better one and I'll use it.

Uhm..."gamer"? I totally understand why the doctors didn't put the term "gaming addiction" on the map. It had such a hazy description that almost 2/3 of today's gamers would qualify in one way or another. How do you differentiate between "hardcore gamer" and "hopeless addict"? I think many self-proclaimed "gamers" today are addicts in the sense, that they can't go without their gaming for long, or at least not without some consequences. A soccer-mom who plays Solitaire or Bejeweled on boring Sunday afternoons may not even notice if you take away her games, but let's look at the other side, the Hardcore Gamers. If someone plays a single game as a habit, say Billy plays CS or Halo 3 a few hours a day, he is a gamer. If Billy plays his game, say, 4-5 hours a day, attends competitions and events for his game, we call him a Hardcore Gamer. And there are the so called addicts, whose routine only differs in playing some more and going out a little less. The border is so narrow...

Thankfully I only lost a couple of weeks to Capture the Flag on Quake. Man did I love playing that though.

Thank you to the people to wrote this, if you try and search about things like this on google the majority of the results ironically are a near endless sea of gaming websites trying to sell you something, or biased non gamer opinions at best.

It may not be seen as one by many in fact most gamers seem to react badly to this line of thinking, but I've been able to see gaming as a form of addiction for a while now, even the way the games are constructed actually encourages longer playtime much like other forms of addiction. Humans generally adore escapism (lol did you see what I did there) and although peoples forms of it are different, what it all boils down to I guess is self control. No matter how boring your real life may be that's the thing that effects everything else about you in the end.

I was actually falling into the fast internet/gaming vacuum. It wasn't that I totally evaded work, it's just that I didn't take it seriously and I had a perfect way to pass the time. Caught myself. :p

While I shy away from calling gaming an addiction, I do understand how it feels like you can lose parts of your life to gaming. It's why I adamantly refuse to take on any MMO, because at least with non MMO games I can step away any time I want to and go back into the "real" world with no responsibilities of any kind to a guild.

Resource management...

I'll keep that in mind. Thanks.

I can relate to this article. I can only class what the 2 years I spent playing my favorite MMO with out and restraint as an addiction. It was a psychological addiction as someone else mentioned before akin to a gambling addiction. For me it was several things got me hooked and none of them are inherently addictive or "evil"a)The small adrendaline rush I received every time I opened a chest and got loot; b) A means to control what was otherwise a fairly bored and unfulfilled life; and c) A social network of like minded individuals who encouraged and respected me for my skills and ability in game/forum posting and general joking around.

Most gamers who post on any gaming forum are dedicated to gaming more than the average person out there. And this dedicaton leads to defensiveness if people start talking about addiction and other negastive associations. I think we all secretly deep down wonder if we are addicted or showing addictive behavior and we dont like the idea of it.

Okay wait a second is this the same Jorge Garcia from "Lost"? given all the ways "Lost" is mentioned in quotes here I am wondering. The actor was born in 1973 though, which makes him 36 not 30. Besides this doesn't quite jibe from what little I've read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Garcia

At any rate, my thoughts on reading this are more or less along the lines of "BS" to an extent. I will say that there are some addictive components to video games, and indeed I believe this is one of the problems with the gaiming industry and how it's turned out because it has been able to deal with gamers more like junkies on some levels than consumers. The bottom line being that it's very powerful escapism, irregardless of the nature of the game.

People seek escapism to get away from an existance they aren't happy with, and honestly that includes a massive amount of the population. Jorge is very much a fellow member of "The Lost Generation" (ie Gen X) and as such a member of the group being boned by society in general.

In general "Quake 2" did not cause him to fail in school. Rather he fell prey to a common occurance in college of people deciding they basically aren't happy with where things are going, feel it's all pointless despite the hype, and focus on other things at the expense of school. The collegiate "super slacker" is a stereotype that has been around forever, if it wasn't a video game (Gen X geek fodder) it could have been anything from goofing off to friends, to non-sanctioned sports, to drugs, to just partying life away. In the end if "Quake" wasn't there something else would have been, video games can't really "snare" you that way unless your looking for escapism, which increasing numbers of people are.

I would point out that "Gen X and education" has been an issue for a very long time, people complain about flagging scores and such (with mixed truth behind it) but in the end it occurs because most Gen-Xers eventually realized they are doomed. College degrees having long since become fairly meaningless since they don't even open doors at the moment. Simply put the jobs and oppertunities they "prepare you for" simply do not exist, and succeeding is as much about dumb luck and who you knowm, than any kind of education contrary to what you might hear. Heck in high school a lot of people realize pretty quick that if they aren't picked out as a genius or super-athlete they are pretty much doomed for a lifelong rut IF they can even find a rut to sit in. Things WILL change for Generation Y a bit as the Baby Boomers will finally be dead despite all the medical science keeping them going, but Generation X is pretty much "lost" and was known to be before it was even born. We're the 30 year old basement dweller generation due to people not listening to sociologists and embracing things like zero population growth when they had a chance.

To put things in another way, having a Bachelor's degree probably wouldn't have changed anything as far as your life went, despite what you might thing retroactively. I know people who have bloody masters degrees who are forced to work retail. Starting a job while in college "to help pay the bills while I finish my degree, then I'll be going places" and in the end that promising degree became a multi-hundred thousand dollar wall hanging.

When it came to Gen X it pretty much comes down to there being no really good reason why if your can (and your not on the street) you shouldn't sit there and dull the bloody pain of existance. There is a reason why we're all stereotypically goth, emo, and bloody depressed, with the music of our generation in most cases having the general theme of "life sucks, nothing matters" because in the end that's what it is for us. Heck even that same music is drowned out in a practice sense by stuff from the 1960s and 1970s because the Baby Boomers still have all the money and jobs and are the primary target for marketing... even now with Gen-Y slowly on it's way with a more optimistic outlook we're still pretty much choked with "oldies" channels for that reason.

Plus I'll be totally blunt, whether your the guy from Lost, or just had a change of fortune with the family you mentioned and such, the big deal is that you were lucky enough to get a chance to turn things around, and when your life became worth living you gave up the escapism. Basically you were lucky and got a chance that many people in this generation will not ever have, and you grabbed it. Chances are Quake 2 kept you alive and sane, and gave you something to grab onto until those oppertunities appeared.

But also understand, I'm a bitter disabled A$$ hole in addition to everything else, so what I think should be taken with a grain of salt (I'm at least fair enough to point that out in various messages). That's still what I think though, and honestly there are plenty of academics that would agree with me, and who saw this coming before it even happened.

I probably would have been scr@wed anyway for reasons I won't go into yet again, but the bottom line I did quite a bit of looking into why everything blows chips at one time, especially when a bit of it was mentioned when I was in school. Today I've pretty much
came to the conclusion that Gen X are basically the victims of a sociological holocaust caused by the stupidity of our grandparents who screamed "whew! baby boom, let's all go screw and hav kids!" despite being told it was idiotic, and those kids, our parents (the baby boomers) preferring to see the coming problems as someone else's job to deal with and seemingly doing everything they could to make the world as annoying as humanly possible when we got here.

Good article.

Life really is boring. Especially when compared to games. I always felt this.

But then a few years ago, I had a thought. "It's easy to say life is boring, but I can never honestly say that I tried hard at it. I can never say I took up the challenge, rather than follow the easy road. Perhaps I should try it."

What followed wass a rather pedestrian and personal version of "Yes Man", where I pushed my comfort zone out and discovered that I could change my life and make it much, much more interesting.

I still love games. Sometimes still play them for long hours. But it's no longer because my life is boring. It's because my life is better with them in it.

I have a lot of respect for Jorge Garcia. Mastering ourselves is the first step to mastering our life.

I agree with the article that gaming can be addicting (though I don't understand it but very real cases are cited everyday) And the effects can very negatively impact your life. I also understand that it's a result of escapism which all humans crave. BUT and it's a big one

I will not accept the idea as mentioned in a few of the comments that we do this because we are generation X "the lost generation" and that is what we do because our lives are more boring then all lives before us and that what we are doing is losing time. Escapism is a very old concept that dates back to the invention of music and arts. It is not a new advent created by the "lost generation" Gen X. We are not "special" enough to lay claim to this prize and certainly we cannot lay detriment to escapism through gaming as a whole.

We cannot directly associate the decay of a personal life with the picking up of video games habitually. Plenty of people ruin their lives everyday without them. To say that you lost years due to gaming, while being linearly accurate, would they have not been "lost" doing something else? I think it is a rather negative stance to take. In fact video games for me, kept me from a lot of trouble. In high school I partied and had lots of fun but I also spent many nights (when my friends got into serious trouble) sitting at home playing video games instead of being a hoodlum with them which was basically the flip of a coin as to what I would be doing that night. The same goes for college. The fact that I had the outlet gave me an option. Now then, since we can't directly relate video games to bad decisions my point is mote. But the over lying factor is that we cannot directly say video games and their pull are inherently bad either.

Very well written article, and it spoke to me as I am currently in college and use too much time at games. A friend of mine have gone cold turkey, and sold his desktop computer because he struggeled just to finish classes. It has been seen that gamers, at least "hardcore ones" actually have changes in their reward center in their brain, so addiction is a viable word. Although I guess compulsion is more correct since factors from the outside can change your habits quite fast, (girlfriend, friends, job, parents). I Think I owe alot for living in a house with several friend that doesent game nearly to the extent of what I do. And I am currently studying biology wich is great fun, just not AS fun as Pwning in LOL.

Anyway, gaming should not be at anyones highest prioritry, even if your brain doesent agree. My advice is to always be aware of the real world, make yourself busy with other hobbies. You can still have that odd weekend where you completely loose yourself in a game like skyrim, but always be aware that you have to stop completely at some point.

My drug of choice is Currently a heavily modded UFO extraterrestrials, but I got it on my laptop so I can get distracted by people around me. It kinda works for me.

And stay away from MMORPGS, if gaming is an addiction, WOW is heroin.

 

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