Fighting Gaming Addictions

everquestEven though I joke about being addicted to video games, I don’t think I can ever honestly say that I’ve had a real actual addiction to them at any point in my life. Thankfully, games have been an area where the fun stays fun, and I can walk away if something is sucking away too much of my life, though Counter-Strike came close to reversing that.

A really interesting article went up a couple of days ago on Kotaku called I Kept Playing – The Cost of My Gaming Addiction. I highly recommend reading it for any of you who have ever had a problem with MMOs (or any game for that matter), or if you’ve had friends affected by the kinds of addiction described within. He describes losing two jobs and the love of his life, all for Everquest. While I’ve had my share of difficulties in one area or another over the years, I’ve never experienced need for something to that level. It really is frightening to think that something could come along and uproot everything that people work for. And a videogame, of all things.

A few years back, my brother went through a pretty rough time where Everquest was all he did. It took him awhile to come out of the funk, and he doesn’t like to think back on it. He’s all better now, thankfully, and living a normal life, but those years were a little nuts. What about you guys? Have you ever known anybody who’s had a gaming addiction like this?

Source- Kotaku

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

8 thoughts on “Fighting Gaming Addictions”

  1. No, thank God. That’s the exact reason I steer clear of MMOs. Glad to hear your brother ended up allright. My uncle knew a few people he worked with who quit game design to play EverQuest full-time.

  2. Hm. I can’t say addiction, but I definitely played CS too much when I was younger. One summer I remember I even ditched skateboarding to play (haha).

    Took CS ‘seriously’ for a while in leagues and all that stuff but it was way too much. Nothing beats a good time killer.

  3. My cousin also just returned to Law School, and he cancelled his subscription to WoW… He knew if he kept it open he’d be playing too much to study. I guess he’s the closest I know to anyone getting MMO’syndrome.

  4. Talk about clinical illness. Mike Fahey’s story is tragic but it has a nice ending, which is pretty cool. My condolences for his damn harsh life, but it’s great that everything worked itself out.
    Dr. Hilarie Cash presents the addictiveness of video games well. Sure, these people are making addictive media, but it’s up the audience to limit themselves. And it’s less immoral than the Tobacco Industry because games are for entertainment or are even well made stories and pieces of literature, whereas tobacco is the business of death ultimately.
    Great story and article.
    As for me, while I love video games, I doubt I’d ever kill myself like this. I mean, I’ll be making video games and later movies, so I’ll be getting payed for my addiction. lol This is a prime example of “Do what you love.”

  5. I play a lot of video games but I have never been addicted to an MMO (thankfully) I just enjoy a variety of games and yes I play them a lot but I don’t ignore my real life responsibilities (i.e. work) to do so – Gaming may become an addiction but moderation is the cure

  6. I haven’t known anyone (or maybe I have and I forgot). However, sometimes other people think I’m addicted sometimes. For example, when I was 14, I didn’t have very much to do. So I played Battlefield 2 all day and when my family called me down to dinner, my dad chewed me out for “playing my ‘stupid games’ all the time”. The truth is, though, that it snowed that day, I didn’t have winter clothing (so I couldn’t go out and shovel snow off the driveway instead of playing video games), and there wasn’t really much else to do at my house.

  7. MMOs are addictive because they provide a person with a world where they can make real progress and have legitimate feelings of accomplishment that usually only follow completing difficult real-world tasks.

    These feelings can mask and overlap others in your life when they aren’t going too well. As you play you begin to feel as if you are actually doing something important and because it is easy and fun, like a drug you can keep seeking those feelings of accomplishment through gaming.

    My idea on how to make games less addictive is to strip away leveling systems.

    Many argue that without leveling systems, the games wouldn’t hold players. Well, that’s not because leveling is fun, it’s because leveling is ADDICTIVE. MMOs are SHIT (which is sad because they easily have the potential of being my favorite genre). They are designed like shit and their gameplay is shit. MMO makers would actually have to make a decent game if this addictive system was done away with.

    I have never held onto an addiction because eventually I always realize that I’m not actually having fun, I just feel compelled to play because it feels good to accomplish something on a consistent basis.

    I’m not a professional psychologist but I would wager that this is the reality behind videogame addiction.

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