The original title for this article was “When Are You Addicted to a Game”, but then I would have admitted publicly that I’m a sucker jonesing for a gaming fix. At any rate, I was thinking about this subject today as Eddy passed around an email thread where he detailed his current problem with Infinity Blade: namely, does he buy the titular sword or purchase less powerful weapons to get some experience points for the immediate future. He’s also completed about twenty bloodlines in the game, meaning that he’s well and truly in the throws of an Infinity Blade obsession.
That’s not to say that I’m immune though. While I did have a lengthy infatuation with Infinity Blade, I’m currently eyeballs-deep in another Dragon Age 2 playthrough, this time as a female Rogue. I’m determined to see everything I didn’t find last time, so I’m searching ever nook and cranny and even taking advantage of the leveling glitch to make my progress a bit smoother. BioWare games do this a lot to me, where I’ll play for a little while then get hooked into the experience. Knights of the Old Republic and both Mass Effects have done this to me, and now Dragon Age 2 has as well. Something about their games are just irrestiable.
What about you guys? Have you had a similar experience with a game? Do you know when you’re enthralled with a game, when every waking moment is consumed with thoughts about it?
It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. My eyes are heavy like somebody has tied weights to them. I can feel them starting to droop, but I don’t care. Who cares if I have work in the morning? What does it matter if I’m running on empty with only the blinding light of my TV casting dark shadows about the living room? I’m just trying to get to the next boss. Trying to reach the next level. Trying to grab that upgrade. Wanting to get another headshot.
Whatever the reason for doing this to ourselves, we’ve all done it at one point or another. And while it may not always be the lure of a soft pillow to sleep on, we’ve all blown off plenty of things to do just a little bit more in a game we love or loathe. Sometimes it’s a girlfriend, a spouse, a job, a duty, or a social activity. They’re all just different suits that represent the same thing: distractions.
And the thing that is really odd to me, is that I don’t really do this with my other hobbies. There are plenty of other things that I love to do, besides playing videogames. I write, play guitar, watch movies, read books, hang out with friends. But none of those things make me think about them when I’m gone to the level that a Final Fantasy does. Or a Call of Duty. Or anything in Bioware’s library. So what makes videogaming so different than everything else?
Continue reading The Addictive Nature of Gaming
Even 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?