Video Game Addiction: Level 2

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Jordan Ekeroth, over at Follow & Engage, has been writing a series on video game addiction lately. In his second post, “Engage: Game Addiction Part 2”, Jordan says that gaming can be “compulsive”. I couldn’t agree more.

I have witnessed the devastation of video gaming taken to the level of obsession. Which is to say the hobby taken to levels where a gamer’s health, relationships, and job become affected. In college, I remember guys on my dorm floor staying up until all hours of the night playing the latest game. For some this was perfectly normal behavior as they used video games as a means to blow off stress in between homework sessions; For others, video games were the only thing they lived and breathed. As the sun rose and fell, they played with little regards for personal hygiene or school work in general. Those that fed this obsessive behavior either wizened up after a devastating semester of failing grades or dropped out.

College, in particular, is an interesting time of learning all about personal responsibility and life in general. I remember what I consider to be a “lost summer”. I had driven home to California from my college in East Texas. I had left my girlfriend, my friends, and the sheltered life that college brings–sheltered from reality that is–. In an effort to have fun and just chill out, I ended up playing World of Warcraft that entire summer. Day and night, night and day, I sat at my parent’s kitchen table and leveled my character. Working hard to out level my friends who worked during the day. I feel stupid talking about this now, as that time seems like time completely wasted, but it is what it is. I was obsessed over the game.

My personal relationships began to suffer during this time. I drove my parents nuts, almost lost my girlfriend, and did nothing to grow myself physically/ spiritually. What I do know from my experience is that:

  • I will never again let a game control me like that, ever.
  • Video games, as with any other media medium, can quickly become an easy way to disengage and escape from reality. For me during this time, I was escaping getting a job for 3 months and trying to ignore the nagging of my Mom to get a job (she was right!).

What about you? Are video games more than just a hobby?