A Tale Of Gaming Addiction

Mike Fahey, a popular editor at the gaming news site kotaku.com, has written a soul-bearing and heart-wrenching account of his battle with addiction to video games, and how Everquest almost consumed his life. Even if you have never played a video game in your life (you should try it; it's fun), it's worth a read. It's one of the most honest and heartfelt cries for help in this dangerous realm among the many accounts surfacing in the blogorhombus.

I Kept Playing - The Cost of My Gaming Addiction

As an lifetime, avid, video game hobbyist, this story strikes fear into my innards. The issue pops into my mind all the time. As more and more stories like this one come out, I find myself pondering the state of my hobby. I ask myself, "Am I addicted to videogames?" The answer is always no. But it doesn't always come right away. Whenever I read these stories, I see so many behaviors that I have engaged in at some point in time. It scares me to think that the one hobby that has been a constant in my life since early childhood could one day take over my life and consume it.

If there's no clear line, and the enjoyment aspect is the same impetus as the addiction, then when do say "I have a problem?" At what point do you differentiate between the need to have good food, and the need to play a good video game? If you tell me that addiction is when you forgo other responsibilities to play video games, I would tell you that people do this all the time, and it's called recreation. Wanting to have a good time in spite of responsibility is not addiction.

Addiction in a video game needs to be measured by a different yardstick. I think the author is very clear about this. When the superficial world became more important than real life, the game had officially taken control. Everything else is just symptomatic. This point will come at different times for different people, and as Fahey points out, this is a very personal and individual battle. When the line is so thin and unpredictable, gamers have to be vigilant and responsible in toeing that line.

So, I am not addicted. I have a life, a wife, a kid, a job, etc. I take care of things, and when I don't, it's because of laziness, and not because some virtual world needs my attention. However, I do catch myself making excuses to keep playing. I find myself sucked into long playing sessions when I have time for them, and I enjoy it. This is because I enjoy video games, and the ability to escape for a little bit has always been an awesome distraction.

It comes down to discipline, responsibility, and honesty. I hope people are learning valuable lessons from the stories coming out, and I applaud Mr. Fahey for sharing his.

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