By John Parry
On August 7th, Ohio teenager Tyler Rigsby collapsed at his aunt’s house following four straight days of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Instead of examining similar media reports, Fire & Ice reached out to actual gamers to hear firsthand what they had to say about addiction and what the misconceptions are.
“I used to play almost every night, but now it’s routine for me to miss a couple of nights in a row. Back when I was playing every night, if I missed a single night, it felt like my timing would be messed up. I don’t seem to notice that anymore. I wonder if it’s because I’m not playing at the level that I used to.” –_Signal
Playing regularly is part of a healthy relationship with video games. Establishing a nightly habit of perhaps an hour is perfectly fine, so long as you’re not stacking it on top of two hours of television and three hours of surfing the web. The latter part of _Signal’s post, however, touches on the addictive power of such a routine. Notice how _Signal believes that a few intermittent nights off could result in a continuously lower level of play. It can be dangerous for gamers who feel they need to play daily for competitive reasons.
“During the week I [beat] Skyrim, I played something insane like 6 hours a day–keep in mind I wouldn’t get home until 3 PM, I had three hours of homework a night, half an hour long dinners and a 6 AM wake up plus two to three hours of other procrastination a night. I wouldn’t get off Skyrim until like 2 or 3 AM. It was so messed up.” –larknok1
The only gamer to admit a past addiction, larknok1 fell prey to Skyrim, which was released just ten months ago. Unlike Tyler Rigsby and others who used their time off for marathon sessions, larknok1 talks about how he forced excessive amounts of game time into his normal routine. He got only half a night of sleep in order to attend the usual family dinners and keep up with homework. On the whole, larknok1 acknowledges this as binge behavior brought on by the release of a highly anticipated title.
“While there are certainly points in my life where I was driven to play and beat a game (say 6-8 hour sessions) I don’t think I’ve ever reached the point in my life where I was addicted. While true gaming addiction really does exist, most people refer to most gamers as ‘addicted’ regardless of play time. This downgrades the seriousness of true gaming addiction. … Most gamers … spend no more time playing games than the average person does watching TV or going on the internet.” –Frank D.
Frank finally gives us the disdain many gamers feel about the whole public discussion had largely by non-gamers. Why is it so much more socially acceptable to sit down and plow through an entire season of a TV show than it is to spend a day online in World of Warcraft? Why does the college student playing a DS in the cafeteria draw annoyed looks more often than the one using Facebook in class? The social taboo that continues to surround hardcore gaming leads us to look for clinical addiction where there often isn’t one.
“Gaming Addiction: Plague or Oddity?” by John Parry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.