Mondays are usually slow for news as people start to stir for the coming week. Therefore, every Monday, we will address one topic to start the week and get discussion flowing. It stimulates the week like a cup of coffee, hence the title.
When playing video games, sometimes we feel a pull that encourages us to keep playing a little longer than we had planned originally. This feeling crops up multiple times until we happen to glance outside and notice that the sun or moon has gone from east to west. When this occurs on more than one occasion, however, is this just an instance of losing oneself in a hobby for a whole day every now and then, or is it a sign of something more serious? Put another way, here’s this week’s question:
Have you ever felt like you were actually addicted to video games? If so, tell us your experience; and if not, explain why.
Connor Horn: No, I have not. There have been times when I felt that I played too many games, but this has been the result of boredom from a lack of other interesting hobbies rather than an addiction where I just couldn’t stop playing games.
Do I still believe that you can get addicted to video games? Yeah. Certain types of video games are definitely prone to forms of mental addiction, and gaming can easily become way too big a part of your life. Every time I hear about some dude in Taiwan dying at one of the gaming lounges they have there after some ridiculous extended three-day game session, I always remember that it is possible to get so absorbed in playing games that real life starts to take a back seat. I make efforts to ensure that I don’t spend more time than I should on games, and I’ll try to raise my kids with similar values in mind.
Nathan Wood: I think it really depends on the definition of addiction. I think to the hardcore gaming crowd, I couldn’t be more normal or average in the number of hours I put into gaming. To someone completely outside the industry looking in, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought I was addicted. As for my opinion, I don’t think I have, although there have been times in my life where I’ve spent significant more time gaming than my usual amount.
But video game addiction, like any other addiction, is very much still real. Frankly, I don’t understand how one could spend so many hours in front of a screen playing a video game. I personally start to feel unwell and crave physical activity if I spend anymore than four hours gaming in one sitting. I’m interested to hear if any of my fellow writers have had a video game addiction before and what type of effort it would have taken to overcome.
Mel Ngai: For me, it was always more of a case of just one more turn and variants thereof rather than true, obsessive, must-play-no-matter-what addiction. Even with that said, I can recall only one time in recent years where I spent more or less a whole day on a single game, and that was back when my brother and I were unlocking stuff in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Under normal circumstances, the most I may spend on any given game is two to two and a half hours. Any more than that, and I start feeling mentally numb, which is the sign that tells me it’s time to stop and do something else. As for witnessing video game addiction in others, I’m not sure I could make such an assessment. I just know I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen someone who was truly addicted.
Christopher Bowen: This is a question I’d have to ask Crystal, to be honest. Her actual, professional studies into just what addiction are likely differ from what I know them to be, even after I’ve re-read her work on the subject. I mean, is the one-more-game feeling really an addiction? Is getting through the NBA 2K12 playoffs really an addiction?
Personally, I don’t think so. Addiction is psychological; one-more-game syndrome is just shitty discipline. To be addicted to something, from my limited understanding, is to have a mild form of depression. I never at any time felt I couldn’t do anything else other than play video games in general or a particular game. That doesn’t mean I haven’t spent a lot of very late nights playing certain games, but again, that’s my fault, not some sort of addictive personality trait.