Monday, September 11, 2006

Gaming Addiction?

I must admit, when I first read this article, which claims that 40% of World of Warcraft players are addicted, I thought it was pretty silly. Sounded to me like just an attempt at grabbing headlines by Dr. Maressa Orzack by throwing out some exhorbitant number. Perhaps, I thought, she was hoping to scare parents enough to grow her customer base.

Now I'm not so sure. Since then, the good doctor has backed off a bit on that original number, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I exhibited the same type of behavior when playing WoW as when smoking.

Perhaps the biggest indicator was when it began to seem like most people you meet that play this game, as soon as they find out you don't play, start backpedalling about just how much they play. Very few people are willing to be completely truthful about the amount of time they spend playing the game, and that's a little creepy.

I can't blame them, I used to do the exact same thing. It wasn't until I actually used a command in the game to check my total playtime that I realized I had flushed a good chunk of life into this thing... in that amount of time I could've been well along on a novel or a number of other far more constructive activities.

I still disagree with the doctor's claim that games are somehow at fault here.. I think the player is far more culpable. But I also think that the biggest step for folks playing this game would be to look honestly at just how much they play the game. When you look at the sum total of time spent, it's an ugly, ugly figure now matter how you justify it.

I don't think people should stop playing the game... after all, it's a REALLY cool game. I just think they should be honest with themselves about how much time they spend playing it. Most of my WoW-playing friends have found ways to strike a good balance with the game (I think), and I think they could provide some very helpful advice on keeping things in perspective much better than I did during my days in Azeroth.

And now, I present to you the Top 10 most depressing things I saw on WoW Detox, a site where people post reasons to stop playing (these are actual testimonials from the site, I cannot attest to their validity):

10) I grew a cyst the size of a melon on my neck due to little movement for the course of a year and a half. Thanks blizzard.

9) i went broke, i gained 300 lbs, my wife left me and stuck me with the kids. i walk with crutches now because my leg muscles are so deteriorated.

8) There is no way to balance a real life and a WoW life. The game is simply ridiculous. The reason to play is to improve a character as much possible. This means extensive and crippling playtime because of the massive timesinks incorporated in the game... I asked myself why should i care about some purple item in a game i despise but deep down inside still want to cling onto it... Some people may have a strong willpower and can balance and minimize playtime, but the game is so damn addicting those are few and far between.Anything ive had going for me in life has pretty much vanished because of this game and life feels pretty damn dull and pathetic and that is a justified reason to quit. I have encountered and experienced alot of addicting things in my life of all natures, but none as destructive as WoW.

7) My friend came over to my graduation party and left early to go raid Molten Core.

6) I have tried quitting many times, not so many as serious as now, I have had to sign over my account to my friend, make him promise never to let me use it, break my cds, uninstall the game, everything, hopefully I do well in school this year, because I bombed last year because of this piece of shit game.

5) Ever heard of 'thrombosis'? I hadn't, until a couple days ago. I write this from the hospital, friends dropped off my laptop.
Basically, sitting in my chair for hours at a time, 5-gallon Sparkletts pee-jar next to me, I developed a clot in the vein of my leg, which moved to my heart and caused a heart-attack that I barely survived. Doctors orders, no more WOW, much more walking and exercise. I just cancelled my account. I want to live to see 30.

4) If you bought WOW when it was released (Nov 23, 2004 - USA) and played continuously until now (Aug 23, 2006), here's an estimation of how much it has cost you: (21 months x $14.99/month) $49.99 for the game = $364.78. Did you ever think you'd pay almost $400 for 1 game?

3) My brother stopped playing it because i shoved a pen through the screen of his lap top after finding out that the reason for him not taking my dying dog to the vet was because of that dumb game.

2) Because my four year old said When are you gonna be off the game?

1) I lost my wife to WoW.

12 comments:

chornbe said...

I don't know that I'm necessarily an addictive-personality type, but I will say my "love" for UO back in the day was as close to addicted as I could get without an intervention and 12-step program.

Some people are addicted to political discussions, some are addicted to Pepsi (ME!), some to cigarettes, some to online gaming, some to gambling, and some to Chinese food.

I think addictions are just part of the human condition, and those who can manage their addictions are less "addicted" than those who can't.

But what the hell do I know? I'm out of Pepsi and General Tzo's Chicken and it's making me cranky.

chornbe said...

"It wasn't until I actually used a command in the game to check my total playtime that I realized I had flushed a good chunk of life into this thing... in that amount of time I could've been well along on a novel or a number of other far more constructive activities."

Exactly - like learning to ride a motorcycle!

Dan Cross said...

Well, at least that will never happen with D&D Online. Piece of Shit game that is.

robustyoungsoul said...

Can't say I didn't warn you.

fallon said...

soul kerfufle iloved your blog i found it very interestig im sorry to here about your wife leaving you OR WAS IT THE OTHER WAY ROUND ? feel free to brows my blog at eny time its not as intresting as yours cut down on the game adiction it will turn you boss ided
luv f xxx

Anonymous said...

I lost my girlfriend to games , we had a relationship of 8 years... if i think about it i still want to hang myself because i was so dumb to not seeing it that game/pc can destroy your life... i still love her and its over for 4 years now...

Anonymous said...

"4) If you bought WOW when it was released (Nov 23, 2004 - USA) and played continuously until now (Aug 23, 2006), here's an estimation of how much it has cost you: (21 months x $14.99/month) $49.99 for the game = $364.78. Did you ever think you'd pay almost $400 for 1 game?"

Obviously never heard of Neo Geo back in the day.

Anonymous said...

"I still disagree with the doctor's claim that games are somehow at fault here.. I think the player is far more culpable."

This is true, BUT... think about it this way. Coffee and Crack Cocaine are both addictive. One is much more destructive and harder to shake the addiction, (up to you which one is which). There are games out there that are fun and when you finish the game, its done. You may play it again someday. You may play it again a lot... but eventually you find something else, or just quit playing it. However its so different with WoW that has an almost endless endgame.

(IMHO) there is NO game anywere that comes close to the addictive potential of WoW. A small percentage of people will become addicted to pickles. Lots of people become addicted to coffee after prolonged use. Many, MANY people become addicted to Crack Cocaine the very first time they use it. WoW is the Crack Cocaine of the game industry.

So you can blame the person for letting it happen, or the game for forcing us into this self-destructive behavior. It doesn't matter! For a LOT of people its an addiction that should be gotten rid of. Im one of them. I admit its addictive and Im to blame if I go back to playing it. But I still think about it.

Anonymous said...

a lot of "gamers" are people with limited social skills so they are not as able to recognise or prevent addictive behavior. If this game had a $/hr price set up i think a lot of the "addiction" would cease. or the gamer would persue more worthwhile activities or free games. Try going outside, hell go out and experiment with drugs and find out what a real addiction is, you'll be sure to drop WOW like a bad habit. no seriously dont do drugs, thats really bad advice for people who can become addicted to a game. go out and live and be social.

xer said...

i don't mind playing...my life is fucked up anyway so this just keeps my mind ocupied...

Anonymous said...

firstly, LOL at what xer said, that funny.

secondly i would argue that any mental addiction the majority of the blame lies with the person. WoW is a good game - ive not met anyone who didnt like it once they had tried it. i was essentially an addict at it - buggered up my A levels and passing up an oppurtunity to go to vet school. however, there is only one person to blame for this - me. i tried all the half hearted measure of cancelling account, uninstalling and giving discs to a friend to hold (no way am i gonna break something i paid for!) and none of it worked, i always gave in. it took the big shock of exam results, then taking a decent look at my life - any wow gamer should say to himself regularly 'what the f**k am i doing with my life?' if ur truly happy playing a game, and that is what is important here, happiness, screw everything else, then good for u. i wanted more and just quit on the day though. willpower is all it takes, the ability to say i want more from my life than this

Creepy said...

To addmit that you're addicted to a game is hard, the first time that I played games, it was so great, but then I discovered online games and those where so addictive as hell.
;D