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suupaabaka
June 19th, 2007, 05:57 AM
I used to be addicted to computer games up until late 2005. I'd play and I'd play and I'd play. I'd stay awake until 4-5am playing, and then sleep. I'd wake up and skip uni to play. I told myself I was smart enough not to go to uni, and that I could do my assignments in a day easily, research and all. When I wasn't gaming, I'd be at my gamer girlfriend's house eating and drinking junk and watching movies.

Here's a bit of background. I was an avid reader, academically successful and a rower, with a bit of tennis on the side. I was fit, I was trim and I was keen. Then I got a new PC with broadband in my final year of high school, and things went to hell. I started off innocently enough. A couple of games, in my spare time. Then I found myself having so much fun that I'd sacrifice most of my non-school time for gaming. Luckily, this happened fairly late in my final year of high school and I did fairly well.

Then came university. It was a self learning environment; no teachers bitching at you if you didn't hand your work in on time, no (apparent) penalties for not keeping up with study. I was in my element. I also had a gamer girlfriend, a relationship mostly born from convenience. It was a rather destructive affair, but hindsight is cruel like that.

Anyway, I found myself gaming with increased consistency. I stopped studying, reading, going out and playing sports. I eventually went from 82 kilograms to 113. That's 180lbs to 249lbs. I failed a year of university (actually got 0 for a couple of subjects after failing to submit anything or to go to the exams). I was a bloated hermit with an addiction and I didn't care.

One day, I just got up and realised something. I discarded the always worn red jumper that concealed my bulk from myself (and, I hoped, everyone else), cancelled my 3 MMORPG subscriptions (WoW included) and stopped eating/drinking junk food. I even went for a jog; one lap of a nearby oval nearly killed me :D

This is what I realised: There was no point to gaming, especially MMORPG gaming. The graphics were cheap substitutes for the imagination, the gameplay a sorry proxy for the experiences life has to offer. I realised that nothing I was doing in game had any point. Yes, I had gotten the cool sword in the difficult dungeon. So what? What real value does it have? Does it prove my mastery over anything except a set of rules in a computer program? How had I improved myself or my situation? Had I learnt anything at all?

Fast forward a year and a half. I'm now 88kgs (it's incredible how light I feel, and I don't wobble and jiggle anymore), my marks are soaring in the wind, I have time to read, go out and exercise/play sports on a regular basis. My mind is clearer, I'm less sleep deprived and I have a new girlfriend who loves me who I am, not for what I can provide her (I won't go into the particulars of my ex :D). My relationships with my parents and friends have improved exponentially. True, I no longer speak to my online "friends", but that simply emphasises the fact that the friendships were devoid of substance.

If you're in the same situation that I was in, I hope this helps you gain a bit of perspective. If you're addicted and want to quit gaming, I'll tell you straight out; it's damn hard. It's as hard as any addiction, whether it be to gambling, drugs or alcohol. But all it takes is the first step, and then filling the void with other things. Take up a sport, go to school or uni or work and talk to someone you've never spoken to before. Try teaching yourself to play a musical instrument, or just go for a walk. Or read a book! :D

Well, I've rambled on enough I suppose. I've never written these experiences down before, and it feels good to do it. Feel free to comment, and feel free to flame. If you've read this far, thank you for your time.

kahnovitch
June 19th, 2007, 06:16 AM
Well done mate. I used to be a a bit of a game addict too, Rome Total War being my poison of choice.
I've played virtually every mod and faction there is and went through the same sleep deprived , socially challenged hermit lifestyle.
Okay it did give me an interest in the anceint world of Rome and Greece and I did end up reading up and learning a lot about the respective cultures of the day so I at least gained a little from it.
Those subscription MMORPG's are a scary prospect though. The fact that you have to pay a monthly subscription is going to ensure you play it at every given opportunity so you feel you're getting your money's worth.

As you say though, there's a real world out there and although sometimes it's nice to lock yourself away from it and escape into another realm where you can be a great wizard or warrior etc, it's still no different from a child's daydream.

I still play games, but now as a pass-time, as it was intented, rather than a lifestyle.

kater
June 19th, 2007, 08:09 AM
Heh I had a little bit of this at university, I used to play Counter Strike all night from about 6pm till 5-6am pretty much everyday in my second year and didn't socialise anywhere near the amount I did in my first. It's very easy to do and in retrospect my grades suffered as a result. I've since avoided the game on-line and have a copy for my old X-Box which I play fairly regularly, but not for any length of time, when I get the itch. Glad to see you turned it around.

James Carmack
June 19th, 2007, 10:58 AM
Funny. People struggling with gaming addictions and I grumble about never getting to play anymore. It's like wandering into an AA meeting and complaining about not getting to stop by the Class Six on your way home from work. -_-;

suupaabaka
June 19th, 2007, 06:42 PM
Funny. People struggling with gaming addictions and I grumble about never getting to play anymore. It's like wandering into an AA meeting and complaining about not getting to stop by the Class Six on your way home from work. -_-;

That's probably because you're a well-balanced individual with priorities that don't center around one particular aspect of your life. I'd rather grumble about never getting to play than not grumble about it, if you get my drift ;)

I had (and occasionally still have) a very hard time deferring gratification. Part of my mind is always screaming "why later, when you can have it now?". I used to set concrete times for when I would stop gaming and start something else. For example, "At 1pm sharp, I'll stop and do some study." But then, when I look at the clock again, it's already 1:14. So I'd tell my self "Oh, only 16 minutes til 1:30. I'll keep playing til then." And then it'd keep going until I was tired of sitting in front of the PC the whole time. I'd get up, and find that I was just generally tired, so I'd plop down somewhere and nap or the bizarre alternative of watching TV.

I'd be interested to know if anyone else has struggled with addictions to gaming. Speak up if you have! Admission is the first step to recovery. :D

Zsinj
June 19th, 2007, 06:58 PM
I'm glad to hear you overcame your gaming addiction, Suupabaka. I think it's unfortunate most of the kids these days are practically being raised by video games and are as addicted to them as pirates are to rum. Because of this, the kids today seem to have very little or no imagination.
When I was younger, I wouldn't say I was addicted to them exactly, but I definitely played them too much, and needed to read more. Now I.m the exact opposite, I read too much and need to play video games more. ;)
But seriously, I agree with you, video games can be very dangerous to get addicted to. I remember I particulary didn't like games that didn't come with a save option. To me, that was like it was deliberately trying to trap people into playing the freakin' thing all day to beat it! And what better way to start an addiction than that?! Maybe I'm getting a bit overboard here, but that's how I feel. I must say I feel really sorry for those people that become addicted to World of Warcraft and Everquest. It's like they don't have a life at all. And the more they play it, the more it seems to suck them in. I'm not saying that those games are wrong or anything, but from what I've been seeing, a lot and I mean a LOT of people have been getting sucked in, and then they conduct their social life inside the game. That, to me, is pathetic. And then there's the fact that you have to pay a certain fee a month to play the game online when you've already payed for the game and your internet provider. I can just see these greedy overlords of these game companies just rubbing their palms together and nefariously laughing.
One thing I remember I was rather shocked about one time was I saw this teenager in the local Wal-Mart picking up and looking at certain rpgs like Everquest, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Diablo, Dungeon Siege, etc. And, just to make friendly conversation, I asked him if he liked RPGs and he nodded emphatically, and then I asked if he read fantasy novels, and he made a rather disgusted look and told me something along the lines that books are for losers. To tell you the truth I felt more sorry for him than I did angry or annoyed.
Look, I love RPGs just as much as the next guy, but there's simply a point where it can go too far. I just hope that in the future we don't become a bunch of lethargic couch potatoes entombed in virtual reality machines, because then our society would be really, truly f&@#ed!

James Carmack
June 19th, 2007, 10:13 PM
That's probably because you're a well-balanced individual with priorities that don't center around one particular aspect of your life.

Me? Well-balanced? I believe the line goes something like this: "He don't know me very well, do he?" ^_^;

But, yes, I heartily agree that it's better to whine about not getting to play as much as you'd like than being hopelessly glued to the screen.

Even so, I still look fondly on my marathon to get through Xenogears. About two weeks of 18-hour days with scarcely a break for food and other physical necessities. I wear it as a badge of honor. (Somewhat tarnished by the travesty that is the second disc. >_> ) I suppose I'd be less proud of it if that was the rule rather than the exception.


I just hope that in the future we don't become a bunch of lethargic couch potatoes entombed in virtual reality machines, because then our society would be really, truly f&@#ed!

Oh, I'm sure there'd be someone to pick up the slack. Look at the Eloi and the Morlocks. Or the Matrix. Oh, wait... ^_^;

cheese
June 26th, 2007, 04:48 PM
The same thing has happened to me. Over the last year or so, I became pretty addicted to games/anime/manga. My addiction was a bit more oriented with Japanese culture (anime, manga, visual novels, Japanese RPG's), but still was pretty similiar. I started to get obsessed with visual novels (basically Japanese computer games told as a story without much player involvement) and watching anime. At one point I would wake up at 5:45 AM before school just to watch 4 episodes of anime before I left the house. I was exhausted, and as a result my school grades started to suffer.

I didn't feel like working (despite knowing how expensive university is going to be) and would rather be in my computer room or at my Xbox 360 playing games. I started to stop hanging out with friends and basically didn't socialize at all. I'd go out of my way to think of excuses to not hang out with people. The worse thing is, I stopped reading fantasy novels (and novels in general) completely. I probably didn't read a novel for the span of four months. This is especially weird for me, because at one point I was reading 2-3 fairly large novels a week. Instead, in a period of six months, I completed 81 anime series/movies/OVA's. Gaming was similiar, I would spend large amounts of time playing Gears of War online and World of Warcraft. I was more concerned with gaining a level, then doing any physical activity. I was unhealthy and really didn't care about my future.

I started browsing around SFFworld again and realized how many great novels I was missing out on. There wasn't really a life-changing moment when I thought to myself "I better change my life around", but slowly I pushed myself away from games and anime (even though it was almost impossible) and started to play tennis again and hang out with friends.

My addiction is sort of why I have been absent from Sffworld for the good part of the last year. Hopefully, I'll stick around this time for good. :) I have a lot of catching up to do on this forum. I also have a lot to read and once I get the pile of books I want to read sorted out, I may not have a social life for the rest of the summer. :D

suupaabaka
June 27th, 2007, 07:53 PM
The same thing has happened to me. Over the last year or so, I became pretty addicted to games/anime/manga. My addiction was a bit more oriented with Japanese culture (anime, manga, visual novels, Japanese RPG's), but still was pretty similiar. I started to get obsessed with visual novels (basically Japanese computer games told as a story without much player involvement) and watching anime. At one point I would wake up at 5:45 AM before school just to watch 4 episodes of anime before I left the house. I was exhausted, and as a result my school grades started to suffer.

I didn't feel like working (despite knowing how expensive university is going to be) and would rather be in my computer room or at my Xbox 360 playing games. I started to stop hanging out with friends and basically didn't socialize at all. I'd go out of my way to think of excuses to not hang out with people. The worse thing is, I stopped reading fantasy novels (and novels in general) completely. I probably didn't read a novel for the span of four months. This is especially weird for me, because at one point I was reading 2-3 fairly large novels a week. Instead, in a period of six months, I completed 81 anime series/movies/OVA's. Gaming was similiar, I would spend large amounts of time playing Gears of War online and World of Warcraft. I was more concerned with gaining a level, then doing any physical activity. I was unhealthy and really didn't care about my future.

I started browsing around SFFworld again and realized how many great novels I was missing out on. There wasn't really a life-changing moment when I thought to myself "I better change my life around", but slowly I pushed myself away from games and anime (even though it was almost impossible) and started to play tennis again and hang out with friends.

My addiction is sort of why I have been absent from Sffworld for the good part of the last year. Hopefully, I'll stick around this time for good. :) I have a lot of catching up to do on this forum. I also have a lot to read and once I get the pile of books I want to read sorted out, I may not have a social life for the rest of the summer. :D

Well done, mate! I know just how hard it is to tear yourself away from those timesinks. Stick to your guns!

Kabada
July 1st, 2007, 04:23 PM
Couple of years ago, back in school, I've been addicted to an MMORPG called Dark Age of Camelot (which rules the hell out of WoW and every single one of the MMORPGs I've tested).

During the 14 months that I was playing the game I managed to accumulate an ingame time of 78 days, thats about 4 and a half hours every day. Every single day. And I had school until late afternoon on most weekdays.

I didn't grow fat, and I didn't really "lose" anything, except one year of my life that I could have spent so much better.
The reason I stopped playing was because of the stories of other people I have known very well ingame. One guy in from Austria committed suicide (there even was an ingame funeral for him, with pretty much all the 3000 people on the server attending).
One of my friends lost his own (small) company and his wife because he just couldn't bring himself to spend more time with either of them than with DAoC, several people I know in "real life" have managed to be so bad in school because of the game as to be forced to give year 11 or 12 another try.

So, basically, my pint is: MMORPG addictions are BAD!

Right now you could call me a reading addict, I finish at least 2 large novels or 3-4 middlesized ones a week, but I still have time to socialize, to keep up with my studying and a host of other things I just didn't have the willpower to keep doing while playin DAoC.

I am interested in whether any of you (especially those with personal experience) would rate online gaming addiction as a "realo" addiction, up there with booze and smoking and maybe the slosest of the examples: gambling? (Personally, I found it much easier to let stop smoking than to stop playing)