Video Games: Addiction to an Alternate Reality

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first meeting of VGA – Video Gamers Anonymous, my name is Frank and I will be guiding you through tonight’s meeting. Would anyone like to share?”

“I do. Hi, my name is Cristian, and I’m a video game addict.”

“Hi Cristian.”

Everyday people look for some form of stress release, whether it’s going out for a jog, having a glass of wine, or logging into your favourite videogame. A videogame brings you to an alternate reality where you can be who you want and act how you want. Countless hours can be spent without anything to worry about in the real world. This time spent in this alternate reality, while it can be a stress reliever, usually leads to problems outside of the game. People can become addicted. Friends become acquaintances, partners become ex-partners, and in the worst cases, death.

Video Games and Me

I play a lot of video games, I mean A LOT. My game resume includes playing Guild Wars, World of Warcraft (WoW; possibly the best computer game or even video game of all time), plenty of PS One, N64, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3 games and, most recently, Diablo III.  I’m going to try to prove to you exactly how much time I spend on video games. Diablo III was released on May 15th and I have already played 183 hours, that’s 4.58 hours a day. This is nothing in comparison to my WoW play time. Since June of 2005 I have a combined total of 5292 hours played, which is 220.5 days played, 220.5 days of my 8014.5 days I have lived for.  My very first character I ever made in WoW, Avoo, still exists.

 I am addicted.

It may be a surprise to some but although I do play a lot and I do think I am addicted even a little, there are people who spend practically their lives on games like WoW.

As you can see, my addiction is quite minor in comparison. I don’t quite have 400 days played or over 9000 achievement points or lie about an aunt dying in order to play, but I have lied in order to play. I would tell my friends that I have homework to do that night or that I wasn’t feeling well just so I could stay at home to play.

I’m glad that I never lost friends over playing the game, and I honestly do not regret playing as much as I have. Playing WoW helped me get through some hard times in my life; parents talking about divorce, family members who actually died.

Being able to get away from reality was a blessing that I didn’t appreciate at the time but now I do. I’m proud to say that I haven’t logged into WoW once since Diablo III was released, I feel like I am ready and able to quit now but could this be a new addiction developing?

Digging Diablo

Diablo is a role playing game based on the ongoing battle between the angels of heaven and the demons of hell. You play as a hero caught in between this ongoing battle and your goal is to become as strong as possible, through quests, to ultimately lay waste to Diablo himself.

The first Diablo game was released in December of 1996, the sequel released in June of 2000, with an expansion being released in 2001, and finally Diablo III was released on May 15th, 2012. That 11 year gap had me salivating for another diablo game. You see when I was 11 years old I played Diablo II for the first time and I fell in love. I believe this is when I first began getting addicted to video games.

As of right now, I do not see myself getting absorbed to deeply into this game. Unlike WoW there is far less to do in Diablo III. At the same time I feel that I take my video gaming far too lightly and neglect everything else I have. I don’t spend as much time with my family and friends as I should, my health is neglected (I’m overweight), and in all honestly, there are times where I neglect schoolwork to play video games.

How I plan to shake my Addiction

In the end I know that videogames are slowly taking control of my life and it needs to stop. My goal is to be down to no more than 6 hours of video games per week by the time the fall semester starts. I feel that if I wean myself bit by bit over the summer I’ll be able to reach this goal.

Addiction is a scary thing, and being addicted to something can put you in a scary place. With the proper help anyone can get through an addiction. Friends and family are integral through this process and without these people, life just isn’t worth living.

When it comes down to it, videogames should be used for what they really are for, fun. They shouldn’t be used as a place to go when life gets rough, that’s what your family and friends are for, so you may as well use them.

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