The Struggles of Gaming: Fighting Addiction

When you enjoy doing something, you naturally try to do it as often as possible, within reason. This last part, “within reason”, is the part that I seem to have trouble with.

This past Thursday, I started playing Hearthstone around 10:30pm. After a good amount of games I looked at the clock and, to my surprise, it was after 1:00am. Classes had been canceled for Friday so I decided to play a little longer. After repeatedly saying, “okay, one more”, I ended up playing this life-sucker until the sun came up.

One scenario in particular still blows my mind. I even wrote a piece on it for my personal blog. FarCry 3 was one of my favorite games that I played last year. I fell in love with the living, breathing island and had a blast with every adventure I set out on. Instead of savoring this work of art and spreading it out over at least a week or two, I beat it the very weekend I purchased it on. I spent around 35 hours of my two day weekend playing a video game.

As gamers, it’s expected of us to pull all-nighters and abnormally long sittings now and then. No problem. But there have been times where I look back and realize that I have a problem. I know for a fact that I’m prone to addiction, and sometimes the results aren’t pretty.

Last fall when I downloaded State of Decay, I skipped two days of classes just to sit and play it. Call of Duty also got in the way of school. Every time a match would start, I would tell myself, “No, don’t do this. You have to do homework.” Every time a match would end I would say, “Okay, that’s enough. Now do that homework.” Of course, the sensational rush from winning and being a successful member of my team would overpower my will to come back to reality. At the end of the semester, my grades didn’t lie. I had obviously spent an unhealthy amount of time playing games.

Whether anyone else who reads this may be able to relate or not, I don’t know. It’s not a position that many would admit to being in.

What am I doing about this? I’m doing my best to fix it, as should anyone else who has the same problem. I left my Xbox systems at home this semester and have gotten involved at my residence hall in order to give myself little time to play any games I still have on my computer. It’s been tough having to actually do my homework, and doing it only because there’s nothing else to do. Hopefully I’ll get to the point where I’m getting my school work done because I want to and know that I need to. But that’s just part of the recovery process. It’s not fun, but neither is disappointing myself and the ones I love.

I think the main thing I’m going for in this post is to share a personal story, as well as get through to anyone else who may be in a similar rut. Video games are amazing. They’re very fun and beautiful; they’re great works of art and deserve the attention we give them. While all of this may be true, real life is also a thing. While the NPC’s aren’t always very interesting and the ending is always obvious, it’s where the real magic is. Yes, we have fun in the virtual worlds we love, but we also have obligations here in this one.

Of course, I don’t want to be the only person talking here. Do you have any crazy all-nighter or marathon stories? If balancing video games and real life doesn’t come easy for you, how do you keep yourself in line? I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend. Play hard… within reason.

2 thoughts on “The Struggles of Gaming: Fighting Addiction

  1. I believe any TRUE gamer has been in this position before. I fought horrible addictions in junior high and high school over Harvest Moon, Spyro, Runescape, Crash Bandicoot, etc.

    Before I had a job, my father helped feed my habit and easily spent over a thousand dollars a year to keep me happy and occupied. I love seeing someone address this issue! Rock on. 🙂

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