I’ll be the first one to admit, I LOVE video games. I’ve literally sat for eight hours straight on the same level trying to beat a boss. I realize this is extremely sad, but anyone who is into video games understands the thrills and frustrations that come along with it. While often I get sucked into the world of on line gaming, I have found that my life has never been controlled or negatively affected by my participation (if you don’t count the three broken controllers). Discussing virtual worlds in class got me thinking, are there people who have become so utterly consumed by virtual worlds that they completely reject the real world? During my research, I came across WoWdetox.com, a site to help gamers with there addiction to the most popular mythical role playing game, World of Warcraft. the site posts tutorials from gamers who admit they were addicted, and what made them realize they in fact had a problem.
According to Dr. Kimberly Young of the center for Internet addiction Recovery, video game addiction can be defined as,
“Internet gaming addiction can be defined as a compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s school or work environment. For the gaming addict, the game becomes a compulsive habit that completely dominates the addicts life. Gaming addicts make the Internet a priority more important than family, friends, and work. The game becomes the organizing principle of addicts’ lives. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behavior.”
On the main page of the WoWdetox site are tutorials from former addicts describing their transformations. Many of them describe losing connection with friends, mentors, and even family members to the draw of WoW. I realize the site is a little bit biased, but they make WoW sound like crack. The difference is crack has a physical addiction while WoW is solely a psychological addiction. People lose perspective and the video game becomes their actual reality. On many of the tutorials the final comments always included something like, “I realized the game didn’t mean anything and all the time I spent trying to beat the game I was actually accomplishing nothing.” I disagree with accomplishing nothing because I do plenty of things that accomplish nothing but give me personal satisfaction such as popping bubble wrap, fantasy football, and personal reading. All these activities inherently give nothing to the real world, but instead gives great personal satisfaction. With anything though, it is important to practice in moderation. For example, when I find myself checking football scores instead of writing a paper due in twenty minutes, then I might have to evaluate my priorities. People whom become addicted to video game have essentially lost the ability to prioritize their real life responsibilities over their desire to live in a virtual worlds. Finally, I have posted below one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time. I think this clearly demonstrates an extremely unhealthy attachment to a video game. Enjoy