Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Video Game addiction, what is it and how to deal with it if its in your life.

Well Today I am going to talk about video game addiction. Which might seem a bit of a strange choice of topic bearing in mind your reading it on a blog which has a heavy slant towards gaming especially when its something thats usually only talked about in shock horror headlines. I want to talk about it in an adult way and look at it from my point of view.

OK so I think it is pretty obvious that I am a huge video game fan, I love them, I play them, I collect them, I am on several forums,  in the past I have made YouTube game related films, I keep this blog and at one point I nearly ended up with a job as a games journalist. Now as far as arguments go this means I am both intrested in the subject but also some might argue that I am biased, after all I am pro gaming right? Actually my thoughts are far more complicated than that.

I guess the first thing to ask is what a gamer is. Now the obvious answer is someone who plays games, then youd go down the road of what counts as a game, which in itself could be a debate with some considering things like browser games and iphone style swiping mini games to either be or not be games. I just want to cut through al of that and say that in my oppinion and for the purpose of this piece of writing anything where you watch something while inputing commands is a Video Game, so arcade games, first person shooters, graphic novels, iphone games ecetera all count. Yes you might go well those full motion Video SEGA Mega CD things where you just occasionally press a button and if you dont do it at the exact right second there not real games, or those browser thingies where you get friends to send you magic potatoes arnt real games I would hasten to add that just because you dont find them enjoyable does not make them not a game, if something wasnt a game if it wasnt enjoyable then Ride to Hell Retrebution would not be sold in game shops. Even if it is shit or you feel it is shit its still a Video Game, its maybe just not a good one (in your oppinion).

Ok well I suppose whats needed now is a definition of addiction, so lets keep it nice and simple At its most basic addiction can be described as a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as play video games). Now lets get this straight a desire to do something does not mean you are addicted its when you cant control this desire when you let it overcome you to the point you make poor choices in pursuit of your desires or allow yourself or others to suffer to chase your desires. 

 Now if someone plays video games a lot then it might be easy to assume that they are adicted but stop and think about it. Lots of people spend a great deal of time doing lots of diffrent things and it is often taken as being normal, for example some people will watch episode after episode of a TV show on netflicks often being really obsorbed in them and not wanting to stop, or someone will sit and read for hours on end on there own, yet you dont really hear of people being considerd book adicts or TV addicts. The typical old fashioned view of gamers was the one that they were all sad fat spotty males sat in the dark playing games alone, now yes some gamers might be sat playing video games alone and maybe they prefer this to social interaction this wouldnt automatically make them either an addict or a bad person. Some people are simply more introverted and would rather spend time on their own engaging in a solitery pass time rather than choose to be around other people, it is there life and there choice to make. Often people will argue that a life spent playing games is a life wasted but how is it any more or less wasted than a life sitting in pubs drinking, or watching rich people kicking a ball around or sitting in a libary reading. It is up to each man and woman to decide what is and is not a waste of there time. I can admit I have played a game for like three days before only taking breaks to eat sleep and well answer calls of nature, this is not a regular thing though and when I have done it I have either happend to have those days off work or I have booked them off, I have made sure all my bills are paid and my responsabilities are taken care of and then I have made the choice to use my time in this way.

Another point to make is that games are not neciserily such a solo passtime anymore, in fact they havent been for a long time, first there was co-operative and competitive play where you would all gather around the same console in the same house andd now with all of the various online services that exist you can reach out and play with almost anyone from anywhere around the world without any of you having to leave your own houses. There could be a whole argument made here about how real or not real online friends are but that would be a big enough debate in its own right that it would pull me off topic, lets just say gaming is arguable just as social as many other hobbies which are not frowned upon anywhere as much as gaming is. Am I saying that there is no succh thing as Video Game Addiction of course not, I am saying dont jump the boat and assume that because someone enjoys playing games they are addicted or that the hobby is toxic, however do remember that to much of anything can be a bad thing.

I am not going to give any magic formula thats based on numbers and say its wrong to play this often or for this long or that your life should be divided into time spent doing this that and the other as well diffrent individuals will have diffrent demands upon there time depending on a wide depth of factors such as what job they have and how much of there time it takes up, if they have children or a significant other etcetera. To but it bluntly its not how long or how much they game that is the thing you need to worry about it is any negative effects that there choice to game as much as they came and when they game leads to. For exmple I would be worried if someone was missing work, neglecting responsabilities, ignoring there loved ones or simply not doing the things they need to do to maintain there life such as buying food, paying bills.

Obviously if your a gamer and your wondering if you are playing to much then well you know if your going to work or attending college or not, you know if your paying your bills or ignoring them, you will know if you have spent money on games that you should have spent on food, but some of the other things are a little harder to know. You will know if you feel your neglecting someone in your life but you wont know how they feel about it, like most personal problems between two people or a group of people you can only work out the truth through positive communictation. If you are generally worried that you are neglecting a partner or family member or simply want to make sure that they are OK then the only way to find out is to ask. If your working, your taking care of your day to day business and your able to ask your loved ones if they feel neglected and take whatever answer they give you onboard and if necisery then make changes to make them feel valued and wanted then you can breathe a little easier knowing that either there is no problem or if there is it is obviously one that can be put to bed with just a little work.

How do you tell if a partner or family member is an addict? Well obviously you will know if they are going to work, if they are taking care of themselves and there responsibilities, but when it comes to are they neglecting you well there are a few questions you need to stop and ask yourself. Have you told them you feel neglected? If not then start by delicatly telling them this, if your sat there reading a book and they are playing a game then maybe they just presume you are both doing something you enjoy, you wouldnt believe the amount of time that has been wasted with two people sitting there with both of them doing something while similtaniously waiting for the other person to finish what they are doing. Also you might want to stop and ask yourself a few questions such as have they always gamed this much if not is there a reason they are suddenly playing more have they just got a new game they have wanted for a long time or are they more stressed than usual? Some people find that gaming really helps them get certain forms of stress out of there system.

 Now some people might think that as I have mentioned new games that I must frequently go crazy over new games and ignore everyone around me. Well a game I had waited like 15months for, that I had been reading about and had orderd and paid for a whole month before its release came out just before I was due to spend the weekend with my girlfriend so what did I do? I played it on the train on my way to hers and then put it away. The simple truth is that I think all relationships need to have a little give and take, and as my mother used to say you get more with sugar than with shouting.
If something new has just come out and he is really gripped to it because he has wanted it for ages then delicatly tell him your glad he enjoys it but need some time and fuss before you go nuts and start an intervention. Sure if your partner is just always playing games (or doing any other pass time) all of the time then go more of the intervention look I miss your attention but I am allso seriously worried about you route.

In conclusion you can love and play games a lot without being addicted, its not how much you play thats the issue its wether you can keep your hobbies in check and not let them rule your life and the road to sorting out most problems is communication.

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