Addictions are something that many people have to deal with everyday, from alcohol, to drugs, to the oft speculated porn addiction many of us know someone or are related someone who has been addicted to something. In recent years, with the major boom of video games, we hear more and more about video game addictions. We have heard the stories on the news about someone playing too much StarCraft and forgetting to feed themselves or their children, or someone who plays video games till they literally pass out, the list goes on and on. We see the media completely jump all over these events and then they proceed to completely blow them out of proportion, making accusations that video games are taking over the youth of the world and that they are going to drive society into the ground, like Snooki and Honey Boo Boo Child have not already hijacked that plane.
This whole topic of gaming addiction came to mind with the release of Pokemon Black/White 2. The Pokemon series is the first series I remember hearing the word “gaming addiction” tied to. Seeing headlines about kids feverishly trying to “collect ’em all” and becoming hopelessly addicted to the Japanese pocketmonster demons and that was when there were only one hundred fifty of them. Presently, we now have over six hundred Pokemon and it is quite hard to try and “catch ’em all” as our own Scott Mundy will attest to. Personally, I have never gone into a Pokemon with the goal of catching them all, I am more the type of Pokemon trainer that will get all eight badges, beat the elite four, do the post game story, see the new features, and call it a day with whichever version I happened to pick up. I do not really care about collecting Pokemon beyond the ones I need to beat the game. Sure I will catch some of the newer ones or the ones that are version specific but I have gotten it down to where I know what types I want for my party and which Pokemon fit those best. Honestly, I would not consider Pokemon too addictive of a game series; it is more of the gateway drug to other games. Before I move on, can someone tell me how are kids these days supposed to get all six hundred something if most of them do not have access to the old games like Fire Red and Leaf Green?
The next time I came across a type of video game addiction was when I start playing Final Fantasy XI Online. I have perviously gone over my FFXI story and will not bore you with another retelling, if you do not know, the too long did not read version is I was hopelessly addicted for about two full years before I stopped play completely. If there ever is such a thing as gaming addiction here it was. I was playing four to six hours on the weekdays and eight to twelve hours on weekends. While this may sound a bit tame for some of you readers, I assure you at fourteen this headlong dive into the world of a hardcore MMO was quite worrying to my parents and friends. For some reason I did not get as far as some of the other players I knew, but that is probably more the problem I had with leveling different job classes instead of focusing on just one until it was at the level cap. Did I go through FFXI withdrawal when I was not playing it for long periods of time? No. I would miss it for a day or two and then find another way to entertain myself, either by reading a book, doing my schoolwork, or by playing another game. The second I was able to get back into the game though I would dive back in at full force.
In conclusion, I do not think that gaming addiction is an actual addiction that should be paired with addictions to drugs and alcohol. I think that gamers who say they are addicted to games are not really addicted at they are just over enjoying their game of choice; squeezing everything they can out of it. Much like myself with FFXI, these gamers dive head first into these games and for some reason seclude themselves off from other games or gaming experiences. Could these people live without that game and not suffer physical withdrawal effects? Yes, I believe they can. Unless you are from South Korea then you may have a real problem, but more on that another time. What are your thoughts on gaming addiction readers? Also donate to the PunchBeginner, seriously just do it.