Sunday, October 22, 2006
Addicted to Gaming
I found this article via Instapundit, one of the blogs I routinely read. It's from a woman who is having issues with her husband's excessive gaming. Computer games can be very addicting. However, I have some thoughts about her post that go beyond gaming. I think there are other factors in play in her troubled marriage, but I won't go into those now. The comments are very interesting from gamers and non gamers.
I am a computer game addict. I admit it. Isn't that the first step in breaking an addiction? Well, actually I don't plan to completely break the addiction. Control is more the goal. Unfortunately, some people can't control their time and become so absorbed in the "games" to the extent that the virtual world is more real that the literal world. Their personal interactions with real live people suffer. Their job performance and health deteriorates. It is a serious issue. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am spending much of my time studying for a career related test. In consequence I have had to severely limit my gaming time. We all need to prioritize our time. For me at this point in time it is: Work, Study, Husband, Cooking and Household Maitenance, and Leisure Activities which include gaming, this blog, computer surfing and playing my guitar. Poor guitar has really been neglected. The importance is keeping things in THIS order as much as I want to bump up the gaming to a higher position on the list..... I must not.
World of Warcraft is my latest poison. A MMORPG A very seductive virtual world. In the screenshot above each of the characters is a real person, who is on line at the current time and playing the game. They can all interact with each other in real time. Some people even meet with their virtual gaming friends, get married,form social relationships and have pizza together. In other cases, people become so involved that they lose their friends, family and jobs. This is a true addiction.
As a woman, I am unusual in the gaming world. Very few women like to play role playing and strategy games. Not many women like to program computers and enjoy the logic of the process. I find myself outnumbered not only by gender but also by age. I'm pretty long in the tooth as a gamer as well.
How did this happen that I enjoy computer games? Why do I find it fun to play computer games? My family was always on the cutting edge of technology. When the first home computers became available in the form of the Commodore 64 over 30 years ago. It was a revelation. We could do word processing, no more white out or backspacing over erasing strips. No more carbon paper, just print out several copies. We could play GAMES and program the computer ourselves. The power and the challenge was seductive. When the next advancement came out in computers we had to have more. My father even built his own computers and we helped. Even today, I am always wanting the next more powerful processor, video card, monitor, software....GAME.
Zork, the original text based adventure game, was the first in a long series of games that challenged my mind and absorbed my time. There were no GUIs (graphic user interfaces) at that time. No pretty pictures, no animated characters. Just text on a screen, your brain, a pencil and paper and the satisfaction of the AHA!! moment when you solved the puzzle. I was hooked. The Legend of Zelda, 1986, and Nintendo further enticed me. The graphics were phenomenal, for the time at least, and you could play with other people. My daughter, then 8 yrs old, and I would have a great time with Link and then with the Mario Brothers. Her friends would come over and have Nintendo parties. Fun.
Yet, I was always more drawn to strategy and fantasy games. When Myst came out with its beautiful graphics and complicated puzzles, again I was absorbed into that world and would spend hours working my way through the game, but it was a solitary gaming experience.
The world of online gaming has been a wonderful revelation and a seductive addition to my gaming addiction. Not only are the games challenging, fun and graphically beautiful, you have a social aspect as well. Playing with and against other players, it's easy to become too wrapped up in the experience.
Do I neglect my husband and other duties...... No, I don't..... but it is hard to push myself away from the keyboard sometimes.