Speaking of StumbleUpon.com, I did happen to stumble upon this article about a man who found his life falling apart shortly after forming an addiction to the game EverQuest. In Mike Fahey’s article, “I Kept Playing–The Costs of My Gaming Addiction,” he chronicles a true story account of how his life was negatively impacted by his highly addictive gaming habits. From the loss of his job to the loss of his weight, it’s all there. By the article’s end, Fahey took full responsibility of his actions by saying that it is not the fault of these gaming companies, but rather the fault lies on himself for not properly regulating his gaming habits. Let’s get real though, just like any addiction be it cigarettes or video games, it’s kind of hard to regulate your habits when you’ve already been consumed. Your judgment is clouded; your loyalties are to your addiction and no one else. The funny thing about this guy’s experience, however, was that he really wasn’t interested in the game. At first, he’d only watch his roommate play when he had some down time, and eventually, after breaking up with his girlfriend, he too became an active player to escape the realities of life (just like any another addiction develops).
This story hit me on a personal level as I have a close relative that was deeply affected by his addiction to the game World of Warcraft. Long story short, he quit going to work just to play the game and his parents got fed up with it, so they suggested that he enlist into the military. When I came over to visit him one day, I would casually watch him play the game while we chit-chatted about the on-goings of life. As he would log onto the game, something caught my eye and I just laughed out loud literally. Each time you sign into the game, a pop-up would come up reminding the player about their obligations to their pets, jobs, schooling, and families. I found that rather odd for a game to give gamers this “friendly reminder,” but then again, I had no idea how addictive these types of games were at the time. So what do you guys think? Should reminders like this be posted before gameplay? Should there be reminders after a player hits a certain hour mark? Or is this simply the gamer’s responsibility to regulate their habits?
((To be quite honest, I am unsure if WOW still posts these reminders or if they completely did away with them, but I do distinctly remember seeing this message in the summer of 2005. ))