By Kendall Stewart, an Emerson College Graduate interested in writing, literature and publishing.
We all know that guy—the one who never leaves his dark bedroom, lit only by the blue glow from his computer screen. He is a gamer. Rather than exist in everyday society, he opts to stay in the realm of the Role Playing Game or RPG. He prefers to slay dragons and go on quests rather than hang out with friends or play sports. And that’s completely cool, right? To each his own?
But what about when this goes too far? Gaming can become an addiction. The definition, according to Wikipedia, is “excessive or compulsive use of computer or video games that interferes with daily life.” People who suffer from this addiction spend hours playing video games instead of hanging out with their friends because they want to; they do it because they have to. They become complete shut-ins and can end up losing all of their friends, doing poorly in school, and quitting all other activities. The game literally takes over their lives.
I have a friend who’s a gaming expert. He told me that RPGs, in particular, get people hooked.
“RPGs never end,” he explains. “The point of the game is an alternate, online reality, and there are millions of players online playing at the same time. This is different from normal video games where it is just you and the game for an hour or two. The game never ends so it is possible for people to keep on playing.”
The most popular of these RPGs is World of Warcraft, or WOW for short. In WOW the player creates a character and starts at level one. The player sends the character on quests so he or she can advance levels. The object of the game is to reach level eighty.
But Blizzard, the company that makes WOW, keeps introducing more expansions, and with each expansion comes more levels. As long as more expansions are made the game will never end.
Sometimes gaming addiction, particularly to WOW, becomes such a problem that therapists are called in to join the game so they can communicate with the “addicts” and treat them through the game. That’s because the addiction is so powerful that the gamer can’t even leave the game to get to the therapist’s office! I don’t know if this is a good idea or a bad one. I suppose it makes sense to try to communicate with the addicts by joining the game, but I’m not sure if it’s really necessary.
Also, since I’ve never personally been addicted to video games, it’s hard to understand why they can be so compelling to people. I mean, a video game is not a chemical substance, and therefore your body cannot become addicted to it, really… can it? Why is it so hard to put down the control or turn off the monitor?
Last reviewed Nov 24., 2014.