Do you ever wonder why you have such a draw to video games, at least I assume you do if you’re reading this. Because I certainly do, is it more than just the draw of being a completionist, and getting to the end of every game?
For me there’s a huge level of escapism in gaming, and this is generally why I can sit down and play something for 5 or 6 hours without feeling a scratch of boredom. I can sit there and just let it draw me in and pay no attention to the outside world, or anything else. It’s not necessarily that I feel the need to escape the world at all, nor that I have underlying problems I’m trying to escape. There’s just a way I feel when I’m exploring massive new worlds and kicking tonnes of ass that makes me feel utterly relaxed, and if I don’t get x amount of hours per week I get tetchy.
There’s obviously a side which is ingrained in me. I had my first Gameboy when I was 5 and never looked back after that; quite often I’d choose to stay in and game over going out with friends and into my teens I’d warn people I wouldn’t go out for a few weeks if a big game release was looming (I remember doing this for Skyrim in particular)… Now that’s not hugely bled into my adult life as I do now prefer to socialise and I live with my girlfriend, obviously affecting game time, but there are often choices I’ll make which will enable me to have more game time (Such as recently sacrificing a couple of social events to get a good start on God of War). Quite often my ‘max’ enjoyment will be gaming, and nothing else compares.
So is it a healthy hobby or a crippling obsession? Obviously I see it as my main hobby (My only real other being comic collecting) spending any free time I can on my PlayStation and trying to plan my weeks so I can get some hours in, often staying up later than I should to get those extra couple.
But then I read some stats such as:
- 41% of online gamers admit that it’s an escape from the real world
- People who have higher levels of trait anxiety, aggressive behavior, and neuroticism are at a higher risk for video game addiction
- The same regions of the brain that are activated when craving occur in alcohol and drug addicts are also activated in video game addicts when they see images of computer games
(For reference these stats can be found here: http://www.techaddiction.ca/video_game_addiction_statistics.html)
Now the first fact I think obviously we’re trying to escape the world in some way but that could be as simple as us wanting to forget about our day at work, nothing more sinister. With the quite recent progression of VR at home this has definitely become more apparent as the escape is maximised ten fold, running around a virtual Skyrim is the ultimate escape.
The links to certain personalities and addiction, this I do and don’t agree with. I can see things from the addiction side for sure (At times it’s created unnecessary tension at home, this seems silly in the grand scheme of things) and there’s always this certain feeling of want for gaming, what’s that all about? For sure it’s hard to explain but it’s definitely there all the time, right now I cannot wait to get back on god of war, I’m always figuring out my weekly plan in my head to fit in game time, it’s just a huge part of my life which I don’t think will ever change.
Now I’d say I don’t have any of the personality traits shown above, so I can’t speak from personal experience regarding this but it’s definitely an interesting thing to consider, this is if you’re looking at it from the addiction side of things.
For me nowadays it’s a healthy hobby, I play when I get free time and try not to sacrifice social situations to play, but it’s a hobby that definitely verges on obsession and there is a huge part of me that definitely couldn’t live without it (Can you imagine a life without vide0 games). Realistically, I know that it’s just a fake generated world I’m running around in but it’s something I want to explore and conquer, wherever it may be.
Gaming is my hobby/obsession and I’m pleased about that because it grants me an escape other forms of media don’t, and I just fucking love it!