After a little break from the social media side of gaming; something that has become a massive part of being a gamer in the last 5 or so years (depending on who you are talking too), I have decided to come back to my blog with a topic that I have experienced throughout my many years of gaming and have noticed is now becoming a very real issue with other people too. Gaming addiction.
Let's start with a little history.
My own gaming time line, goes all the way back to the 80's.Which year I cannot remember, but I do remember being hooked on a little table top, Space Invaders, not long before I was handed my first Atari 7800.
I was hooked from the get go and completely, for better or for worse, handed over my life, like a soul sold to the devil, to gaming. Every opportunity that I had, I wanted to game. I played as much as possible in my home (usually when the only TV in the home was free), I played in the homes of friends and if possible, I played in stores when out shopping with my mother. Gaming was blowing up in the late 80's where I lived; especially when home computers became popular (the C64) and it is for this reason that I grew up saying 'computer games' rather than video games. When I was young, I would of never considered that such a thing as being addicted to video games could be possible. It was as much a part of people's lives as football is and something that was shared by children and adults alike; just as it still is today. It is in hindsight though that I can see, that my very first period of gaming addiction, came with the release of the Nintendo Game Boy.
Christmas, of 1990, it was the main present that I received from my mother, along with the similar in style games, Tetris and Dr Mario. Although I did have consoles as the years went by after 1990, it was the Game Boy that I played the most (possibly all the way up until 1998). I couldn't put this handheld down once I had picked it up and became fiendish every time that the batteries ran out. I fantasied about which games I wanted my mother to buy next and held pray in my mind that they would arrive sooner rather than later. This handheld, literally went everywhere with me:
- Family outing's (any outing's)
- To school
- In the bath
- In the bed
- When I played out
Still though, when thinking in terms of what addiction is to some, I can look back on those years and say that although I without a doubt, in fashion to what was the norm and still is the norm, played many hours of video games, when I could of been doing other things, the only real issue that I had and can still have today, is that gaming can be something that I do to escape the reality of a life situation that may be bothering me (my childhood was mental). Is this such a bad thing though? I would suggest that if this was the only outlet a person should have for dealing with life problems, then yes, it may well be a problem that could take over a person in the manner that drugs can too; the escape becomes more important than reality. Have I experienced this with video games? No. But I have recognised time and time again, when gaming is becoming a little on the obsessive side and interfering with my concentration on other things that are of more importance.