Thursday, 25 September 2014

Video Game Addiction

Today I decided to tally up all the game time I've racked up in Steam to discover that the total time spent was sitting on around 87 days. This is around 24% of a year which is pretty close to the percentage I would spend sleeping I think. The scary part is that this figure doesn't include any non Steam tied games of which I have a fair few, most of which are MMOs that quite enjoy gobbling up time.

I always thought my gaming habits were normal but it turns out I might be an addict. I'm certainly not a "casual" gamer, but neither do I think I classify as a "hardcore gamer". Anyway, I decided to take a quick look into Video Game Addiction and found that the American Psychiatric Association has developed 9 criteria for characterizing the proposed internet gaming disorder. I'll go answer them now.

Pre-occupation. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about games even when you are not playing, or planning when you can play next?
Yes! Definitely. I usually like to plan what I need to do in game for the day or week in advance and make a little check list.

Withdrawal. Do you feel restless, irritable, moody, angry, anxious or sad when attempting to cut down or stop gaming, or when you are unable to play.
Yep! This is especially felt on vacations. I'm usually always restless but I certainly become more irritable and moody the more I'm away from my PC.

Tolerance. Do you feel the need to play for increasing amounts of time, play more exciting games, or use more powerful equipment to get the same amount of excitement you used to get?
Not really. Increasing amount of time maybe just to clear new content but I don't really need better gear to be more excited to play.

Reduce/stop. Do you feel that you should play less, but are unable to cut back on the amount of time you spend playing games?
Yes. More so recently, but like today while trying to abstain from gaming I had a quick Warframe session in the middle of typing this up. :P

Give up other activities. Do you lose interest in or reduce participation in other recreational activities (hobbies, meetings with friends) due to gaming?
What other activities? I'm pretty anti-social with the number of real life friends I see monthly (or sometimes, quarterly?) able to be counted on one hand. Often one finger.

Continue despite problems. Do you continue to play games even though you are aware of negative consequences, such as not getting enough sleep, being late to school/work, spending too much money, having arguments with others, or neglecting important duties?
I dislike being late and being parted with my money so those are not usually an issue but sleep is the first one to suffer when a late night / early morning gaming session calls.

Deceive/cover up. Do you lie to family, friends or others about how much you game, or try to keep your family or friends from knowing how much you game?
Nope, I game a lot and I game everyday. Everyone knows this.

Escape adverse moods. Do you game to escape from or forget about personal problems, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings such as guilt, anxiety, helplessness or depression?
Yes. Who doesn't?

Risk/lose relationships/opportunities. Do you risk or lose significant relationships, or job, educational or career opportunities because of gaming?
Nope. At least I don't think so, or haven't yet for significant relationships. Career opportunities though... maybe.

Hrm. That... kinda sounds like I have a problem. What do you think? Or are the questions structured in such a way that every gamer would sound like an addict?

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