How to end your video game addiction.
Conquering your Addiction (to Video Games)
My generation grew up with the advancement of video game consoles and it was a very exciting time to embrace new games and technology. The first Nintendo opened up new ideas, hobbies, and a new way to spend time entertaining yourself. Now gaming is even more convenient with digital stores that let you download games instantly to your iPhone, iPad , PS3, and Xbox 360.
There are many forms of common addictions like alcohol, smoking, gambling, and now video games. Video games started becoming a priority for some people when games could be played online in real time. There is no pause button or saved game to come back to later. Most of these games are MMO-RPG’s like Everquest, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, etc. These games make money by charging for the initial game and then a monthly service fee which is typically $14.99. Annually that’s $179.88 given to the game company. Just like any other business, these companies want to make money and they do so by dangling digital rewards for players in terms of upgrading items for stats and/or appearances.
Skip-able Personal story.
I played Everquest for a few months and it was addictive because there is always “one more thing” to do before “/camp”ing. I didn’t understand MMORPG’s at the time completely but I did enjoy the fantasy like atmosphere, leveling up my character, and getting cool looking armor and abilities. Years later, I started playing World of Warcraft (A.K.A. WOW) with my friends in college. I distinctly remember watching a video online of a group of people slaying a big dragon named Onyxia. I thought it was really cool but I would never meet enough people to do something like that. Eventually I did. I met hundreds and killed Onyxia many times with the hope of the item I want dropping, being the one who gets it, and then eventually having another character go through the same process. This lifestyle of mine continued through every expansion of World of Warcraft such as the Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and ending my addiction in Cataclysm. Did I enjoy playing this game? Yes. Did it take up a lot of my time? Yes. Did I prioritize it over other things in my life? Yes.
After awhile these games turn into a part-time job. Do you want to get the coolest/best items? Well you need to coordinate with a group of people to meet online a few times a week, come prepared with potions and items for the game, know the strategies of what you and others have to do, practice, and eventually (hopefully) weeks later defeat a boss. This could take at minimum 8-12 hours a week for a causal group of people.
End of personal story
The key question becomes what do you value and what do you get back in return? I realized that spending this time playing video games didn’t GIVE ME anything in return. Even while doing P90x, changing my diet, I still made time for a game that gave me the illusion of enjoyment. This came with a price, adjusting my schedule after work to play, and not improving myself by starting the business I always wanted or meeting new people to advance my career, reading personal development books and setting goals.
I quit MMORPG’s cold turkey last March. I have tried quitting many times before but I feel like this is going to be the time that is successful because now I am driven by other goals in my life. Is it easy to quit WOW and other games like it? No way. I think about playing it often (writing this post made me think about it) and I still get urges to play again. Over the summer I downloaded the game again, activated it, and stared at the login screen. I thought to myself, “Is today going to be the day I give in and play again? No, it’s not.” I un-installed the game and cancelled my subscription again. That was close. During times that test your limits it’s critical you have new goals in place.
Here is my list that I look at whenever I have urges to play. Feel free to use it or change it to make it your own.
World of Warcraft makes me…
1. Unhappy – Not having dinner with my wife.
2. Lazy – Didn’t clean/do laundry often.
3. Leave my mouth open – I have this bad habit when I’m playing games.
4. Fat – Snacking on chips, soda, and “fast” food next to the computer.
5. Unproductive – always procrastinated with important tasks. “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
6. Waste time – obviously everything else you could do.
7. Lose money – Not only $180 a year but the money lost by all missed opportunities.
8. Regret – Years I could not get back.
9. Regress – Any improvements I made personally were lost.
10. Tired – Staying up late, staring at a computer screen, and stress from a bad raid.
11. Stationary – sitting in one spot for hours.
12. Bad Posture – sitting poorly in one spot for hours.
13. Can you think of any more reasons not to play?
WRITE DOWN YOUR REASONS AND PUT THEM NEXT TO YOUR MONITOR!!!.
In other areas of your life if your choices do not give you any benefit in return than you NEED to stop them.
If you want to quit, then do it NOW! Make a change NOW! What are you waiting for?
Here are some excellent resources that are tailored to WoW however will apply to many different video games of the same type.
If you are having trouble quitting a video game addiction, e-mail me.
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