Controller from my first console, the Atari 2600. Woodgrain baby, woodgrain!
I watched a fair few ‘gaming addiction’ related documentaries on Youtube last year. There are a couple of really good ones BTW, especially loved this one by SBS Dateline where young Korean boys are sent off to rehab to cure their addiction.
How much gaming is too much? The answer is debatable, but I know 15-20hrs a day playing games is indisputably too much, and yet when I was doing it I was quite proud of myself for being more hardcore than even the most hardcore of hardcore gamers out there. “Thumbs of steel!”, these were just the kind of comments I was fishing for when I bragged about breaking landmark levels and hours played.
Speaking of hours wasted (Oh that’s harsh… geez I’m quick to go 180 aren’t I?!), finishing the main storyline and a handful of side quests on a good role playing game (RPG) averages around 30hrs. I’m much more keen on end-game though where the ceiling on upgrading gear and character development are lifted and the carrot dangles forever.
I’ve spent 1,953hrs on The Division (most of these hours were spent in group play with mic active), 1,405hrs on Warframe (mostly keyboard chat), 692hrs combined in Destiny 1 & 2 (50/50 mic play and solo no comms) and 2,308hrs so far on Black Desert Online (BDO), a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game which I play mostly alone (not the point of MMO’s but hey, go your own way?!). Worth noting; there are a lot of ‘away from keyboard’ (AFK) activities in BDO (I fish!) so the number is inflated.
Now that I’ve got the bragging out of the way I realise that those massive numbers aren’t anything to brag about. Much like how I’m not advocating for weed so much at the moment, where I was once so proud to push weed into people’s faces I now realise how much of a passive aggressive dick I’d been.
Whenever the experts suggest that 2hrs gaming a day is more than enough I’d snicker, no fucking way could I keep up with the boys if I was only gaming 2hrs a day. But wow, seriously, without the bong I now find myself struggling to spend 2hrs of quality gaming time in any game. It now absolutely boggles my mind that the boys can play games until 3am nearly every work night whilst their wives and kids are asleep. I’ve been missing the boys, missing my daily login rewards on BDO… I’m not even doing AFK fishing FFS.
For me, bonging and gaming every waking hour, (and every non-waking hour as I often had epic long microsleeps whilst gaming) caused extreme sleep depravation, which caused poor health both inside and out to the point I didn’t want to see people, or for them to see me (I have an unhealthy soft spot for social isolation/being a hermit) which led me to depression and eventually suicidal thoughts.
In relation to problems; people say “sleep on it” but I’m more of a “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” kinda guy, but the unfortunate truth is the shorter your sleep the shorter your life. Sitting for tens of hours straight (well, slouched on a couch) took a toll on my body. I forgot to care for the important things that I wasn’t doing, things that really matter like moving and getting a good nights sleep!
TL;DR, Staying awake gaming was my problem. 2hrs gaming at most per day, with regular sleep at the same time every night, for the same amount of hours every day has been my solution.
Also on Medium.