Video game addiction hits close to home

Jonathan Bateman, Staff

As of today, 60 million people suffer from this addiction. But it’s not a drug or alcohol addiction. It’s an addiction to something that’s meant to entertain: video games.

Video game addictions have been around for around half a century now, since the first commercial games came out in the 70’s and 80’s. From home consoles to arcade machines, from teenagers to adults, from males to females, the addiction is indiscriminate. 

The addiction is caused by small hits of the dopamine—a natural pleasure chemical released by the brain—that the user gets from playing video games. The joy of getting a high score, or beating a level or boss resembles the high other addicts receive from chemicals.

Video game addictions became more prominent as more games and ways to play games flooded  the worldwide market and more gaming companies started to release their headliner titles, such as “Grand theft Auto”, “Rainbow 6: Siege”, “Call of Duty”, and others.

This, of course, provided more opportunities for users to become addicted. 

These addictions exploded with the advent of Multiplayer Online Role-Playing games (MMORPG), which take a lot of time grinding through levels and acquiring better gear and weapons. For example, “World of Warcraft” is one of the most highly addictive games, and 44 percent of players are fully addicted to the game, according to research compiled by Tech Addiction.

First-person shooter (FBS) games also have a big toll in feeding video game addictions. “Call of Duty”, “Halo”, and “Fallout” are some FPS that have gripped many gamers. Once in the thralls of video game addiction, the hours of the day have a tendency to melt away.

“It’s fast, and I like the action and the movement for the most part,” said an anonymous freshman, who plays “Call of Duty: MW2” almost everyday. 

Video game addiction also takes its toll on the wallet.

 An anonymous sophomore said he spends close to $235 for each game he plays.

 The money is spent on both the games and micro-transactions, such as spending money on cosmetics for their characters. 

Video game addiction can also affect players’ behaviors. From the NPCs to real players talking in game, a kid can learn things they shouldn’t know.

“I never knew what the f-word, or what s-word really meant when I started playing the game four years ago, but now I use it most of the time when I play with my friends,” said another freshman who wished to remain anonymous.

In the end, like most things, it comes down to  moderation and having a healthy balance between reality and the world of gaming.