I believe we all can agree that at some point in our lives we have become somewhat addicted to a video game. This doesn’t mean that we have dropped everything else in our life and only focused on the game, but it can be something as simple as skipping class or an invite out with friends to play games instead. As a person who strongly agrees that video games help make people smarter, think differently, and have quicker reaction times in real life, I don’t deny that video games can be addictive. Now, can this addiction be related to a substance addiction, such as someone who “feens” for their certain fix? And how can this be treated as video games are not considered a literal drug?
In an article written by Megan Erickson “Are Video Games a Drug?” (http://bigthink.com/think-tank/are-video-games-a-drug) it goes in depth about this topic. She covers the main ideas around addiction and how addicts usually have three main needs; Competence, Autonomy and Relatedness. These are beliefs that you can do something well, the idea that you have say in how you live your life and the belief that you matter to others, and others matter to you.
She also covers that with those three basic needs that Video Games are fulfilled in those by having Immediacy; you can log on and play at any time. Consistency; Video Games give us a clear path to success in the game world, and we are rewarded for competition. Density; games give us a opportunity to fulfil, challenge and undertake a challenge. The article closes by talking about how maintaining and achieving those points will determine if you are addicted to a video game or not.
In comparing Video Game addiction to a substance addiction, there are a few main topics you need to consider first. And those are – Do you have satisfaction in gaming? Do you miss deadlines or real world experiences? Do you feel pleasure, shame or guilt? Are you spending many hours a week getting your video game fix? And are these isolating others from your personal life?
Although this topic can be pinned at many different angles, I stand on my point when saying Video Game addiction is a real thing. As an example, from my personal life, I would say I was addicted to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when it was in its prime (2010-2012). After reading the article by Erickson, I would agree that I had felt all those topics. There were many weeks where I would get home from school, and play all the way until I had to sleep, and then repeat this every day. I spent a total of 30 Days of playing time within the first year of launch. I always strived for feeling satisfied in the game, whether that was winning a game and being competitive, to trying to complete challenges many hours into the night (often until 4am – 5am on weekends) or playing against friends and trying to always be a higher level then them in the game. When I wasn’t playing the game, and was at school, out at hockey practice, or with friends, I was always thinking about this game. I was addicted to unlocking achievements and in-game valuables.
Looking back at this many years later I would agree that my Video Game addiction could easily be compared to a substance addiction as I strived for pleasure, satisfaction, and acceptance in the game. It was a fix that I was rewarded by being good at the game. What is your opinion on Video Games being compared to a Substance Addiction? Do you agree that these two topics can be related or are relatable?