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Learning About Gaming Addiction. First Edition

Did you know that gambling addictions are classified in the DSM, but gaming addictions aren’t? Yeah, people know that gambling can ruin your life and that it is addictive, but apparently, gaming is a choice.

I guess if you don’t understand the thrill of total immersion then it can seem a bit silly. At least to older people who aren’t even interested in playing games at all. But I was young enough when video games first started picking up speed, so I dove in head first.

Video arcades were a huge hit back in the day, and we see it in movies about the 80s all the time. It shouldn’t come as a shock that video games took over the better they got. Gambling is an addiction because people enjoy winning, of losing. They enjoy the chance or the skill and the thrill of winning big. It’s the same for video games.

Now there are multiple video game consoles out with amazing high-quality graphics. Many households have various consoles from TV to the handheld. I have a ps4 and Xbox of course, but my queen and idol is my PC.

PC stands for personal computer. My PC is state of the art and upgradeable, meaning if it gets old and can’t run new software I just replace parts myself. Anyways, my favorite game, World of Warcraft, is meant to be played on the PC.

Gaming addiction is a behavioral addiction, like the gambling I mentioned before or even shopping addictions. We are all familiar with those and most likely believe in them.

Addiction is not an excuse I used to pull away blame for wasting my time on games. I’m not some guy who was a lazy loser, as most people like to present us. I was a man who enjoyed gaming and honestly had nothing else going for him. It took over my life, and it wasn’t my choice.

Guess what? Gaming isn’t just for kids, it’s for adults too. And it can be an addiction, I’m living proof. Games are often open-ended and long, meaning we can play for hours or explore whole worlds. It can easily become a form of escapism.

Often these games can be super competitive. There are challenges and quests and duels and money to win and weapons to gain. Leveling gets harder the longer you play, and it can be addictive watching your character grow in strength and defeat enemies.

When you get to role-play a game sometimes, you have the option to create a character’s appearance and choose their life or skills. This can be very elaborate in many RPGs. Most people make characters in their likeness.

This means a lot of the time we get attached to our avatars.

World of Warcraft is what is known as an MMORPG which combines all the best aspects of gaming. This and the world we play in is endless. You basically live through the game, growing and changing and having relationships and social situations. It’s completely mind-boggling and thrilling.

Games like this usually cost money to play, like a monthly subscription. From there it is often necessary to also put money into microtransactions. These are things like paying for in-game currency or better gear that you wouldn’t be able to play without.

It can be kind of like an investment for the player when they seriously play the game. The problem is that over time it can add up and even be easier to spend. This money does nothing to buy any real goods and is essentially falling into the void.