Here is a quick recap of the previous parts:
- Part 1. Introduction.
- Part 2. Determined the causes and patterns of my videogame addiction.
- Part 3. Defined specifically my addictions.
- Part 4. Removed an unexpected compulsion from my life.
If you have the time, I strongly urge you to watch this short video on Unethical Game Design by 5 Inch Floppy. The host speaks with professionals and sorts out evidence about how some of today's game designers are purposely placing mechanics into their games to get people addicted to them. When I was in school, a few of my professors briefly covered the subject, and articles I've found about game addiction also mention similar things. But so far, 5 Inch Floppy's presentation is one of the most concise when it comes to describing videogame addiction/compulsion.
For the longest time, I never understood how some people could play games and not get addicted while others got hooked so easily. I took offense when "specialists" said that those who get addicted to videogames have psychological issues and would just get addicted to other things if games weren't present. So if I wasn't addicted to games, does that mean I would just find something else to get addicted to instead? That's a hypothetical question that I can never answer truthfully. But research has helped me conclude that genetics play an important part when it comes to addiction. Some people get addicted to games easily because they're genetically predisposed to do so. I just have to accept that videogames as a whole aren't addicting to everyone and that game addiction only affects some people.
I've spent the past few years ranting about the destructive nature of videogames. (That's right, warning people of the dangers of games while being hooked to them myself.) I let videogames ruin my life and I've seen videogames ruin the lives of others. After all these years, all my experiences, and all the posts I've written, that must mean I've finally established that games are just terrible, wasteful products, right?
Behemoth vs The Warrior of Light by Yoshitaka Amano
When I think back to how games have affected me, I realize that videogames have motivated and inspired me in more ways than I could have ever imagine. Off the top of my head, games like Castlevania, Contra, Mega Man, Jet Grind Radio, and Project Justice influenced my taste in music. The Final Fantasy series, Lunar, Grandia, and Skies of Arcadia made me want to write stories so other people could experience adventures as amazing and as epic as I did. Fighting games like Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, and Tekken inspired me to train in aikido, jiujitsu, and Shotokan Karate. Finally, I wouldn't even be an artist today if it wasn't for Yoshitaka Amano's watercolor paintings of the Final Fantasy series.
Games have never been a completely negative experience. I even have fond memories of World of Warcraft and Team Fortress 2. I mean, the main reason I got addicted to those games in the first place was because I had such a good experience with my friends that I wanted to prolong that experience.
A lot has happened since I began writing this series two weeks ago. I've seriously considered restarting my WoW subscription, I've fallen in and out of depression, and even though I said things have been "smooth sails" ever since I deleted my porn, I absolutely lose my mind every time I see a beautiful woman. Yes, I still play videogames every now and then, and I'm nowhere near as productive as I'd like to be, but at least I haven't buckled when it comes to the important things. I still haven't touched WoW or TF2, depression hasn't completely crippled me, and I continue to fight the urge to masturbate. That's probably more information than I should be giving out on the internet but it's alright. This is my road to recovery and zero fucks have been given.
Killing a giant mechanical worm with friends. (Iron Brigade)
Like I mentioned, I do play videogames occasionally. Recently, I've been playing games socially with friends. It's nice because it kind of keeps everyone in check. As long as I recognize that the game isn't a complete black hole, then I can giggle with my buddies and enjoy beating up monsters (or each other) together. I try to sneak in a few minutes of single player (of any game) on days that I don't get to play with friends. If I keep my relationship with games a controlled thing then it's nice to use it as an actual source of entertainment. I can only hope that I've finally figured things out for myself, and that my relationship with games stays casual civil, and fun.
There is one last thing I'd like to note before I finish this post. I've been wanting to get into shape so I could get back into martial arts again. Some of the best years of my life were the ones I spent training. I stopped partly because of silly drama with my teacher and partly because I wanted to spend more time with my then-girlfriend. I should have set that shallow crap aside and kept going for my own sake. Anyways, I feel like I was at my physical peek when I trained in jiujitsu. I weighed 130 lbs and I looked and felt awesome. Over a year later, when I attended grad school, my weight fell to 100 lbs. That's just one example of how hard malnutrition and depression hit me. Today, I've gotten my weight up to 119 lbs but all my muscle is gone. I've been slowly trying to get my strength back, but it's been so fucking hard without any goals to strive for. So I decided to set a specific goal for my 30th birthday. I'm hoping to reach 130 lbs by the time my birthday arrives (April 11th). That's about a pound a week. It feels like a doable goal if I monitor my diet and work out regularly. So far, I'm on schedule. I've gained a little bit of weight ever since I decided to reach for that goal last week. I'll let you know what happens.