#1 Posted by McTangle (157 posts) -

I should probably start by saying I'm not much of a writer, and I'll beg your forgiveness for my wanton switching between tenses and my abnormally-sized sentences. Anyway, on with the story.

My whole live I've played videogames. It probably started when I was about 4, at nursery. My first real memory was the first time I got to play with the PC we had there. It was a tower with a Snoopy game on it, and I played it every day. Not long after that we got a Playstation. We had an N64 in the house for a few years but by the time I was competent enough to play it, it had broken and been replaced by the Sony box.

Since then I've been a gamer through and through, I probably got 2 hours a day in when I was a kid, but that quickly spiraled in my teenage years, and hit its peak in 2010/11 when I was 17. It became a fully-fledged addiction - I'd play 8-10 hours a day on top of my college attendance, I went months without seeing my friends and powered through two or three new games a week, my thirst became insatiable and it took it's toll on my life in more ways than one.

At my peak, I finished Max Payne 3 on Hard mode, with Manual-aim in two 15-hour sittings.

I'm no genius, but I was taught well as a child and I took my GCSE exams (aged 16, the UK standard) and passed with 11 A-grades and an A*. It was great for me and my confidence, but once I got into college (16-18) it all changed. In my first year I scraped through with a C and 3 Ds, and it ruined me. It killed any possibility of ever going to a 'red-brick' university and becoming a successful, well I don't know what. I couldn't believe that it would ever happen to me, but I had spent a year playing 60 hours a week and it was killing me academically and socially. The ties between me and my family started to break down, I was aggressive and incredibly defensive in my addiction, I was totally out of touch with home-life and current events. I was a ghost in my own home.

So now I'm 18 years old and 9 days from starting the exams that'll determine the university I go to, it's been more than two weeks since I played a videogame. This is the longest I've gone without playing a game since I was 4 years old and honestly, I don't miss it that much. It wasn't easy - deleting the ~300GB of games from my laptop was pretty painful - but it was necessary. It took my own family to force the realisation upon me, but now I know that what I was doing was wrong. I've always taken pride in being a gamer, but to me there's a distinction between gaming for pleasure - what I really want - and gaming through necessity.

I still don't spend as much time studying as I should do, but it's a Hell of a lot better than it was before. I sleep well at night knowing that my family and I are close again.

I have 6 weeks left, and then I have 3 months of summer, during which I plan to build a gaming PC and pursue my dream of becoming a videogame developer - a dream I only realised I could achieve after failure scuttled any possibility of becoming an Economist or a Historian, things I never wanted to be.

Will things ever return to the way they were? I sure as Hell hope not.

Six weeks, what is that... like 42 days?

#2 Edited by believer258 (11785 posts) -

I don't think a bad first year of college will ruin you. Anyway, moderation duder. Everything in moderation.

#3 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Video games will rot your brains, son.

#4 Posted by nevalis (76 posts) -

As a former WoW subscriber who invested around 80 hours/week from 2004-2006 while in school, and around 50 hours/week after I got a job, I can relate to the struggles of game addiction. While I had it under control at that time where I would only allow myself to play if I kept my grades up, I shunned almost all social interactions only left the room for food/bathroom/showers/school, all while justifying it as "Well, I have a 4.0 GPA, so it's OK to play a lot." I've missed out a lot on the college experience as I would count down the minutes for class to end so I can race home and join a raid or get some PvP in.

After getting a job, it was even worse in that now I was trapped somewhere for 45 hours every week, so any time I might've had to spare to hang out with friends between sessions was completely out of the question. It wasn't until my grandfather passed away in mid-2007 that I realized I had to change my lifestyle.

Like quitting any addiction, it's not something that can be done overnight. Little-by-little I lowered how much time I invested with games, and even was fortunate to get involved in a relationship that gave me other priorities over gaming. There were still tough days where I'd feel overwhelmed with life and needed to escape, but thankfully by then I had managed to rebuild some connection to my family, that they helped keep me grounded along with an understanding girlfriend.

Now that I have a house and family to care for, gaming is nearly at the bottom of the list of things I have time to do. I can still enjoy gaming, but gone are the all-day sessions and social separation. I won't lie and say I can don't long for such days, but once I acknowledged that there are other equally satisfying and rewarding hobbies or goals that can be done if I just put even a small amount of effort that I do in gaming, then it's not as hard to take a break from it.

I've rambled enough here, but the point I want to make is this: you are not alone with what you're going through, and you can overcome the issue with some support from friends/family and hard work. Video game development is a challenging field that is exhausting both physically and mentally, but channeling your passion for gaming into a passion for creating games will help you immensely. Don't think of your 8 weeks of no gaming as a punishment, but a step towards your goals.