Is This All Worth It?

I have a game buying addiction. I'm sure a lot of people do as well but I am convinced I have a serious problem. Drug users, alcoholics, smokers, gamblers, they spend their money on whatever it is they are addicted to. In the process they neglect the actual things that are important like food, shelter, clothing, bills, etc. and I am afraid that if I don't try and curb my spending habits I will be standing in my living room surrounded by game cases instead of a family. I live with my girlfriend and she puts up with my gaming crap, we even play some of them together, Rock Band, Risk on xbox, You Don't Know Jack, but if I don't do something to change then I am afraid she will get tired of it and leave. I think most people who are addicts know they have a problem, but like most addicts I also don't think I am as bad as others. You can always find people worse off than you, but it doesn't change the fact that you actually have a problem. I have gotten better, I am no longer buying games daily on Steam and my xbox live and psn purchases have dropped dramatically in recent months, but I still feel the need to buy games. Just last night I purchased Wild Arms on psn, why? I mean its a great game and I'm having a blast with it, but I'm going to play it for a week and then buy something else. I still have games sitting on my shelves, both real and virtual, that I have never even touched. I bought them because it was a great deal, or I heard something good about it, or I stole it from the video store because I gave them a fake address, or whatever the excuse was that I used to obtain the game. I bought the entire Sam & Max collection from Telltale Games on Steam two or three years ago and I just finished episode two last night. That means my average for finishing the games is 1 every year to a year and a half for games that only take, if you're smart enough, about an hour to complete. I have a problem and I need help.

19 Comments
19 Comments
Posted by lazerbot

I have a game buying addiction. I'm sure a lot of people do as well but I am convinced I have a serious problem. Drug users, alcoholics, smokers, gamblers, they spend their money on whatever it is they are addicted to. In the process they neglect the actual things that are important like food, shelter, clothing, bills, etc. and I am afraid that if I don't try and curb my spending habits I will be standing in my living room surrounded by game cases instead of a family. I live with my girlfriend and she puts up with my gaming crap, we even play some of them together, Rock Band, Risk on xbox, You Don't Know Jack, but if I don't do something to change then I am afraid she will get tired of it and leave. I think most people who are addicts know they have a problem, but like most addicts I also don't think I am as bad as others. You can always find people worse off than you, but it doesn't change the fact that you actually have a problem. I have gotten better, I am no longer buying games daily on Steam and my xbox live and psn purchases have dropped dramatically in recent months, but I still feel the need to buy games. Just last night I purchased Wild Arms on psn, why? I mean its a great game and I'm having a blast with it, but I'm going to play it for a week and then buy something else. I still have games sitting on my shelves, both real and virtual, that I have never even touched. I bought them because it was a great deal, or I heard something good about it, or I stole it from the video store because I gave them a fake address, or whatever the excuse was that I used to obtain the game. I bought the entire Sam & Max collection from Telltale Games on Steam two or three years ago and I just finished episode two last night. That means my average for finishing the games is 1 every year to a year and a half for games that only take, if you're smart enough, about an hour to complete. I have a problem and I need help.

Posted by Ravenlight

If you stick to Steam and wait for the huge holiday sales and buy the developer packs, eventually you'll own every game on Steam and won't have to worry about spending any more money.

Posted by Phatmac

Go get help. Seek a therapist as fast as you can as what you discribe is a addiction that is harmful to your general health.

Posted by Morrow

@lazerbot: You have a girlfriend and spend time with her. There are enough men who don't play games (or call themselves addicted to them) and aren't capable of that. Even if you enjoy buying games to a point where you think it's unhealthy, I wouldn't compare that to drug addicts. They damage their body and their brain cells, and while playing too many games can make your mind... let's say, tired, the fact that you think about all of this is a good sign. I don't think it's so bad to obsess over a hobby. People tend to think immersing themselves in gaming is harmful because the media is constantly denigrating the game industry (as a source of violence, for example). But look at how many people make a hobby the center of their life. Why is gaming a worse hobby than climbing, fishing, drawing, reading, playing football or any other hobby people spend their time with?

I think you're ok.

Posted by McGhee

Well done buying Wild Arms. Did you know Lunar Silver Star Story is on the iPhone now? Neat, huh?

Posted by TruthTellah

@lazerbot: If you really feel it might be a problem, that's a problem. You should seek out actual professional help, not advice from people online.

Edited by Morrow

@lazerbot: Oh and by the way, look at how many women are addicted to buying clothes or shoes. Some women have like 300 pairs of shoes, what the hell? I am a woman and think hoarding shoes is way worse, and on top of that totally pointless, than collecting games.

Posted by JohnLocke

May I ask, do you spend more than your income on game buying?

If you do then perhaps one way to resolve this would be to give yourself a budget (on a weekly or monthly basis) and then go from that on how you buy things. If you go under one month you could use it towards something bigger for the next month and so on. Obviously there may be times where you go over it (such as holidays where you may treat yourself or whatever). That is how I work with it anyway. I do not complete every game I buy because not every game I buy I enjoy as much as I thought and then some games I don't touch the single player portions (such as Fifa 13 I have yet to start a career on I think, I have spent my time on head to head or seasons mode).

If you are worried you can seek help on this as others have suggested, but maybe talk to your girlfriend. However, enjoying gaming and buying games that is living within your means is not a bad thing (unless you feel it is, or are spending that much you can not afford to pay your bills and thus risk loosing the roof over your head).

I hope this helps you anyway.

Posted by Veektarius

I think the fundamental question when dealing with a potential addiction is: "Am I doing this because I derive pleasure from it, or am I doing this because I feel bad when I don't do it (i.e. because I have a compulsion to do it)?" If it is the former, you're probably buying games because you're bored. I have that problem sometimes. It means you need to find something else to do, it doesn't mean you're addicted. If it's the latter, and you find yourself buying things without feeling any clear benefit from having done so, that's an addiction.

My strategy for breaking an addiction (a non-chemical one, at any rate) is this: think of something you need to do with your life. The last time I did this, it was working out and looking for a better job. Then, make the rule for yourself "Everytime I feel the urge to do x, I'll instead do y" where x is your problem habit and y is your personal improvement. Not only will this get you into good habits, but it will also cause your mind to associate your bad habit with work, which will help to extinguish it.

Posted by lazerbot

Wow, I didn't think I would get so many responses to my little blog entry. You all bring up some good points, I especially like what Veektarius said about doing something else whenever I get the urge to buy a game. I don't fully agree with Morrow's statement about feeling pressure form society because gaming is bad or whatever, but I can see his point. Just like most things in life I need to learn how to practice moderation and yeah, whenever I think about buying a game I should probably just go read a book or do ten sit-ups or something. Thanks for the advice everyone.

p.s.

I don't have a iphone so I won't be getting Lunar, and for some reason I do not feel the urge to buy games for my phone, maybe because the majority are free, and terrible.

Posted by Sploder

In 2011 I bought 38 games lol, that was enough to make such excessive behaviour seem very unappealing and I've only got like six this year. So my advice is to spend so much that you feel fucking sick, and then you won't do it again.

Posted by Everyones_A_Critic

I have a drug buying addiction, but I finish all my drugs, so I don't have a problem.

Posted by Sanity

I have about the same issue but i come back to my games and play lots of things at once all the time so i feel like its worth it to me. I say if its not a income issue its fine, and try to make a more conscious effort to finish the games you have before buying more. I think that just about every person on this site who uses steam is guilty of splurging on games they dont play at one time or another.

Posted by CornBREDX

When I get the urge to buy a game and probably shouldn't I instead transfer the money to my savings account. 
 
It doesn't always work, but it's a good way to stack up savings when it does. There are some games I'll usually end up buying anyway but sometimes stuff like steam sales and what not make it hard not to buy games I probably wouldn't buy otherwise. 
 
So, ya that's what I've been trying to do. Probably not the best idea you'll get from this thread but it's all I got.

Posted by geirr

@Everyones_A_Critic said:

I have a drug buying addiction, but I finish all my drugs, so I don't have a problem.

I feel enlightened.

Posted by Ravenlight

@geirr said:

@Everyones_A_Critic said:

I have a drug buying addiction, but I finish all my drugs, so I don't have a problem.

I feel enlightened.

I got a good laugh out of that. It's all about perspective, man!

Posted by kermoosh

i'm the complete opposite, i try to buy the least amount of games a year. not including dlc and xbla games, i usually only buy around 3 games a year. this year will be mass effect 3, xcom and halo 4

Posted by Hizang

Every time you want to buy a new game, put £10 into your savings.

Posted by Slag

No hobby should make you feel like this. When it becomes a compulsion and it isn't fun then something is wrong. I agree with 's comments.

If you feel like you can't control yourself please do seek counseling (and it seems like you do), my fear is if you don't get counseling if you manage to control your gaming habit you may just transfer the compulsion to something else. Which wouldn't leave you any better off.