Your worst game addiction?

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sombre

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Hey gang,

I was talking to my partner the other night about game addiction, as we're both pretty big gamers, historically. We were talking about the absolute WORST addictions we've ever had, and it lead to some pretty eye opening stuff from both of us. She mentioned how when the Sims came out, she would just play it nonstop, even neglecting leaving the house for a few days at the weekend to play all day. I can relate to that, as a former game addict myself.

However, my tale is much more sinister.

Back in 2004, when World of Warcraft came out, I was 15. I grew up playing Warcraft 3, and when I found out there was going to be a 'World' of Warcraft, it blew my tiny little mind. What did they mean? Warcraft but...not an RTS? How was that going to work? When I heard it was going to be an RPG (I don't think the acronym MMORPG had come out back then), I figured it was going to be like those missions in RTS games where you'd control one unit, kinda like a CRPG was, think Baldur's Gate or Sword of the Betrayer.

When it actually came out...I was blown away. I even remember my first character. It was a Tauren Shaman named Snide, after Dave, funnily enough. (I might be conflating dates here, as I'm sure GB wasn't out around then when I come to think about it...well, whenever GB had launched was when I was playing WoW for the first time).

I remember finding it really weird that you had to buy the game for twenty quid (That's how much I remember buying it for in GAME), and thinking 'Wait, you need to pay monthly...how does that work?'

But nevertheless, I played it. And brother did I play it. I went from an hour a day, to three hours a day, to spending every waking minute playing. I remember my first ever level 60 was a Human Rogue called 'Sepukku' which I thought was really cool at the time.

I was playing pretty hardcore, but I never really...got that good. I never raided, I might have done a handful of AQ/ZG pick ups, but I never really did Molten Core or Blackwing Lair, because...well, I still had a life outside of woW at this point. I was in college, and had plenty of friends, a couple of who played Warcraft too.

It wasn't until my first year at University that I got PROPER stuck in. The freedom of living on my own, with my own money (back when student loans gave you an absolute FUCK LOAD of money for nothing), so I would just....play. And I mean I would PLAY. By this time, WOTLK was out, and I was into it full swing. I would go to my lectures at ten, come home at one, and play till probably....five or six AM. Then I'd wake up, pound some Thai red bull from the Chinese supermarket, and repeat the same thing over and over for months. I developed really bad habits and pretty ill health. It was around about this time I became an insomniac, a trait which I unfortunately had to deal with for several years after. I blame Warcraft in large part for this, but it WAS my own fault, so I can't really blame anyone but myself. Even now, I can go to bed at four, wake up at seven, and crack on with my day like it was no problem.

But when I say I developed really bad habits, I mean really bad ones. I became a shut-in, I couldn't physically leave the house, I developed social anxiety. My life existed on this little 14 inch PC monitor where WoW was my only portal to the outside world. I failed my first year at University because of my WoW addiction, and my parents had to come and pick me up, and take me home. I then re-applied next year and aced it. (Don't worry, I graduated, and now I'm thriving in life :D)

But those times were so dark, because of how utterly addictive Warcraft was. I was really in the throes of it, and I couldn't escape it, at all.

I know I'm not alone when I say I let a video-game completely control my life. I'd love to hear stories from the rest of you guys about how addiction in gaming changed your life, and how you overcame it.

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Xolotl

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#2  Edited By Xolotl

Nothing nearly as bad, but several years ago after a girl broke up with me, I played the entire Mass Effect trilogy in one weekend.

It was honestly really cathartic. I just kind of sat there processing my feelings and giving everything some thought while also playing. I don't remember having any specific epiphanies while playing, but it was just kind of a good excuse to sit there and mindlessly whittle away at something while my mind could focus on this thing that just happened.

I guess it sounds pretty lame, but I honestly remember feeling better after it was all said and done. The breakup still hurt, but it no longer hurt in that kind of raw emotional way that things like that always start out as.

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glots

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I guess it's nice that I don't have multiple games to pick from for a question like this, but sometimes it would be nice to reply with some other game than WoW to questions about having played a lot of something!

I loved Warcraft and WC 3 especially, but when WoW first came around, I was actually one of the people who couldn't understand how some were spending every waking moment of their lives playing the game. I'm not sure for how long I scoffed at it, before for a reason or another I ended up trying a trial with a then-friend. I was also enthralled from the start, because it was the first MMO I had properly played, so the scale of the world blew me away.

Kinda like with the OP, I also played it more and more as time went on and I met some neat people within the game, who gave me even more of a reason to stay online. I did neglect some stuff in my life because of the game, but fortunately there were no *serious* consequences that came out of it. I'm sure I could've spent all that time on something much more valuable, but that's all in the past now.

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chaser324

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#4 chaser324  Moderator

@xolotl said:

Nothing nearly as bad, but several years ago after a girl broke up with me, I played the entire Mass Effect trilogy in one weekend.

Is that even possible? That's a lot of gaming to squeeze into one weekend.

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beggary

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The original Civilization got installed one every computer in our dorm computer lab, and I think we didn't do anything for a weekend...and then I missed two days of classes. About three years later, Civilization II came out. I didn't go to class for a week. Pretty weird that I had a 2.61 GPA in undergrad.

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Xolotl

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@chaser324: That's why I felt it was a bit appropriate for this since it was basically non stop except for a bit of sleep and eating here and there.

It was during college so I had no Thursday or Friday classes. I dont remember exactly how long I took per game, but I do remember I didnt do a full completion of each, just a couple of side missions since I had already played them all before so I was a bit choosy as to what I wanted to do.

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tartyron

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#8  Edited By tartyron

Certain roguelikes or otherwise slow progression gameplay loops. One I just put like 20 hours into, and was absolutely not with my time (though not a bad game, just not worth 20 hours) was Dead in Vinland, a viking survival/management game with time management. It put me into the management trance worse than anything else in recent memory, and I don't even remember much of it even though I only stopped playing like three weeks ago.

Anno 1404 was another huge one for me. I think I put maybe 200 hours into that one, spent most of a summer playing that on the weekends from morning until night, just trying to balance supply lines and set up trade routes. It even has reminders to take breaks every 2 hours. When it told me I'd played for 20 hours straight once, I knew I had to delete it.

Another one, back in the days it was new, was Sins of a Solar Empire, at the time I considered it an extremely good 4X game, and still one of the best names for anything ever. That one also killed many a weekend when I was in college and should have been studying. The thing with that one is games could be finished in one day, but that still meant the whole day. I actually played a game of that recently on gamepass, and yes, still takes a whole day to play from start to win. And that's on small maps with easy AI. At least for me, but I also want to claim and develop every planet on the map. For the unity.

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GTxForza

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About 11 years before I joined the Giant Bomb community, I was so addicted to Race Driver GRID on PC, because I was so satisfied with its driving model for the arcade standards, awesome soundtracks, sound effects and the roster of playable cars & tracks.

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MindBullet

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World of Warcraft really was a gaming addiction epidemic in it's early years. Didn't help that my entire family was addicted to it. Up until very recently, even after I had long since stopped playing, I would still get ambushed by family on holidays and have game time literally forced on me. I don't really remember specific instances of WoW ruining my life, but I'm sure they were there. I do recall how WoW addiction negatively affected the lives of my family very clearly, though.

There's small stuff like how as much as I love games like Civ or Harvest Moon, I can't play them very often because I become so hyper focused that I lose entire days to them. My biggest and most embarrassing story is skipping middle school for a week straight just to stay home and play Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. It obviously lead to me getting in deep trouble both at home and in school, but I ultimately worked through it and I like to think I learned a valuable lesson.

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Nodima

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In terms of actual addictive behavior, I’ve been pretty open about my love for MLB The Show’s ultimate team mode. I pay $100 up front for the digital deluxe edition to get a little pre-season boost, sink about 700 hours into the game over the summer and always feel satisfied.

But baseball is far behind basketball on my sports and sports history enjoyment rankings, so MyTeam in NBA 2K should absolutely be the only game I ever need year after year. Except that unlike MLB, the game has separate currencies for the auction house versus the packs, both of which you earn incredibly slowly. NBA players also have actual skills that directly affect gameplay, whereas most of MLB is just a Byzantine number of weights on an RNG scale determining what happens when you press X to swing for the most part.

So, long story short, the first and only time I tried to take MyTeam seriously I spent about $400 on it in just under a month, including one drunken night when I dropped $200 or so in less than 10 minutes. When I took a step back from it and realized that I was having far less fun than Diamond Dynasty and spending exponentially more money on MyTeam than, well, any game I’d ever played (never had an MMO phase) I dropped it and held a grudge against the 2K franchise for years.

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narficacid

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There have been many times when I would have considered myself to be sacrificing other things in my life for games, but the one that comes most readily to mind was during grad school. I was dealing with some personal issues that kept me from doing much other than go to class, walk my dog, and eat/sleep. I was playing video games 15-18 hours a day. My two most played (but I had plenty of others) were Spelunky and Euro Truck Simulator 2. I blame Giant Bomb for both of them. :) Spelunking with Scoops had me hooked to playing Spelunky myself and ETS2 was because of the Quick Look, and was just a nice escape/low impact way to not deal with my real world.

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Shindig

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I load up solitaire on google every day. I don't stop playing till I get a win.

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Ginormous76

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Marvel Strike Force was probably my biggest addiction. I was logging in every 2 hours to do some mode (I forget what it was called), because you basically had to in order to get rewards. I probably dropped $300 on it over the course of two and a half years.

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csl316

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#17  Edited By csl316

I used to play Spelunky every single day for a couple years. A run or two (so like an hour a day?), but still, those hours really added up over time. Turns out all I needed to do was uninstall it. Gaming addictions are real.

I have friends that do what I did with Spelunky, expect for like 8 hours every day with WoW or LoL (and more on weekends). Jobs lost, relationships ruined, depression worsening. I've seen it all up close. Some of my closest friends straight up disappeared, and a few of them have accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in debt in free to play games. And if I say something, they get upset, so I barely talk to them anymore.

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wollywoo

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@csl316 said:

Some of my closest friends straight up disappeared, and a few of them have accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in debt in free to play games.

...well, damn. More than one? Devs who focus their business model on exploiting "whales" without self-control should be ashamed. Apple and others need to limit the amount users can spend on apps from their store to prevent this kind of abuse.

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csl316

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#19  Edited By csl316

@wollywoo: Yep, two. It got really bad once they started working from home about a decade ago. I read stories about whales and couldn't understand how that happens, until I heard about their habits a few years back.

Seeing it get this bad up close makes me upset when I see a hundred dollar "best value!" thing on a store page, because I know some people can't resist. Tried to help but man... I gave up, they gotta help themselves.

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Akeldama

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Having never been bit by the MMO bug, I lost the last few years of my life to Escape from Tarkov.

Happy to say I'm clean these days.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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I use Minecraft as something of a creative palate cleanser. I don't think I've ever really been addicted to any particular game (just gaming in general) but that would be the closest thing.

I could see a looter-shooter being that thing for me but thankfully none have hit that level of addiction yet.

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bondfish

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I had spikes with DOTA 2 in the past nothing super crazy just non-stop play that also can add an unhealthy mindset blaming and yelling at teammates sometimes unfairly. Sometimes would be playing literally all day, it mostly happened unknowingly since playing 6-7 games a day sounds like nothing but when in reality is 5-7 hours of playing. I am pretty okay playing with it now, playing mostly a few games Friday and Saturday night, and maybe 1 or 2 games during the week. Only becomes addictive to me if I lose a lot of games in row and I looking for a win.

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Broshmosh

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#24  Edited By Broshmosh

I played so much Forza Horizon 4 in the span of two months that I actually developed Very Bad Tendonitis in my right index finger. It took about a year to dissipate in any meaningful way.

Gaming in general has been a bad addiction, because I continue to have tendonitis symptoms in both hands, but refuse to give up the hobby.

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lapsariangiraff

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I've certainly had big game benders that were clearly unhealthy in retrospect, but thankfully it's never gotten to the point of affecting my life. In middle school and high school, there would be some nights on summer vacation I would be up playing Borderlands or GTA IV all night until I saw the sun start to rise. (In the case of Borderlands, I was just hooked on the looter shooter grind, and in the case of GTA, I was honestly hooked on the story, so thankfully, there was a hard cap on that binge.) I also played all of RE4 in a sitting the week after my dad died.

To this day, if a game grabs me, I'll lose a day on the weekend to it. Having a job and active social/dating life is an incredibly useful guardrail from it going any further, and for what it's worth, I enjoy diving deep in a game, as long as I take something from it and have something to talk about or nourish me as a person. Still, there are some days, depending on the game, that I think, "man, that wasn't a super fulfilling way to spend a day," like some open world checklists and such.

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Broshmosh

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#29  Edited By Broshmosh

@beexyena: This is a very surface-level take, and does not factor in the subjective propensity we all have towards addiction: Some of us feel the pull stronger than others.

Additionally it doesn't take into account addictive mechanics that developers intentionally add to their games to keep people coming back. Gacha games for example are literal slot machines, complete with their own (legally required) odds.

Even a relatively well-monetised game like Legends of Runeterra is filled to the brim with flashy animations and bright colours to trigger the body's endorphin response and keep you playing. I took a break from LoR for two years because I could feel it getting its claws in, recently came back to do the single player stuff and have found no matter what I'm playing, my thoughts are "when can I squeeze in another go on Path of Champions?".

It's the endorphins, the addictive hormone that the game is designed to pump around my body, that is doing that, not necessarily the game - Slay The Spire is just as deep, but it doesn't hit the hormone response because it's not constantly rewarding me.

We can even take World of Warcraft, an example mentione multiple times above, and see that it isn't simply escapism that held people so close - MMOs existed beforehand, but didn't garner quite the same response. Part of that was WoW's approach to the world, that by making it fully traversible over-the-shoulder, it was much mroe immersive than say Ultima Online's isometric perspective.
Blizzard made WoW very bright and colourful, and gave most skills a flashy animation. Pair this with things like "DING" when you level up (the sound and image are enough to make my brain go YES PLEASE all these years since giving up WoW), and the constant feeling of progression, and you see it's not just escapism that plays a role here.

It's not incorrect to say that escapism has contributed to the widespread nature of videogame addiction, but it is also only one aspect of a much bigger problem.

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SethMode

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@broshmosh: I agree with everything you said but also, I think that it's a bot account haha

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Broshmosh

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@sethmode: I think it is too, but I don't want to assume... Maybe I'm just a mook!

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rorie

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I had to physically break my Diablo II CD to prevent myself from doing Mephisto runs for six hours a day during the worst of my time with that game!

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Edens_Heel

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It's difficult to know where to draw the line re: addiction vs. obsession, but the ones that have brought me the closest are Elden Ring (209 hours in a month and a half, which for me is absurd) and Thumper. With the latter, it didn't help that it is a game that feels literally made for me—I'm a horror-loving synaesthete and former rhythm section kid, so playing that game was like a sustained drug-free trip.

Coincidentally (or not), these are the only two games in recent memory that I have made a point of platinuming...