Avid Gamer vs. Gaming Addict

Image credit: Screenshot mind-diagnostics.org

As I’m almost two years into my journey to embrace my long lost gamer girl self, I wonder is this behavior healthy? I stumbled across a blog post regarding gaming addiction and if I’m honest with myself, I fit *some* of the criteria. Not all of it. Does make me wonder though…are jokes I make about games being like heroin for me a little more true than I thought?

I do spend an inordinate amount of time gaming. Some of it’s for pleasure and some of it’s so I have something to write about here. I don’t, however, allow games to disrupt my interpersonal relationships. I spend time with my son. I make time for friends. And when I had a SO, gaming was part of our relationship so I might’ve gotten off easy on that account.

So wherein does the boundary lie between an avid gamer vs. a gaming addict? Pardon me, a person with Gaming Disorder. Heaven forbid we use direct language these days. If it’s too harshly named no one will cop to having it, right? Sound logic…poor overall societal outcome. Focus, Cindy.

When has someone careened over the cliff of enthusiast into the chasm of WTF-dude-you-spent-how-much-on-your-MMO-gear? Apparently, when the gaming starts to alter your behavior and your sense of morality. Basically, if you regularly steal, cheat, lie, or shirk responsibility to game, then you’ve got GD.

Image credit: Screenshot mind-diagnostics.org

Just to be sure this was the case, I took a pop-psych quiz. I mean, internet quizzes are law, aren’t they? I scored a measley 3 out of 11, mostly because I use games to escape reality but I’m not gonna make a withdrawal from my kid’s savings account to buy one. Makes me feel as though I’m not enough of a sweat. And in what world is 3 out of 11 moderate risk? Oh, the world trying to make us all feel as though there’s something wrong with us.

I do feel as addictions go it’s not as bad as it could be. I doubt a gamer under the influence ever got behind the wheel of a car and killed a family on a Sunday drive, at least not IRL. You don’t see gamer girls holding signs that read: Will f@*k for RDO$. I promise, I’m not making light of Gaming Disorder. I’m just saying that given the choice between crack and the resulting behavior and video games, I’ll take the games every day and twice on Sunday. I mean let’s not be so dismissive of someone going through actual physical withdrawal from heroin or cocaine or nicotine.

Can gaming have an adverse affect on your relationships? Sure, if you allow it to. Okay, I gotta say this because I’ve been holding it in for two days now and I didn’t address it on Twitter because I’m not that live-out-loud kinda person. But I saw a tweet from a young woman that said (and I’m paraphrasing) that a woman was right to break up with her gamer BF because he engaged in gamer behavior. Let me see if I remember the gist: She went to her job and you were on that game, she came home and you were on that game. She ate alone and slept alone and woke up alone.

Okay, two things to say about that. One, did you ever think of joining him on that game? I bet he’d be thrilled to play with you. If I’m wrong, I’ll eat my left shoe. And two, if his gaming is that prolific, it had to be a pre-existing condition. You didn’t notice it before you moved in, sweetheart? Just sayin’.

It’s not so terribly different than being in a relationship with an artist or a writer. An artist will ignore you while they paint or sculpt. A writer won’t welcome you when you interrupt their flow, they’ll most likely bite your head off. But there is no Art Disorder or Creative Writing Disorder. Those are seen as art forms so no questions asked. I’m here to tell you gaming can be an art form. I’ve experienced it and I’ve witnessed it.

Can you overdo anything? Yes, yes, you can. Is the fantasy world more appealing than the real one. Well, duh. Is GD real? Probably, but then again maybe not, as we rush to WebMD to self-diagnose. As much as you think there’s something wrong with you, the fact is: Life. Is. Hard…and it’s a pass or fail test. Do what you gotta do to get through the day 😉