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My Teenage Video Game Obsession Wasn't 'Gaming Disorder'

I was a gay teen in the 1980s, hiding from a terrifying world in an arcade. The WHO's push to uniquely pathologize gaming won't help people like me.

Pinball machinesRichard Gray/ZUMA Press/NewscomBack in my teen years, I spent hours nearly every single afternoon hovering around the game machines at a local strip mall arcade within walking distance of my home down in Sanford, Florida. If I had nothing else to do, that's where I spent my time. If I had things to do, well, sometimes I played video games instead of doing those things. Virtually all my free time was absorbed in video games (oh, and Dungeons & Dragons as well).

I was also a deeply depressed, closeted gay teen at the darkest, cruelest point of the AIDS crisis, terrified that if anybody found out I'd get the crap beaten out of me, and if I ever acted on my urges I'd get sick and die.

It's not difficult to imagine why I might have wanted to distract myself in a candy-colored world of maze-dwelling Pac-people, bug-shaped invading space aliens, and pixelated spy games. I'm not sure if I would have survived my 1980s puberty without video games as an omnipresent distraction.

Under new draft guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO), I would be classified as having a "gaming disorder," which they are attempting to present as a standalone psychological addiction. There has been debate for years, decades even, among psychologists and pundits as to whether video game addiction is a real thing. On Monday, WHO took the next step to declare that it is.

This is a tremendously bad idea, designed to scapegoat technology and divert resources. People who have experience with video games—as well as those who understand the complex reasons why people's lives become consumed with them—should resist the push to separate game addiction into its own special category.

WHO is careful not to define the "disorder" as simply spending a ton of time playing video games. But its definition is still vague and bounded by a desire to fit the diagnosis into a substance abuse template. Here's their proposed definition, to be published next year, from a Q&A:

Gaming disorder is defined in the draft 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior ("digital-gaming" or "video-gaming") characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

That was definitely me throughout most of high school. One time, furious at me due to my tendency to prioritize video games over everything else, my dad actually destroyed a home gaming system (an Atari 2600) in front of me with a hammer. It didn't stop my gaming. Of course it didn't. The "addiction" wasn't caused by the existence of the technology. It was caused my desperate need for activities that took up enough mental real estate that I did not spend that time thinking about horrible I felt almost every waking hour of the day.

And that's one of the reasons many psychology experts have been reluctant to call video game addiction a separate disorder. From The New York Times reporting of WHO's new designation:

But some mental health professionals insist that gaming disorder is not a stand-alone medical condition. Rather, they see it as a symptom or a side effect of more familiar conditions, such as depression or anxiety.

"We don't know how to treat gaming disorder," said Nancy Petry, a psychology professor and addiction expert with the University of Connecticut. "It's such a new condition and phenomenon."

But is it really new? One person who founded an online support group for people trying to reduce their own gaming habits says there's "a massive tsunami coming that we're not prepared for."

To this recovered gaming addict, this all sounds exactly the same as it always does. The entirety of the nearly 40-year history of video game culture media coverage is full of this story repeating over and over and over again. People were saying the exact same thing about arcades. Then about home consoles. About online gaming. About every single development in video game entertainment. We should be drowning under this alleged "tsunami" by this point. But we're not.

Imagine if every time a new television show were a runaway hit, there were fearful news stories that we're increasingly addicted to television. This is what video game news coverage is like. The latest target is Fortnite, an online battle arena that has taken off massively over the past few months. Yes, people play the game for hours at a time. They used to play League of Legends for hours at a time. And before that, there was World of Warcraft. And before that, there was EverQuest. And you can follow that path all the way back to Space Invaders if you have a mind to. There's this constant myth that video games were some fringe little hobby that blew up as the internet blew up. The reality is that ever since video games were introduced as a consumer product in America, they've been enormously popular. The top video games make more millions more in revenue than the top movies.

The nature of video game panic cycles is eerily similar to the freakout about every single new drug trend that's going to destroy us all. Every single Halloween now there are fearmongering stories on the local news fretting that somebody's going to hand out marijuana edible candies to trick-or-treating tots, as though they didn't run the exact same story the previous year, and nothing of the sort happened.

The new twist on this story now is the money to be made from flogging video game addiction as its own thing. If this "gaming disorder" remains in this manual when it's published next year, public health agencies in many countries will be encouraged to recognize it. That's the point. WHO notes in its Q&A that its manual "is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose conditions and by researchers to categorize conditions." There are potential consequences of WHO formally classifying gaming disorder as a separate diagnosis.

One quote in the Times writeup gives away the game: A classification by WHO can be used as justification for redirecting spending. "Experts" on the condition often have a financial stake in having problem gaming formally recognized. They want health insurance companies to be required to cover treatment. They want money for more research.

"It's going to untie our hands in terms of treatment, in that we'll be able to treat patients and get reimbursed," said Dr. Petros Levounis, the chairman of the psychiatry department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. "We won't have to go dancing around the issue, calling it depression or anxiety or some other consequence of the issue but not the issue itself."

I'm telling the story of my own past because I think it's profoundly dangerous to look at the kind of behavior I exhibited as a teen this way. I certainly would not have been well served by therapist who believed I was in thrall to some kind of uniquely powerful or dangerous technology, or who thought addressing the underlying questions of why the addiction was happening counted as "dancing around the issue."

I'm still a hard-core gamer (I'm currently a closed beta tester for Magic: The Gathering Arena), but I don't suffer from "gaming disorder." I actually haven't played any games at all for the last few days—something that would have been unthinkable to me as a teen. What changed? The world changed. My life changed. I don't have to be afraid of being gay. I don't to have to live in fear of AIDS. I don't feel powerless about the world around me. I have control over my own life.

There was nothing about my relationship with games that needed to change. It was my relationship with everything else that needed fixing. There's an unhelpful bias in the way WHO describes gaming addiction in the assumption that "personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning" are inherently more rewarding than playing video games, and if they're not, than the problem lies within the gamer. That's not always the case, particularly for people who feel depressed, alone, and powerless, and that's exactly why it's really important to consider that gaming addiction is a symptom, not the cause. If people are turning to video games to "escape reality" as "experts" warn, isn't the actual most logical step to simply ask, "Is there something about our reality that needs fixing?"

Bonus link: Peter Suderman explained in Reason magazine in 2017 why we shouldn't panic about young men dropping out of the employment market to find personal fulfillment in playing video games.

Photo Credit: Richard Gray/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Just Say'n||

    Sorry to hear about your difficult adolescence. Good to hear that video games provided a respite and that it does get better.

    But, this, I cannot condone: "(oh, and Dungeons & Dragons as well)."

    NERDS!

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    JOCKS! :P

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Dungeons and Dragons helped me score high on the SAT. No one else knew the synonym for "berserker".

  • Just Say'n||

    Bonus Question:

    Do you know the alleged history behind the term "berserker"?

  • Citizen X||

    "Berserk" was Old Norse for "bear shirt," and a berserker was one who put on the bear shirt - i.e. fought like a ferocious bear. A shirt made out of actual bear hide may or may not have been involved, but psychedelic mushrooms probably were.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Or, in Crusty's case, takes off his shirt, to look and fight like a ferocious bear.

  • Citizen X||

    Crusty is a lover, not a fighter. And that is the root of most of his run-ins with the law.

  • Brandybuck||

    I always thought it was "bear blood". But shirt makes sense.

    I wonder if Tolkien's Beorn "Skin Changer" might be related to the old sense of the word. That Beorn was an old school Norse berserker. But that's too nerdy, so don't tell the WHO I said that.

  • ||

    I wonder if Tolkien's Beorn "Skin Changer" might be related to the old sense of the word.

    100% yes.

  • ||

    But before you call WHO, I got a PhD in medieval literature, so there is no hope for me.

  • Brandybuck||

    If it is was the medieval literature from non-European cultures then that's fine.

  • ||

    My understanding was that they fought naked, like bears. And on psychedelics, unlike bears.

    Fun trivia: Beowulf, or "Bee-wolf" is an Old English/Old Norse kenning for "bear."

  • ||

    Which then reminds me that Beolwulf stripping himself naked to fight Grendel in order to prove how much more bad-ass than the Danes he was was part of the argument for berserkers having fought naked.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Hihn?

  • Just Say'n||

    The judges said they will accept this response

  • Hugh Akston||

    I always suspected that people doing things I don't understand and don't approve of did so because of a mental illness.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Masturbating in private is not a mental illness, Hugh!

  • Citizen X||

    It can be, if you're doing it right.

  • Warren||

    You were right to suspect them of course. Unfortunately you can't put them all on medication. However you can medicate yourself and that's just as effective.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Virtually all my free time was absorbed in video games (oh, and Dungeons & Dragons as well).

    NERRRRRRRRDDDDDD!!111!!!!!!!!!!

  • Just Say'n||

    Cool original post, brah

  • Cynical Asshole||

  • damikesc||

    Hacking your genitals off because you "feel like a girl" (whatever that means. My wife doesn't know what it means to "feel like a woman" herself) --- not a mental disorder.

    Playing video games --- mental disorder.

    The WHO is a clown show.

  • Citizen X||

    Poor Mrs. damikesc.

  • damikesc||

    How would a dude know what being a woman "feels like"? I couldn't describe to a woman what being a man "feels like".

    The entire movement is batshit crazy.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    shorter damikesc: "I don't understand therefore they are crazy"

    Try talking, in good faith, to trans people. If, as you say, you don't understand, talk to people who do. Spending all your time with others who only confirm your bias will ensure that you never expand your understanding.

  • BYODB||

    So, what Marty is saying is that only people with gender dysphoria have received the ultimate truth sought by sages and philosophers throughout the ages: exact knowledge of what it feels like to be something other than yourself.

    Very interesting claim.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    only people with gender dysphoria have received the ultimate truth sought by sages and philosophers throughout the ages: exact knowledge of what it feels like to be something other than yourself.

    And not the claim I made. But if one wants to know what gender dysphoria feels like, seems like it would make more sense to listen to those who have had it, more than people who haven't.

  • damikesc||

    Ive known anorexics. Doesnt mean that they are more accurate.

  • JesseAz||

    Tall in good faith to an ableist. Those who believe they should be disabled and want to cut off limbs or paralyze themselves. They use the exact same terminology as the transgender saying they feel out of place or uncomfortable with a fully intact body. They just know that shouldn't have full capabilities physically. Yet the left isn't praising their courage and upholding their rights for intentionally harming themselves.

    Also I would respect the trans community more if they didn't so viciferously attack those who regret going through operations. the Atlantic just had an article describing both sides of transgenderism, those who regretted their choices and those who didn't, and are now being attacked for it. If the trans movement can only survives by allowing one story to be told, it isn't an honest movement.

  • damikesc||

    I talk to women.

    They dont know what "feeling like a woman"feels like

    A man absolutely does not.

    Why humor it? They claim they feel something they literally have zero clue about. If they said "I feel like a unicorn", itd be equally as legitimate.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Shania Twain knows.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I'm sorry. I was beaten to it by a matter of hours.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    My wife doesn't know what it means to "feel like a woman" herself

    She should ask Shania Twain, apparently she knows.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Or Bob Dylan. I'd ask Bob.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Or you could ask the actress that played him in the movie.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I am sorry you can't make your wife feel like a woman. Need some help?

  • damikesc||

    No. I've told her to make sandwiches more quickly and she'd get the feeling.

  • John||

    I think you need to get a woman before you start lecturing others on how they handle theirs there champ.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    John is the coolest
    Girls throw their panties at him
    King of ladies men

  • JesseAz||

    What a sexist, assuming women wear only panties. Bigot.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    The ones not wearing any panties don't have panties to throw, and only because they already threw them at John because he is so alpha and that's how we know Tony is a bottom.

  • Robert||

    My wife doesn't know what it means to "feel like a woman" herself


    Well, maybe we can help her. Know what I mean, know what I mean, heh?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    A classification by WHO can be used as justification for redirecting spending. "Experts" on the condition often have a financial stake in having problem gaming formally recognized. They want health insurance companies to be required to cover treatment. They want money for more research.

    As always, when in doubt, follow the money.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    "It's going to untie our hands in terms of treatment, in that we'll be able to treat patients and get reimbursed,"

    Well, as long as someone else's hands are tied.

  • John||

    You have no idea what it is like to live in someone else' head. Whether it be video games or drugs or porn or any other vice, it never seems to occur to people that maybe doing those things is the best way the person has to cope with the problems they have living in their own head. Life sucks for a lot of people and we should not be so quick to judge how people deal with getting through life.

  • Citizen X||

    This is applicable in every case always.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yeah, despite my friendly dig at John below, that was actually a pretty good comment.

  • John||

    If it was friendly, then I take back what I said. I can never tell sarcasm on here. I am hopeless. My apologies.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    In general, my digs are always in good jest. I told you before I like you. I just enjoy lampooning you. It's all in good fun. I may get emotional at times, but I don't harbor any bad feelings toward you.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Mercy" is a concept that is sincerely lacking in the modern world.

    Now, let's return to labeling one another as "Nazis", "cosmos", "assholes", and "idiots"

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    "You have no idea what it is like to live in someone else' head........But I do. In fact, I do it several times a day, when I explain to people on Internet message boards what they are really thinking. Now, I can teach you how, for the low price of $19.95, or for a date with your plus-size sister. Call now."

  • John||

    It is really kind of flattering to know how much I get under yours and Sparky's skin. I would feel bad about it, but you seem to deserve it and bring it on yourself. So, it is just amusing and a bit flattering to know I have that kind of power.

    I really seem to annoy the shit out of you. The more you get angry about it, the more obvious it is and the more I enjoy doing it.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    John, you amuse me with your complete lack of self-awareness. You are fun to lampoon, so thanks for that. You don't really rile me up or make me angry, so don't worry my darling.

  • John||

    Well sweetheart, I am always happy to make your day more pleasant. Someone needs to.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    John thinks he's all that
    He's sure he knows what you think
    No self awareness

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I always found it funny that I got criticized for playing 4 hours of video games a night, by people watching 4 hours of TV a night.

  • damikesc||

    No joke. I guess interactivity = insanity.

    I find gardening to be some boring bullshit. I wouldn't say you're insane if you garden.

  • John||

    I spent a lot of time when I was in my early teens running around getting into trouble, doing dangerous stupid shit and tearing things up. Had I had access to the video games they have today, I would have done a lot less of that and spent a lot more time harmlessly living out my fantasies on video games. I honestly can't see how anyone can claim that would have been a bad thing.

  • Zeb||

    Well, depends on how dangerous and stupid you were being. I think there is a lot to be said for exposing yourself to some degree of danger and pushing actual limits a bit in your youth. Video games can simulate some of that, but without real potential consequences and pain, I don't think you learn much.

    I have to say, it really annoys me how attached kids are to their video games and phones and whatnot. Don't you want to go do something real? But I'm not going to tell them they have some kind of disorder. I'm sure most of them will be fine. I've never really liked video games, so what do I know?

  • EscherEnigma||

    I have to say, it really annoys me how attached kids are to their video games and phones and whatnot.


    For the last few years (and again this year) me and the husband have been hosting our teenage nephews (one at a time. Can't let them outnumber us, y'know) for the summer.

    One of the things they love has been the video games, because me and the husband have a much more expansive collection then they do at home. That said, every one of them has loved the chance to go do "real stuff". So far one chose a Six Flags theme park, one chose a water park, and this year the nephew has us going to an anime convention.

    So I'm not sure it's that kids don't want to go "do something real". I think it's that with modern parenting they often aren't allowed to. Heck, the oldest kid (who was turning 13 at the time) was shocked that we allowed him to walk across the street to a gas station so he could buy an energy drink. I later found out (when he was 15) that his mother wouldn't let him, a high school student almost old enough to drive, walk a block and a half without supervision.

    So sure it's entirely anecdotal, but I don't think it's that kids don't want to do "real" things. I think it's that "real" things often aren't options.

  • ||

    So sure it's entirely anecdotal, but I don't think it's that kids don't want to do "real" things. I think it's that "real" things often aren't options.

    I think there's something to that. Even if you think that whole culture is stupid, you can't let your kid out because 1) there aren't any other kids out anyway, and 2) it's not unheard of that someone will call the cops if they see an unaccompanied minor outside.

    Whereas when you fire up the X-box, there're all your friends.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Not only that, but their friends are all over the country or maybe even the world. It's not a bad thing that they get to interact with people from other places.

  • Microaggressor||

    and this year the nephew has us going to an anime convention.

    I'm so sorry.

  • EscherEnigma||

    You kidding? Me and the hubby made Fallout Vault Dweller cosplays for ECCC this year. So going to another convention gives us another opportunity to go around explaining to folks what Vault 68's experiment was.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    One of the things they love has been the video games, because me and the husband have a much more expansive collection then they do at home.

    So you're contributing to their disorder.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Nah. We enforced rules about getting shit done before games, so they never met the "harm" necessary for it to be a disorder.

  • Zeb||

    I'm sure there is a lot of what you describe too. But I'm thinking of children of friends of mine who are encouraged to go outside and do stuff, but still seem to want to just play Minecraft or something. Maybe if they were allowed to play as much video games as they want they would get sick of it and go outside.

  • BYODB||


    So I'm not sure it's that kids don't want to go "do something real". I think it's that with modern parenting they often aren't allowed to. Heck, the oldest kid (who was turning 13 at the time) was shocked that we allowed him to walk across the street to a gas station so he could buy an energy drink. I later found out (when he was 15) that his mother wouldn't let him, a high school student almost old enough to drive, walk a block and a half without supervision.


    Absolutely agree there. One of my co-workers brought her 13 year old into work because 'she didn't trust him at home' until they found a sitter for the summer. That is insane to me. If the kid doesn't know better by 13, it's not the kids fault.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's odd, as I was baby-sitting other kids at a younger age than 13.

  • perlchpr||

    This.

    I am agog at the restrictions we've placed on kids these days. I walked 5 blocks, alone, to kindergarten. Well, not always alone, sometimes I walked with other kids, because fuckin' all of us walked to kindergarten.

    I rode my bicycle all over creation from the time I could ride, and no one thought anything of it. It's just insane that we don't let kids do anything these days.

  • Griffin3||

    Yes, but this latest craze of spending 4 hours watching somebody else play video games, ugh.

  • Robert||

    I'm starting to get criticism for not watching TV at all.

  • Longtobefree||

    Thank God that pinball was never considered an addiction. It was just considered a waste of time and money for the 'wrong kind of kids'.
    To me, that unrelated picture shows that there is a heaven.

    (yes, I'm old. Please keep working and paying onto Social Security for at least ten more years. Thank you)

  • ||

    Thank God that pinball was never considered an addiction.

    I think the veracity of this statement depends on whether you consider addiction as historically distinct from a vice:

    It even states that one poolroom operator was arrested on a charge of keeping a gambling device after paying off two plain-clothes state troopers for a "hit" on one of the machines.
  • Mickey Rat||

    People valued supple wrists back then

  • Longtobefree||

    True; but we did not discriminate against deaf, dumb, blind kids - - - -

  • perlchpr||

    It was caused my desperate need for activities that took up enough mental real estate that I did not spend that time thinking about horrible I felt almost every waking hour of the day.

    Dude. I hear you. I really, really do.

  • ||

    If people are turning to video games to "escape reality" as "experts" warn, isn't the actual most logical step to simply ask, "Is there something about our reality that needs fixing?"

    Uh... "No"?

  • Jerryskids||

    I don't see anything uniquely wrong with obsessively playing video games as a way to escape other problems in your life. Now pinball, on the other hand, pinball leads to hooliganism, hoodlumism, juvenile delinquency, disrespect for authority, smoking, drinking, hanging out with a bad crowd, listening to rock and/or roll music, pre-marital sex, slow dancing, card-playing, wise-cracking and ultimately a life of dissipation and dissolution. Anyone tempted to play pinball needs to seek counseling.

  • John||

    At least pinball isn't the devil game of pool.

  • NoVaNick||

    Before video games, adolescent boys were obsessed with another kind of joystick. But its a lot less embarrassing when your mom walks in on you while you are playing Mortal Combat

  • Rebel Scum||

    Hours of playing Total War only made/makes me sharper.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yes. I almost succeeded where Hannibal once failed, but then I got bogged down in northern Italy after making Egypt a vassal state.

  • Stosh Bodenski||

    One thing that exists in a lot of other mental health diagnoses is that you shouldn't use the diagnosis if the symptoms can be attributed to another primary disorder. Take for example this line for 6C4G.6 "Psychotic disorder induced by unknown or unspecified psychoactive substance"

    "The symptoms are not better explained by a primary mental disorder (e.g., Schizophrenia, a Mood disorder with psychotic symptoms), as might be the case if the psychotic symptoms preceded the onset of the use of the unknown or unspecified psychoactive substance, . . ." (It goes on for a while.)

    This type of language might not be in the draft ICD-11 yet for gaming disorder, but it wouldn't surprise me if it ended up in the final version. Sometimes the gaming is a primary problem in and of itself, and sometimes it's a secondary one. I see no issue with giving a name to it when it's a primary problem, but that's not the same as assuming it's the primary issue for everyone that does excessive gaming even in spite of having significant issues because of it. We recognize that for many other mental health diagnoses, so adding that language here would help it be more consistent anyways.

    Just my two cents.

  • EscherEnigma||

    There was nothing about my relationship with games that needed to change.


    Sure there was. Like any other hobby (be it drinking, mountain climbing, or competitive knitting), obsession with a hobby to the neglect of other obligations is not a healthy relationship with that hobby. Would changing your relationship with games (i.e., no longer using them to avoid reality) have revealed the underlying issues? Probably. And once discovered, those could be addressed too.

    But don't act like admittedly self-destructive behavior wasn't self-destructive just because you see (in retrospect) that it was a symptom rather then a cause. Oftentimes you have to treat the symptom just to discover the cause.

    And that's true regardless of the fate of this disorder.

  • Alcibiades||

    Can just about unterstand being a gaming addict.

    But golf addicts...man, that's some real weird sickness there.

  • DaveSs||

    Why video games?

    Because its cheap

    Especially if you focus on a single game which is easily doable when it comes to things like MMOs, MOBAs, RTS, and FPS.

  • DaveSs||

    During my gaming heyday (that is after I got out of school and before I was married) a typical day for me consisted of:

    Work for 8hrs
    Return home, fire up the game (at the time Asheron's Call) until time to sleep.
    On weekends it was game all day.
    Breaks of course for food, bathing and bathroom.

    My roommates/coworkers were also gamers, and since we usually were doing the same game there's your social activity with real people you actually know.

    No I didn't become a disgusting fat-body, even though all meals were fast food. Low activity means eat less.

    We all saved a lot of scratch by not going out and blowing money on things people under 25 are apparently supposed to blow money on.

  • NoVaNick||

    The WHO is now essentially a trade group for Big Pharma-think how much they can make by classifying video gaming as a mental disorder, and developing a drug to treat it. They can make a lot more off of this than they ever will from finding cures for diseases that mostly affect poor folks like malaria.

  • Alcibiades||

    The WHO is now essentially a trade group for Big Pharma-think how much they can make by classifying video gaming as a mental disorder, and developing a drug to treat it.

    with tax monies on said video games...

  • Tony||

    Always been very selective about my games. Same with TV but there's so much good out there that it's pretty much an addiction by any medical standard. But I've been around other humans, and it's overrated.

  • albo||

    I have gaming disorder, except it's for alcohol.

  • EscherEnigma||

    We need a World of Beer Pong MMO.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Some day, you will figure out how to get that worm out of the bottle.

  • Sevo||

    Yet one more reason to demolish the building and suggest all the bureaucrats find something useful to do.

  • Tony||

    So you can play Fallout 76 solo but there are no characters to interact with who aren't other real humans. Lame ass shit. Does anyone other than sociopaths actually enjoy online multiplayer, or is it just that the money suckage is all too tempting for the companies that make them? My mode of playing is meticulous, but I never have the time to become so expert that I want some more skillful Korean 5 year-old watching me play.

  • Brandybuck||

    ""there are no characters to interact with who aren't other real humans.""

    You say this as if it's a bad thing. People are freaking out that Fallout 76 isn't going to be Fallout 5, but it if were going to be Fallout 5 then they would have named it Fallout 5! Duh!

  • Tony||

    The word "spinoff" is comforting but they coulda spent that time making the game people actually want.

    Unless I'm the odd duck because I hate interacting with other humans while gaming unless they're sitting on my couch and we're smoking weed and the game is Mario Kart.

  • damikesc||

    We dont agree on much...but we agree on that. Playing idiots online is a chore.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yeah, so could have Interplay back with FO:BoS and Tactics. Sigh.

    FO76 was made by their new Austin office because the main Rockville office is focused on Starfield and TESVI.

  • damikesc||

    I hope its good. I never got into Fallout 4 at all. And it's odd because I loved 3 and New Vegas.

  • Sedona Vortex Hunter||

    only 'real' fallout games were 1 and 2, and some even question if 2 belongs. yes I know, new vegas, blah, blah,blah

    the problem is 2d holds up much better over time that bad 3d which is really hard to deal with now.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Eh, multiplayer "survival" games can be fun (I've also played Terraria, Starbound, and Don't Starve Together), though I prefer non-PvP servers myself (not that my negligent sister doesn't find ways. She once destroyed hours of work in Terraria because she didn't know how to hand a bomb off instead of using a bomb).

    My main concerns are that PvP won't be optional and that there wont' be the option to only play with friends. Dev assurances that griefing wont' be allowed haven't done much to assuage my concerns.

    That said, I'm also on the "It's Fallout 76, not Fallout 5" train. I remain hopeful there's a proper next entry in the series in the works.

  • Microaggressor||

    I just finished Fallout 4 and... eh. If they can make aiming with a mouse feel less like ass, maybe it would be fun. But I was happy it was over because of that.

    I tried all sorts of configurations and a mod to make it better, but the only thing that worked was a setting that unlocked the tick rate which had very weird effects on the dialog and lock picking; the timing was thrown off and the bobby pins would break immediately.

    So I know it's possible, they just need to make the graphics engine less shitty and more asynchronous.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Is your distaste just for Fallout 4 as a shooter, or do PC Shooters also earn your aiming ire?

    If you're fine with other PC Shooters, then it's probably that Fallout 4, being an RPG with a shooter-framework, sometimes makes you miss even when you aimed right because that's what the dice rolls say. Similarly, sometimes it lets you hit even though by all rights you missed because that's what the dice rolls say. The conclusion there would be "you were mistaken about what kind of game you were playing and thus had improper expectations".

    If you're equally displeased with other PC Shooters and prefer console shooters, then you should know that there are plenty of controllers that plug into a desktop. Every corded X-Box controller going back to the 360, for example. So if it's just a mouse/keyboard vs. controller thing, that may make you happier.

    Alternatively, it might just be that your computer couldn't handle Fallout 4 for some reason. /shrug

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Does anyone other than sociopaths actually enjoy online multiplayer, or is it just that the money suckage is all too tempting for the companies that make them?

    Putting aside the pathologizing of people who make different choices...

    Online multiplayer absolutely has its place, and as someone who wishes he had more time for video games (seeing that work is highly overrated) I enjoy both for very different reasons. The online multiplayer games are more like sports-- ie, online shooters to name the biggest 'type' of online multiplayer game. I can fire one up and play for fifteen or twenty minutes and then put it back down and go back to doing the mundane things that life demands like laundry, yardwork and housecleaning.

    But I also totally love the immersive solo RPG type games-- and I wish I had more time for them. It's an entirely different feel and experience. But unfortunately, to get the most out of them, you really need a minimum of an hour, often two or more to really reap the benefits of playing them.

  • damikesc||

    I don't like online MP, not because of the game itself, but the people tend to be asshats.

    Now the battle royale fad now and MOBA fad a few years ago I just cannot stand.

    I wish that more online games had a "casual" community, because I'm not hardcore enough to even want to deal with most of the online inbred shits.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Just don't play ranked mode and leave voice chat off and most of 'em are fine. With the advent of easy voice chat most folks won't bother resorting to typing to yell at other players.

  • Brandybuck||

    My dad used to yell at me for reading too much sci-fi. But sci-fi movies never bothered him. I think he just wanted me to go outdoors and get some sun...

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Favorite scifi?

  • Brandybuck||

    Was it in print? I read it. Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Niven, all the greats. Never got into the old hard sci-fi and was bored with much of the new wave. Today stuff is pretty much hit or miss. Lots of good stuff but outweighed by all the crap. But the classic era of the 50s through 70s was great.

  • Alcibiades||

    Yeah, thats depends on whose stuff he was reading, could be his dad's yelling was completely justified.

  • Brandybuck||

    Also, I know people who spend their entire leisure time passively vegetating in front of the television. How is playing video games worse than that? Sure I should go outside and talk to real people, but so should Grandma!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    How is playing video games worse than that?

    Video games is actually better than that.

  • Ron||

    In my youth before video was invented When I wasn't working or fishing I spent all my free time building model cars. by todays standards i guess thats an addiction

  • EscherEnigma||

    Depends.

    If I can recall the DSM correctly, it's not enough for you to spend a lot of time on a hobby, it has to negatively impact other parts of your life. So if you spend so much time on model cars that your boss fires you for missed days, your wife leaves you for a man that will rev her engine, and you forget to eat or bathe... then it's probably an addiction. If you maintain your job, your relationship with family members, and stay healthy, then it's just a hobby.

    That whole "harm" part is really important.

  • Echospinner||

    Spot on.

    Obsession is difficult to diagnose. The measure is function.

  • Warren||

    I'm not sure if I would have survived my 1980s puberty without video games as an omnipresent distraction.

    Sing it!

  • Ben of Houston||

    In WHO's defense.

    Their diagnosis is based on gaming's destructive effect on your life. That's the real issue, not the hours you play. Gambling addiction is diagnosed in the same way.

    Someone who gets a single lottery ticket each week doesn't have a problem, even if they never miss a drawing. Someone who gambles the rent because they can't help themselves, has a big problem.

    Similarly, it doesn't matter if you spend 30 hours a week in Hearthstone if you don't have any negative effects. If you can't keep a family or a job due to your gaming or if you spend your rent money on your Clash of Clan's guild, you have a major problem.

    In fact, from what I have seen, there is a huge overlap between gambling addiction and gaming addiction, to the point that I will say that they are the same thing.

  • EscherEnigma||

    In fact, from what I have seen, there is a huge overlap between gambling addiction and gaming addiction, to the point that I will say that they are the same thing.
    "Loot boxes" and similar mechanics don't help much.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • NoVaNick||

    Yes, there are some gamers who spend days in front of their X-box and go without sleep or food, and they are a very small minority. But knowing how public health operates, this is not good enough to declare a CRISIS. Now, anyone who games daily, even for an hour, will be considered "addicted". Notice how in the past few years they have changed the definition of binge drinking? Its the same thing. There is a lot of grant money that will dry up if they don't find a problem that needs constant funding and medical attention.

  • damikesc||

    They are trying to assign a disease to hobbies. Are there some people who play games way too much. Sure. The number is so small that to assign a specific diagnosis for it is pointless. It is OCD.

    I wonder why it was vital to remove trannyism as a disorder to avoid a "stigma" --- but doing that to gamers is just peachy. Do we need more PR or something?

  • perlchpr||

    Especially since there are almost certainly more gamers than there are transgendered people.

  • Zeb||

    Yes, people can get addicted to anything that gives pleasure and reward.

    So why does video game addiction need it's own separate diagnosis. Seems like that just turns something that is a personal problem for a small number of people into something that public health nannies can sink their claws into.

  • Microaggressor||

    My life for Aiur! ...I mean Ner'Zhul.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Vengeance for Zul'jin!

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Work, Work.

  • Ben of Houston||

    Zug Zug, y'all.

  • Robert||

    I'm addicted to everything that isn't work.

  • Fooseven||

    I just can't believe that in 2018, fucking baby boomers are still scrawling The Narrative. When do we get hard hitting stories on the bizarre, dangerous interest in meryl streep, white wine, and waterfront property?

  • John C. Randolph||

    my dad actually destroyed a home gaming system (an Atari 2600) in front of me with a hammer.

    Tell your dad I called him an asshole.

    -jcr

  • livefree||

    These people just want more money. That is what the whole disease theory of addiction is all about,more money for the recovery industry.

  • lulz farmer||

    Gaming: Mental illness

    Taking experimental sex hormones and cutting your dick off: Not mental illness.

    The Current Year.

  • TxJack 112||

    I am not gay, but like the author in the 1980s, spent a lot of time in arcades. Everyone did. If there were video games, there were usually kids around them. Starting in the late 1970s, I remember 7-11s having pinball machines which before then were only in bars. When owners of pinball machines realized kids would dump hundreds of quarters into them every week, they started showing up everywhere. When Space Invaders first appeared, the die was cast. When Defender and Pac-Man arrived the rest was as they say, history. There is no "video game disorder", just inattentive and permissive parents who look for reasons for their failures by blaming inanimate objects.

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