Can gaming ruin lives?

As with any hobby in life, there can come a time where it starts to have a drastic impact on reality. The question that must then be asked is, would you know if your time spent gaming was ruining your life? Many gamers today consider themselves to be "Hardcore", usually meaning they spend upwards of 5 hours a day playing video-games. Other than the obvious health risks of sitting on your backside for that long, many in the industry are warning that the next generation of adults will have more knowledge of virtual worlds than the real world.

Depressed Gamer

I have been playing video games for over 15 years; I've spent time on everything from the Spectrum to the PS3. It was only the last couple of years, after I started to get interested in MMORPG's, that I felt my gaming had gone beyond a hobby, to the "Hardcore" stage. I suppose it depends on your current social activities as to whether gaming can become a problem.

Younger Gamers Less Susceptible

Younger gamers that spend the majority of time at school quite often only play for a couple of hours a night. The older audiences often work and do the same after a hard shift, however there are quite a large number of people that are able to dedicate 10+ hours daily to their favorite gaming titles. I believe this is when it really starts to become a problem, a big problem.

I have known people to lose their entire family over gaming, wasting numerous hours every day increasing the abilities and reputation of their virtual version of themselves, and as a result they end up losing abilities in real life and the reputation among their friends and family. How long do you think your partner or family would wait if you never had any time for them over gaming? Many countries see gaming as an addiction and to be honest, I fully understand why.

The Appeal of Virtual Worlds

Spend your time in a virtual world where it doesn't take 20 years to achieve something, you have pre-determined goals and achievements to aim for and you get to do it all in beautifully rendered imaginary landscapes. When you compare that to the current social climate and total lack of humanity we see every day, I can fully understand why a virtual world can be more appealing than the one we live in.

General people in society have always mocked gamers, usually associating them with geeks or other non-social butterflies, but I believe it is humanity itself that is to blame for the current generation spending so much time in a virtual setting. Society is in a state where you can get robbed in broad daylight for something as silly as a phone, we're fighting wars and killing people with a hidden agenda, natural disasters are destroying 1000s of homes; if you asked all the people involved if they would like a magic wand to fix it all, I'd dare say 100% of them would take it. For a lot of gamers, this is what gaming is about, the escape from the general grind of reality, but how far can this go before it becomes unhealthy?

So what do you think? Has gaming reached such a life-like level that people are wasting years in virtual worlds? Do you respect what people want to do with their spare time or do you attempt to help a friend that is slipping into the 10 hour daily grind on World of Warcraft? I don't think we will see the impact of the current generation for years to come but one thing is sure, the adults of tomorrow prefer a virtual world over that of the one outside their window.

Article by - Blaine Smith

Related Articles


I see your point

I see myself playing alot more lately, and if i go outside, my eyes will hurt really bad. Im not really obsesed, in fact, i have not been on an mmorpg for a few weeks, and everytime i do go on, i only really spend a few minuets.but what about on weekends, when im bored, yes, i sometimes go on games for hours & hours, and find myself having to do stuff on monday that i completley forgot like school work,chores,ect.So latley, I have been playing more and more and trying to stop it, it is seriously like a cigarette addiction. My advice: balance your games with your life, even if your real life sucks, ITS STILL YOUR REAL LIFE, life is not always easy, and it may never be easy, but you still have familly(wether they like you or not), freinds(wether you have them or not), and a life to fulfill for yourself.

Gaming Addiction

Good article. I think younger gamers are definitely at less risk, as they have stronger social circles, and (hopefully) parents guiding them. Once you become an adult and enter the workforce, and no longer have that social circle or parental guidance around you, you can get overly caught up in gaming. For people who maybe aren't all that social anyways, I actually don't think it's that big a deal. In fact them socializing on a MMO would be preferable to them just reading books or watching T.V all day. Yes it would be better to have a real social life, but if someone doesn't want that, then so be it; game away. It's the people who get caught up and addicted in gaming that had active social lives, but can't break out of that gaming addiction that are the real concern. People that lose their jobs and lose everything they built up their whole lives just for the spoils of a virtual world. It's those cases you have to look at and say, wow, online gaming can be extremely dangerous. I think this is just the way society is progressing though. We're going to increasingly become more and more connected through devices, and less and less connected in-person.

You Are Right

I agree with you on every point, I used to be a "hardcore" gamer myself, 22 now but when I look back to 4-5 years ago when I first started playing MMORPG I tell myself I wish I didn't... To be honest I used to sit down and play for 20hrs if not more, back then I didn't realise because I was having fun but now I regret playing 20hrs+ a day my day was to come home and play play play, Right now I am studying "Gaming Culture" I think with myself am I making a mistake again? seems like more we go towards the future the hobby or love for gaming is dropping with more people realising the long term effects on gaming. You know your head can only take certain amount of gaming before you get bored of it and I see that for almost everyone unless your life or job is based on Gaming, which you see most of them uploading on youtube or working for a game company. Will I'm just trying to say as a person who used to be on games 24/7 to now who only plays with his friends 5-6 hours a week life changes it has ups and downs and there is no addiction unless you tell yourself, everyone knows the difference between real life and a game, As I said I'm taking a path in gaming industry and hope to make a name for myself but you need to know the limit even if you have nothing to do 4hours a day should be lot for playing game, This comes from a old hardcore gamer who realised playing less gives you more time to see around you and gives you much better future. What ever you do make sure you know your limit

I totally agree with this.

I totally agree with this. Gaming IS addicting. not that i, myself, have become addicted but whenever i see our youth waste so much time on a game with NOTHING to gain, i almost pity them. What will become of them later on in life when they have to face reality, which everyone eventually has to do. Are they going to meet their girlfriend online? are they going to get ready for college by playing non-stop? can they pay the rent if they have certain "achievements"? Gaming is for when you have free time, not ALL THE TIME! It's a sickness. It really is. I know someone who spends all their time playing, but in the real world has no social standing, nothing to offer, and no real skills. Just a empty shell waiting to be entertained with no effort from themselves. I pity them...


There are Quakelive profiles that you can look at where players play weekends and weekdays for 8 hours a day. Seeing close to 40 individual FFA games played in a single sitting for a whole working day, or day off, is an indication of obsessive behaviour. The desire to win, be the best, and have it seen by the world (their world). There is no addiction here. It is an obsession to be the best and have it shown back to you, and for everyone to see it. Numbers proving its authenticity. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be that. You are simply trying to prove yourself and believing you can do it. It's when you can't achieve it, know that you can't and will yourself to do it in the believe that you are indeed special, where the damage starts to build up.

I admit I was hooked

When I went unemployed 6 years ago I was a Quake 3 addict. I didn't start that way but after a few weeks of no luck finding a job I had abandoned all hope and submerged myself in whiskey and all day and night in the game. My quest to become the best 56ker was on. It was going fairly well till the bills weren't getting paid and well I had spent all my savings.