Video game addictions are a very real thing. It's recognized by therapists and consumers alike. It used to be a joke, “Oh, you're so addicted to that game. You need to get out into the world.” But the realization has set in for society as a whole that this can be a problem. Some say that if you have a tendency to become addicted, i.e. have an addictive personality, you should limit the amount of video games that you play on a daily basis to prevent becoming addicted. Even famous gaming personalities have given similar advice. Like Takahashi Toshiyuki (Takahashi Meijin) from Japan, who once said, “Don't play more than an hour of games each day. Go out and play. Work and study hard. When you do better, you'll enjoy the games more, too.”
Most people have no issues finding a balance between work, life, and gaming. I myself spend a lot of time playing and writing about video games for both of my jobs. Besides those two jobs, I also have a boyfriend I enjoy spending time with and a cat and dog to look after. Life is busy, so there's not really any opportunity to become addicted to video games. And yet, I do still find myself staying up until two or three in the morning or later to play games sometimes. I enjoy them just as much as anyone else, and sometimes sleep takes a bit of a nosedive as I scratch my itch. There are tons of other people with similar situations. Adults who have families, multiple jobs, pets, friends, and other hobbies still try to find time to game.
When does this need to find time cross over into something else entirely though? There's a fine line to walk, as we all know. Staying up until dawn breaks to play a new or favorite game is fine when it's occasional and doesn't start to affect your work life or your family. There are some, like one Japanese man who recently showed up in a television show called “Is It Okay If We Follow You Home?” that let gaming consume them. The man, a 43-year-old systems engineer who went by “Kaccho,” let cameramen into his home only to reveal an increasingly sad story.
Kaccho's apartment was filled with Dragon Quest memorabilia. He had everything from slippers to dishes and toys to photos with the game's developers. Dragon Quest was apparently all he could talk about with cameramen as he showed them the two characters he had created in the game. The plot thickened as Kaccho told them that one of the characters was modeled after his 14-year-old daughter who was no longer around after a divorce from his wife. He had attempted to get custody of his daughter, but lost. Kaccho didn't even have his wife's contact information anymore, and he hadn't tried alternative methods of getting in touch with her. All said and done, Kaccho told cameramen that he was lonely because his daughter was no longer with him, but that his life was more enjoyable without her and his wife.
It's a sad tale that unfortunately does happen from time to time. Video game addiction can take many forms. I recently talked a bit about men who were marrying video game characters through virtual reality. Whether they take the ceremony seriously remains to be seen; they could just be doing it for fun (I would). But there is still the possibility that some are doing it for very real reasons. That story, coupled with this one of a man who lost his wife and child due to video games, proves that video game addiction can be very real.
Of course, I'm not saying that everyone who picks up a controller or a mouse and keyboard is going to become addicted. That's just silly. Just because a few in the crowd have trouble managing their addictions doesn't mean the rest of the audience does. It's still an important subject to talk about since it is possible to recognize the signs. While video game worlds are wide and wonderful, there is still our own beautiful world to enjoy. We just need to find that happy balance between the two.