Can Video Games Take Over Your Life?

The theory of video game addiction has not fully been scientifically proven.  Even though we know video game addiction is real, it has not been proven as a recognized diagnosed disorder.  The creation of the first video game is attributed to William Higinbotham, an American physicist and nuclear scientist. In 1958, Higinbotham developed a simple tennis simulation game called “Tennis for Two.” It was created as an interactive exhibit for visitors to the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.  Little did Higinbotham know that he started a movement that would change history!  Since 1958 millions of games have been invented.  Slowly getting better in strategy, graphics, and skill testing ability.  “Tennis for Two” was displayed on an oscilloscope screen, and players could use an analog controller to move a small white dot (the tennis ball) across the screen and “hit” it back and forth over a net, which was represented by a straight line. While rudimentary by today’s standards, this interactive display is often considered one of the earliest examples of a video game. Now you see today games are played on consoles like, Play Station, Xbox, Nintendo, and the PC.

            Discussing video game addiction is very controversial.  Some people you could say get very addicted to them and others use them as an enjoyable activity during their free time.  As we know video games are for all ages so anyone can get addicted.  With the increasing complexity of video games, they have become more appealing, using the newest technology, and more likely to be taken right off the store’s shelves.  Some studies show that a small percentage of gamers would skip going out to be with friends, even watch TV, just to play a video game they just bought.

            There have been many cases of people murdering and injuring others over video games.  For instance, back in 2005, a man by the name of Qui Chengwei stabbed one of his friends until he died.  The reason for this was caused by the friend selling one of Chengwei’s virtual swords on eBay for 7,200 yuan, 738 dollars in America.  The man was not given a death sentence, but he was awarded a sentence of life imprisonment.  So instead of killing online, he was killing offline too. So is this enough evidence that video games can take over your life? Yes, but that does not mean it will be for all gamers. 

Any addiction can be a bad thing.  Whether it be drug addiction, alcohol, food, TV, and even video games.  You can take any activity and make it an addiction.  If you have been drinking coffee every morning for the past twenty years, you have an addiction.  Like Chengwei’s story, things like this have occurred since the beginning of video games.  But the crazy ones like this all started in 1993 when the first adventure game with multiplayer experience.  MUDs, invented by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle, stood for Multi-user dungeons.  The game’s plot made it very addicting and made players want to come back and defeat dungeons and bosses.  Most games now are based on the same idea as the very first games but are based on different times and different worlds.  That’s it! Video games are addictive, so you think. 

            The high intensity of thinking and processing in video games is very healthy for the brain.  “Your mother was wrong.  Video games aren’t bad for you.  They’re making your life better.” Says Drew Guarini.  Many academic studies show that playing video games could lead to psychological, mental, and even physical advantages.  Drew also says “Mario is like steroids for your brain!”  What he means is that whenever you begin to play these games you develop motor skills in the hands and hand-to-eye coordination.  Along with that, German researchers asked a few adults to play a game, Super Mario 64, for a short period in a matter of two months.  After doing this the researchers took an MRI of their brains.  The amount of gaming and processing created a rise in the gray matter of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, and the cerebrum.  It also created memory formation, planning, and fine motor skills.

            After all of this, we as a society still don’t know whether it is a major problem or not.  We know that it is not a recognized diagnosed disorder but some people can get addicted and go crazy over certain things.  People have a choice to let something control them and the ones like Qui Chengwei let it control them.  The idea of video games taking over our lives is still not proven and one day it will be fully researched.  Video games can be either a healthy or unhealthy addiction just like any other addiction.


Things To Consider

Excessive Time Consumption: Individuals who are addicted to video games may spend excessive amounts of time playing, often to the detriment of other important activities, such as work, school, social interactions, and self-care.

Neglecting Responsibilities: Gaming addiction can lead to neglect of responsibilities, such as job or academic performance, household chores, and personal obligations.

Social Isolation: Some individuals who are heavily involved in gaming may withdraw from real-life social interactions, preferring to spend time in the virtual worlds of games.

Physical Health Issues: Excessive gaming can lead to physical health problems, such as sleep disturbances, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle, which can contribute to obesity and other health issues.

Emotional and Psychological Effects: Gaming addiction can have emotional and psychological consequences, including increased stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also lead to mood swings and irritability when not gaming.

Financial Consequences: People who spend excessively on in-game purchases or subscription services can experience financial difficulties due to their gaming habits.

Strained Relationships: Gaming addiction can strain relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners, as those addicted may prioritize gaming over spending time with loved ones.

(S1) “Video Game Addiction.” – Internet Gaming Addiction. CRC Health Group, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

(S2) Kudler, Amanda, AK. “Timeline: Video Games.” Infoplease. Infoplease, 2000. Web. 30 Mar. 2016

(S3) Guarini, Drew. “9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You.” The Huffington Post., 7 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

(S4) Vitelli, Romeo, RV. “Are Video Games Addictive?” Psychology Today. Psychologytoday, 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

(S5) Bartle, Richard. “Summary MUD History.” MUD History, Who Invented MUD’s, How MUD’s Were Invented. Living Internet, 2015. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.