Staying in my room all day
I have devoted my life to working with games, I’ve worked as a video game developer for several years, and earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Game Design. Yet while I was living at home with my parents, my father, with good intentions, expressed concern when one weekend he saw me spend all three days in my room playing video games.
While this wasn’t a rare occurrence, this occasion in particular I had become ill during the week and was feeling miserable. I didn’t feel like rallying to go out to hangout with my friends; I simply wanted to relax, take my mind off being sick, and sleep as much as possible.
Explaining the condition I was in put my father’s mind at ease; but it surprised me that, knowing that I was a professional video game developer and ludologist, my father would still see binging on video games as a troubling pattern of behavior.
I had sincerely done everything I could to illustrate that video games were my passion; to play, to study, to build, and to share, and still it was not enough to counter the stigma, that “playing video games is bad for you.”
My father is a wonderfully supportive man and open to having his opinions changed when new information presents itself, but his behavior highlighted that parents, partners, and / or peers may not be so understanding. That their judgments of gamers could have a negative impact, not just gamers who were actually in trouble, but gamers simply looking to enjoy their favorite pastime as well.
I believe it is important to understand what gamers go through when they binge, the triggers that cause this behavior, that range from depression under social conditions to excitement for an anticipated new game, from networking with friends to a desire for single player escapism, and that the conditions of the player’s life impacts their behavior far more than the games they play.
In this 5 part series I will be exploring what players go through when they binge, using examples from my life and those of my gaming friends. I will explore the behavior of abusing gaming as a form of escapism, and the parallels compulsive gaming has to addiction. Likewise, I will provide analysis on the use of binge gaming as a safe space for players when the rest of their world leaves them feeling trapped or oppressed. I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please do so in the comments below, or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.