For personal reasons, I won't share my name or any sensitive information. Please just refer to me by my username, "bulldog-22". I'm 21 years old and have been gaming for most of my life. Gaming started as a hobby that allowed me to do the following: 1) challenge myself, 2) build on relationships with family and friends, 3) escape from difficult/traumatic situations in my life.
My favorite genres of games were first-person shooters, third-person shooters, role-playing games (RPG's), and fighting games. I'm using the past tense because I want gaming to be just that: a thing of the past.
The first video game I remember playing was at a family friend's house. Their son owned a copy of Medal of Honor: European Assault and I really enjoyed it. I was both young and totally unexperienced when I touched this game, however, I was fascinated by the challenge. The game allowed me to explore the unknown, learn from my mistakes, respawn at a checkpoint, and attempt to complete an objective with my newfound knowledge. Sure, there were other activities that were like it, but this was something I was happy to do! No one placed any expectations on me. No one mocked me for my failures. Gaming gave me the opportunity to overcome difficult obstacles in a controlled environment where I could see myself improve.
I wasn't the only person who felt like that either. My siblings and friends did too. Some of my favorite childhood memories involved playing a new game with loved ones. We could compete against each other, help each other, and laugh with each other. Gaming was just one of those things that can foster a sense of community. Plus, gaming helped me have fun despite my environmental circumstances. My parents didn't let me hang out with friends as a kid unless it involved school. I also happen to be from a relatively cold place, which makes playing outside difficult. So why wouldn't I play video games? I could interact with my buddies whether they were in the room with me or not.
Finally, I used gaming to escape the difficulties of life. Money was too tight for me to have private trumpet lessons? I could get that achievement and still feel accomplished. School was stressing me out? I could blow off steam by laughing with friends online. Parents were having a loud argument? I could isolate myself in a virtual world that made me forget all about my home environment. I don't believe gaming is inherently bad. Like anything else, it's a hobby that people enjoy. The issue is that gaming is not healthy for me. It took away interactions with real people, quality sleep, lots of money, and a true sense of peace. Even as a 21-year old college student, I still find myself enthralled in gaming despite not having time to physically play. I watch countless YouTube videos on my favorite games because it's the closest thing I have to playing them myself.
I joined the Respawn Program to quit gaming, make time for what really matters to me, and face life head on. I pray that this program will break my attachment to gaming so that I can pour time in my faith, my studies, my career, my relationships, and my health. Whatever your reasons are joining this forum, I pray that you can escape the grip of gaming too.