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NEW VIDEO: I Quit MMOs and THIS Happened

Life-long gamer reconsidering his hobby.


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Hey Everyone,

My name is Travis. I'm 26 and live in California. I discovered the site earlier this week and it has brought me to the realization that my gaming is having a negative impact on my life.
I guess it had never occured to me before because it was never really obvious, in any severe way. I mean, I've always been outwardly successful - got good grades, went to a good college, got a good job, etc. But I have struggled socially in some ways, and I think my gaming was a way of dealing with that.

I started gaming from a very young age. Young enough that I remember renting NES games from Blockbuster when I was a kid, which I think was probably before I even started kindergarten. Anyway, it's been a long time. I've been gaming my entire life. Growing up I had NES, Genesis, N64, PS2, Gamecube, Dreamcast, Wii, handheld games, PC games, you name it, I played it.

I played a lot. Looking back now, I'm starting to realize that it was probably a coping mechanism of a sort. I've always been a little shy and socially anxious, but this was especially true of me when I was a kid. Thing is, it's much easier to sit in your room alone and play video games than go out and interact with people, to risk judgement and experience social anxiety, to feel uncomfortable. So a lot of times, that's what I did.

In college, I had a friend who gamed, but she decided to quit during college so that she could focus on her classes. At the time part of me found that to be a bit silly, but I think another part of me respected that and maybe even followed suit. While I did game in college, I played the fewest games by far during this period of my life compared to any other. During this period I also decided to sell all of my console gaming stuff, and became purely a PC gamer.

College was my most socially successful period of life, and I gamed the least during it. After college I've lost touch with a lot of my friends (mostly due to distance) and I haven't done that great of a job of making new ones. I have made some, but eventually I'll drift away. I don't know why, exactly. In the absence of a healthy social life, I have returned to my pre-college levels of gaming, more or less. I have a girlfriend, and I see my family once in a while, but I don't see friends much. And one way to fill that time is gaming. It's a lot easier to sit in my apartment and play games than go out and interact with people, to risk judgement and experience social anxiety, to feel uncomfortable. So a lot of times, that's what I do, still. I guess gaming is a distraction, so I don't have to pay attention and actually deal with my loneliness.

Something else worth mentioning which isn't often discussed, is that due to long PC gaming sessions I developed a repetitive strain injury that has led to nerve issues in my arms and hands :(. I've recovered a lot, but gaming can have other effects over time. Sitting for long periods at computer desks isn't physically healthy, either.

About 9 months ago I joined r/nofap and gave up porn. I'm doing pretty good with it. This was the first 'addiction' that I recognized in my self. I was never a super heavy porn user. It never directly impacted my life or took away from things that were important. Nonetheless, there are ways that I've realized it had a negative impact on me. I don't think porn is evil or anything, but it can be subtly detrimenta, and much worse. I think that a similar thing might be going on with gaming. You might not see me and think I'm a video game addict, because I don't usually play for marathon sessions on a regular basis. But sometimes I do play for long periods. And in those periods I realize how withdrawn and isolated I have become as a result of playing a game. And that makes me pretty uncomfortable. I know there are better ways to live, and I'm questioning for the first time if it's worth it. Thing is, sometimes playing games just feels really good. Kind of like porn. In fact, to me, they feel pretty similar - which could be because they work on the grain in a similar addictive way. I know that sounds strange, but it makes a kind of sense to me. Both are artificial superstimuli that mess with our dopamine in a way that just isn't really natural. We didn't evolve to see what is on display in porn tube sites, or to play MMORPGs and other games which are intentionally designed to be addictive.

I haven't decided to give up games yet, but this website has helped me realize the negative influence they may be having in my life. I am thinking of taking a hiatus, though. One game I might keep playing is Hearthstone, because my girlfriend plays it, and there are meetup groups surrounding it - if it has a prosocial role in my life, then I think it's probably OK? Time will tell.
Thanks for creating this community! I think it may help me to reach out and have this chance to communicate with you all, to hear about your experiences.

- Travis

Edited by kortheo
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Wookie - yeah, I think that's right. I definitely feel guilty if I played games when other parts of my life weren't in order - or at least those parts of my life that were 'obligations'. Things that were less obligations - like my social life - could be a mess, and often has been, and I would game guiltlessly and not even make the connection.

My case might not be as extreme, at least on paper, as others, but I definitely feel how gaming has affected me negatively.

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