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Guest Michael from Germany

Hello everyone

 

The name is Michael. I am a guy from Germany who has been addicted to video games for 25 years as well as to other unnecessary stuff. One of them will be also mentioned as it follows a similar phenomenon as does video game addiction and the global ignorance that such a thing actually exists.

I have been playing video games for so long. At first it was just another hobby but turned quick into an opportunity to not meet anyone or to avoid confrontation with my self. You can't meet someone who doesn't exist literally. So was I. Simply not here. I wish I was on Mars to tell something vital and to help science a little bit. But no. I was virtually not here at all.

Playing video games helped me to mask another underlying problem  One that has the same potential to transform into an addiction and also gets ignored on a global scale. I may call it by its name. Porn. Yeah just this. And as with video game addiction it had to start with courageous people coming out and to have people with similar experience to tell their real stories. What a fight. Yet it still gets ignored by a wide audience if not even laughed off as just a commodity for people who can not handle themselves.

Things are so common in our modern societies. And when it gets seriously mentioned you will meet your average 'Joker' who shares his 'global' wisdom' with anyone when saying things like:

"Food can be addictive."

"You can be an addict to water."

"You may sleep because you are addicted to it. Stop sleeping!"

Haven't we heard all of this rubbish before? I bet many of us here did have to deal with those people of sheer ignorance.

But is it fair when I compare video game addiction to porn addiction? Maybe. There is but one point at which video games are no threat. There are no innocent people from out of poor life conditions forced to help to further develop a dirty business. With video games there are no other people being abused. That is the good point about it.

But right after this we face similar traits and situations. One has to figure it out on his own at first to than keep looking behind the curtain and figure all the reasons to stop going any deeper into it.

 

Video game addiction can be easily dismissed as non-existing when we read the overall 'objective' consensus.

Reading books, listening to music or watching movies can be just as addictive the consensus says. Right? I don't think so.

I will explain some of the major differences between video games and the 'classic three' (books, movies and music).

Video games often push all the things you find there at once. A narrative (story), visual appealing material and loads of music too. Great at first sight. Of course. All the good things are attracting you. What's more is that video games let you take over the role of the protagonists unlike in a movie or a novel where you simply follow that is given. Well. Even in a video game you simply follow the script after all. You only can do so much as the game can give you the freedom to do. As with movies and books you also simply follow the story. Or like in classic games you simply score (arcades).

I have been following a thread on reddit about how the narrative of a video game does compare to that given in a book. It went so far that people claimed the stories of video games are at least on par of even better. Yet I disagree absolutely.

When you read a book you care a lot about how the story is presented. How is the main narrative presented and how the dialogues are structured. You pay attention to detail right there because that is what you get. The pure text. And an author has to be really good to make the story so you can draw pictures (imagining) while following it in a way that it makes you feel for the protagonist or respective for the characters involved. In a video game I almost never felt that. The narrative almost feels like second nature. In a book it is of highest priority to have a story being told to keep you interested. There are no visuals or pieces of music to distract you otherwise, In a video game you can pull off all the 'magic' to mask a not so well executed story. After all gameplay is what still matters most. Or did I miss out on something while I've been absent from video games? And this is what sets books apart from video games. Your personal involvement. You can put a book aside when you are tired and want some rest. You can easily put the book aside when you have to go to a place to keep yourself healthy and clean ;)

But with video games I sometimes felt like I should not let go right at the moment and keep some more before paying attention to my physical needs.

 

To compare video games to music is way off for my anyway. Music simply helps me to create an atmosphere I like or need at a specific moment without the rush of pushing buttons to reach from one music piece to another. Sure I have to push a button on my remote control when I want to change the title. But I chose my music mostly so I can let the album roll from start to finish without even thinking about the remote control once. Listening to music is simply about going easy. Video games are not meant to be right there. The personal involvement automatically creates an atmosphere that prepares me for anything else but a relaxing atmosphere. If I don't want to be involved at all what would be the point in playing video games? None!

 

And how do fare video games compared to movies? Also not so well if one asks me. Watching a movie is also about relaxing. To let go and simply enjoy a story for a short time. Now some may complain that narratives in video games have improved and may surpass those in movies. I still disagree despite the many useless movies are being given today. I think the only time when video games had narratives as entertaining as such in movies were in the 80s and 90s to a certain degree with point-and-click-adventures. But that was only a brief moment in the history of video games anyway. Yet you sometimes have had a hard time to figure out the nest step to ever come across the next part of the story. Monkey Island for an example went incredible thick with each following sequel making the riddles more ridiculous. Today I still remember Monkey Island (the very first in that serious) as if I just finished it yesterday. How many hours did I spent until I figured out everything including the stuff I did not need to do at all to safe some gaming time. Another example was Another World. You really played the story. Every scene told a part of the journey of a guy who got in a foreign world on accident. But games like those were rare and are kinda absent today. Video games have been interesting on their own once. I admit it.

But as of today it seems like memory lane from out of another dimension or simply a dream that never was real. That however is not much of a deal though. I would not dare going through the same again. Been there done that. That is it.

Today's video games have not improved in telling their stories. Not at all. I have been following the development of this industry from the days of the Atari 2600 until the generation of PS3/XBOX360/Wii. Enough so far.

Metroid Prime serious was interesting in the way it unfolded its plot in front of you. While playing a silent protagonist you could scan log book entries and get the picture to what was going on. This really created an atmosphere on its own too. But than how many of that kind of games we got so far? Not much. There is potential. But you can only tickle so much out of it until the novelty wears off.

What furthermore troubles the plot in video games is the constant interaction it requires. Metroid Other M gave you the option to watch the thing like a movie once you finished it one time. Was also kinda nice. Again you don't get this in other games. Well Final Fantasy VIII is worth a mention too. It let the player decide whether to go for full on gameplay style and upgrade every character or to simply following the plot and not pushing the player too much. Interesting concept for once.

And here comes the trouble. When you play a video game you want both, the action and the story. And here it falls flat. A movie can shoot all the action into your face and you can simply digest it and enjoy it. A video game still needs a part of your attention for the gameplay stuff going on. That is why a narrative can nev3er be as good as that of a movie or a book. All those moments of interruption because you have to make it from A to B before the plot continues is what makes it inferior. Plus that most plots aren't that good anyway or simply 'hanebüchen' as we say in Germany. Why. Because the plot has to justify the action you will get involved to not the other way around. One of the reasons why movie-to-game or game-to-movie conversions always fail.

 

But what actually sucks about video games without comparing it to other things? Video games themselves of course. They do come with a fake reward system. Reward for what? Exactly. There is nothing about playing video games that justify a rewards. Or do we expect to get rewards for listening to music? To we want our shoulders be padded because we made it through a movie? Do we need special attention because we managed to listen to an entire music album without skipping on track? Yeah because it was quite a burden right? Dude you managed 60 minutes of awesome music! Here is your trophy: Bronze - 60 minute music marathon!

See? I don't come around to draw comparisons anyway.

At first video games create fake emotions. If you develop not certain emotions while playing video games you are a Vulcan or don't have nerves at all. And that is what video games are about. To make you build that special bond. If video games did not provoke emotions this could not happen. Emotions like anxiety, happiness, even sadness and aggression are planned to occur. Video games feed on your emotions to make you keep going because you are happy and want to go for more or you are angry and want to beat the crap out of it just because of it. So when I say fake emotions the emotions are not fake. But the reasons are. There are so many things happening in video games yet none of it is ever real or deals a threat. This is what really got me off. But there is more.

The reward system video games bring with them. This has been evolved over the course of video game history of course. This helps to deepen the issue with the emotions created for all the wrong reasons. If you lose in a game of chess against someone no matter the fact you trained hard (yes you have to train to sort of predict the many moves of your opponent in advance (which he did of course too) you might feel emotional in a specific way. But it is justifiable. Losing on a chess contest can set you back for quite a while before you get the chance to go big again. And in the least you are involved with real humans in a realistic way.

You get trophies for things you didn't even planned to go for in the first place. But you go for it because you want to finish the game. For me this ruined my emotional interaction once and for all. I remember the time when it was just about beating the game no matter what. some games told me the percentage of items I got, the in-game time I needed to finish it or how many shots I fired and the percentage I missed. So I knew where I could improve if I wanted. But there was most of the time no need to do that anyway. Just beat the damn game and you have been considered a good player as for that game. That was it.

Today you have to go for trophies for the most insane ideas:

- forced to play even on the hardest difficulty

- forced to obtain ALL items

- forced to make it through a passage in a limited time allowed

- solve riddles that are not necessary to complete the game

- buy additional chapters and finish them under the conditions you did the already existing

That got me mad when I played 'Castlevania - Lords of Shadow'. Was a good game. But it told you straight away that there are two chapters you had to buy additionally. Yes! You bought the game and right at the start you could figure there are chapters you had not to unlock the old way but to BUY (chapters 13 &14). And they had been essential to bridge an otherwise existing gap between the end of chapter 12 and the movie at the very end of the game. Seriously fuck that!

DLC they called it. sometimes it means 'downloadable content' and another time it seriously means this: "disc locked content". I don't know what knocked me off more. That I had to buy additional chapters that did not make it onto the disc in time (or maybe on purpose) or that I had to buy additional content that was already on the disc (you than had to buy a small 'key' program to unlock what you already did have in the first place.

What a cheap way to milk off gamers,

Playing video games it has all come down to either shooting games of massive online retardation. Did I say retardation? I did. Do we really care to cooperate with people we will never meet in real life? And what about all the silly kids who troll their parents accounts or are let lose by their parents on purpose?

Playing video games online is almost as useless as leaving a good comment on youtube. Only trolls and losers there. Well, almost only. The harsh reality behind the online communities is you have to be picky as hell as to with whom you will come around. Just check out on many forums where topics aren't discussed well enough to be taken serious.

So it is with online gaming now. I can not take it one bit serious enough to give a damn. Let alone the emotional overreactions and the outbursts by the mentioned kids or the trolls who are simply there to disturb you for good.

Now add up the fake reward systems of video games to the online hassle. Great time to be spent. Not.

Another thing that shocked me is the craziness put into classic genres that makes them ridiculous. Rayman Origin is of such a game. Basically a platformer like the classic Rayman. Right? Oh no. Nope. While a classic Rayman was kinda difficult at times this came never because the game made you rush. It has its moments though. But the latest Rayman games are all about hectic pure. Even in single player mode I never felt comfortable. The game made you reaction crazy. This kinda numbed my mind a lot. You had barely time to get used to a levels structure and it already throws a lot of things to go for at once at you. It gets quite difficult really quick and escalates in 'rush mode madness'. What is the point to put out all the nice graphics and fine music pieces when you can not enjoy any of it because you are flying by?

Four player online mode only pushes the madness.

 

There are so many things that made it even more easy for me to back off finally beyond personal reasoning.

Let me sum up the bad things:

- DLC

- online madness

- less genres available (mostly shooter, grand theft auto stuff or RPG mania and the sports game every now and then)

- even once classic genres ruined by online madness (Platformers for four players? Really now?)

- games are more hectic than ever

 

And there is the lot of voices telling you how playing those crazy games is all good for you. It says to train your hand-eye-coordination. No it does not. That is so fake that you can smell where it comes from miles off. The video game industry has grown so big and fanatic it knows no shame to publish fake studies that hold no candle to reality.

I drive a fork lifter at my job and it felt never as easy to do that as when I was off of video games for quite some time now. There is a difference between the stuff you have to manage in reality and the tasks you are hard pressed to go for in video games.

That's what I say. You can only become as good with your hand-eye-coordination as the video games gives it to you. The situations are all fake. In real 3D (Reality) you also have a better reception for perspective and might react different for catching a ball than you do in a video game. This is it. Video games only prepare you to be good in exactly those: 'video games'.

You want a real hand-eye-coordination training?

Play squash, badminton or tennis. Really.

Not rarely I think how similar all the lies pushed by the video game industry have become to those pushed by the porn industry. When they tell you about advantages that do only exist on paper that has never been studied more close and that goes into public consensus without being double blind tested to make it scientific. There are so many articles that claim to be scientific as do the trophies in video games tell you how brave and good you are for obtaining them. All fake as hell. All the science that is nothing but blind philosophizing at the end of the day.

Sometimes all the lies pushed by those industries remind me off religious sermons. Preach the lies often enough until everyone believes they are true. Plus you can cash in for good in those industries in the most easiest ways ever.

 

I hope to everyone this text wall is not confusing or anything.

But thanks for reading and real good luck for every single person who considers it an option to go for pro (reality) and quit gaming.

 

Greetings from Germany

Michael

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Hey Michael from Germany! Wie geht's dir?

I really liked your analysis of video games vs books, music, movies. I agree with your main points. I have personally found that I enjoy movies, books, and music much more after I have quit playing video games. Video games are such a super-stimulus sometimes that the other forms of art couldn't compete with. But once my brain detoxed, the more subtle pleasures of the other art forms stood out more to me.

I used to think that video games had the best stories but I think that's probably false. Sure, there are games with exceptional stories out there, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Quitting games gives me more time to explore the epic stories that exist in movies and books and that have stood the test of time.

 

Edited by kortheo

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Hey welcome to the forum :) I think your post may be reaching for "This is fact" type stuff when I would say life is more grey than black and white. As a child I was addicted to books. It was the best thing to be addicted to. Everyone thought it was super awesome for you to ignore them because you were reading! That's what smart people do! It was an awesome excuse to ignore the world because I was doing something "productive" in the eyes of others. I thought it was soo cool that I could read a story about foreign lands and magic and they thought I was being productive, hah. But in reality it got so bad that my parents would have to take the book away from me at 3am so that I would go to sleep, teachers would take it away because I wasn't listening in class, etc. I'm not saying they are as addicting as video games--those obviously replaced books for me later on--but just because you specifically feel no addictive draw to something doesn't make it not a possible addiction for someone else.

The reason for people to play video games is varied and diverse. For you I gleamed it was probably gameplay, coordination and challenge. For myself? Totally the story. I got to "control" it. Control over the most mediocre story line can make it seem great. I was as if I were the main character instead :)

Also the lies you mentioned about the porn industry, what are you referencing? I don't really follow porn.

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Hallo Michael!

You nailed it. I like your post. I strongly agree with the part of the the reward system video games brings. In the 90's, it was all about finished that last adventure game or shooter, and having fun. Now they force you to replay the game over and over again to get all trophies. Well, they don't force you, we are (were) forcing ourselves! For the developers, it's just to artificialy make the game last longer.

I don't miss games at all. The more I think about the games, the more I'm happy with the decision I took. Funny thing is that I have very good memories of games, but not from these last few years. More of the old games, early 2000's and of course 90's when I was still a child.

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