Game Addiction – II: How to Defeat Game Compulsion – Extra Credits

Game Addiction – II: How to Defeat Game Compulsion – Extra Credits

Welcome back, folks. We are back today with
our good buddy Mac Ko to continue our discussion
on the topic of Game Addiction (or, if we’re calling it what
it really is, Game Compulsion). Last week, we addressed the hype
surrounding Game Compulsion and talked about why we felt
so many young children spent their days in
front of a screen. Today, we’ll be looking
at the problem most often associated
with game addiction: adolescents and adults who
withdraw from real life in favor of a virtual world. I’m gonna tell you right now: this
episode is going to be a bit’ unusual. We’ve been trying to figure out
how to handle it for weeks. James has written and re-written
the script probably a dozen times. I think I’ve seen maybe fifteen
different intro paragraphs and eighteen different closing statements
for this episode since he started. I understand there’s also a
badly-singed book of notes sitting in his
apartment somewhere. Every time he’s written it,
it’s just never come out right. But I think we’ve got
it figured out now. See, that whole time, we were
trying to maintain objectivity on the issue and cover the topic in
our usual academic, clinical way. But we’ve come to realize that may
not be the way to go this time. For James in particular, this topic
is a little too close to home, and we decided it’s better to
just be honest, biases and all. So we’re going to do something
(huh) ‘ very different today. Because this topic has much more
personal significance for James, I think it’s better if he’d
be the one to talk about it. So, yeah. Take it away man. (hiss) Hey everyone. Dan’s probably already
told you this but this had probably been the
hardest episode for me to write and’I-I couldn’t do it..
(um) so this is what I got. It’s my experience,
my experience with game compulsion and
where I’m at now. I had this revelation
today’ um’ because today, I talked to the first
girl I ever loved. I- She’d come back
after a decade. The last time I saw her
we were teenagers’ now she is a doctor. I’ve
lot’s of good memories. I remember kissing her
on the hood of my RX7 before fleeing the city
myself for eight years … but here we were,
reminiscing over coffee about the past that seemed
a beautiful lifetime away. (um) And we were adults. I watched her laugh with an ease she
had never had when we were young. She’d grown and I’d grown. And (uh) In that moment I realized
how much better life had become, how far from the awkward
child I had been when she first knew
me that I’d come. I realized, so clearly,
how much better life gets when you don’t
turn away from it. Which is something
that I once did. (um) When people talk about ‘game
addiction’ they always ask why games are addictive (uh)
rather than what void they fill. And right there is where the
conversation goes wrong. When you routinely choose games over things you know
to be important, or you cease participating
in areas of life that you used to find important
to play games, you suffer from game addiction,
or game compulsion – I tread that road; my closest friend
sprinted down it, (um) but no one heads that way
because their life is perfect. No one picks up a game and
just becomes an addict. (um) When you’ Well, I guess
that’s the heart of the issue. Games aren’t addictive, but
they offer something that is. They offer us a validation. Often people talk about ‘game
addicts’ as lazy or indolent, or incapable or stupid, but nothing
could be farther from the truth. (uh) Rather, everyone
I’ve ever run into who has had to wrestle with
this particular demon, at some point in their life
was, ‘a child full of promise’. And therein (sort
of) lies the trap’ I’ve watched smart,
capable people submerge their lives behind
the safe unreality of games when the (wu-) real world tells
them that all the things they consider good about
themselves aren’t worthwhile. When, with all their intellect,
their ability to reason, their willingness to doggedly
produce through a goal, they still get dumped,
or lose their job or get served
notice for divorce. At that point they
turn to games, because games agree with them that those traits are important; that, (uh)’ they reward them; games reward people for’
exactly those skills. And unfortunately, here,
at least in the US, high school and college
is a time where the world shows us just how
little it can care about some of those things
we’re most proud of. Some of those things we find
best about ourselves (um). For me it was high school. I had a lot of things
going for me at the time: I found my little misfit
tribe in the theater group, later I had my guitar… lots
of things outside of games I could reinforce my sense of self,
and yet I still walked that road. It started with (um) It
started with Ultima Online. I remember the first
time I taped down keys to make my character
run into a wall and play an instrument to
gain skill while I slept. I felt (um) clever. I went out
into the world of Britania. It was so much more
exciting than my world. It let me tinker and explore; it excited my curiosity in a way
my classroom works just never did. (um)’ I had played MUDs on my
dial-up, so this seemed no different, (um) but it was the first time I
routinely lost sleep for a game. It was the first time I
found my days possessed by thoughts of an
electronic world. During classes I’d imagine
new character builds, when I should have
been doing homework I would daydream of
that night’s run. I told myself it didn’t matter. My grades slipped, but I was still
passing everything by a wide margin. I still saw my friends. I just
considered it (uh) good fun. (um)’ Next it was Starcraft. I-I found this tiny room
(um), with a computer, with internet access,
(uh) at my school. It had unrestricted
install privileges. (Um) and (uh)… I started
spending most of my lunches there even though (uh)… it was
funny cus it was the room that the central heat
distribution pipes ran through and so it-it had to have been
a hundred degrees most days. (um) but I’d play through
without thinking of the heat or the food that I
should be eating; what I might be missing out on. (uh) But in the end
it was Everquest. (uh) I was an Everquest junky.
that’s my confession. My-my closest friend
skipped school to pick us up two copies
un-on launch day. (um) He was a year
older than me. We had met through theater
and bonded over games. (uh) He was right there
with me over the wire when heda-hunting Ettins
in Britania at 3AM (um). He was on the LAN when we’d
do 2v2s. (uh) There was this period for
six months we didn’t speak after he’d stolen this girl
I had a terrible crush on (um) but had been too shy
at the time to ask out. He never figured it out though, (uh) that should have
been my warning sign: he was so focused on games that he
never put together why I was hurt. But in the end we bonded
again over games; all was forgiven’ after all who
else would get my inside jokes, mostly jokes about games. (um) For the next few months (uh) we
were fiends and we were pushers. I remember (tha-) on the
few occasions we (uh) One of the few occasions where we
actually left the house voluntarily (um) was, if you- you’re familiar
with Seattle, we to drive up Aurora to get a cheap PC for another
very dear friend of mine who was an ardent Mac user; he
had a Mac sticker on his car. (uh) But this was his first PC. (uh) No argument I could’ve ever
convinced him to purchase one, but after we started
telling him day after day about the wonders
of Everquest (uh)’ Everquest eventually won out.
(um) After that (uh), my grades
really started to crash. I-I quit the play I was in, actually
angry that I had gotten a large role Because all I could think of was
how it would cut into my grinding. (um) I was (pretty much) living
off hot pockets and bugles. (uh) I would strategize
about how I could steal hours of sleep during classes; classes that I knew what
classes I could get through without looking at the text.
(um) Then it (sort of) hit its nadir. I (uh) was put on academic
probation, but I didn’t care. The first thing I did was
go play some Everquest to try and forget about it. (um) I actually
remember that night. (uh) We were (we were) waiting
for one of our friends to come from a distant zone,
(um) and he got on the boat to to come to our zone,
and he never arrived. He just kept zoning
back and forth. Every time we did the slash who, we’d-we’d
see him in one of these boat zones. (um) because (uh) He’d-he’d
fallen asleep on the boat. We just kept laughing and laughing.
We thought it was ridiculous. (um) We-we didn’t even
realize how absurd it was that we couldn’t even stay awake
playing our own game anymore. That’s how (sort of)
strung out we were. (um) But, Luckily things were
to change for me at that point. (um) There was a night where we
were all supposed to go to a movie, but me being too much of
a fuck up at that point. I (uh)’ I missed it, (um)
perhaps subconsciously, perhaps intentionally,
(uh) I-I missed the film. (uh) because I (uh,
hay) Because I guess I didn’t want to see our friends.
(um) And’ for some reason it just
happened that the shiest, quietest girl in our group of
friends couldn’t make it either. And to this day I don’t
know why I did something so uncharacteristic
for me at the time but I called her
up and asked her if she wanted to go
to a later show. By the end of the night
she-she was in my arms. (um) And after that things
picked up for a bit. (uh) She was in charge of
lighting for the school play, she got me to sign back up
at the play as a stagehand. (um) We’d talk about
colleges and she’d show me all the pamphlets she’d
gotten ‘ they sent her a lot. She got a perfect
score on the SATs. (um) and’ I started
getting out more (uh) and (sort of) I mean,
she opened up and became more social too.
It was good. (um) I cut down my hours
and my friends zoomed ahead of me as we
neared, I think thirty, maybe 35 in Everquest. (um) (sigh) Then one day they
showed up at my door. My friends. My companions of
my long quest filled hours. (uh) The first thing they said to
me was ‘The expansion pack’s out’. (uh) They came in and we
started talking about it. And we were going
to reroll and start new characters
with the new race. They needed someone
to be their healer. (uh) We talked about the
new zones for hours. (uh) How they were
so much faster XP. (um) How’ We started plotting how
we could improve our faction (um-uh) to make it to –
back to the old continent without being Kill On Sight
if any of you guys… if you guys ever remember Kunar.
(Um’ and uh) By the end of the
evening they told me they had gotten an extra
copy shipped out for me. I called the girl I loved
and told her I just, I needed a weekend with the guys. (um) Well, while I’d
been gone they’d… They’d actually learned Linux, and built a machine and got
it set up for a ShowEQ, (uh) the program, this
program that reads packets (uh) being sent from the server
so they can get all sorts of data like usable map, monster spawn
information all this stuff. (um) It was a new experience. We-we were so much faster
and better at everything. The new race was powerful we
started blazing through levels’ and Soon I was there again
pretty much every night. (um) The same pattern emerged. I kind of let my real
life fall apart. I’m-I’m not ashamed of
many things in my life… but I am ashamed of some
of how I acted then. (um) I let a lot of the
people I cared about down. I missed a lot of
important moments. One day my best
friend’s girlfriend came to me in the hall
and dragged me aside. She told me that
the night before she had been begging
for him to come to bed and instead he sat there looking
at pictures of the new zones. (um) By the time she was
done crying against my chest and telling me how
humiliating it was to not be able to compete
with a video game. (um) How she hated these things,
that’s the way she felt. (uh) I mean, I went… I
went to comfort her because’ (I mean) the funny
thing is this is (this is) the girl that I
would have killed for, this is the girl who (um)
previously before… for leaving when I did’
um, she was the one who I stopped talking to my closest
friend for six months over. And yet as soon as she was
done crying on my shoulder I told her I’d talk to him. But I went back and told him
exactly what she had said’ and then I help plot with him on
how he could smooth things over, (uh) while losing as little
time at EQ as possible. (sigh) I mean, I don’t know I said it, but there’s-there are few
memories I’m ashamed of. I’ve always tried to live
my life by a pretty simple set of beliefs: do as
little harm as possible, do what good you can,
and (uh) in fairness let nobody call you hypocrite. (um) And that’s pretty much it. But every time I think
about that conversation I just get this
knot in my gut (um) and you know who you are, and I know you’re
not watching this; but for what’s it worth
I’m still sorry, I’m sorry till day. (um) The experience though
shook me even then. I tried to tell the girl I loved about how I was struggling
with this game. Instead I was rambling,
I ended up telling her more about the game and how hard
it was to pull away and (uh) even though I knew’ I wanted
to express to her that I-I knew I’d be happier spending
more time with her. (um) And while I was rambling,
while I was ending up, I was pretty much telling
her about EverQuest’ telling her something about
the the City of Mist when she stopped
me and said (uh) ‘James, I think I might
be pregnant.’ (um) This (uh)’ I mean. This was it.
I shook. This was the great dam
of reality crashing down and the floods were rolled in. I held her. I told her
how much I loved her, how I’d do anything for her. I told her I’d get rid of all
my stupid games that night. I felt so wretched and
pathetic and miserable. She had been acting
odd for the last week and I didn’t pick up on it
because I was so wrapped up in my fantasy world, but it became
clear the moment she spoke. It became clear how
much I’d missed. How much (eh) of the
empathy that my teachers and my directors
used to laud me for had been cut off by this
filter of another existence. I begged her to forgive me. I promised to be
more than I was. Luckily, it turned out
she wasn’t pregnant, but the experience got
me to put away EQ and limit myself to console games
when I had time to play. I didn’t go back to
my friend’s basement. They got angry at me
for abandoning them, they felt betrayed that
their healer had left just as we were going to
start doing City of Mist. But I found that life will
always welcome you back. This is the important thing. I (uh).. I pulled up my grades, I rejoined theater group,
I picked up a guitar. Over the summer I crammed
hard for the SATs; I (uh)… as fall rolled around I spent my EverQuest
hours on writing and rewriting my
entrance essays. I thought of getting into
college as an EQ quest. (um) All the skills I had
thrown at the game, I found that life rewards
you for using them. (um) You have to apply
them to the right things and apply them as tenaciously
as you did when playing. But still, life
welcomes you back. (um) I won’t ever
say that everything was easy or it was perfect. I won’t say that I’ve-I’ve won every battle with
this I’ve fought. But I did end up going to
the college of my dreams. I got to play music in
almost every state. I ended up working on
the games I love. (um) Today the man who
designed the core systems for Everquest is a close friend.
(um) The buddy of mine who
we got the PC for (who we rode up to
Arora) works at Popcap, four blocks from
where I (lu-) live. (um) Richard Garriott
actually even wrote a chapter for a book I did on
invented languages. (uh) Heck, I’ve-I’ve actually
even gotten to see almost every Civ wonder
that’s still standing. Life is pretty good. (um) Most importantly. I-I’m surrounded by people
who I love and who join me in all the crazy endeavors I do. I still treat each moment like
I did when playing Everquest, challenges to be
conquered through rigor and thought and application. I still pick a desired
goal and for a lark try and figure out
how to end up there, whether it’s being an
independent designer or getting to talk about games
every week with awesome people. (uh) I still grind life
with the work ethic that game taught me. But
for all its lessons, (um) I paid too high
a price for them and my friend never learnt them.
(um) In the end he dropped out of
college before a year was up. He couldn’t hold a steady job, and he never moved out of
his parent’s basement. (um) The last time I
heard of him (uh) was a few years back
when my buddy at Popcap tried to get him a
tester position there… and he lasted for a few weeks.
(um) He (sort of) made his
games addiction, games compulsion, a self (compelling)
self fulfilling prophecy. He (uh)’ Life didn’t live
up to his expectations, so he turned from
it towards games, but when life offered
him opportunities at the first sign of
challenge he’d run back to hiding behind games
because he was afraid life would reject him again. But really life always
welcomes you back. You just can’t run too soon. I know a dozens of people who have
struggled with games addiction and every one of
them (uh) who took that terrifying first
step of walking boldly back into the real world, despite all the prospect
of rejection and failure, were met with open arms. (uh…) Once you’re past high school, maybe past college,
you’ll find that life embraces the gamer mindset. That if you use all those things
that games have taught you (uh) and you fight for
it, the real world has wonders in it that you could
never find in a game. So if I, just ‘ I know
this is going’t run really long but a few
more quick things. (um) First, if you do (uh)
If you feel like you do suffer from
game compulsion, don’t think of the years you spent
playing games as wasted years. Don’t ever think of yourself
as impossibly behind. It’s not true, there
are always options; (th-) thinking this way
just serves as an excuse to continue avoiding the
real life for games. (um) But you don’t have to.
Life will welcome you back. Second, junkies push junk. If one of your friends is trying
to ramp down their gaming or break free of something
they consider destructive, don’t lure them back in. (uh) This has happened to me,
and I’ve done it at times. It’s bad news, don’t do it. (uh) I mean, everyone I know who’s
ever wrestled with this has a similar story
to mine where (uh) as soon as they broke free of
their gaming compulsion (uh)… it was their friends who
brought them back in. (um) And’ so, I
mean I guess just don’t be that person or
more than that. (uh) And lastly, just know
you’re not alone. I mean, if you suffer
from game compulsion, this is something I didn’t
realize when I was much younger, but (uh)… (yu-)
you’re not alone, not online and not
in the real world. (uh) There are thousands of people,
tens of thousands of people, who are facing same struggles
and who are battling the same demons that you are. There’s; The community
is there to help you. Gamers show much love. I-I promise you that members
of our disparate family will be willing to help you (uh) figure out how to get your GED, enroll in community
college, apply for a job. No shame. (um) In fact, if you have any
questions along those lines, (uh) feel free to use
our Facebook page. It’s not much, but it’s a start. We’re going to try and
get (uh) forums ready on the Extra Curricular forums’ and with any luck they’ll be up
by the time this video shows. (uh) As a place for
everybody to get together and discuss these things
and share their stories, and (uh) ask for help
when they need it. So, (um) I don’t know’ I’m sorry that I couldn’t write
the more clinical episode about games addiction,
game compulsion, that I set out to write. But this is what I’ve got.
This is me, plain truth. So, I hope it can do
someone some good. Because, (I don’t know) If-If
one person takes a step [outro music begins]
towards the life they want because of all the blood
that went into this, it’s a bargain. (um) And you know what? I still play games. Because I-I do it for a living. I don’t have time to play
them like I used to’ but life’s better for that. So good luck all of you.
I hope we can help. Transcription:
Isaac Sync: Piotr “Stilghar” Łopaciuk Błażej “Woland” Żywiczyński Elżbieta “Rosia” Rydzewska


  1. Sorry but this is one of the very few video's i don't like. It's the fast paced animated that i'm interested in. Not james' face on a home made video. Probably a good story. Just not charismatic enough to tell it. Other videos i love, keep it up!

  2. Powerful, honest, and very important. Thank you.

    Many people are affected by this and it's not often talked about. "Life will always welcome you back" is particularly important and beautifully said. It's something many lose sight of or never knew in the first place, and possibly the most powerful tool/insight for turning things around.

    That was probably really hard to talk about. You did great. Thank you.

  3. To everyone struggling with the real world…
    …if you take anything from video games…
    …realize that when you encounter obstacles and even enemies -as in life…
    …it means you are headed in the right direction.

  4. Man. part 1 of this 2 part series makes me reminisce on my dad interacting with me through games.

    And then part 2 makes me realize the reason he turned to them in the first place following my parents divorce.

    Man life is tough sometimes.

  5. Man, I remember in 7th grade math literally drawing my starcraft bases on paper. Blueprints to try out online when I get home instead of you know…math. I also was super into everquest. I remember when it came out. The computer at home was in our basement and i would be so cold even when covered in a blanket because of how cold that concrete floor was.

    Greater Faydark represent. Also from Seattle. I really connected with this video. Thank you so much James for putting your heart out there. A friend that I considered the best at that time had dated a girl I crushed on. I orchestrated their breakup while talking to her on myspace and playing with him on runescape. It was weird how it felt when they both immediately told me that the breakup had occurred after i encouraged both of them. Her and I dated in secret so that him and I could still play runescape together because I needed a skilling partnet. She didnt know that though. Being in our youth and all we do some really weird things, things we look back on and feel appalled or ashamed. But those moments you learned what you're capable of and you learn restraint. We can be awful people but there is something remarkable in the human element for choosing not to. I believe a lot of the kindest people have offended themselves to their core at some point. The people who become awful as adults did not have the ability to really dive into that observation early on. You're strong for it.

  6. It's a weird thing, that this video was around for nearly 6 years and I've never come across it… that's some 6 years of my life that could've went better. It is truly inspiring, what you said, James. And some parts truly hit home… Thank you again. I'll share it with… some friends.

  7. OMG he invested so much time in theatre then quit it for a game…

    Then quit that for theatre, I think his real problem is quitting things after investing time in it.

  8. About 6 years ago, I watched this episode, and felt a really bad pang in my chest. I wasn't sure exactly what it was. Now though, I think it was because I knew that I was the same way back then. Looking back, there weren't many friends that I talked too, and everyone one of my friends and I played video games at least 8+ hours a day, everyday for a good few years. Until my parents forced me into college courses and a job early in high school.

    Now though, I've been binge watching your older episodes, trying to understand how games are made. This episode forced me to look back at what I did over the past few years, and this latest year. I'm still not the most social person, but I'm outside much more than I used to be. Even finally taking time to relax in a local park or at school clubs, rather than a computer screen. As well as take a look at all of the friends I'd made. The world is always welcoming, as you said, and it doesn't take much. Just the willingness to be honest to yourself, go for a goal, and try to help others along the way.

    Thank you again, for all of the time and work you've put into these episodes, and thank you again for sharing your story. I'm still working towards the same goal I was years ago, making games and programming new applications, but I now have renewed vigor, a driving force, and new skills to take with me. As well as new friends, experiences, and foresight that I'll cherish along the way. Thank you.

  9. I don't have all this to this degree in all honesty. I'm also more of an internet person myself, but the general is the same. I retreat into the internet. I still do for the most part. And I do my best to avoid other people including, especially, my parents. I retreat into the internet because when I was younger in school, I had to deal with an entire school system that hated me in my entirety. I had almost no friends, and none that stuck around for very long. But I had the internet. It provided fun through free games like on kongregate, and through stories and memes. I could watch Gravity Falls on the internet, and that was the most community I think I've ever had. It gave me friends and a sense of happiness I've never had before. And it just generally was and still is my retreat. Because I still have almost no friends. And none that will go and see me. Or that I'll go over to. I'm glad this message is out there. Now if you excuse me I'm going to stress cry in a corner somewhere

  10. That was freaky, I almost forgot who you were talking about for the first few minutes, thanks for sharing :), happy to see you liking your life

  11. This is awesome. Thank you for opening up and sharing, very powerful. Better than a hypothetical clinical episode.

  12. Thank you James, I suffer from a pornography addiction and this video gave me some incite on that. I've started trying to pull myself back to the real world, and I feel good about it. I don't know how I can use that lost time for good in my life or if its possible to "gamify" my recovery process, but I really appreciate your story. If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. I'm an aspiaring game dev myself and extra credits Is a big inspiration for me. THANKS!

  13. Toy blast and sugar crash is very addicting like drugs and alcohol. I think they should ban these games.

  14. I'm a bit opposite. When the game is a bit too challenging at the moment, I go back to life until I can find a way to beat that part of the game.

  15. Kinda sad that I got no romantic stuff going on
    But happily alone get's true love so …
    I guess I' ll wait

  16. well I guess people are different. I actually hate social life. so game "addiction" is acceptable to me… it's the only way.

  17. I know this has not seen discussion in some time hopefully this nudges this video up in some recommend play lists. I hit this low as well. I got married while i was very young and equally devorced while i young. We had a child together amd while i did keep my head about my child primarily games was the very next thing. I fell into the world of warcraft hole and while my daughter was first W.O.W was a very close second. I had my daughter for half the week so when she wasnt home the game was my life. While i do feel W.O.W. did alot of good preventing me from other vices to cover my pain, enmity, ect it took just as much away. Now i have no illutions, that particular chapter of my life came at the best time it could have giving me a social outlet when wounds were fresh and very tender. I also hid behind that safety blanket for 5 years choosing W.O.W. over physical social interactions. I could not tell you specifically what pulled me from that stupor. Probably a culmination of many things. However james is right the world will accept you back. I have had life stumble me quite a bit. I have not been able to climb the mountian as high as james was able to, but even stumbling as much as i have (the brown Mackie debocal, job market crash, ect) life has still been better than only in W.O.W.. while my MMO days are over i do still love my games and they are still part of my life they are not the biggest part. My solution was i have a very specific time i allow myself to play games and pretty stringent rules for playing outside that time allotment. I climb my way forward maybe only an inch at a time but my life is all the better for it. I hope my story helps empowers james message and helps those who have ended up on this journey.

  18. Excellent testimony! Thank you for sharing and teaching on this increasingly relevant topic. I gleaned so many great insights from this video! God bless!!

  19. i think the difficult step is actually turning away from games because when you do you have to fight hard to stand your ground again.

  20. Sometimes, I question whether I'm addicted to video games or not, I'm only 14, almost 15, and I spend alot of time playing video games. I dont stay up to late though, usually about 12:00 on weekends or breaks, latest I've stayed up is till 4:00, usually it's because I got really good sleep the night before. I spend time with friends and go out for movies and have fun with my girlfriend, but also have video games on my mind if om not doing anything or not paying attention. My grades are pretty good, mostly As and Bs. I tend to stay ahead on my school work but sometimes I fall behind and have to work double time to catch, my teachers say I'm really smart and can do amazing things if I put my mind to it, but I also tend to get messed with at school so I tend to only hangout with my close friends, I pick my friends very carefully and try to not mess with them to much, in all my time I have never lost a friend, sorry, got a bit sidetracked but what I'm trying to say is that… well… I'm not sure if I'm addicted or not, i worry i am and just want to know if bbn I'm doing something wrong.

    Sorry for the long comment but if you can help me please comment.

  21. But what happens when you grew up with games and you can’t think of a hobby other than them?

    I grew up with games, my parents treated them as a babysitter, my dad hardly ever plays or does anything with me because I’m a teen now and I supposedly should be more distant, but I’m not even sure that’s possible. I feel like I don’t have any real skills besides games, even though I know that isn’t true, it feels that way sometimes, especially since everyone around me feels more talented than I am. This really helped me. Thank you.

  22. I need help. I may only be twelve but I suffer from this, this was one of the videos I had never watched but as I hit the first video in my basement, playing fallout four, the illusion broke as the center could not hold, I broke down as James story cane to reflect mine. I have game compulsion and I play up to around 9-14 hours of games a day. I have realized this issue but felt too unable and too trapped to be able to change the course of my life, silly as that may sound coming from a 12 year old. This helped me realize I can do it, I can break this habit of playing video games, I’ve realized that I play video games to escape from my bad grades, stressful social life, being obese and lazy, but I do also realize that these are caused from the videos games I constantly play. This creates a vicious loop and I always find myself relapsing whenever I try to “go clean” and I just need help, if anybody knows how I can help myself please email me at my secondary email which is [email protected]

    (Oh and sorry for the vent)

    “Life always welcomes you back.”

    Thank you James, I have been needing this.

  23. I almost missed my first son first monces because I was runing away from life to the confort zone of games … I had to work hard on myself in order to quit…

  24. Thank you for your sincere and heartfelt video James. I've struggled with gaming compulsion before and this video has helped me recognize that I'm falling back into bad habits. I truly appreciate this. Thank your for the help. I know this has to have been incredibly hard for you to do.

  25. Oh boy, this is really hard to write without hiding behind a 'nym, but here goes.

    My problem is that I've gone back to gaming more and doing less around the house because I'm exhausted. I'm 32 and I teach full-time at a local community college, while also taking online courses to get my teaching degree re-instated in case Something Happens To My Job. And everything I do, everything around me, is a stressor.

    I am the sole breadwinner, and have been for half a year while my husband tried to get his old (contracted) job back. When that failed, he signed up for courses to get better certifications so he can get a job in a computer industry that never really had a place for someone with a BS in computer science beyond the entry level.

    My dog is getting old. Our cars are getting older. Suddenly everything is more expensive at the same time that we have less money. And on top of that, pressure is mounting at work.

    We've started a new kind of course for my subject, one that requires more energy from me not just because it's new, but by the nature of the way it's set up. Under normal circumstances, I'd be 1000% thrilled with this new challenge, but now I actually dread going to work simply because I don't have the energy for this right now. Worse: our campus has started firing teachers at an unusually-high rate. Even though I've been told I'm one of the best teachers we have in my subject, I'm constantly terrified that I'm going to get the axe. We can't live off one person's unemployment income. And I've reached the point that I'm actually TOO stressed to call my therapist and make an appointment. I haven't been in about 7 or 8 months.

    So the only ways my ADHD brain has to cope with all this shit going on at once, are to either eat Way Too Much sugar, engage in dangerous amounts of Retail Therapy with the money we don't have, or to spend more time in the low-stakes world of video games. After all, if you screw up in a video game, your life isn't affected. You can just replay the level and try again. If you die 20 times in a row, it doesn't affect your real-world health, or wealth, or ruin your marriage. And when everything else–even the crafts I used to love and spend several hours a week on–piles on the stress, games are my refuge. I can't keep living like this, but I don't know what to do when it's hard enough to muster the energy just to soldier on. I've talked to my husband, and he helps out around the house, but he can't just make jobs appear for himself out of thin air. He can't take the pressure off at my job. He can't stop our cars from wearing out, or the dog from aging. And it feels like THOSE are the kinds of miracles that would need to happen for me to get out of this hole.

    I'm not expecting any of y'all to have a solution for me; I guess I just needed to vent, to get this off my chest.

  26. Me: This is not an acceptable video quality and twenty eightee-


  27. Game is just another escape from reality just like alcohol and drugs although if you had choose your poison it's better if it's games. I've had it mildly myself but hey if reality is not that interesting what can you expect.

    You learn eventually everything is good in moderation although you might get hyped about it eventually you will get bored of it or it will turn out to be too much of a time sync which gets annoying after a while.

    It's also true that you get into games much more if you have friends to do it with but at that point is it any different than going out for a drink with them In may way you enjoy yourself more in the game than a noisy pub.

    There is no point in your girlfriend getting possessive over you playing games or hanging out with your friends they have nothing to do with her although if she joined in on it that would lead to more bonding i guess.

  28. Thank you for sharing this very powerful story. I suffered from it a bit myself, but I also got past it and every bit of this powerful video is true. I can only hope that others have found this video and used it to help themselves. Remember as he said gamers, we may be separate physically but we will always be together mentally. If you struggle with this find someone to talk to, anyone, even if you think you might suffer from it just a little bit.

    I've actually been thinking of something new, a category called healthy gaming habits, I'm not sure if it will be a book or whatever, but just a sort of guide people can use to kind of use in case they want to have a baseline to keep themselves from falling into the abyss that can be gaming. It will contain things like what to eat, drink and just normal tips to make sure you're doing the healthiest gaming possible, it still needs a lot of work, but wish me luck.

  29. I love playing games and my dad used to show me the ropes and play with me all the time but I wasn't the best student and I probably drove him away from teaching me. I've also learned enough to be my own teacher and the only time I avoid any other interaction is when my dad's busy or I'm at my Mum’s (she's crippled so there's not much we can play besides board games ( I'm not the best person so when my constant opponent can't win I get bored of the game I love) that's why I am mostly upstairs playing games. I've grown up with games by my side as both my teacher, a tool, and a way to connect, now they’re a way for me to blow my time away when I'm bored, the enjoyment withers but they are my closest possession to a real person. My situation isn’t as grim as people with game compulsion problems but I thought I'd share. Thank you for your story James, keep pushing

  30. Wow… just hearing it helps me alot….i was listening to it during class and it gave me motivation to really give it my best

  31. This. After I went on a weekend binge of Spider-Man last month i swear I’ll never do that again. I will hence forth pace a game out over the course of months. AC Odessy will last me 4 months, and RDR 2 will be 5 monthe

  32. When you don't feel validated by your surroundings in any way, fantasy worlds are an escape. A place where you actually mean something. It's unfortunate when this happens to a person, but self-actualization is on the pyramid of Human Needs. People can talk trash about the "addict", but they never seem to offer any meaningful help. To this, I offer a little advice. If you are surrounded by toxic family members and frenimies, and you find yourself relying on the game/anime world 100% for Self-Actualization, it's time to move to another State, or maybe even a new Country, and start fresh. Build a new life that means something. Your Waifu is not a replacement for an actual living breathing Woman that actively cares about you. Find her. This is your new Quest.

  33. This was the best video about game addiction i've ever seen.
    It's much better to hear those, who were victims of it theme self instead of politicians or psychologist who think they know everything but they never played video games or have really listent to a victim and just want to convince people that video games are bad

  34. I have never had someone explain this to me and this was so powerful for me to watch. I didn’t know it at the time, but I suffered from Game Compulsion. Hell, I might be suffering from a different type of compulsion right now, and this video has put this into perspective for me. When I was 20, I was playing games so much and so late that I would leave my girlfriend at work, after hours, waiting for me to pick her up for at least an hour, sometimes more. I stayed up so late and so long that eventually I crashed my car head on into a bridge. I walked out with only a few bruises but after that my girlfriend dumped me, saying she was unhappy, and I began to realize that the problem was me. Never once, though, did I acknowledge the fact that I turned to games to fill a void in my life. To feel like I wasn’t a failure. For so many years since then I’ve almost been seeking out a time like then, where I could play games all day with no repercussions…but I realize now that there were repercussions, and that I don’t want to relive that part of my life. I was lucky for what happened, soon after I joined the Army, I left home, and I have never played games that way again. Knowing now what it was, has helped me to better understand myself.

    Thank you so much for this video.

  35. I've had a combination of game compulsion and depression since before I can remember, I've had 3 girlfriends, hundreds of thousands of hours played across several games. My grades have slipped, I try to apply myself but with that deadly combination of depression and game compulsion, I can't get anything done, I'm trying to apply myself but it's near impossible. Video games gave me a love for history, I now want to move to Sweden to work for a game company that combines history with video games, video games are the only thing that give me joy, I want to work for a company that combines my two greatest loves, computer programming and history, I would love to move to Sweden to work for my dream company, I just need the capital to move, and to graduate from uni

  36. I think your distinction between gaming compulsion and addiction is more semantic than you think. Most people turn to drugs for the same reason you state that people get caught up in compulsion.

  37. Interesting, how people can have similar but different experiences when dealing with addiction. ANYTHING can become an addiction, drugs (alcohol, smoking, pills, etc.) entertainment, sport, work… everyone finds faith during the most difficult times in their life.

    I refound my faith and belief after getting my face smashed in during a home invasion at my house. I used to run away from my home, family and life but being stuck, hospitalised, allowed me to mend my relationships and rekindle my love for gaming. I never struggled with addiction personally, but I also lost my friends when I found the love of my life and found out what a real and healthy relationship can be with a person. I never had any bitter feelings towards my attackers, in fact, I am glad that it resulted in the way it did.
    Today I finished my 2nd bachelor's degree in Psych (still going strong for that Doctoral) and I help teach communication and conflict negotiation to business leaders and potential young leaders. I use gaming as that sweet reference point to push the new generation towards understanding themselves and to take care of the people around them.
    Ty for the amazing work Extra Credits (Dan, James and Allison, +) your positivity and knowledge-seeking nature is what this world needs most.

  38. Personally, I think a lot of people go deep into games to escape the many horrible people (Not saying you're horrible, just saying there are horible people) of the real world.

  39. Thank you so much. I was trying to know my pain and trying to cry it away for almost a year now… I finally cried. To me it's the adult life that showed me some dark things and other stuff. Thank you so much for sharing, even if it has been so long now. The funny thing is that in 2012 i was entering college hahaha. Even if you don''t read it, please someday, if you of EC needs a reminder of the change you made in the world, come to this video comments. You helped people understand themselves and enjoy game with more depth and responsability. Thank you!

  40. Hey, James, the story you shared was very touching and great and I would like to ask for some advice from you or anyone reading this comment. Recently, CSGO became free to play and ever since I played it today, I have found that even hours after playing it for just about twenty minutes I have found myself just wanting to get back to the game in a way I have never felt with any other game. Is this a sign of game compulsion? Should I stop now before I become too addicted to it after just twenty minutes of playing it? Also, what's stopping me from playing it immediately right now (and what stopped me from playing it longer than 20 minutes) is that I have a lot of chess training to go through which replaces itself daily with new things to solve and I have to complete it all before the end of the day meaning that I don't have much time for anything else

  41. Thanks James, even after 6 years your video helped me, the time this video was launched I had like nine, and kinda had that problem and still today, trying to break free, this day I saw it, it helped me more than I can ever think of, thanks.

  42. Hi. Not really the same thing, but I have been quite addicted to YouTube for about half a year. This video gives me a lot of motivation to get back to the important stuff in life. Thank you for sharing your story!

  43. I almost cried. Been there, done that, got out of it, still I'm playing games sometimes, sometimes not playing for months.

  44. I like to watch videos from this channel (especially Extra History) when I get home from school, then I play video games until dinner and most days, hours after that still. Yesterday I saw this episode, then unplugged my Xbox and thought about this video while finishing my homework. This is one of greatest explanations of/meditations on the relationship between games and their players that I have seen, much more of the impacts of game compulsion. This episode helped me accept something I had realized, but never done anything about. Games have been getting in the way of my school work and I need to prioritize school stuff because games are compulsive and eat up nearly all my time when I'm not at school. This is my favourite video I've seen you guys put out so far and I think I saw it a really good time for me. Thank you for delivering a comprehensive message that I think all people should hear.

    With regards,
    James Camacho

  45. So… you abandoned your friends because of your girlfriend (cuz she told you she was pregnant I mean). Nice! And your comment about life… get stuck in a cubicle from 9-5, 6 days a week and then tell me life is beautiful.

    I understand that games can definitely ruin your life, but sometimes you don’t even need games fir your life to go to shit. Either way, what you did were your choices and you gotta life with them. I was addicted to ffxi and played every free second of my time. Stopped playing when I didn’t have enough time to play. Cuz beautiful life granted me beautiful bills, so I had to get a beautiful job from 11pm to 8am. I no longer play ffxi, though I do still play games. But the worse game of all is life’s game. You work in a job that you probably hate (80% of Americans hate or are indifferent to their job). Buy things that you don’t need. With money that you don’t have. To impress people that you do know. And before you realize it, the things that you thought you owned, end up owning you. So spare me the hippy philosophy. Life sux most of the time. But I am here, and I gotta stay alive, tomorrow will be another day. I actually envy your friend that lives in his parent’s basement.

  46. Watching this kinda helped me with my suicide wants I sometimes feel like I don't matter my death will help the world but know I feel a bit better I don't think I have game compulsion but this kinda helps me with it thanks EC thanks

  47. Thank you so much for this episode James, I find it so hard to leave my computer nowadays, even though it's not game compulsion but computer compulsion the result's the same, I feel like I would love to be able to go out there and do stuff, but I know that I will fail, and more important than that I feel like I would be alone, failing with friends is one thing, failing alone is a different beast. I just can't seem to be able to connect with other people, people like to go out and drink beer and chat about football or about other people, I'm pretty much disgusted by alcohol and the effect I've seen it have on other people and really couldn't care less about people that I don't know kicking a ball, don't really like to talk about people that aren't there either and I get a huge amount of anxiety if I try to talk about what I feel or about what excites me because nobody seems to care or understand it, I feel so alone. But you got through it, and even if it's only baby steps I'm sure I'll someday too, even though I'm scared as hell, hope never truly left me, and so I thank you for sharing this with all of us, it just adds a little more to that hope <3.

  48. i suffered from gaming compulsion for… over a decade

    it wasn't about the videogames… I had undiagnosed ADHD. I was self-medicating with games. was a real epiphany when I took medicine and stopped gaming almost overnight.

  49. One thing I can give as advice is find a passion. I have played less games and thought about it less simply by choosing to be productive and create my own game, from research, to the writing

  50. …………I'm in the midst of walking away from a couple years as a compulsive gamer….heck probably more but this is the longest continuous streak I've ever had to break.. I recognized how important it was that I start playing games that I could pick up & put down on a whim. And you know what? I had no idea how much was going undone in my life until I put the games down & had a good look around. Literally! Something as simple as the state of my living space. When you haven't cleaned a litter box in 2 and some weeks…and your cats still use it? There's a whole counter full of dishes because you have no option but to wash what's left by hand… The care you put into yourself pays off. It makes you feel better, more comfortable in your own home. The helpless furry lovebugs who worship the ground you walk on will be happier. It's an all round win when you take the time to take care of yourself & those you care about. So yeah… Grind life guys. It's MUCH more rewarding.

  51. Everquest, those were the days, except I actually only played Infantry Online, which was a much smaller game on the same network as Everquest. I probably put 1000 hours into it lol

  52. Man, I just really want to give this dude a hug, not entirely sure why, I can't relate to this very much, but he is just being so open I want to reassure them it's good

  53. I feel stupid now really stupid i only use video games as an escape to my reality as i see it games as the thing that can only understand me but from the experiences i gained the pain that i suffered and saw talk to your friends who understands you and help you than explaining to the person who hates you playing video games somepeople won't understand this to those people who did your not alone

  54. How wonderful to hear you say all those game skills you learned didn't go to waste, but instead must be applied to the right things for your life!

  55. Ouch… thank you Mate. Makes me think…

    Maybe some Time after you dropped this vid, but… thank you.

  56. "Life will always welcome you back."

    I'm years late but thank you for this, James. I needed this right now.

  57. This reminds me of my current Life Simulator game phase. I even occasionally have actual dreams that I'm living other lives. It reflects (or factors in? I'm still figuring it out) my disposition on my irl life.

  58. Hey, just dropping in to say thanks, I'm looking into being a game dev so I started watching your videos and that's just something I needed to hear this week, so thank you!

  59. Addicted? Have you tried not being addicted?

    Thanks, internet. Internet advice is always the best.

    Now can we talk about compulsion being cooked into games?

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