Gameplay based on "points"...
I'm a sucker for points. Ever since the days of Neopets and Runescape, the only games that I've put in more than 100 hours have all involved some sort of long term stats, points, or currency. I'll have to admit that they have all been addictions to me.
After the New Year, I deleted Battlefield 3 from my computer. I have over 400 hours logged on Bad Company 2 according to steam, and almost 100 on Battlefield 3 according to Battlelog. It was becoming a seriously serious addiction; I would return home from school, hop on BF3, play until I was tired/hungry, did a bit of homework, and before I got anything completed, dinner would start. Obviously I wouldn't feel tired anymore after dinner, so another 3hrs of BF3 is in order, and there goes my night, almost every night in the year. My marks have been TUMBLING since I was introduced to Bad Company 2 by that evil $5 Steam sale last winter. After coming to this realization of how these virtual points and stats in these games have been screwing my life, I consulted a psychologist. I reminded myself of various reasons how stupid and ported a game Battlefield 3 was, and all that it had to offer over other games was balanced and addictive gameplay. Whenever I have the temptation to "relapse" (as my psychologist calls it), I remind myself of this again, the silly gun sounds, the glitches, the bad graphics and colour grading, the unrealistic gun ballistics, etc.
That doesn't mean I'm done with gaming; I've found moderation in games such as Arma 2, CSS, L4D2, RO2, Crysis, Killing Floor, Dirt 2, Grid, even some Humble Bundle games that I've never touched, and I'm playing through the original Half Life in hopes of understanding what all the ruckus regarding HL2 is all about and why it's so great. I've found time for assignments and homework now, however I'm completely lost in Functions and Vectors class and my exam is this Wednesday. I don't even know where to start studying lol. Notice that none of these games have points or stats, at most there are achievements, but they are not addictive like BF3's points and levels. The out-liar is obviously Killing Floor, and I've already started to notice a slight pull towards this game; I think about Killing Floor, the currency and the levels, even when I'm not at the computer, so I've removed it from my Favorites in order to think about it less.
I suspect that when I was younger I really enjoyed gaming because it took me into a virtual world where I could feel accomplishments, appreciation, and away from domestic conflict, but now that part of my life is past I seem to still be hooked on gaming and can't let go.
It seems that all my friends and every gamer I know is in control of their gaming habits, as if time is not a problem for them. How do you guys do it?
If it's just the occasional 5 hour marathon, I'd say you have the addiction under control.
There are a few studies out there that have found a strong relation to parental relationships and gaming (specifically online, includes farmville) addictions.
But, how do gamers out there manage to moderate games so addictive such as Battlefield? All those +100's at the bottom of the screen, it gives the illusion that I'm getting rich or something lol :S so ironic
But in all seriousness, one of the first ways to get around stuff like pointwhoring or level grinding is convincing yourself "This is a game, at the end of the day this means nothing, all that matters is I enjoyed the time I spent playing it, and in a few years everyone will have moved on to the next big thing".
Set a (reasonable) limit for yourself when you're playing a game like that. Like saying "Alright, I'm going to play 3 straight matches of Conquest, then quit", or "I'm pretty close to the next level, I'll play until I reach it, finish the round then quit". And no, being level 45 and saying "I'm pretty close to 50" is not reasonable.
And enforcing yourself to do this. Getting into the routine of just playing a match or two and then quitting, and eventually it'll become second nature that you just play for an hour and then quit.
Trust me, I'm a pointwhore. I played Wow to watch the numbers go up. I play JRPGs because I enjoy maxing out my characters' levels, I play Street Fighter competitively and my online rank means everything to me. But at the end of the day I know "Alright, one hour of street fighter. ONE HOUR. No more. I have shit to do".
Honestly I found that the only way fr me was to occupy myself with something else, it is more of an addiction to entertainment. Before videogames I was addicted to hockey, I did nothing but play ball hockey, roller hockey, ice hockey. Then it was T.V and video games. Honestly setting limits for yourself won't work and that's because you feel like you are denying yourself something and unless you are ready to quit you will cheat and be back where you started. I recommend a browser turn based game, they have currency and everything you like but once you have no "energy" there really is nothing else to do.
Honestly that's what I did until I really just didn't feel like playing video games anymore, a year or so later I started back up and now I can control myself (however I do binge quite often).
Reluctantly I'll admit my hours played on Steam games have sometimes come close to the hours worked in my day job in a 2 week period, but only when I've had alot of free time at home. It's not an addiction to me, more of a dedicated hobby since I've seen games evolve since the Commodore 64 days. But it's interesting to me too, that's why I started this thread
I had the same issue with CS when it was still in beta back in the day - I played in leagues, I "trained" with my clan a few nights a week, I'd play right after school and after dinner long into the night. Then I moved to EQ, where the points weren't so much the goal for me as it was escaping reality. I role played my wood elf bard like nobody's business and people thought I was a twink (geared-alt for you newbies to MMORPGs) because I got so much free good gear as a result. Then it was WoW, where the points were the goal...and it all came crashing one day when I was trying to kill the Lich King for the 15th time in one night (we kept wiping) and I thought to myself what am I wasting so much of my time for? A bunch of numbers that, with each expansion, just get ridiculously higher and every monster has a new adjective in its name to differentiate it from the otherwise identical model from the lower level areas. I'm losing sleep, not speaking with friends or family much and eating poorly.
It dawned on me that what I liked most was the interaction with the other people - chatting on Vent with my guild. And at that point I realized I needed to stop playing WoW because it was detracting from the relationships in my real life, so I did.
Having said that, I still game but it's mostly offline - CIV5, Skyrim, Borderlands with the gf...or better yet, Settlers of Catan in real life. I still put in the occasional marathon session of CIV5 where I just want one more turn, or in Skyrim where I want to do this-that-and-everything, but things are much more manageable. It came down to realizing that this is all meaningless and nothing more than a way to pass time (apologies if I offended anyone, it's just how I dealt with my excessive game playing).
I find I go in spurts. I played CS for 300+ hours in 99 then moved to Eq for a few years where I played way to much. Then I took a few years off, tried Eq2 for a year, took a year or so off moved to LOTR for 7 months then time off until Aion came out and then I wasted another 7 months of my life on that. I find I play a lot more in the winter then the summer as I tend to get out more in the summer. It can be very serious though as I remember pushing my family away and blowing them off when I was playing EQ. I realize that it was the social aspect of these games that I like the most as I can't play single player games through normally I get bored to easily. I gave Skyrim a few good weeks then just stopped. I love gaming but my god it can be a time sink, though it does seem more productive then just watching TV at least it makes you think most of the time.
@Mishtar - I agree, when I'm passing the time I prefer playing on the computer than watching TV. I feel bad, but less so, since I feel like I was able to accomplish something...like taking over the world diplomatically in CIV5...
Good on the OP for taking the necessary steps to at least get professional help and realizing what needs to be done.
I used to play WoW, and I found it got in the way of me studying for exams and stuff.
Pretty much I'd come home from work/school, log in, play, and end up passing out in my chair waiting to queue for Alterac Valley or something. One day I did a /played and was appalled at the time I'd wasted. That was a bit of a wake up call, and since then I've seriously scaled back the amount of time I've spent on MMOs/gaming.
I had my brother change my password so that only he knew it, and told him not to give me access no matter how much I beg, pleaded, etc. Only when I finished my exams (about a week later) did I start playing again, and even then I set myself a hard limit. I'll do it again if I find SWTOR gets out of control.
What you may have to end up doing is writing down a goal or keep a log and keep it posted to your wall or by your computer, check your progress and adjust accordingly, and like you've said keep reminding yourself of what the end goal of games is. It's for recreation/entertainment right?
But, like Jebusman says, setting strict guidelines is definitely the way to go. I remember being grounded when I was a kid from playing video games, cause I played them too much and let school fall by the wayside. That being said, prioritize, if you have work that needs to be done, do it first.
You may find it beneficial to just do it at school or at a library so that you aren't even in the same building as your computer or are even tempted to play games. Don't take a gaming break in the middle (usually ends up being study for minutes...takes breaks for hours...I think this is how it is for everyone!)
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