Everybody loves video games, but how do you know when you cross the line from fan, to obsessive addict? I admit to being a gaming addict. I haven’t taken my obsession as far as some people, but I certainly have my moments. If you can answer “Yes” to most items in this list, then you can proudly call yourself a junkie.
10. Vintage Systems
Not only do you have a wide collection of the latest and greatest video game systems, but you also collect old, original systems. You search for them at yard sales, flea markets, and used gaming stores. The systems and games are so old, most people have never even heard of them. Some of the controllers are just joysticks. Your collection is not only of antique systems, but also of antique hand-helds. You don’t even know if all the games or systems work, but you have them.
You need to play. If you don’t, you break out into sweats, fingers twitching sporadically, eyes darting around the room for a controller or console, even something small to give you that quick fix. The longest span of not playing, for you, is under a week, and it was only because of a power outage at your place of residence. You think sleeping and showering are “taking a break” from your game. When you aren’t playing, you are thinking about playing.
You use all resources to play whenever and wherever you can. All of your friends know that when you come over you’ll need to use their computer for at least a little while. You’ve also played during lunch on your school computers. The local librarians know you by name because when your parents urge you to get out of the house, you head there to use the free internet and continue playing.
7. Speaking Game
It makes sense that because you play all your games so often, you know all the key sayings and catchphrases of different characters. But when you start incorporating them into everyday speech, especially to people unfamiliar with the game, you are leaning toward being a junkie. You find your insults begin taking on the form of battle cries, and your exclamations often seem out of place, “Save me squire!”
6. Playing Dress-Up
Now, I have to say, many casual gamers enjoy dressing in costume to attend a gaming event, such as a midnight release or a convention. Just wearing a costume does not immediately classify you as a junkie. Obsessing over making your costume PERFECT IN EVERY WAY OR ELSE YOU WILL DIE classifies you as a junkie. Spending a fortune to wear the costume one time, because you would never be caught dead as the same character two years in a row, makes you a junkie. One of my dear friends spent $200 on a pair of one-time-use red contacts for her most recent costume. She is a junkie.
A lot of people are late, for various reasons. Ladies are notoriously late due to wardrobe, make-up, or hair malfunctions. A game junkie is late because they were playing. You are supposed to be somewhere, and you know when you have to stop playing to get ready to leave, but you know if you just skip brushing your teeth you could play a little longer. Then you realize you are really in the zone and if you play just a teensy bit longer you could totally beat this level. And if you blow through a few stop signs and speed on the highway, you could probably stay and play just five more minutes before shutting down…
This is a tricky one, because you wouldn’t play a game if it didn’t make you happy. The difference between a junkie and a casual player is that a junkie is less happy when not playing. Playing video games is enjoyable, that’s why we do it! But when you are not playing and you are feeling down in the dumps, knowing the only thing that would bring a smile to your face is to hold a controller in your hand, then you are leaning toward junkie status.
3. Hunger Pains
You forget to eat. You know you need to, you want to, but you can’t possibly pause the game or get up right now. You’ll eat in a minute. You’ll eat just after this level. You had a big breakfast so you should probably wait a while to digest before even thinking about getting up to get more food. You’ll eat tomorrow. You know the satisfaction you’ll get from defeating this boss will fill you more than any food in the world.
2. Physical Symptoms
After playing a video game for an hour or so, most people are a little stiff, maybe starting to get a cramp in their fingers, maybe feeling a little tired. A junkie suffers more severe symptoms, due to playing for a much longer time. Headaches are common, especially with computer games where you sit a lot closer to the screen. Keeping your eyes open for hours can lead to dry eyes, and often insomnia. Many junkies also suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome in their wrists.
1. Gaming over Life
You choose playing a game over your own child’s life. This is not a joke, and I am not at all trying to make light of this story since it deals with the death of an infant. A couple in South Korea left their four-month-old daughter at home ALONE to go to an internet café and play Warcraft “for a few hours.” They lost track of time because the game “took longer that day” and when they returned home, their daughter had died. I just thought people should know that there is also a difference between being a fun-loving game junkie, and taking an addiction way too far.