Before I get stuck in to the main part of the article i owe you guys an apology, it’s been quite some time since I last posted anything on here! The main reason being that I’ve started a Youtube channel and that’s been taking up a lot more time than I had originally anticipated (Who knew editing was co complicated?!) Now I’m starting to get the hang of it a bit more though so I should be able to start posting more regularly again. Feel free to check my channel out, it’s NidgePlays (Shameful advertising) But anyway, let’s get into the article!
Three hundred and sixty five days, eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours, five hundred and twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, that’s a conservative guess as to how long I have spent playing video games up to this point in my life. It sounds like a phenomenal amount of time when I say it like that, but all that is based on is just two hours of gaming a day for twelve years. In my mind two hours a day is very easily done by most gamers, heck i’d almost brand that as casual gaming. This number immediately bought two different things to my mind, half of me wants to know what games and consoles have contributed most to the grand total, and the other half of me wonders if you could class two hours a day as an addiction, I’m going to try and answer both of these questions, starting with the former, what has contributed the most to my total?
After thinking long and hard about consoles I’ve owned and games I have played this is my estimate. Console wise the Xbox 360 is definitely be my biggest contributor, it’s the console on which I spent most of gaming prime, it was in that beautiful moment in time when i’d have 6 weeks holidays from school, and when I’d finished my final exams but wasn’t working, those days I’d easily rack up 5-6 hours a day playing FIFA, Call Of Duty, and Skate. The rest of the contributors however are a little bit more balanced, the Playstation 2 and original Xbox both counting for a pretty significant chunk of game time, games like Final Fantasy on the Playstation, and Rainbow Six 3 and Forza Motorsport on the Xbox being the games that standout the most for me during that era. The N64 also has to have contributed a good 1000 hours with games such as Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong, all games that I played a tonne of during my childhood, the remainder of time I think is made up by a bit of a mixture of platforms, the Gameboy with Pokemon, Football Manager and Call Of Duty on the PC, and the Playstation One combined making up the rest of the time with a big contribution between them as well as the new Xbox One of course.
This though brings is to the second part of the article, does spending two hours a day gaming make it an addiction? When people mention the word addiction it carries very negative connotations, I usually think of things like smoking, drinking and drugs, but video games is often compared to these things and is considered by some to be just as serious. In the past I’ve read stories of gamers staying up for days on end, not sleeping, eating or drinking, and that’s clearly not healthy, but where exactly do people draw the line? If someone smoked everyday, or drank alcohol everyday then most of society would brand them as addicts, as unhealthy people, and although playing video games for a couple of hours a day isn’t the same as having a few pints or smoking a few cigarettes i’m intrigued to know where the line begins. Personally I don’t consider playing a couple of hours a day as an addiction, days go by when I don’t play at all, and days come along where I’ll play more than 2 hours, so at what point does it become an addiction? Would doubling it to 4 hours a per session, but only three days a week make it more of an addiction compared to 2 hours a day? What I’m trying to ask is is it worse to play it for a longer duration each time on fewer occasions, or to play it every day, but in smaller doses? And how many hours a week would you have to rack up for it to be considered an addiction?
In this modern day it can be even more difficult to get away from the console, not only do you have the games, you have music services, television, Netflix, Twitch, Skype, the list goes on, you have literally everything you could possibly want all on one box, and whilst this is fantastic for convenience it can mean that it’s very easy to sit down at 10am, and hardly move until you go to bed.
Can gaming an addiction? Of course it can, but WHEN does it become an addiction? As a gamer myself it’s a very difficult question to answer, as I mentioned earlier there have been time when I’ve spent 5-6 hours a day on one game, so i know personally how easy it can be to get sucked in and how quickly the time seems to fly by, you get pulled into the fantasy world and before you know it will be 3 or 4am. Personally I think that if you’re playing around the 50 hour mark a week then you’ve probably got a problem, that would make it around 7 hours a day, 7 days a week, but once again I’ll stress that I’ve done that myself and I don’t consider myself to have a problem.
What do you think, have you ever considered yourself as a gaming addict, and how many hours do you think you have to play a week to be considered one? Has there been that one game that you just couldn’t pull yourself away from? Let me know your thoughts on the matter, it will be interesting to see a few different perspectives!