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Gaming has become a big part of our society in the past two decades. What was once for children and limited audiences is now being designed and oriented towards every conceivable demographic. Whether you are an average person, disadvantaged, or in a different age group, there is likely at least a dozen unique and entertaining games that are available to you. The market is huge and has become an almost guaranteed part of our lives.
But how do you know if you’re addicted? Here are eight possible signs that it’s time you put that wireless controller down, and back away slowly.
You bookmark more video gaming sites than anything else
The days of a couple websites dominating the online game scene are no more. Flash, one of the largest providers of digital entertainment available, has grown from a clunky and exclusive platform to something that 24 out of 25 of Facebook’s top games use. Your choices on where to play modern and addictive flash games is longer restricted to the big giants, who have been on the scene since before the internet’s rampant fame, with websites such as Friv 2 offering a wide selection of games you can peruse.
Video gaming is a staple in your life
Some studies suggest that up to 10% of people in the western world are addicted to gaming in some capacity. Even if your gaming begins and ends with a mobile game on your phone, there are several people out there who cling onto this activity and don’t feel quite right unless they get their fix. This can manifest itself in many different ways, but suffice to say that anyone who’s grumpy because they haven’t played some Fallout 4 in a couple days is probably a little too attached to the idea of playing video games.
It takes up all of your time
Chores? Family? Work? School? These have become completely foreign concepts to you. Why do you need to do any of those things when you can sit down, pop open a bag of chips, and play a game you really love for a few hours? Gaming marathons have become the standard rather than exception when it comes to gaming these days, with many charities often running gaming events for over 24 consecutive hours and with many people camping outside during video game premieres so they can get the game as early as they can and play it for as long as humanly possible.
You have an enormous library of games, and can’t stop buying more
There was a time where you had to go to a box store and pay full price for a physical copy of a video game. Some claim nostalgia for these days, but others herald in the time of digital purchasing with open arms. With constantly running sales, bundle packages, and the ability to buy a whole grocery list of games from the comfort of your chair, it has become easier than ever to buy, and buy, and buy. You might have a problem if you’re looking at your video game library and realize there are over a hundred games that have yet to be installed, let alone played.
You dream about video games
Known as the Tetris Effect, it’s possible to be so involved with an activity that your dreams and your perceptions begin to revolve around it. This came about originally with Tetris; people played it to such a severe extent that they saw shapes and subconsciously “played” the game in their daily life without actually touching the video game. A dream here or there is no big deal, but keep this effect in mind if your every-night shenanigans start to take on attributes of your favorite game regularly.
You worry about being addicted
Let’s make this super serious for a second. If you’re worried that you have a problem with video gaming, that probably means there’s something you need to work on in your life. One of the most important things to remember when considering an addiction to gaming is that it’s highly dependant on how it impacts your life. If you play video games a lot but handle all of your affairs in a reasonable fashion, you’re probably not in trouble. This changes if your time spent playing video games could be better spent on something that will negatively affect your life if you neglect it.
You’re angry when you play games, you’re angry when you don’t
This one is a no-brainer. You have a problem with gaming, be it addiction or anger-related, if you feel angry throughout your gaming experience. If you’re yelling at the people you’re playing with or lashing out at those around you when it’s time to take a step back, it’s a guarantee that you need to re-evaluate the situation.
You approach real life problems with video game logic
Have you ever found yourself needing to deal with a situation in your day to day life, shout out an idea to solve it, and then embarrassingly realize that your idea only works in your favorite game’s universe? If you haven’t, pat yourself on the back. If you have, well, there are many who can relate. You might be playing a bit too much if you’re telling your coworker with a broken arm that he just needs to go eat some food to heal himself.
Feature image: JD Hancock via Flickr