I have experienced video game addiction. When I first played World of Warcraft (WoW) I was addicted. I was addicted to leveling up and to gaining the next best skill, attribute or ability. With other games if there cheats I would use them. I had to level up, get to the top level and win. At all costs. I had to stop playing because not only was I dreaming WoW but I was playing every chance I got. Over the summer I could easily be found playing for six or seven hours a day, until two or three in the morning, only stopping to eat a meal and use the restroom! Yes, my family was NOT pleased (well, my son did like to watch me play at times, daughter was too young to get into it).
What’s funny is that I enjoy my life. I wasn’t using gaming as an escape. I love my life and I still became obsessed with virtual reality. When I was young fantasy novels were my obsession. I loved those worlds that were so different from my own. Video games continued that only in games I was in charge instead of just passively reading the story. I was part of the story! Could that be why I became addicted? Is that why kids get addicted to games? And by kids I’m also referring to 20-somethings!
Video games are an escape and for some, like me who are a bit OCD to begin with, highly addictive. Once you’re in it’s hard to stop until you “beat” the game. And then you’re looking for the next game to beat. Add to that PVP (Player vs Player where you play against or with life people instead of computer generated characters typically called NPC’s or Non-Player Characters) and there’s no stopping! Before the Burning Crusade expansion in WoW I was improving my capped toon by playing battlegrounds and getting epic, purple gear with honor points. Even though I had “beaten” the game there was still more to do. There was no satisfying my thirst for improvement. There was always better gear, better stats, better weapons. So how did I put a stop to all that? I cancelled my account and stopped playing altogether. I had to go cold turkey. Nice thing was the when I stopped playing WoW obsessively I started following people on Twitter so I began to do that obsessively! I guess I need something to keep me busy.
I don’t plan on having my gamified classroom go this far, I’m not arrogant enough to believe it will. I’ll just be happy if I can get ALL my students to engage in learning Science and to find learning and learning Science specifically as enjoyable by tapping in to what can motivate someone to obsess over something. Bad thing?