It's 10 pm. Do you know where you and your loved ones are? Here is a collection of experiences from those who live / have lived with an obsessive MMOG gamer and from those who have lived the experience of obsessive MMOG gaming.

Friday, November 25, 2005

"It's nice to know that I'm not alone here. My wife of three years has been hooked on everquest for the past 5 months. She was playing everyday of the week and averaging about 10 hours a day. Over this time she became distant, stop caring for the kids, and gained 35 pounds. All this time I was patient and raising a family on my own
behind her computer.

A couple of weeks ago she got really sick and I had to take her to the Doctor. Turns out she has been diagnosed with diabetes and gout (sp?) which is directly related to her gaming / eating habits. I had to look her in the eye and tell her how selfish she was and did she really want to oontinue down this path and possibly die leaving an entire family behind. The doctor backed me up on this and told her that she would only live a couple of more years if she continued to live the way she did

After this, I went home, and forced her to donate the PS2 and all of the games to charity. As for the computer, it is behind steel re-inforced locked doors and is password protected. She is no longer allowed to use the computer without my supervision. Everquest has been uninstalled and the CD has been incinerated. I have my wife back and so far we are a happy family again. Videogames of any shape or form are no longer allowed in our house."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"My wife and I had lived together for the past four years. I notice right off the back that she was't like most women when it came to video games and computers. She played longer than I did and got more excited about graphics and what not. About 1 month into the relationship she re-installed the sims game into our computer. I watch as she played for 12 hours a day both days on the weekend. I was highly concerned ... put off that she had done this, but even I have indulge myself for hours playing a video game or doing fantasy sports on the computer, but that was the first time. First Red Flag.

Well for the next couple years this became a pattern you would a get a new game play it for a couple weeks straight and then she would go back to life as usual.It would happen about 12 times a year and we argue some when it would happen.

But then she got into a whole new avenue of computer debauchury. She became addicted to message boards.... She ran a message board and her level of committment was at an all time high being on the computer 3 to fours a night.
Well four months ago we finally got married.
The Day we got back from our honeymoon my wife heard about a Star Wars on line Game where you innerect with other people. It was in the same calibur of the games she used to get addicted to for a couple weeks at a time like Morrowind and Fable.

'Uh oh,' I thought at the time. It was the beginning of August 05.

She began talking about this game all the time. She would a couple hours a night for the first couple as she figured the game out, but then it happenned. The two world united. Her gaming addiction and her message board need for on line community addiction joined forces. She began play four hours a day, five hours a day....

And then her world became this Star Wars world. For the past three months straight this is my wifes schedule. She works from 8 a.m- and gets home around 6 p.m. Then from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m and sometimes up to 4 a.m she playes her star wars game. To her credit and for this only will I give her credit, she does stop for my child's basic needs that I'm not doing. Diaper changing, feedings, putting him to sleep. Changing the channel or DVD. And occasionally she will make a dineer that might take her 30 minutes to do. But aside from that and the occasional laundrt every two weeks she only games. Spends zero time with me.

This is the pattern that my wife and I get into. She plays a couple of days straight and I get real pissed. I fight with her about it.

She says, 'Why would I want to spend time with you when all you do is put me down and fight with me.'

My response is, 'The reson why we fight is because you play that damn game all the time.' Its like a catch 22.

I get so fed up and she tells me the reason why she keeps playing partly because i tell her I don't want her too. So we usually fight really bad about it. I say a lot screwed up things like 'I've lost respect for her.' Then I feel bad we make up. we never have make up sex. Our make up routine is I shut up about for the next five days while she goes even more hay wire playing the game. Finally I hit a place again we fight. i say more screwed up things we make up I'm quiet again for the next five days. This is our cycle.

My wife and i have not been intimate in 3 months. We have only had relations twice since our honeymoon. About three weeks ago i privately logged her hours during a one week span. I did this because she claims she doesn't play as much as I say. In one week she played 58 hours.

I often wake up at two three in the morning and she is not in bed and is playing the game.

Last night. this is the night of my first post. I woke up at 5:30 and she still wasn't in bed. I went to her. She said she had trouble sleeping and was planning on staying up all night. She works on saturdays.

I really don't know what to do. This is killing my relationship. It breaks my heart constantly. I feel very alone in this being a guy. my friends absolutely think my wife is crazy and cannot relate on any level. I don't know what to do."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Video Game Vignettes: Gamers Grow Up - more personal accounts (11/20/2005, By Vince Horiuchi, The Salt Lake Tribune)

Mobile Game Addiction Spreading
(November 08, 2005, Dong-A IIbo)

I've wondered about this a while ago when games on cell phones and PSP started becoming popular but as most of those games were at best entertaining for a brief amount of time, I wonder if this won't change in the future.

Will this change much in homes? Probably not. At work and school? Perhaps. But I am mainly worried about future driving - we have problems with cell phones as it is - having mobile gaming become mainstream ... I wonder how many people would try to play for a bit while standing at the right light?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Someone else's story - it's very well written and very blunt. Not ifs and buts. Life, Love and MMO's

"...I thought I'd relate a little of my story because I think it offers some insight. I'm a 33 year old guy, not married and no kids and a long time video game junkie. While I was playing video games all the time, it never dawned on me that I might have been depressed, but then...Whamo! I was hit with a couple of panic attacks about two months ago. (Panic attacks and depression are commonly linked). This was followed by two weeks of extreme nervousness that landed me at the doctor. He put me on some meds and advised me to clean up my diet and take some supplements. The fact is that prior to the panic attacks I had no idea I was depressed...I thought it was just my natural state. Now, I see otherwise, because I'm feeling a WHOLE lot better.

Last night I had a choice between staying home by myself and playing some video games or going karoaking with some friends. An easy choice to go karoaking. It dawned on me today that I would have NEVER made that choice when I was depressed...I would have chosen to spend the night alone with my computer.

My thought is that playing video games could be a symptom of depression and/or anxiety. It's a form of withdrawing from the world to a "safe" place. Maybe treating the depression would help rid the obsession of the game."

From the news service on November 16: Gaming fanatics show hallmarks of drug addiction

This e-mail response just blew me away when I read it this morning. Thank you so very much! Makes me happy to know that my message is coming through correctly every now and then, and that I am not just blowing smoke up people's ....

"I just found your website today. I was trolling for some thoughts on game addiction as I prepared to "talk" to a buddy of mine who has been lost for some time in World of Warcraft.

I play maybe 12 hours a week. I wouldn't say I'm an addict but I can certainly see some obsessive behavior considering those 12 hours are usually over the course of the weekend. I'm a law student and therefore I justified my gaming with the fact that I can't go out anyways for economic and time reasons. However, that argument loses power when I'm logging off at 4am. I have four friends who play the game as well. They've all outstripped me despite starting at the same time or later than me. One of them had to take 2 months off to get his life back in order, the other is divorced (for other reasons as well but his obsessive playing certainly didn't help) the third is my roommate who is still decently in control but I haven't had a conversation with him in 2 months that didn't involve WoW. The fourth is a guy who needs help. Let me just say that we're all professionals. We pay our bills, we go to work (except for the fourth), we are 30 or older and we maintain good lives. But there is little doubt in my mind that this game has affected all of us negatively. I have never stood my girlfriend up for the game but I know it has taken time away from us. I don't believe I have ever skipped anything to play WoW but that's not the problem. I came here to help my friend... but I'm not going to talk about him.

I just looked at my /played time "15 days and change". Since February, I have spent more than 360 hours playing this game. As a law student, my time is precious. And I just spent 360 hours of it in this game. Time that could have been spent reading, walking, talking or doing anything else but sitting in front of a computer.

I may not be an "addict" to the degree that some of these other stories indicate but there is no doubt that this game has not improved or gifted me with anything positive or memorable. There is no doubt in my mind that this game will come to an end and then where would I be? With nothing but an worthless file on my hard drive. I can do better than that.

Frankly, after reading all these stories, I was presented with the decision of saying "Man, these people are so more worse off than me" or "Maybe I should learn something from this...". I've decided to choose the latter. Just wanted to thank you. Your website has made me look hard at the long-term effects of this game. I've played it enough. I've seen most of what it can offer and, even though there's more to see, I think getting back to my life would be far more beneficial. You're doing a great job here, heck... you got to me.

In my search to help a friend, I managed to help myself first. I think I'm going to turn my computer off now and read a book."

Monday, November 07, 2005

"I stumbled upon your blog this morning at around 6:00 a.m., while I was researching divorce for about the 50th time. My husband's drug of choice is EverQuest. He has played this game obsessively for the past few years and frankly, it has destroyed our marriage and his relationship with our daughter. It makes me sad to read other posts from people whose loved ones' lives are devoured by this game, but at the same time it was totally eye opening for me, and was the first time that I didn't feel completely crazy. I have spent nearly every day for the past few years trying to get my husband to quit. I've tried anger, sarcasm, gentle pleading, letters, printing out articles on game addiction...anything I could think of. And the worst part is, I feel immensely guilty because I'm so ashamed. I'm ashamed that he's chosen these random strangers over his own family. I'm ashamed to tell anyone about the loneliness and pain I feel as a result of being snubbed for a computer game. I almost wish he was an alcoholic or a drug addict. At least that's easier to explain than, "My husband would rather sit in front of a computer for days in a row than go on a walk with me or take me to dinner."

The computer he's using? It's a laptop he bought for me as a gift. I had it for maybe two days before he completely hijacked it. He'll be playing on the laptop and then will simultaneously hijack the desktop to look up information about spells. I've gone to the EQ site and read the messages he posts there. I'm sad to say that I'm jealous of the well-wishes and ass kissing posts he leaves for total strangers, congratulating them on marriages, births, successful raids, etc. One guy posted and said that he was leaving due to the fact that EQ was taking over his life, and everyone was basically like, "Good luck. Can we post your opening now?" It made my stomach turn.

I don't know what else I can do to salvage my self respect and my family. My daughter basically has given up on asking my husband to do anything with her
or to help her with homework. When she brings him her math and says she doesn't understand, he will literally keep playing his game and then will glance at her homework and say she should just try harder. The other day we had a serious discussion about our daughter's grades and performance in school, and my husband was still playing that f#*!ing game while he lectured her on paying attention. Is that a laugh or what?

My husband is famous for trying to divert my attention away from his addiction. I casually mentioned wanting to play XBox, and he lit up like a Christmas tree. He will constantly tell me I look tired and shoo me off to bed (alone) so he can stay up all night playing EQ. Last night I asked him if he wanted to watch a movie. He got upset and said he thought I was going to play XBox. I said, "I want to hang out with you." So he typed something to his guild and then put the laptop down. I assumed we would watch the movie. We put one in, and he spent the next half hour leaning over me to see if I was asleep yet. Finally, I pretended to be just so see what he'd do. He carefully maneuvered his way out from under me (I was laying with my head on his lap) and slid down to the floor at the base of the sofa. I opened my eyes and watched him pick up the laptop and the first thing he typed was an apology and an excuse that he had computer problems. So now I'm a computer problem?

I hate being saddled with these feelings, especially with the holidays coming. I feel like I want to be baking cookies and going shopping and doing what everyone else is doing as a family. Instead, my daughter and I are spending yet another weekend alone, total EQ widow and orphan, while my husband pledges his allegiance to EQ."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The following is a compilation of several posts by the same person:

"Me and my partner are recently engaged and just got an apartment together. We've been together for over three years, and I know I want to spend my life with him. He is an amazing, loving person --- until he's in front of that computer screen.

He's been playing the game Asheron's Call since before we even met. I knew this when we started dating, and it was never really a problem in the beginning. After a year or so, I began to see what this game does to him. He becomes distant, and snappy, and ignores everything else around him that does not pertain to the game. I guess it was soon after I noticed that I began my "nagging." I never initially asked him to quit. I asked him to cut back on the game, and pay more attention to me and his friends and family, and he said he would. Did he? Absolutly not. He would say I was angry about him playing because I had no "real" hobbies in his eyes. So he got me playing. That was a huge mistake. He loved playing with me, and in the beginning I did as well. But then it seemed like the only thing we did together was play. That ended pretty quickly.

Fast foward a year and a half or so of the same old arguement day after day. He began failing classes, alienating family, and was completely antisocial. He was in charge of a clan, and when I would ask if we could go out and do something, he would say we would have to wait, because his clan needed this, or his friend needed that. What about what I needed? At this point, I began BEGGING. I was feeling unloved, unwanted, and unpretty. He would actually turn down sex to instead play AC. Again, he said he would cut back. This time he did, for a while. Same old crap started again, I was back to crying and begging and pleading for him to quit the game. I thought I finally changed things when I told him I was leaving. I packed everything I had at his house, and started for the door. He stopped me and promised everything would be better, and he would quit. He said he couldnt bear to delete his character as there was 4 years of work put into them, so would give them away. He didn't play, so I thought for about a month. He never gave his account away, and would only play when he knew I wouldn't catch him. But one day I did, and went to leave again. I stupidly stayed, but he did quit for a month or so. The expansion pack came out, and he begged if he could play just for a few days. I ignorantly agreed, but its been months, and he's still playing. This game makes him a liar.

I know I contribute to the problem. But he makes me feel so guilty when he tells me he would never make me give up something i love.

I'd be lying if I said things havent gotten better. They definatly have and I'm thrilled about that. He doesnt play nearly as often as he used to, but every once and a while he will slip up for a day or so. I AM happy with the changes he has made, but I know I will never be 100% happy until its completely gone. Just from the history he has had with it. I never want to go back to the days of endless crying and I want to have a family with him in the future. I don't want him to slip up later and become who he was before. I don't want to be raising a child alone. I know it's an addiction. And I know he has made a HUGE attempt and done great with it, but should I demand more? Or am I already being selfish?

I know this was long, thanks for reading. It feels good to know theres others where I've been."

.... in another post:

"Like I said, I am happy with the progress my fiance has made, but he has done it before, and fallen back into the game. It hurts so much to see him laughing and talking with people he doesnt even know, as opposed to me, the person who loves him more than life and will always be there for him. I try to explain to him all the time that I am going to be there for him when he is hurt, or sick, not them. I just hope I got through to him this time, but I'm not letting my gaurd down just yet. He's lied to me before, and my guess is that he would again. I just never want to go through that pain that we've all felt before."

.... yet another post

"So, I got him to put the game away. Of course that is only while I am with him. Apparently he thinks as long as I don't see it its all ok. Only, I don't want him to flunk out of school or become even more antisocial than he already is. Anyway, I no longer have to deal with the game taking away from my time with him, now it is the message boards pertaining to the game. I asked him tonight to come cuddle up and watch a little tv with me, after making him dinner and cleaning up after him of course, and what did I get? "Give me just one minute, I'm reading this post, I'll be done in a sec." Thirty mins later I'm still alone on the couch listening to the obnoxious keyboard. So when he finally comes over to me, he expects everything to be fine and when it isnt, its just me "pushing him away." I explained the problem to him, and never recieved an apology, he just kept trying to be affectionate. I wasn't having it.

At least things are better than they were. I guess we'll see what happens...."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Here is an email that I received just recently - many thanks and all the very best to the sender.

"I'm 23 years old and as long as I can remember, I've been an avid gamer. Both of my parents are alchoholics and have been for many years. I remember when I was about 8 years old, I they would go over to the neighbors house, or the neighbors would come to our house and all of the adults would sit around all night and drink. Being the youngest of the neighborhood by 4 years, I was left out of almost all of the interactions, even of the neighbors children and my sister. Eventually I started acting out at school by claiming to be sick so I could go home. I had no way to deal with feelings of abandonment that I was encountering at that young of an age. When everyone would get together to party (my parents weren't young parents when they had me, at this time my mother was 32, and my father was 37) the only thing I would do was play games. It became a ritual. Every Friday night or Saturday morning, my dad would take me down to the video store and I would get to rent a Nintendo game. I started looking forward to it more and more, and it became an obsession.

The game may have been different from month to month, but the concept was always the same. At first it started out as honest fun and I played because I enjoyed it. Then eventually it became something I liked and wanted to succeed at. Finally it would spiral out of control and I would invest so much time in it that I would begin to get angry when I was pulled away from it. Anytime someone I was away from the game, I wanted to talk about it with someone else who appreciated it. I altered my sleeping pattern at one point during my addiction so I could be up to play games with my brother-in-law who was a first shifter and still manage to play games late at night with the people I had come to know in various games. I would sleep for three hours between 9am and 12pm, get up and stay up till midnight or later, and then sleep for 8 hours. Then I'd get up for another 25 hours, sleep for 3 and get up and stay up till midnight. I would repeat the pattern which left me more time to game during "prime time" and I still was able to interact with my family, all though I admit the time I spent with them was probably quite negligble compared to the amount of time I spent defusing bombs on DE_Dust, or killing mobs in Kunark...

After reading through the posts on this site, and coming to understand just how much it affects the people on the sidelines I realize that my addiction to online games is no different than my mother and father's addiction to Alchohol. I neglect, lose myself in a fantasy world to kill the pain, hang out with unsavory types despite not enjoying my interaction with them. Luckily I don't drink like they do, but I now have my own addiction to contend with. My wife and I will be having a serious talk this afternoon so she can let out what's been bothering her about my gaming, and this time I'm actually going to listen, and adjust my lifestyle to help my relationship with her grow.

Any parent out there that is reading this...If your kid(s) game obsessively, do something about it now. The majority of addiction is not physical or chemical, it's emotional. With your help your children can break away and find joy in interacting with the real world rather than the world they pay to play in.

Best of luck to everyone, my heart goes out to the Widows of EverQuest."

"I got married to my husband, before we entered University. However, we study in different cities. I will be graduating next year, but he has been playing games the whole 3 years of University. He hasn't taken any courses, so he will not be graduating. I used to go to his place on holidays&weekends, and talk, cry, throw things, yell, even hit him (basically go nuts) to persuade him to stop playing, and start thinking of our future. With this problem occupying my mind 24 hours of every single day, I am not doing well at school either, lately. When he's into the game, he doesn't answer his phone, or reply to my e-mails. Everytime it goes on more than a week, I get worried that he might be dead, because he forgets to eat while he's playing. Also, I am so ashamed about it, that I hide it from my friends and family and lie to them that my husband is doing fine over there, and that everything's going great. But I can not go on like this!!! Next week I am going to go there, and bring him here for good. I am hoping if we live together, he will not play and our lives will be normal again. What do you think? Please somebody tell me how I could make my "dead" husband "live" again!!!"