Gaming addiction and why people don’t play for fun

I watched someone play the new Diablo 3 expansion on twitch and it looked interesting enough so I decided to give it a try.

Some background: A few years ago I was a semi-hardcore gamer. I practically played all the free time that I had and Diablo 3 was the last game that I played before I quit.

So, I started playing last night, went to sleep, woke up, played until I stopped just an hour ago.

During these two days I probably played for at least 14 hours.

I have to say that I really enjoyed playing the game – for a while I noticed myself being very addicted to it as it was so much fun.

However, a while ago I decided to quit because the excitement started to fade away. I had got to the point where the game turns into the ultimate grindfest.

This brought some thoughts about gaming – especially excessive gaming in general:

I remember when I started playing World of Warcraft. I was young, I was really excited about it and really loved the game.

However like in any game, there is a point where the initial excitement fades away and gets replaced by the “upgrade obsession”. Both Diablo and World of Warcraft are similar because the ultimate aim is to get better gear.

If you are not familiar with it, believe it or not, a lot of people do not actually enjoy playing these after certain period of time: they are mindlessly grinding for that next piece of item which may potentially take days, even weeks to get.

They are obsessed with the game not because they get a good feeling purely from playing, but rather from getting the next piece that they are obsessed about.

How do I know this? Because I was exactly like this and so were people who I played with.

After getting that item, it soon becomes mundane and the game developers have of course created yet another item to strive for.

This is like the perfect analogy for society.

Of course it’s slightly more complicated than that, but the obsession to be simply “good” at the game (meaning having good gear) was so strong that it made me endure all the boring shit, which was maybe 90% of the playing after that initial period of enjoyment.

One reason for this was of course that I felt like there was nothing else to do but gaming.

Now that I think about it, it’s fucking retarded. But that’s really because I didn’t know what else to do.

Summary / conclusion

I have no idea how to summarize this, but I’ll give it a try:

  • Playing games is awesome until you get to the point where the obsession takes over, meaning when you feel bored to play, but keep playing for that next piece of item (“wanting to be the best” -> the only purpose is to inflate ego)
  • The problem for a lot of gamers is that they’ve practically “committed” to gaming. They keep playing through thick and thin because they don’t have a back-up plan
  • Playing games can be very alluring even for years, but at some point the feeling will start to fade away. At that point the habit is so deeply engrained that it’s hard to even think about doing something else.
  • I’ve noticed that instead of many other things I do nowadays, excessive gaming never provided any fulfillment for me. (Having fun while playing was a different matter)
  • In the end, gaming that really pulls you into the game because it’s so much fun is recommended by me, but once you notice the point where it becomes a grindfest and you start to trade wellbeingness for a new piece of item.. Stop.

I feel relieved that I stopped playing Diablo 3 – I had fun with it, though I think I paid too much for a couple of days of fun.

More playing would have meant mindless grinding, so I’d rather stop and do something that feels fun and creates a sense of fulfillment.

I guess I’ve become slightly smarter about this whole thing.


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