Just one more game

Just one more Game

Gamification or bust!?!

I used to play online games. You know the silly ones that you get those insufferable Facebook invites to play. At first it was fun, a simple diversion. Then it became a problem. My game of choice was Mafia Wars. It was a relatively simple game where you would collect properties, put hits on people and do jobs to gain money and position. I used to love this game. I would login, think “Just one more game” and play everyday (because if you didn’t you would lose your fake momentum). I knew I had hit rock bottom when I began waking up in the middle of the night thinking of logging on to the game to make sure no one had put a hit on me, or had tried to take my territories. I was obsessed. One day it hit me. I was waking up in the middle of the night to protect fake money when my real money wasn’t always straight, this was a problem.

My solution was to quit cold turkey. When I realized that my online game life was interfering with my real live I knew it was time to turn away and get my life together. I am happy to report that since that day I have never looked back. I stopped playing mafia wars and to this day when I get game request I pretend that I don’t see them and turn off related notifications.

But I was lucky. I hadn’t spent real money on virtual mafia outfits a la “Kim Karsashian: Hollywood” – a free game that pulls in $700,000 a day.

In fact, I was truly lucky. Every so often you come across a story that shows the ultimate darkness that game addiction can cause. This article details the second death of a young (we’ll say 30-something is young) online gamer this year.

While I do think that death is the ultimate price of online game addiction, there have been other horror stories that have shaped my thoughts that too much online gaming can definitely be a bad thing. As a parent I was horrified when I heard the story of parents that neglected their living, breathing, biological child in favor or raising their virtual child.

It’s horrifying because you wonder how this type of disconnect happens. What makes someone value a virtual life over a real, living, breathing one?

I am not sure that we will ever stop hearing about stories in which people are consumed by their online personas and lives. I just hope that once in a while everyone remembers to unplug.