A new understanding of compulsive gaming

We’ve all heard of kids that hide their phone or iPad under the bed covers as they play their computer games long after their lights out time. They wake up tired, can’t concentrate at school, stop socialising, stop exercising and become OCD about their computer games. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been vaguely critical of either the child, or the parenting of said child. Never for one minute did I ever contemplate the sheer power a computer game can have. That was then,  now I know differently.

You may remember back in May 2018 I wrote a post called ‘wasting time’,

https://lifeofrileyow.com/2018/05/15/wasting-time/

I had just discovered the joys (or not) of gaming on my iPad. In this case the game was one for home decorating. It proved to be addictive, and expensive, well for me it was. My daughter,  Alice, plays the same game but manages to keep her spending to a minimum, and it doesn’t intrude overly into her time. For me, the game totally took me over. I lost interest in so many things.

There were six rooms a day to decorate that were released at approximately four hourly intervals. I couldn’t wait for the next challenge, and I couldn’t wait for the results to be decided on challenges already entered. Each time I disturbed during the night I couldn’t get back to sleep until I had checked out the most recent results, and/or completed any newly released challenges. I kidded myself that I was playing the game because I was having trouble sleeping. The reality was that I was having trouble sleeping because my subconscious mind was wanting to play that damn game.

I checked on the game status before going to bed, and again upon waking (as well as throughout the night as already mentioned). I checked on results before and after each meal, and before leaving the house or upon returning from any outing. I kept an eye on the time waiting (or rather I couldn’t wait) for the time the next design challenge would be released. I had it bad….

That lasted for over seven months. It was foremost in my mind at almost all times. My blogging certainly suffered as a direct result, as did most of my life. At the beginning of December I finally admitted to myself how addicted I was, and took steps to get my life back. I made a New Years resolution that I was going to delete the game, and was never going to return to it. There was a special Christmas series of decorating. I promised myself I would enter all challenges up until the fifth and final of that series, then I would await all results, after which I would delete the game. And I did. On the 27th December I deleted the game.

It’s one of only two New Years resolutions that I’ve managed to stick to. The other one was way back in the eighties when I had my last ever cigarette at approximately 11.58pm on the 31st December. I’ve not had a smoke since, and I’m pleased to say that  that dreadful game has also gone for good.

My life is slowly returning to normal, including a slowly rekindling of my interest in blogging. Someone once said to me that in order to be able to write, you must do two things. The first is to read, and the second is to write. She said that once you start to write the writing becomes easier and the thoughts and words will flow. How true. With seven months of stunted writing, I’m finding it harder to find a flow of transposing thoughts to print. But it’s coming……..

I never could have understood the power a computer game can potentially have without having experienced it. Although I never want to become obsessed with something so mindless again, I am pleased to be able to relate. A reminder that one should with hold judgement until having walked a mile in another’s shoes!

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9 thoughts on “A new understanding of compulsive gaming

  1. I noticed that about the daily challenges. Too much competition. I only enter the challenges where there is a piece of furniture I am particularly looking to buy! Caution is good when it comes to gaming. Like you said, no wonder the teens have difficulty reducing their screen time and judging when it is too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hopefully I have learnt my lesson and can be moderate this time. I’m hoping to only do the challenges for which I have the dollars, diamonds and keys. That means no voting either, which means I won’t be wasting to much time on it. I really tried hard before to get my score up, but it was really hard to get it above 4.6. I stopped entering the daily challenges as they were the hardest ones to get fair scores in. Anyway, I’ll use more caution this time hopefully.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my. It really sucked you in, Chris. Sad to hear that it disturbed your sleep. Those game developers are sneaky. I do know what it is to wake from sleep by a device. I had to turn off notifications and put my phone on Do Not Disturb at night, as the “notification pings” woke me up all too frequently. If I got up to go to the toilet and that light was flashing, I would be tempted to check who or what it was. Do not Disturb worked perfectly and I sleep through now.

    It is quite a different world isn’t it? I count my lucky stars we lived in a world without technology – at least for a while. Even though I love technology, it has a dark side.

    I do like that I can play it for free – and yes that limits the experience, but that is a good thing. I can’t get addicted to as I have run out of furniture “dollars.” See you around on Design home, in short bursts!

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  4. Oh my. It sucked you in. Sad to hear that it disturbed your sleep. That game developers are sneaky. I had to turn off notifications and put my phone on Do Not Disturb as the “notification pings” woke me up during the night. It is quite a different world isn’t it? I count my lucky stars we lived in a world without technology – at least for a while. Even though I love it, it has a dark side. I do like that I can play it for free – and yes that limits the experiene, but that is a good thing. I can’t get addicted then as I have run out of dollars.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I honestly thought I was playing the game because I couldn’t sleep. In actual fact I was waking up only to play the game. As soon as I deleted the game I started sleeping through the night again. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not experienced it.

    Liked by 1 person

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