I might not be addicted to watching sports like most males of my age group might be… but I do admit that I am addicted to playing videogames. I am not sure how much it really affects my maturity level or not but I am willing to hear some opinions.
Videogames have been part of my life since I was very young. I still remember the first time my Dad took me to an arcade when I was probably 7 or 8 and I played an arcade version of Dig Dug. That day my addiction to computers had begun. I had no clue what made a TV respond to a joystick but all I knew is that it was just the coolest thing I had ever seen. I don’t think my Dad would have ever imagined that he was starting me in a path to what one day would become my career as a programmer.
During my childhood I would go to the arcade as often as I could. As far as home systems I received an Atari 2600 for Christmas when I was around 10, but did not have another home system until I was 17 and I had my own job. I did play Nintendo and Sega at my friends’ houses. Also in Colombia you can find little “game centers” where a bunch of TV’s are set up with home consoles. I have actually seen these places pop up now with Xbox gaming centers, but for the longest time you only saw consoles at home.
I actually saw the first computer games back in Colombia. I played Tetris and Prince of Persia at one of my friend’s house on a computer. I did not actually get my own computer until I started College. That computer was still in use by my sister until last year when she finally got a new one. I did not do too much gaming on that computer, but the next two which I still have at home were both gaming oriented machines.
I have had a lot of consoles after college; regretfully I never really had a chance to take advantage of them to the point that it almost feels like a waste of money. Most of the consoles that I have owned have been recycled by selling back old systems and getting new. I was also lucky to get in on package deals from people getting rid of their collections for next to nothing. I have played plenty of computer games lately and I feel like it is money well spent. Also my gaming computer performs other tasks that make it a good investment.
You can see how much I love videogames, but I feel that my addiction is not a problem for the following reasons. If it were to interfere with my personal life I would drop it. I would not choose to play games instead of going out and bowling, or watching a movie. However I do enjoy playing videogames. I like playing videogames not because I am good at it; I play for the fun of it. Even though I am above average at a couple of games.
I think having an addiction to videogames is better than say a controlled substance. I don’t think that you can really hurt anyone but yourself playing videogames. While I do not advocate the complete addiction to them, I do think that it is not a bad one. I put it in the same level with the addiction that some guys have to professional sports. Where they are so dedicated that they will drop everything to watch a game. I love watching sports, but in the grand scheme of importance, the only thing that even keeps it on the list is that it can be a social activity.
Videogames now, with the introduction of multiplayer games has become a social activity also. Not just online communities but gamer communities in real life (IRL). LAN Parties bring people together that have a common interest and starts to erase the antisocial stereotype of gamers. I think the word gamer still has a negative stigma in a lot of people’s eyes, but I think that as time goes by more and more people will see that almost anyone can be a gamer. There should be no stereotype attached to the activity.