Video Game Addiction

On this page you’ll discover the truth about video game addiction and why you are addicted to video games.

There’s an amazing amount of hypocrisy regarding the amount of sequels in gaming at the moment, particularly as pertains to shooters. Yes, shooters are everywhere and yes, most of them are sequels, but where the majority of journalists and critics often blame this on a lack of creativity on the part of the developers, or on an economic climate that makes developers risk averse, very few people seem to place responsibility on the gamers themselves. Very few (if any) have considered the simple question: Why do gamers need to play Battlefield 3 after playing Gears 3?Why does one shooter automatically lead to another? Why do gamers become addicted to one type of game?

What is it that has led to the huge surge in the number of people addicted to video games?  [wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]To answer this question it is first necessary to consider exactly why a gamer wants to play a shooter in the first place (or whatever other genre of game they play. Here we discuss shooters simply because they are the most popular genre). Of course, readers of will already be aware of the answer to this. The reason people want to play shooters is two-fold. Firstly, they are the most empowering type of game. Players basically want to be an action hero, or a soldier, or any other form of armed force because such positions are synonymous with power. In terms of the mass populace’s perception, army = power, and power is a much sought after commodity.   Indeed, it is due to lust for power that the real life wars (on which games are based) exist in the first place. Why should gamers not wish to feel a sense of power like everyone else? The second reason gamers prefer shooters over all other types of games is because in no other form of game is there such a sense of action/reaction. You pull the trigger, you fire a bullet, an enemy dies. The clarity of action is near impossible to beat, and this provides a very high level of player satisfaction. [/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””] [/wpcol_1half_end]


So, ultimately players want to play shooters to feel the sense of empowerment that comes from pulling a trigger, firing a bullet and taking down an enemy. This is understandable and not surprising. Yet it leaves two questions. Firstly, why don’t players ever get satisfied with shooting? Why has the time not come when players are bored with pulling a trigger and firing a bullet? Why have gamers not developed to a point where they need something else? And secondly, when players already own many shooters that fulfil their need to pull a trigger and fire a bullet, why do they need to buy more games to do the exact same job? Answering these two questions clearly illustrates why Gears 3 naturally leads to Battlefield 3 and why so many people suffer from video game addiction.  It can be assumed that a player’s emotional need to pull a trigger and fire a bullet has yet to be satisfied—after all, if it were satisfied, sales of shooters would plummet; clearly, they have not. Why? Because the trigger (the external cause) for a player’s need to fire a bullet has yet to be satisfied.

To many people, the above sentence probably comes as a surprise. Games are generally considered as entertainment products and little more. Yet in truth, games fulfil an emotional need in the gamer (just as movies do, and indeed just as all forms of entertainment do. After all, there is always a psychological reason why we enjoy what we enjoy). To put it simply, gamers want to kill virtual people in order to feel the sense of power that is often missing from the average person’s day to day life, and also to let off steam. It’s for that reason that the majority of gamers play games when they get home from work/ school. They’ve had a bad day, they’re angry, they don’t have an emotional outlet in real life so they turn to games. As an aside, as a writer, I know full well that if I suffer from writer’s block I am likely to get annoyed and often feel powerless (as I feel unable to control my work productivity) and in feeling this way I am likely to want to play a game that a) empowers me and b) let’s me get rid of any pent up anger. And this is the case for the majority of gamers. We get frustrated with the real world; we take it out in games. Yet hopefully we can find a cure before having to head to video game addiction treatment centers


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Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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