You will hear it said a lot, if you spend much time around gamers or their friends or parents – or indeed if you yourself are a gamer. The word is spat out with real feeling, but the way it is said is almost more mocking than angry, and it seems to cloud the real issue. You must have heard it, either reported, acted, or said for real. “That game, you’re always playing it – I sometimes think you’re addicted!” What might surprise some people is that playing video games can be genuinely addictive, and it can be a problem.
Indeed, some reviews of games and the advertising that takes quotes from them will use the word itself – “addictive”. Gamers themselves will say approvingly of a game that it is very addictive. It certainly is a selling point. But there is a fine line between “addictive” and addictive. Some people do develop an addiction to video games which is in its way as pernicious as nicotine, heroin or any other drug. It may be considered to be pretty lightweight compared to those, but for those who develop an addiction there are real problems.
Some people become sullen and withdrawn when circumstances prevent them from playing a video game, and some will respond in a very ungracious way to those who ask them to do something else. It is not as damaging, in real terms, as a drug addiction but it can be very damaging to social relationships and if you feel that you, or someone you know, has become addicted to video games (or one specific game), it is important to look for a solution to the matter.