[Second Skin]

Have you heard of a little documentary called “Second Skin”? It details the lives of on-line gamers, and how their MMORPG of choice affects their lives and the lives of those around them.

I decided to start watching Second Skin this evening. I however did not finish watching it. I do plan on finishing it, but after about a half hour I decided to take a break, because it was actually making me feel bad. Not because I felt for the people in this Documentary, but because I could not stop laughing. What’s worse, is the doc is not intended as a comedy in anyway. That’s what was making me feel bad. It was talking about how a gamers life was nearly destroyed, how he was completely and totally addicted to World of Warcraft, and how his addiction shattered his real world, and in the end he ended up going to a half-way house for WoW junkies.

Hardly laughable material right? Yet I could not stop laughing! I’m not talking about giggles, I mean loud boisterous laughter that echoed throughout the house. So, why was I laughing? Well, the whole thing seemed stupid to me. Last time I checked, there weren’t any chemicals added to WoW or any other game. Can you REALLY be such a bad junkie that there’s an actual need for a boarding house? It seems not just silly, but outright ridiculous.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand where the guys coming from. Hell, I was in his shoes actually for a good couple years. After my wife passed away I immersed myself into World of Warcraft, I was on every spare second of my life. I alienated friends and family. I cut my sleeping schedule down to just a few hours so that I would have more Gaming time. I hated sleeping, because I had dreams of my wife and her death, and to me it made so much more sense to not think about any of that and just run away from reality and escape into a fantasy realm where I could slay dragons, and become someone else. Several times I even fell asleep at the keyboard while playing WoW. I had a mini-fridge beside my desk stocked with food and drink so I never had to stop playing except to run to the bathroom. I even started sleeping on the couch in the computer room, because it was so much closer to the computer. You know, someone from the guild might need me, and I needed to be close enough to hear my Instant Messager ding a message for me.

I know, pretty pathetic right? So, what right do I have to laugh at this guy? Because, I didn’t need to go to a boarding house. I never referred to my gaming habits seriously as an addiction, because it’s not. I did break those habits, and not by struggling, going to group therapy or seeking any kind of “Professional help”. I managed to stop simply because I got bored. Does that sound like an addiction. Have you ever heard a junkie say they just got bored of getting high and waking up in jail cells or alley ways? No! You know why? Because unlike most drugs, MMORPGs are NOT addictive. It’s a choice. You keep playing because you WANT to, not because you are being forced to by some horrible addiction. You aren’t going to break into cold sweats and convulsions because you went a day without hearing some orc yell ‘For the Horde!’ and most importantly you don’t need professional help to quit playing!

Seriously, people like that make me sick. Where does ANYONE get off shifting blame onto companies like Blizzard or Sony, when the cold hard truth is, the only one to blame is themselves. Blizzard and Sony sure as hell don’t force you to play, in fact several MMORPGs have built in timers and reminders to remind you that you really should get off the damn computer and attend to life. Is it their fault that people CHOOSE to keep playing? No, it’s the gamers fault. It’s them who keeps going and going cause he wants to be all that and a bag of chips. He wants to get somewhere in the game and he wants to get their as soon as he can. He decides, that everything else is less important. So, stop blaming companies for you piss-poor judgement and place the blame where it belongs. Squarely on your shoulder.

Now, that I have ranted about that, I’m kind of in the mood to play an MMORPG. 😀

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