Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 30, 2016

Email: Gaming and psychosis

I did find your articles on hardcore gamers and their Psychosis very interesting. It is very easy to get lost in the world of gaming especially when you feel unfulfilled in your life. I remember when the Wii was huge and all the hardcore gamers were terrified that the Wii would destroy hardcore games and acting like this was the end of the world. Seriously if the idea of hardcore games going away was enough to upset you then you really need to reevaluate your life. I know because I was there once. I played a lot of WoW at a time when I had lost my job and while I was job hunting and growing frustrated at not having a lot of luck, it’s easy to go home and get lost in a game if only to get your mind off your frustrations at the real world. At one point I had a job at a retail store and working in retail sucks. You can’t really have much of a social life if you work retail. You work evenings, weekends and most holidays and I remember if I wanted to request a day off I had to plan it a month a head of time, so it’s not like I could just hang out with friends on the weekend.

I was lucky in that I liked the Wii and read your blogs and realized that all the hardcore gamers hating on casual games were sadly these reclusive losers who had no life outside of video games. I didn’t want to be like that. I still played games but I made myself get out and do other things. I eventually got a job with better hours and had more time to meet with friends and family and get involved in things that would make me leave my house.

I know several friends from gaming forums who live rather sad lives. They’re in their mid 30s, have dead end jobs with no real future prospects and no desire to have a relationship. They live with their parents and claim they can’t afford an apartment yet spend a ton on gaming every month. They use gaming as an escape from their lives because games give them the achievement they don’t get from work or family. Even if video games didn’t exist they’d still just escape into something else like comic books or anime but it’s easy to see game developers catering to them because they’re easy targets. Both Sony and MS seemed to cater to this. “look you can stream your gameplay on Facebook!” Heck remember Sony’s “Home” program? “Sure you don’t have any real life friends so come hang in this virtual world where people will love you for loving games.

There’s another demographic that the Game Industry appeals to heavily that’s a bit worrisome and that’s autistic kids. Autism is a touchy subject and I’m not a psychologist though I have a young relative who is autistic and at the age of 11 he’s obsessed with video games and only video games. When they’re out, even if they’re doing something fun like going to an amusment park or walking in the woods, all he wants to do is play with someone’s phone or pull out his 3DS and all he ever wants to talk about is video games. I feel bad for him because unlike the typical “hardcore gamer’ he’s dealing with something that’s beyond his control and if you’re a parent with an autistic child, letting them stare at a phone, or tablet game means getting a bit of a reprieve from another possible meltdown. (imagine a toddler temper tantrum times 10)

This story probably explains it better: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/08August/Pages/Autism-and-ADHD-associated-with-video-game-addiction.aspx

What’s sadder is seeing so many gamers get addicted to the point where things like jobs and relationships suffer. Imagine if there was no “gamer fanboy culture” and how many of these hardcore gamers would probably live more prosperous lives if they weren’t caught up in the Game Industry culture.

This is just the light side of the psychosis. You haven’t heard about the truly dark side. Politics is a huge magnet for those suffering from psychosis. If you got a worthless degree and life isn’t going your way, most likely these people become political activists. People who have relevance to society do not seek ‘political activism’.

What is truly scary is that the psychosis matters more than the element. In Germany, there were people who would willingly join the Nazi Party because of their psychosis. But then these same people would later join the Communist Party. And then, these same, dear very people would go join the Anti-Communist Party. The point is not the ideology, but it is the psychosis. Antigones have no use for content, happy people living their lives… they cannot be used or sucked into their rhetoric.

This is from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The jester is mocking everyone around him. He arrives to the shepherd and demands to know what his philosophy is. The shepherd replies:

No more but that I know the more one sickens the
worse at ease he is; and that he that wants money,
means and content is without three good friends;
that the property of rain is to wet and fire to
burn; that good pasture makes fat sheep, and that a
great cause of the night is lack of the sun; that
he that hath learned no wit by nature nor art may
complain of good breeding or comes of a very dull kindred.

Shakespeare is quite anti-philosophical. He chastises those who follow philosophy above nature itself.

In Coriolanus, the play is about a soldier rising to be a politician who has a dominating mother. But it is revealed that Coriolanus only wished, as a youth, to chase butterflies which the mother did not want. Ambition must be served. This theme is constant throughout Shakespeare. But we also see it in real life too.

Video games are about playing with friends on warm summer nights, about children playing their new games excitedly on Christmas morning, and allowing new ways to ‘play’. There is a certain magic to video games. Those who were responsible for such magic have been rewarded extremely well. The magic of Minecraft has turned Notch into a billionaire. The magic of Donkey Kong, Mario, and Zelda have been very good to Miyamoto. I interpret Iwata chasing his dream of playing with computers one of natural child-like joy. If he was ambitious, he may have been a politician or something. But without that ambition, he did what he thought was best and he would become president of one of the most culturally important companies of Japan.

The reason why I do this page and play gaming still is to remind me that I need to be a kid, to not get lost in the world of its taxes, laws, and ambitions. But many do not view gaming that way. To them, gaming is being converted into an ambition which is replacing ambitions of other areas of their lives.

Now excuse me, I am going to go play some Final Soldier.

Above: You hardcore can keep your ‘big industry games’. I’ll take a play-through of Final Soldier over your ‘big industry games’ any day.

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