I don’t know how to start this article. I kind of feel like a junkie coming to terms with an addiction. Yes- Final Fantasy XIII has done exactly what I expected it to. It’s taken over my life.
My other half is already sick of hearing Leona Lewis, and the (questionably young) female character Vanille making rather suggestive noises during any sort of emotional expression. Come to think of it, if you close your eyes really tight and think of the internet, then yes- it does sound like another visit to the tubes for some ‘after dark’ entertainment. Sorry, too much?
I know I’m not alone in my adventure however. My friends list is riddled with fellow addicts, all on their own personal quests to find destiny; whatever it may be. But I must admit, I burned out on the weekend. After around 35 hours play, I’d hit a point in the story which was obviously going to be a hell of a mission. So I decided to tap out and go for a walk around the block; get some fresh air. After about 5 minutes of walking, thinking about how many houses are much bigger than mine, my mind soon wandered back to the inevitable task I would be driven to complete on my return home. I even distracted myself further, playing some Flight Of The Conchords on Rock Band to help remind me that there are still other games in the pile of shame. But sometimes Final Fantasy doesn’t even feel like a game, it feels like a job you just know you have to see through to its end. It’s the weirdest feeling. Perhaps it’s the hype that has been placed on it; I know I’ve built it up so much. I recall playing the first few levels, paranoid I’d hate it. Luckily it suckered me in with very little resistance.
It got me thinking about the addictive properties of games. Why certain games will take over the lives of different types of people. I know people who still play Forza 2 on a regular basis. They’re in total agreement that the third is flawed in its multiplayer and just isn’t as accessible as a game. That is clearly an opinion, but I want to know which mechanics keep us suckling at the teat for more.
I know what my addictive crux is – it’s repetition. Fight it as much as I may, I’m a sucker for that fight, level up, repeat nature of RPGs. Maybe I’m just boring. Maybe I’m secretly looking forward to Crane Simulator 2010 to satisfy my monotonous work ethic. All I know is I found the highlight of my brief Fable 2 experience to be hammering chunks of metal over and over again for a steadily multiplying wad of cash.
Addiction to video games has always been an eggshell subject, which holds little water in most cases. However there are titles out there which have consumed people’s lives. Check out Kotaku’s Mike Fahey’s story of how he’d been consumed by addiction. It’s a sobering thought, that with so many of us enjoying our hobby to whatever degree we chose, others have suffered through paths of addiction which affect all aspects of their lives. Not that this would be a high percentage of gamers. Like anything in the media, the highlight is all too often put on the negative, yet I feel it’s still important to become aware of the potential damage our pastime can muster.
So, have you got any gaming addictions, past or present? Has anything ever become out of hand and affected others around you? Or can I meet you down the docklands and we’ll shift container crates around the yard until the cows come home?