I must declare that I’m an avid gamer, but there have been times in life when I’ve realised that I’ve been spending a little too much time playing games. Have you ever had any incidents that indicate that you may have problems of a similar nature?
A classic example was when I found myself playing endless hours of an early version of Civilization. If you’ve never played one of the games in that series before, then I should say that it’s basically a strategy game. You control an empire and attempt to become a global power.
You can achieve that aim via a number of different strategies, including looking to use technological advances or diplomacy. It’s more fun, however, to rely on warfare. Indeed, you can spend an enormous amount of time working out how you will produce the right military units and get them into position. You can then look to attack enemy cities and units.
The problem is that time starts to go by in a flash. I realised that I was having a little too much fun, when I eventually looked at the clock and saw that I’d been playing the same game for 10 hours, without a break. It was now 4 o’clock in the morning and I needed to be at work within a few hours.
I have to say that I did, just about, manage to get through the working day. It was, however, something of a battle and is not something that I would recommend. Another sign that you may be playing games a little too frequently arrives when you start to acknowledge the fact that you are using games as a source of information.
This can be somewhat unsettling, particularly if the information that’s provided within a game is inaccurate. You can start to convince yourself that you are an expert at understanding a particular historical period, or that you really understand the rules of a sport. In reality, however, your knowledge may be limited by the approach of the game.
There may also be something of an issue, if you find that you spend time playing games, in preference to actually getting out and meeting people. It seems to me that this is an increasing problem, particularly thanks to the ability that we all have to play online games. You may be used to operating in an online team and come to assume that you know other people.
Once again, there’s the need to separate reality from what’s imagined. This is fine for most of us, with an ability to identify when something is exactly as we see it, but there’s no doubt that some younger games players may encounter difficulties. My feeling is that video games do, for the most part, offer a fantastic source of entertainment.
I don’t see a real problem with spending hours playing a single game. As long as you understand what’s happening and feel that you have control, then it seems to me that this is a perfectly innocent source of amusement.
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