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May 1, 2012 / Dale Melchin

Escape from the Jaws of Destruction: Life From An Ex-gamers Perspective

Hello, my name is Dale Melchin, and I am a former gamer. My drug… er game of choice was Everquest. I also used to use Age of Empires, and Civilization. It was my escape and a second life for me that I would turn to because I felt like I couldn’t make my real life workout properly. It was like a second job to me. It would’ve destroyed my career and my marriage, had I kept gaming.

Actually the choice to stop was an easy one for me. I just eventually got bored with gaming. I still play with legal emulators from time to time and I’ll play chess on the computer. However, I don’t play the real time strategy games or RPG’s because it is too easy for me to get sucked back into it.

Those were two years of my life I’ll never get back. Even though I was marginally productive (I had a job and maintained some relationships, it was something that I regret, because instead of developing my skills and getting a career, I played my life away.

As a result of my involvement with gaming, I am ambivalent as to how to look at this as a social issue. Part of me wants to campaign for the illegalization of video games and to make personal development a legal requirement, but that runs against my libertarian tendencies.

The other part of me just wants to leave gamers to their own devices.

Gaming is a problem when it becomes a substitute for how you relate to real life. If you play more than two hours at a stretch, you are in danger of being an addict.

Gaming is a problem when it interferes with your career.

Gaming is a problem when it affects your physical condition.

Gaming is a problem when anyone who loves you says it is a problem.

If you are a person who is into gaming and someone who loves you has confronted you about this issue and you resist them or break off the relationship as a result, you are an idiot because they are trying to save your stupid self from self destructive tendencies.

If you are a person who loves a gamer and you’ve tried to help them and they’ve resisted you. Step up your intervention efforts and get them away from the games.

Now I realize that this is an issue with the gamer, and not the games, however if gaming has reached a “system destabilizing level” in a person’s life it needs to be treated exactly like drugs or alcohol. The stimulus must be removed and the subject placed in isolation until they “detox.”

I have the authority to speak from experience because I was sucked in far enough to where I was causing problems for myself because of gaming, but I still had enough control of myself that I could “bootstrap” my way out of gaming.
In closing, if your gaming habits cause you to meet any of the described criteria or you love someone who sounds like that. Either stop gaming now, if you are the gamer or if you are a loved one of a gamer disable their computer from booting the games and stage an intervention. The faster we stop people from destroying themselves on this front the better off we will be!

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3 Comments

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  1. Erica / May 2 2012 3:49 am

    Age of Empires. In the microwave. ‘Nuff said. =D

    • Dale Melchin / May 2 2012 3:54 am

      Yes I did put a copy of Age of Empires into the Microwave and nuke it to stop myself from playing all the time. I will own it.

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