For some people, gaming is a hobby. For others, gaming can be a bit… more. One of the first panels we’ve gotten to see here at PAX Prime 2012 has been about people who’ve had problems managing gaming within the rest of their lives as a whole.
I’m sure many of people hear the ludicrous horror stories about parents going on 20 hour Diablo play sessions and letting their poor children wither away. Gaming addiction doesn’t have to be taken to that extent though, and can be responsible for stressing any relationship.
The PAX speakers went over their personal experiences with gaming addiction and offered insight into how to avoid they learned to avoid this problem. Suggestions included scheduling date nights with significant others or play dates with children. Also mentioned was scheduling personal game nights or conducting game groups in person (with table top games, or in person multiplayer games). It was noted that these schedules should be kept to;if you can’t put together a whole team, don’t shift the game to another night. These are all meant to keep game time within a structured time frame, and not let endless hours of gameplay slip away unnoticed.
In this sense, game choice is important. Games with pause buttons and brief play sessions are more desirable than MMORPGs (which are apparently the devil, as they’re designed to take hundreds of hours, and never be truly completed). Editor’s note: MMORPGs are a double edged sword. Yes, your spouse could complain that you play them too much. But if you get your spouse addicted, they may play too much as well. Proper balance of reality and virtual reality when it comes to MMOs must be used.
These things involve compromise and a structured systems in order to balance priorities. Family and career need to be placed above recreation and hobbies, and for those of you that find it difficult to manage, these structured systems are a great way to keep things and check and still manage a functional life. Sufficed to say, the PAX Prime panel shows that gaming itself isn’t the devil, but when it’s unstructered and running wild, then complications can arise.