In case you didn’t notice, video game addiction has been officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Declared as ‘gaming disorder’, it was published in the latest edition of International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) under ‘disorders due to addictive behaviours’ alongside ‘gambling disorder’. This is an unprecedented step by WHO to make ‘gaming disorder’ the real deal after the condition was pending for a thorough study listed in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) back in 2013.
In wake of this recent news, the UK’s National Health Service has even provided specialised treatment in hopes of giving access to help those who are in need. In retrospect, where does the ‘gaming disorder’ began in earnest? We decided to revisit some of the worst cases of video game addiction that made us think twice of the hobby we all love.
In 2015, a 32-year-old man was found dead after played for non-stop for 3 days in an internet cafe in Taiwan. Although he had not been responsive for days, not even a single person in the establishment seemed to notice that the man passed away due to excessive exhaustion and surrounding cold temperature that contributed to cardiac arrest.
As if this doesn’t get any creepier, a similar case with the same cause of death happened in Taiwan back in 2012. An engineer who was a patron of a different internet cafe died of cardiac arrest after playing World of Warcraft for 10 hours. The clerk thought that the man was taking a rest as his head was slightly drooping and his hands were stretched in front of the keyboard. The police were baffled that no one actually paid any particular attention to the man.
Fortnite has surely taken the gaming world by storm, but this sports-loving girl took the battle royale competition too much as she neglected her bathroom break for the sake of keeping up with the game. She also sneaked out of bed in the middle of the night to continue playing Fortnite until sunrise, which caused her to fall asleep several times in class. This led to a- sharp decline of her academic performance at school. Moreover, she didn’t have any interest to go to her gym or ballet class and skipped the family regular visits to church on Sundays.
Her concerned parents tried to limit the play duration and even confiscated the Xbox. However, the girl became agitated, causing her to hit her father’s face. Due to this burgeoning game addiction problem, the parents contacted an expert to counsel on this matter and the girl was brought to rehab for an intensive therapy. I’m very glad that the parents took an initiative to combat their daughter’s fixation of Fortnite before it evolves into something much worse.
What started out as a simple hobby turned into a powerful addiction that almost destroyed his life. The MMORPG game World of Warcraft was once the fantasy gateway to escapism for the academician Ryan van Cleave. According to the Guardian, the former addict spent 60 hours a week in front of the computer to play World of Warcraft. Instead of facing his real-life problems heads-on, Van Cleave preferred to immerse himself in the online game, abandoning his wife and children as well as his career in the process.
His serious video game addiction distanced himself from the ones who love him and also downgraded his health mentally and physically. With all the time and money spent on a single game, Van Cleave was on the verge to hit rock bottom. Until one night, he contemplated his disintegrating life and realised that he had to pull out the root of the problem. As soon as he reached home, he uninstalled the game. For several weeks, he exhibited withdrawals symptoms of excessive sweating and headaches, similar to drug addicts. He managed to free himself from the years of game addiction, but he still believes that video game is fine as long as you balance your life and video game.
Although certain gamers panned the WHO’s move to recognise video game addiction as a joke, we can’t simply ignore the fact this problem has led to major catastrophes in people’s lives. This official classification could help to mitigate this problem some people suffer from towards a better quality of life. Looking back at some of these cases, this article is not meant to address that video game is at fault. The games serve as mere products, similar to social media or chocolate. In the end, it boils down to how we handle our gaming time to be in tune with our daily life routines regardless of ages.