Machinegun fire all around me the air is filled with the sound of enemy aircraft overhead. I look around in search of my brothers in arms…no sign of anyone. I must be the only one left to complete the mission I move forward cautiously I see crimson spattered on the ramshackle hut to my left the bullet riddled body of my last kill providing the color. Up ahead I see the remains of a friendly chopper, the crew burned to a crisp and no chance anyone survived. I see the headless corps of “Jackrabbit234” with its legs pinned beneath a large piece of the wreckage he didn’t stand a chance once the chopper started its decent.
I continue into the dense jungle, my radio picking up the sounds of the enemy forces fortifying their stronghold on the target. I need to be smart and remember my training if I have any hope of completing the mission and getting out of this alive. I pick up my pace but before the message of what my eyes can clearly see travels to my brain the ankle high red line attached to an enemy claymore…
I sit bolt upright in my bed with sweat dripping off of my brow. I can’t believe I was dreaming so vividly about a video game, but I guess that’s what happens when you spend countless lost hours watching millions of tiny pixels dance their hypnotic ballet on a high-resolution screen.
I have been a video game junkie for as long as I can remember. It started back in the mid-eighties when my Dad brought home a brand new commodore 64 with a game by the name of Zaxxon. I would fly that one-dimensional spacecraft through pulsing waves of electricity and over refueling tanks with the skill of a seasoned pilot. Since my family was relatively poor I would pick my friends based on the game system they had and the better the system the more often I would go for a visit.
Then one Christmas morning I received the best present a junkie could ask for a brand new Nintendo. I was obsessed I sat in front of my 13″ black and white TV and played that game until I saved Princess Toadstool and restored order to the kingdom. Then I did it again until Super Mario 2…then 3 came along and I sat with the same conviction until those pixelated villains were thwarted as well.
When you’re a video game addict there is never a time when your thirst for gaming is quenched because what separates being a video game addict from any other addiction is that your drug is ever evolving and with each evolution you get that much more addicted and the drug becomes that much more satisfying.
I would be remiss if I didn’t make it know that by no means am I downplaying the horrors of other addictions obviously drug, gambling, and alcohol addictions to name a few are much more damaging than a group of the socially challenged individuals camped out in a friends basement playing world of War craft for a week without stopping. What I can tell you is until parents take a more active role in what activities their children take part in and limit the TV and video games time we will keep repeating the cycle and our children will only be interacting through games instead of playing ball in the field or riding their bikes to the store to buy baseball cards or hard candies.
Even though I still use. I make great efforts to control my addiction and now that I have children I make sure their game and TV time is limited and make sure they know how to use their imaginations to win the Super Bowl or to fight off an enemy threat. I encourage them to read books so they can become lost in adventures that no video game can match. We need to ensure that the next generation can make the distinction between what is hobby and what is obsession.