Inearly high school, most of my time was spent playing video games. Most of my memories from that time involve my ass on the futon and my eyes glued to some triple-A title (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Skyrim, or Far Cry 3). In the month Skyrim came out, I logged 160 hours of gameplay. Yes, you did that math right — 40 hours a week.
Your entire argument is flawed. First and most important, no one is disputing that gaming can be addictive, there’s a reason we now have WoW rehab centers. The problem is that most activities that release dopamine (which is essentially anything that brings you pleasure ) can become addictive.
But because you were addicted to gaming in your teens and wasted your life away in front of a screen, now you’re of the opinion that gaming is bad for everyone, in all situations? That’s like saying I shouldn’t enjoy a beer after a long day at work because some random person in Argentina is an alcoholic. You advocate exercise as a good alternative. Did you know that exercise can be addictive as well? Have you seen what too much exercise can do to athletes who don’t know when to take a break? For Pete’s sake, even eating can be addictive, that doesn’t mean you should stop doing that.
Now let’s address this little comment: “Whether you should be a gamer depends on your values. Are you comfortable with the idea that you’re spending most of your life on an activity that has no economic value, adds little to the world, reduces the quality of your relationships, and erodes your body and mind in the process?”
Oh, where do I start with this? Let’s say I take up jogging, which according to your argument should be better because it involves physical exercise and get’s me outside so I can absorb that much needed vitamin D. Jogging doesn’t have any economic value, it doesn’t add anything to the world, I won’t build relationships while jogging, and if I do it long enough my knees, ankles, and hips will start eroding. So is jogging placed in the same category as video games? And does liking to jog, game, play tennis, collect stamps, insert any other hobby make me a person with bad values? I truly take offense to that.
I’m a grown man, professional, husband, father, and gamer. I’m healthy and strong, I have a good relationship with my family, and I’m successful in my work. Gaming has not changed that.
The answer is… MODERATION. Anything you do for 40 hours a week has a chance to ruin other aspects of your life, including your relationships and health. You need to balance all aspects of your life that you deem important, not assume that one person’s overindulgence will be the downfall of all humanity.