Gaming industry is a million dollar industry, with hundreds of artists and coders satisfying the hunger of the millions who crave the exciting games. With stunning graphics, outstanding gameplay and amazing virtual effects, video games and mobile games are creating a social phenomenon. With so many human hours spent playing the endless virtual games, how much gaming is just too much? And what are the dire consequences of playing these games endlessly?
Shocking Side effects of gaming
Long hours spent in playing video games can negatively impact the users with symptoms like lower self-esteem, loss of personal hygiene, loss of sleep and lower social interaction and loss of real conversations to name a few. People often play games to forget real-life problems, making them run away from what is real. People have also complained of lost interest in real relationships, where gamers take refuge in fake online relationships. Excessive gaming has resulted in loss of work with a total lack of interest in real life responsibilities. Addictive gaming has also led people to isolate themselves from family and friends.
Stress is also one of the other offspring of gaming addiction where people can face getting enslaved by depression in situations wherein they are unable to achieve the goals set within the game. Situations like losing a game life or loss of powers to other players can also become the catalyst of stress for many gamers.
Getting confused between real and virtual
Gamers who are constantly playing games are often believed to be in a confused state. After a certain point, the line between the real and virtual world starts blurring, wherein they start enacting the game in the real world. An ardent follower of Bejeweled Blitz was so addicted to the game, that when she saw two red cars she kept looking for the third red car, to complete the match. Sometimes the images take over the dreams and mental imagination of players. Users become unaware when the gaming takes a compulsive tone.
The ailment has popularly known as ‘PlayStation Thumb’. This condition can affect anyone who uses a game controller or play mobile games using their thumb. The common symptom of this ailment majorly includes incessant numbness in thumb, tingling sensations, and swollen thumbs and also in some cases blisters around the fingers.
‘PlayStation thumb’ was initially penned as ‘Leather thumb’ among Atari 2600 users, and then ‘Nintenditis’ when NES entered the gaming industry. The term started dominating the gaming markets as PlayStation brand began leading the console scene.
Gamers thumb is characterized by wear and tear of the muscle which arises from the obsessive use of thumb-operated gaming devices.
Wii Fracture & Wiiitis
Though Wiis have been touted to promote good health, there had been many incidents, which stated otherwise. Wii Fracture and Wiiities have been classified as another form of repetitive stress injury (RSI).
There have been reported cases of users having acute shoulder pain due to playing Wii games for too long. The Wii Board has been the cause of various knee and hip injuries resulting from the fall. Apparently, rolling the foot off the balance board can cause a crack in the foot dubbed as Wii Fractures.
Users who devote every waking hour to playing games can often suffer from lifestyle disorders. Continuous gaming on a mobile or a console in lieu of joining in a physical activity can result in obesity among users. Sitting or lying down on the couch to play games combined with lack of sleep and eating disorders can lead to many diseases in addition to obesity. Users have been reported to suffer from stroke, heart diseases or hypertension.
Research shows that gamers tend to have aggressive thoughts and tendencies. Addicted users playing violent games are more prone to have a tolerant view towards violence than non-gamers. Symptoms like becoming impulsive, increased irrational anger, heightened anxiety are some of the major factors which give warning bells towards increasing addictiveness towards gaming.
Extensive viewing of any screen be it TV screen or mobile screen can strain the eyes. Staring at any bright screen is extremely harmful to the delicate components of the eye. Undue constant looking at screens derails eye blinking making the eyes strain and dry out. Games which require absolute concentration on the screen, often leads to vision problems.
A common vision problem called ‘Guitar Hero’ is known to have disruptive effects on eyes with prolonged gaming. It occurs when people sit in a stationary position while constantly looking at a moving object and then looking at something stationary. Users can view the graphical interface which has imprinted on their retinas due to long hours of playing.
This is a far-fetched side effect of gaming but there had been instances in the past when excessive gaming has caused death. Players can easily get absorbed to play for indefinite hours for a longer time. A 28 year old man in Taegu, South Korea died due to 50 hour video game rampage from playing the game ‘StarCraft’. The man did not have any sleep, not had a single morsel of food and hardly took any bathroom breaks. According to the authorities the cause of death was health failure curtailing from exhaustion.
Games, which provide fun and entertainment in the mundane lives, have become a catalyst for anger, misery and stress. It’s up to the gamers to decide how much they are willing to lose for playing games.