The question that needs to be asked is why people are so attracted to games rather than the good old real life. Well, the answer is simple. Online games give you the chance to be whoever you want to be. Was it your dream to be a knight in shinning armor? There you have it. You want to be the hero and save the day? You can do it! Barely everything is possible in a virtual world. Furthermore, there is no real punishment in virtual games. Not even when you die. All you have to to is to revive at the nearest shrine or city and just like that, you are again ready ti kick ass.

Sadly, while most people use games like a distraction from real life, some switch places. And it's no wonder. What would you prefer? Being the toy of the bullies in your classroom, or the one everyone makes fun of at work or the great hero of a small village you just saved online? Real life becomes for them just a transition from one play session to another. They tend to neglect themselves and the ones around them, and when they realize that something's wrong, it may be too late. The fact that everything takes place online, with other people, makes gamers create friends in the game, thus, covering he social aspect, the only thing that might have determined people to go out and relate with others. Want to hear something interesting? In a survey realized in Great Britain, a whooping majority of gamers said that they prefer online games to girlfriends or boyfriends. Why? Among the reasons mentioned there were some like "the partner is hard to please", "he/she requires lots of my attention and time" or "games are more pleasing". Hard to believe? I think not. As long as games offer you both entertainment and socialization, what more could you wish for, right?

Unfortunately, there is also a tragic part in this. Some people are so attracted to their new "girlfriend" that they never leave. I am sure that you heard pretty often of people who died in front of the PC playing. The first recorded death took place long before MMOs appeared. It wasn't one but 2 persons who had a heart in 1981, attack while playing "Berserk", a very popular arcade shooter of that time. While years passed, and online games became more and more popular, the situation got worse. Not surprisingly, the most deaths seem to be located in Asia, where online games became sort of a national sport. Maybe the most shocking case is that of Xu Yan (China) who died of exhaustion after playing almost continuously for over 15 (fifteen) days during New Year Holidays. Other reported cases are those of people who killed because they were disturbed from the game or even neglected kids in order to play. Sadly, overuse of the computer (or consoles) can have disastrous on human behavior.

As you can see, even though it's not considered a real disorder, game addiction should be taken very seriously. Whether you play all day long or only a few hours a day, it's all up to you to control yourself and how much you let online games control your life. I know that all of you love computer games, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this article, but they should remain a form of entertainment, or even a passion, but nothing more. The moment you realize you can't control yourself and have nothing more to talk about besides the game, you should know you have a problem.

Whether you are one of those who prefer games to girlfriends or one who would give up a raid for a beer with friends, always remember that real life is much better that the one you might have online, and it's worth living in the real world, trust me! ;)


Written by Sicaru Adrian for MMORPG Gate