Working at a game arcade, I see a lot of things – joy, happiness and laughter as little kids as young as five have their eyes wide open running towards all the colourful lights of the games.
The down side, I also see addiction. What is addiction and what does it have to do with gaming? For starters, addiction is the excessive use of something and over time it could cause a person to feel sad and alone. I have witnessed this, whereby a pleasurable experience of coming once or twice every week turns into coming every day or every night. And from spending a few dollars to spending a few hundreds. These happy young children often become teenagers or even adults spending hours on end playing numbing fantasy games in the same arcade.
Has the game arcade become their new home? Is this worse than sitting being a couch potato in an empty living room binge watching television series, or having to live with people be they your parents, family, siblings, housemates?
I can’t help but wonder what are these people doing with their lives? You can see the change in their faces, with the excitement drawn out and replaced by the thought of the next game, the next virtual challenge, the next "high"....
What can reality offer to these kids and teenagers that substitutes for the allure of virtual gaming and fantasy?
Like a Justin Bieber song, a high of pulsating beats that draws you back day after day. How do these children and adults alike exit the cycle of what appears to be meaningless repetition and outflow of cash for immediate gratification? Is it about denial and a means of not having to face certain issues in their real world? Or perhaps we should be hopeful that this merely a passing phase that one outgrows the clutches of instant excitement for more meaningful personal interaction and relationships.