Video games: the addiction, apparently

A long and somewhat rambling article on videogame addiction in a recent Observer caught my eye. Tom Bissell, a journalist, critic, and fiction writer, details how his writing ability was decimated by an addiction to videogames. Really, Tom? Really?

You can read the full article here. He lays it out for us right at the start:

“I wrote several books and published more than 50 pieces of magazine journalism and criticism – a total output of, give or take, 4,500 manuscript pages […] These days I have read from start to finish exactly two works of fiction in the last year. These days I play video games in the morning, play video games in the afternoon and spend my evenings playing video games. These days I still manage to write, but the times I am able to do so for more than three sustained hours have the temporal periodicity of comets with near-earth trajectories.”

Ignoring the daring use of the word ‘periodicity’ (and if you make it through the whole article you’ll be lucky enough to spot use of the word ‘frangible’ as well, which I always thought was something to do with baking) the blame seems clear enough — videogames done me wrong.

The article continues on for a long, long time, detailing plot details and gameplay mechanics of the last three major Grand Theft Auto games, but eventually you reach this little gem:

“I was not someone whose life had been marked by the meticulous collection of bad habits. I chewed tobacco, regularly drank about 10 Diet Cokes a day, and liked marijuana.”

Right. So no bad habits except for chewing tobacco, about seven pints of Diet Coke a day, and pot. Oh, and cocaine:

“The coke sailed up my nasal passage, leaving behind the delicious smell of a hot leather car seat on the way back from the beach. “

Yes. It’s definitely the videogames at fault here.