The Console is the New Casino

Parker Bates

Victory Royale! Sounds familiar huh? It is a term from the popular video game Fortnite. Fortnite had a tremendous year in 2018 and was a global phenomenon. In February, Fortnite hit an insane 8.3 million concurrent players. That’s 8 million people playing the game at the same time. Fortnite reached and appealed to many celebrities like Drake, Logic, and Ju Ju Smith. When Drake played the game with Ninja, a popular Fortnite streamer, they broke the record for views on Twitch with 667,000 concurrent viewers. Celebrities playing the game increased Fortnite’s popularity and made it “cool” to be a gamer. Fortnite’s explosive year brought light to the issue of Video Game addiction. Back in 2013 there was an attempt to recognize video game addiction in the Manual of Mental Disorders. It was denied and shrugged of as a “behavioral disorder.” This was until June of 2018 when video game addiction, under the title “gaming disorder,” was included in the 11th revision of the Manual of Mental Disorders.

The disorder is defined by an excessive amount of video game use that interferes with someone’s everyday life.  In most cases people with video game addiction are distancing themselves from family and friends to clock more hours on their given game. It’s also very common for them to think back to previous gaming sessions or imagine possible outcomes in daily life. Many of these gamers are experiencing migraines do to the copious hours they look at their screens. It is not entirely the fault of the gamer. Video games these days are designed to be addicting. It’s like a slot machine with a million slots. These games tantalize the user with thousands and thousands of possible outcomes.

Another technique game designers use to latch onto their users is color choice. Fortnite is no stranger to this technique. Its color scheme is extremely bright and vibrant. They use reds, yellows, and greens to incite emotion in the user. There is also a blue hue atop the entire experience. The biggest culprit of the addictive techniques is hands down the reward system. Many games have multiple rewards systems occurring at once. For example, in the new Call of Duty, when playing at any given time you are rewarded for kills, weapon skins, kill-streaks, and even “battle passes.” All of this progression keeps the user playing. All games have a way of making the rewards feel worth it. For example, in Call of Duty, when you kill someone there is a very satisfying noise and a vibrant red name popped up on screen. When you get the beloved head-shot, there is a more satisfying noise and more popups. It’s a meticulously routed system that keeps gamers glued to the screen.

There are many dangers of video games that can cause addiction. Video games are far more exciting than real life. This draws people further into addiction because they no longer can endure the slow pace of real life. It also worries me how easily people release adrenaline over games. I’m no stranger to this; on many occasions I’ve noticed that my palms were sweaty and my heart rate was up. I have also felt extreme accomplishment from games and had a rush of dopamine. This worries me because, similar to marijuana, anything that unnaturally releases dopamine will increase the standards of release and lower the amount. This occurring could lead to depression and other more serious disorders.Image result for video game addiction