Why Your Boyfriend is Obsessed with Video Games

I never quite understood the hype of video games until I tried it out myself. I had many guy friends, including my boyfriend, who seemed addicted to playing games like Fortnite, FIFA, Call of Duty, etc. I could never come to comprehend why someone would spend hours playing a game instead of doing something more productive. So, I decided to do a little experiment to figure out what motivates people, especially men, to play so much.

I did this experiment with a game called Red Dead Redemption ll, an open world game full of cowboys and murder. An open world game (for those who don’t know what this is) is a game in which you can explore freely and decide what the character does, much like the real world. Like the many video games I’ve tried before, I didn’t think I’d be able to play this game for too long. Boy, was I wrong. After about ten minutes in, the game got me hooked. I felt as if I was Arthur Morgan (the character you play as) himself. You can do anything—eat, sleep, socialize, shop, go to bars, get your haircut, hunt animals, kill people, loot people, and more. The possibilities are endless.

Much like in the real world, you have a reputation in the game as well. The player can respond, positively or aggressively, to circumstances that appear. Now, this is where I began to understand the difference between men and women. Let me start by saying, men are biologically driven to be aggressive. Women are not. From 1980 to 2008, men were accountable for 90% of the murders committed in the United States. I couldn’t believe the degree of this statistic until I saw my boyfriend, mid-game, riding a horse while dragging a tied up body with a rope behind him for a straight minute. I was in shock.

Weirdly enough, however, the more I played, the more I began doing these cruel things also. Over some time, I became desensitized to the atrocities of murder and stealing. Instead of being repulsed by doing such things, I began to carry out these actions as well. I felt in control when getting away with cruel things and had dopamine rushes from chasing rewards. Soon enough, I was dragging bodies behind my horse also. These actions all quite contradict the social norms we have implanted into our society about being kind to one’s neighbor. So, how do these dreadful actions come to fruition?

Turns out, the answer goes back to the brain, as most things do. There is an area in the brain responsible for reward and addiction and this area is also known as the “pleasure center.” Video games activate this “dopamine pleasure circuit,” but significantly more so for men. Video games pretty much always include goal fulfillment and rewards; two ingredients that stimulate the activation of general pleasure.

Overall, my video game experiment was short-lived. After becoming addicted to the game for a solid week, I realized I couldn’t continue like this. As I had believed prior to the experiment, video games weren’t productive or enhancing my life in any way. At the end of the day, the world is not inside an 88GB file. The world is whistling through the leaves of trees and making babies laugh for the very first time. It’s producing rainstorms and rainbows, and it’s kissing you on the cheek goodnight. It’s sending chills up your spine and challenging your strength. Now, games are most definitely entertaining, and so playing every once in a while is alright but, what one should be wary of is the amount of time spent on games.

It’s important to not allow the open world to become your real world because, then, when you face the end of your life, you’ll come to realize you never really lived at all.

 

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