At 12 years-old Motoki Nishimura became a gaming recluse. At 17, he became an author, writing a book about his experience.
Earlier this year, Nishimura published My Online Gaming Devil, which details his descent into online gaming when his parents divorced. "I didn't care what happened in real life," he told The Mainichi Daily News. "I didn't think there was any point in living..."
The intense hours of gaming left him with a condition known as ataxia. It wasn't until Nishimura was interviewed by another author about his online gaming addiction that he decided to change his life.
Don't think of My Online Gaming Devil as a condemnation. "Online gaming is not a bad thing, and there are many different types of gamers," he adds. Nishimura continues to game, but has branched out of his shell.
"When I stayed in and did nothing but play games, there was no chance to do the things I wanted to do. But now there are people drawing me into the real world. I am so grateful, I think it's an amazing thing."
In the Japanese media, "netoge haijin" or "online game invalids" have become a popular topic of sorts.
As Kotaku previously posted, the slang "netoge haijin" went mainstream in 2009 in part due to news reports like this. There was also a book by journalist Osamu Ashizaki cleverly called Netoge Haijin, published in May 2009. Hardly a Japan-only trend, the book explored the dangerous of online gaming.
And while South Korea has, after unfortunate incidents in which online gamers have died from exhaustion, taken steps to address online game addiction, Japan has not.
Online gaming addict takes the long road back to real life [Mainichi Daily News]