Is It Possible To Be Addicted To Games And Yet Not Play Them?

Reader Josh H, a uni student, says he's been gaming and making videos for years, so he sent us this one. It's alright — I'm not sure it says anything we didn't know already, as the Pile of Shame is a commonly understood concept for most any serious video gamer.

What struck a nerve with me, though, was this comment, sent along with the video link in an email.

"When I look at one game I think about another and so forth and so on. Then I end up playing Facebook for five hours accomplishing nothing."

Playing Facebook for five hours, I assume means frittering away your time looking at what everyone else is up to, not necessarily playing Facebook games. That's the loop I find myself getting into, especially after I've completed a review and can get back into any game I wish to play.

The problem is the review has shut off all momentum. I haven't played NCAA Football 13, usually my most favourite series, in a month. So I sit at my computer, checking the New York Times, Yahoo! Sports, Reddit, my company's other sites — and then back again. And eventually I muster up the determination to reacquaint myself with where I last left off. Worse yet, I find that I'm completely intimidated to start something new, like Mark of the Ninja, because I know I'll have to leave it again for something else very soon — in this case, NBA 2K13.

Like Josh, I have an impressive wall of games. It is one of the perks of this business, and I am fortunate to have the job I do and to receive all of these games without paying for any of them. I'm real proud of how big and varied that collection is, and sometimes imagine that if I was trapped on desert island with that console and a generator and a TV, I'd really not ever worry about being rescued.

But at some point, I do think I'm a hoarder. I do like playing games, but some games, I like having them more. I don't have a Steam library that full but I do have plenty of titles I've never finished or never even touched.

How about yourselves? Do you find yourselves drawn to having games more than playing them? Is it certain types of games? Do you have some games on your shelf the way some people have great books on their shelves — there's an obligation to be familiar with them as the major works of the genre, even if you're not interested in really completing them?

Or am I just navel-gazing, and playing Kotaku for five hours, when I — when we should all be playing games?

YouTube video uploaded by Josh H


    Absolutely. I have a ridiculous amount of games, my collectionism has gone nuts. But I hardly play anything lately. I wonder if in part it's because of a "fear" of doing so - half the time when I'd go to start something, Dad would tell me to turn it off and go do X or Y chore instead. It was fine when I was just sitting at the computer browsing interwebs, but as soon as that TV turns on it draws attention to me, so it's easier to just remain stationary and hidden instead.

    Then of course there are some games that are just flat-out daunting to even consider starting. "Oh man, this is an RPG? That's like a good 30 hours and grinding and number crunching and ugh, too much effort. What else is there?"

      lol, i sometimes feel that too. Like, if there was some cool achievement I'd want to do, but it felt like too much of a chore, I'd be put off the entire game as well. That happened to me with assassins creetd (2) and that feather gathering thing (and when you get smokebombs you can easily instant kill everyone in the smoke), or doing all of these quests for skyrim, or Rage, which was just a series of side quests to be honest.

      Fortunately, the plot of batman arkham city was so good, I had to finish it, despite Riddler's puzzles/riddles. Similarly, GTA4.

      I KNOW THAT FEEL BROSEPH! lol, its something most gamers have to grow up with unfortunately and ive always been the most restricted of my Friendos in terms of my gameing... An thats how i grew passionate about telling stories through games and am now studying games development... I know it sucks up hours of time, but i cant say i agree with it being as bad as an addiction... For example, im an avid reader and im currently reading every Sherlock Holmes book ever written. I finish a book a week even though it was written in about 1888-1920 and is an awfully heavy read, yet i get called a games addict after playing 1-2 hours a day? Yeah, sure.

    I read but I do not play
    ps..... just kidding

    I find myself on here or whirlpool when I should be working through all my half done games. Hell I just got 2 more at jb today.

      Yeah FFFUUUUU Kotaku and Whirlpool. Always distracting one from more important things.

    I say it's very possible to be addicted yet not play any games. My excuse is called Year 12. I would love nothing more than to be able to commit myself to a game right now. Yet I can't play any more than mobile games till December. :'(

    I definitely have a problem with compulsively buying games I don't have time to play. I've been forcing myself to buy fewer games this year. I've done ok. Mostly just expanded the back catalogue during steam sales. Only bought three new releases.

    Too many tv series downloaded too. Ffffuuuuuu lack of free time

    I keep buying things with the intention of playing them but.. I either don't enjoy them enough to bother finishing them or I just.. don't play them because I can't be bothered starting them or.. I dunno. There are probably 10-15 (counting smaller downloadable titles) titles a year I feel that I play to what I consider a reasonable extent given the money I spent on them and I probably buy at least 30-40 games a year (again, counting smaller downloadable titles) these days.

    Uni has hung, drawn and quartered any desire I have to finish games. It's annoying but priorities are priorities.

    Yes, it is. I consistently buy games when I have not finished a ton of others... :/

    I have several times obsessed over a game weeks, months before it has come out.Read every little detail about the game ,every trailer watched ,studied.Waited in line for midnight releases and then when I have the game in my hand the excitment isn't there anymore.The anticipation is greater maybe I build the game up in my mind so much that the game itself isn't enough.I know this doesn't make much sense but sometimes the expection is more than the game will ever be.

      I know exactly what you mean. Me & my friends were obsessed with Perfect Dark before it came out, looked up every small detail. There was no chance the game was going to live up to our crazy expectations. I promised I would never get too keen for a game, had to tell myself that again only last year after the release of Arkham City. Poor game never stood a chance against my crazy hype lol

      I've done this for years... somehow I'm more interested in watching the hype, then playing the game. I loved Arkham Asylum and could.not.wait for Arkham City. I think I've put in about 3 hours so far even though I bought it day of release.

      I think sometimes that it's because I know a game is going to suck hours of time each time I load it up, I don't because I don't feel like I've got that time to spare. Then after a few hours, I find I've wasted hours surfing the web and reading all the comments in threads like this.

      Just as well I've just finished Torchlight II already.

    I have about 240 games on Steam, with about 40 of them with more than three hours of playtime. A whole bunch never even installed.

    Yeah i have alot of games that i bought year ago and have not even played , some have 30 mins played, some couple hrs. Most of them came from the Steam xmas sale. All great games but yeah i stopped looking at new games that were on sale until i have finished the ones i got.

    Hit GM (rank 14) after 5 month grind. Quit before TBC, still read about wow updates intensely.

    I have a good pile i havent finished and a smaller pile of unopened games at anyone time, my excuse is shiftwork, and some just sit on my shelf like books, mainly ce's though

    Bitch please, I havent played any of my Indie games, and I got over 9000 indie games in my steam library :'(

    Only got one game in my shame pile .....
    I wish I had time to be a completionist to do all the achievements too :)

    Just look at Steam sales, and Humble Bundles... So many games bought, so many never played!

    Where's my cure dammit?

    Ill usually only Buy Games that i want to play, but i have that many from Steam Bundles that i bought cause i wanted one and have a HEAP sitting there that i'll never get around to playing.

    I've generally usually got a couple of games on the burner ready to go, but I find my patience for sub-excellent gaming has dropped significantly. Like, if there's a single element of the game which doesn't 100% jive with me, I'll not play the rest despite every other aspect of the game being fantastic. The most recent example is NFS Hot Pursuit, which I bought fully intending to demolish, but sits pretty much unplayed after three months because the external car view is too low over the back of the car.
    Many other of my games sit unplayed because of a single aspect I dislike, or because it's just "different" and I don't have the patience to adjust.

    I'm addicted to games, but as the father of a two-year-old I never get to play any anymore.

    My pile is over 240 and I keep buying every new release because I want to play them. Then choosing a game is too hard as there's too much I need to beat. So I just play one of the two MMO's I play.

    Yep... Buying games is a game to me... I very rarely pay full price no matter what system... Just hit 800 games on steam and have over 300 across 360, ps3, vita and 3ds.

    Whew! I thought I was the only one whose eye's were bigger than their wallet!

    We just bought Borderlands 2, then my son mentioned that castle crashers was now on steam... So I bought that... Then we were in EB yesterday and we saw Sleeping Dogs... And my son had a few bucks on his giftcard, and I had a few bucks on my giftcard... So I bought that... Torchlight 2 is out NOW! In 2 weeks Dishonoured is out and I've got that on pre-order!

    And BEFORE I bought Borderlands 2, I still had to finish Dark Souls, Spec Ops: The Line, Death Spank 1 and 2, Far Cry 2, and SKYRIM just to name a few!!!


    Totally relate to this article! Especially because of Indie and Humble Bundles now days! There's a pile of shame on my computer and my phone. I got two piles!
    Getting better now at just getting the few really good games that I will play the crap out of (like Binding of Isaac and Torchlight 2) while the others are never touched.

      Also; I think Indie and Humble Bundles are very lucky people have this tendency. Many people may pay bugger all for a bundle, but what the customer is getting is games they already have, game they don't want, and the games they might not end up playing (from my experience :) ). But at least the indies and charities are getting some cash!

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