Drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling... and now, video games. MTV's True Life followed two people to see how a seemingly innocuous video game habit spiraled out of control and became poisonous to the addicted players and the people around them.
MTV followed Barry, a college kid trying to maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to go to grad school to be a guidance counselor; and Charisse, another college student, fully supported by her boyfriend. Both Barry and Charissa are hopelessly addicted to video games.
It had gone far beyond playing an hour of Call of Duty when they get home from school—almost every waking moment was consumed by the need to play video games. They got home from school, they played video games; they woke up the next morning, they play video games. This was their life, and decisions were made for the sole purpose of getting back home to squeeze in a couple more hours of gaming. And while video Games aren't a physically addictive substance that consumes one's body, they're most definitely a mental addiction that consumes one's time.
And the fact is that—unlike many alcoholics or drug addicts—Barry and Charisse realized their video game addiction was a problem way before they hit rock bottom. Barry admitted that he wished his life wasn't consumed by video games. He showed just how much of a problem he has in this clip, as he explained that a "normal" gaming habit for him would be playing only four hours a day.
So far, Barry and Charisse's addictions only affected their own lives, messing up their sleep schedules as well as their abilities to function socially (outside the world of online gaming) and at school. The pinnacle "gone too far" moment of the documentary, however, happened when they began to care more about moving up the Halo ladder board than taking time out of their day to even pay attention to their significant others. Charisse's boyfriend Corey had supported her financially while she was at school, and all he asked of her in return was to keep the house clean and cook him dinner. Charisse was able to keep this up at the beginning of the show, but—by the end—had stopped cooking and cleaning entirely, and used all of her time to play video games. Corey, understandably, had reached his boiling point.
This was exactly the kind of moment where a serious habit turns into an addiction: when it no longer just affects your life, but also causes your relationships with loved ones to crumble. No longer had her addiction just consumed Charisse's life, but it had sucked in her boyfriend as well, where he must pick up the slack left behind by time lost to her addiction. This is the closest one can get to a video game intervention.
So like everything else in life, video games can be summed up in one suggestive word: moderation. They're to be used as a daily distraction, not as a means to live one's life. Finding a balance in life may be hard when an Xbox gives so much and asks so little, but it's pretty obvious that a girlfriend/mother/child should take priority over that newb you just pwned.