Today’s episode of the Dr. Phil show, titled “Virtual Chaos”, addresses video game addiction, and it isn’t pretty. The featured guests spend 80 hours a week on average playing “the game” (which is on more than one occasion revealed to be World of Warcraft), abandoning their jobs, ignoring their wives, and neglecting their children.
One recovering video game addict in the audience described how he would secretly replace the guts of his PC when his wife went to work so that he could play more advanced games without her knowing about the expenses he was racking up. The camera panned to the current addict on stage as the audience member explained his secret upgrade process, and you could literally sense a light bulb going off in his head.
The recovering addict interestingly described the in-game “friendships” as performance based, adding that if you performed well in a particular game (raid), everyone would love you, but if you performed poorly, the opposite was true. Advocates could argue that he just had a bad group of in-game friends.
Overall, the show’s tone was serious and down right depressing at times, but I laughed out loud when Dr. Phil asked the current addict what he did in “the game.” The addict described upgrading his gear and collecting various mounts, conveniently forgetting to mention his in-game profession, likely due to his lack of a real world counterpart. Dr. Phil then asked to see some of his gear, adding “Where is your mount? Is it tied up outside?”
The conversation continued with the addict describing his in-game character as being a female Elemental Shaman. Dr. Phil asked why he chose to play a female, and the addict responded, “because the male characters are dumb.” Oh the irony in that statement.