It was 7:51AM and I was showered, dressed, and ready to get a jump on a heavy workday. When I looked at my computer screen I noticed that an icon for the game I just installed looked brighter than the other icons on my desktop. I knew it couldn't be brighter, but it seemed to be pulling my eyes to it on a day that I had tons of tasks to complete. I moved it to the side of the screen to blend in with the other icons yet there was still something irresistible about it that enticed me.
With my mouse pointer I circled the icon a few times and then glanced at my watch. 7:53 AM -plenty of time for a couple of rounds. "Why not begin work exactly at 8:00 AM?" I rationalized. I pushed aside my To-Do list -still wet with ink from the circled and starred items I didn't get to yesterday. I then clicked the now virtually twinkling, game icon. With that, my supposed, seven-minute fix began.
At 8:23AM my phone rang, bringing an abrupt end to my fun. After the call I looked at my watch. The thirty wasted minutes dropped on me like thirty tons of shame for my lack of discipline.
Yes, my name is Geoff Neil and I'm a computer "game-a-holic." The intense role-playing and adventure games that take weeks to complete, don't have a hold on me at the moment. Worse, are the simple, mindless, addictive games that you can download from gaming web sites or that you'll find preinstalled with Windows. Some games are addictive enough to make me postpone work and meals. I know a game is "special" when I'll delay an urgent visit to the restroom to go for one more high-score!
No, I'm not telling you the name of the game with the freaky icon -I wouldn't do that to you. You'd thank me if you knew what it would do to you. I don't want to see you stuck on the junk like I am; I've got it bad.
I've met many people who suffer from computer game addiction. One client called me into her office to remove all computer games. I sat down among her stacks of neglected papers in front of a computer screen full of game icons and asked, "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I want every game gone, completely, forever -do it quickly before I change my mind," she begged.
The measures I've taken to control my game time have not been as extreme. Moving my games from my work computer to my laptop has helped. For the few games that remain, I've found that deleting the games' shortcut icons from my computer's desktop helps to further reduce temptation while I work. If I happen to install a new game and it prompts me to add a desktop icon, I click "No" because I know better. That pretty, illuminated, desktop icon with the come-hither twinkle will only lengthen my To-Do list for tomorrow.