It's easy to be dismissive about addiction to computer games. The natural reaction (at least, my natural reaction as somewhat of a cynic) is to say "Pull yourself together, for God's sake, you're acting as if you're a smack addict when all you're doing is spending too much time playing a game." But it undoubtedly has frightening and serious effects, and to be frank I think you'd have to have a heart of stone not to feel sorry for some of these people (if their accounts are true):
While I was playing WoW, I put on 40 lbs, became socially isolated from friends and family, and the only thing that mattered to me was getting back to my computer to play for 30 hours straight and tricking myself into thinking 'hey, you're accomplishing something...beat that raid boss, become a brutal gladiator' BUT in the end none of it mattered! I eventually failed out of my program of choice in university and developed a relatively severe form of agoraphobia. One day I was bored and wanted to check my /played, and to my amazement I had accrued 170 days (4080 hours) played on one character! At this point I took a step back (more of a waddle given my weight) and realized it was time to quit.
Since quitting WoW, I've lost 60 lbs and finally feel confident in myself once again - I'm not afraid to go outside or to socialize with people. I'm back in university and instead of having a semester filled with D's and F's, I have a 3.92 GPA and am living life to the fullest. While I still miss the game occasionally, I can always look back and see how my life had deteriorated solely due to pixels on a screen.
I'm, or should we say was?, a happy, bubbly teenager. I had the best friends anyone could have and had very close relationships built with them. I was an honour student, perhaps even the best in the cohort.
It all started with the 3 most deadly words I would hear at this time.
"World of Warcraft".
Without thinking twice, I bought the game and a game card. I was letting a monster install itself on my computer. It was my biggest mistake.
Within hours, I was in the world of Azeroth, making my own avatar. My second mistake.
That first night I played for 5 hours. It lured and captured me into its mythical world.
Soon it over-rided my grades, bringing them to an all time low. It caused me to stay inside and gain weight. Further more, it was my fault. When I should've been studying I always said the too-familiar to us words. "Just an hour more". An hour turned to two, two to three and before I knew it I was hooked.
In total, I haved wasted over 2 years of my life.
I lost 2 years. I lost my friends. I lost my neat figure and I lost important opportunities. Relationships came and went just as the seasons did. Instead of spending time with my then-partner, I excused myself as sick just to go home and spend a few hours in Azeroth.
I think the lessons for us as roleplayers are a) We have a social and creative hobby and should be thankful for that, and b) We should play up the differences between RPGs and computer games, not try to make RPGs as computer-gamey as possible, because those differences are a strength.