Friend of Nico B.

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Video Games are as much a drug as heroin or crystal meth, in that when you play them, you feel GREAT. I defy any to drug user to say the sensation of sitting back in your couch as that first game of Grand Theft Auto IV loads up doesn’t compare to a veinful of the finest black tar street horse.

Who knows if these games are really bad for you, but this much is true: playing too much feels like shifting your brain into neutral and gunning the accelerator until you smell burning metal. Hours of this super-revving cannot be good for your engine.

So, in a moment of clarity, I quit my Xbox 360 cold turkey. I unplugged my beloved console and all its components – controller, headset, games, and heavy power cord attachment thingy – and dumped them in the console graveyard, with my dusty, unused PlayStation 2 and a super-dusty, more-unused old GameCube. And I miss Liberty City already.

I would love to be what is known in the real drug world as, “a chipper.” That is, someone who can occasionally shoot smack without becoming a junkie. But that is not the case. With a great game like GTA IV, it’s all or nothing. I even found myself using the GTA equivalent of methadone – watching Grand Theft Auto gameplay clips on YouTube. But that path is not the road to salvation.

So, here are the steps I have taken in my attempts at recovery from this powerful addiction.

• I admitted I was powerless over gaming – that I was staying up way too late, then, later, unable to sleep because when I closed my eyes all I saw was exploding cars.

• I came to believe that a Power greater than myself – my wife – would kill me if I didn’t cut it out.

• By use of the good book – the Grand Theft Auto Cheat Guide — I have surrendered my self to God-mode.

• I made a list of all my loved ones I had ignored – the movies in my NexFlix queue – and made amends to them. (Thank you for accepting me, DVD of Cloverfield.)

• I have renounced the lower companions of my former life: MrKillSplat, SilentButDeadly, BadEwok, Dooooooog23, and CylonSUKKKA.

• Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I will preach this message to others who game excessively in the most powerful form available to me – a blog.

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