Most of us in our mid to late twenties have been gaming since we were very young. The more hardcore of us (hint: if you are reading this, then you are one of them) still continue to purchase every console on release, purchase every triple-A title on release, and pretty much spend almost all of our free time on the hobby.
Recently, one of my favourite YouTubers, LukeMorse1, a collector with one of the largest gaming stocks in history, ended his video posts indefinately with a dreadfully sad vlog within which he detailed how he lost his wife and child due to a “selfish” obsession with his hobby. What made it all the more difficult to watch, was that it is an example of what could happen to any of us.
A bit of background is required. Luke is a Japanese based collector of everything gaming, with over 50 original working systems under his belt and an absolutely ridiculous number of original games. If he isn’t gaming, he’s out finding new stuff to collect and repairing broken systems. On YT, he’s especially loved by the community due to the help he offers newcomers and the donations he provides to other members.
Most of his videos are just bits and pieces of his gaming life – heading to second hand gaming stores, showing off a Game and Watch, or in an obscure moment, ordering a hotdog from MacDonalds. In most of his videos, he seems enthusiastic, happy and friendly. Which is why they were a joy to watch, especially for fellow collectors like myself.
Which is why it was infinity depressing to myself, and the other thousands of subscribers to his channel, to find that his hobby had grown to such epic proportions that it had pushed his wife to the brink. In an amazing display of sadness and humility, Luke detailed how a decision to spend ridiculous amounts of money and time on his collection had cost him his family.
Unsurprisingly, this has made many people uncomfortable, for different reasons. The most obvious being that this is one of the more public examples of this sort of strange new problem – an obsession with gaming destroying relationships. Many of us, by now, are probably married or at the very least in long term relationships. Some of us have learnt to, of course, create some balance to sustain both in a healthy way, others haven’t.
On the same token, others have lambasted Luke for branding gaming as a “selfish hobby”, rather then himself for putting “stuff” in place of his family. They are right of course, but I hardly think Luke blames gaming as a whole , I think that he blames the largely “hermit style” hoarding and constantly unattainable mecca that is VG collecting.
In any case, the issue still stands. Games, simular to strong obsessions with any other hobby, can easily overwhelm everything, especially work and relationships. It’s impossible to live a rewarding life if a line isn’t drawn in the sand, and social/family/romantic relationships aren’t equally nurtured and supported.
Like Luke mentions in the video, via his father, games are fun as entertainment for a while, but they can’t laugh with you, comfort you or support you in tough times. In the end, your 360 may be a central part of your day, but so are Friday drinks with friends or dinner with your partner.
Some of you may be reading and thinking that this sort of thing is obvious, but its not. Relationships can become deteriorated without people even noticing. Just because people say they are fine with you spending an ENTIRE weekend trying to get every Battlefield 1943 achievement, they probably aren’t. I’d say your gamerscore is probably a good indication of your social standing.
In the end, people might take two things from Luke’s predicament. The first might label Luke an idiot of his own making and continue to pretend the same thing couldn’t happen to them. The second might step back, have a think, and wonder if they might have been spending too much time in front of the PC/360 instead of their partner. The smarter of us all, including myself, will be thinking the latter.
To Luke – Good luck with everything mate, I will miss your videos, here’s hoping you can patch things up with your family.
Here’s the video in question:
I hope it will make some people realize what really is important in life. Is someone in the same situation? Has been in the same situation?
Better safe than sorry.