UK Politics

'The most I played was 32 hours straight' - ex-gamers on their addiction

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Media captionJames Good: "I didn't leave my room"

A former gaming addict has told MPs he once played for 32 hours "without eating, sleeping or leaving his room".

James Good told a parliamentary committee his obsession with gaming led to him dropping out of university and suffering from depression.

Mr Good, who now works with the Game Quitters support organisation, said it had affected every aspect of his life.

Vlogger Jack Edwards said the "endless possibilities" of gaming left people prey to "falling down rabbit holes".

They have been sharing their experiences of gaming, how excessive exposure can harm young peoples' studies and socialising, and how best to curb it.

Mr Good told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee that he once played for 32 hours without interruption.

The cross-party group of MPs, which is taking evidence on immersive and addictive technologies, heard that an average gaming session was four hours but could stretch into two days.

"I didn't eat, or sleep, or anything, didn't leave my room," he said.

The former physics student said that his course work in the first year of university was always done the day before it was due.

Image copyright HoC
Image caption Jack Edwards said there was always someone to play with at any hour

His fellow witness Matúš Mikuš, also from Game Quitters, said his sessions went anywhere from four hours to 12.

He said he realised things were out of hand when his girlfriend split up with him due to excessive gaming.

"You go online, you're doing well, you feel good, and then you go outside, it's stressful," he said, describing the addiction as "self-perpetuating".

He said he lost control when he no longer had family to tell him to stop gaming.

"I had urges every single day," he informed the committee, saying that to get away from gaming, he had to delete his games, change passwords and lock away his computer in order to stop.

Mr Edwards, a YouTube vlogger, said there was an "endless universe of possibilities" in gaming, and social media means that "there's always someone to talk to, there's always someone awake".

"You can just fall down these rabbit holes," he told the committee.

On potential ways to fix the problem, Mr Good told MPs "you would just click off" any reminders put into games by game developers to take breaks.

"If you're that engaged in a game, you just won't care."

Listen to Today in Parliament's coverage of the hearing on BBC Radio 4.

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