Online Text Games: Online Game Addictions - Part One

online text games addict

By Lorna Cowie

My name is Lorna and I am addicted to online text games. I wrote this article to inform all of you about the addiction issues and to give a few aids in trying to beat it, and to bring you back to the real life without losing something you enjoy altogether.

To some people this topic will be laughable, but too many times we are faced with the scandal of someone having flashed up on the news, having died from playing an online role playing game too long. Of course that is an extreme scenario, but your life can still suffer in other ways if you are addicted to what you are doing. Believe it or not, online role playing game companies really don't want you to die; though perhaps they are slightly smug if you become addicted as that obviously means they are doing something right, no?

Enjoying yourself in a text game means that you will put more time into playing it, perhaps spending money to better your text game characters as you progress through your text game adventures. This is good for a text game company as the more you enjoy, the more you spend and even spread the word about an awesome text game you are playing... but there are limits on what you should be giving up to get your fix.

Here comes some science. Now, I don't usually like science, but this is quite interesting. Being addicted to video games, computer use and computer role playing games (like text games) has not get been given a formal diagnosis as an addiction - something about lack of evidence - yet hundreds and thousands of us are suffering with this dire need to return to our gaming worlds. So what do we do?

Well, recognising you have a text game addiction is one of the first steps to solving it. No one needs a psych degree to understand that (and I don't have one anyway). I fully suggest to you that if you feel you have a serious, life-altering addiction to any text game then to see further and professional help solving it. I am no professional, but I have had (and still have) an addiction to some games like Achaea and World of Warcraft. For some, it can ruin their life. Let's not let that happen to you, eh?

Step One: Figuring out you are addicted.

There is no hard and fast rule for determining whether you are officially addicted to role playing games or text games. Many people will do their own odd things, but there are more common reactions. One of the major signs is when a player becomes more interested in the text game they are playing than their outside game lives. This can mean losing interest in socialising with friends, not answering the phone or replying to texts, and so on to more harmful behaviors like students not turning up for lectures or taking days off work (or even simply not turning up to work).

Did you know the recommended time limit that you should allow yourself on any computer or text game is two hours per day? I certainly didn't. Heck, I can't even manage to eat five fruit or vegetables a day, yet two hours seems like nothing compared to how long I normally spend on text games.

Addicted text game players may also not notice the loss of other things from remembering when they last ate (of they remember at all) to missing meals or eating a significantly higher diet of junk food which can lead to unhealthy weight loss or gain. Personal hygiene can sometimes go down the drain, as there seems to become less and less time to do such mundane things as wash or shave.

The one I have found most common in text game addiction, especially in myself, is the altering of sleep patterns. I have never really had a good one; always being a night bird and usually ending up in bed by 1:00am anyway, but now I see myself hitting the sack at 4-5:00am. I have questioned myself on this many times and I have several answers; I am addicted to caffeine, and also the majority of the text game players (and my friends who play text games with me) are in the USA, thus leading me to adjust to their time zone norms.

This is not healthy and I have noticed the effects. I am tired more often even though I have eight hours sleep from when I eventually pass out. I actually look rather awful when I wake up. I have never been a stunning beauty in the mornings, but now the black circles under my eyes actually look like my beloved man has beaten me in my sleep and I hardly ever see daylight! Yes, this certainly has to stop!

Now that you have realised you have a text game addiction, you is one step closer to fighting against it. Just like drugs, smoking and alcohol it is very much possible that you will never get over it, but there are ways to overcome it - or at least minimize the negative effects.

In step two of this series, I will talk through the first steps of taking control over the text game, instead of it controlling you. Stay tuned (and sane!)


Find out why text games are good enough to become so addictive in the first place with some of the top tier roleplaying text games on the market today - just remember to eat, sleep and perform other essential life functions as well!

Lorna Cowie is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from Iron Realms Entertainment.

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I have found that I have really gotten into text games, but I don't think it is that big of a problem for me.

A good rule of thumb is never to allow a game obligation or event trump a real-life one. If your reason for skipping a class or a dinner with friends is "I have to help with a village revolt," or "My guild's giving a concert tonight," or even "The Mayor's holding a Board of Directors forum," then it's time to reevaluate your playing habits. No in-game event is more important than even a trivial real-life one!

Yeah, this! Another tip I like to stick to is that, out of character, you should always refer to your character in the first person. And don't refer to the person you're talking to as their character either.



"Zomg, man, can't believe I just whooped your ass in that bloodbath!"


"Zomg, man, can't believe Dysse just whooped Agravain's ass in that bloodbath!"

I've been told I'm addicted, mostly by my sister who keeps whispering it under her breath.

Right now I seem to be displacing one addiction with another - Facebook to Achaea to Minecraft to Achaea again...


Nothing we really do is healthy for us. Work schedules, school schedules, game schedules....none of it is really suppose to be healthy. It all just comes down to time management.

My cure for my video game addiction was my wife, she wins! :-D I will admit, prior to that gaming was all I did, and I did it well, but now I've learned to slow down my gaming to a decent amount, and still spend time with her!

It starts when you start to ignore school work and your friends when they want to go out with you. Or when you find yourself playing for 9+ hours a day.


There's plenty to be done in IRE games, but none of it is worth missing out on RL for.

The addiction starts when the game world becomes more interesting than your real life - for far too much of us, gaming is way more interesting than living out a life! Take a break - mix up your life, find a way to make it interesting. Go to a waterpark! Go to a bar and wink at that cute guy! Find something to do that is just as interesting, and real.

Of course, for those of us who are shy OOC.... that can be hard.


--Addicted for life :S

I think I'm rather happy with my Achaea addiction. Granted its not as bad as it was a few years ago since I keep a decent balance of work and gaming.

I go through periods of, "Wait, I just spent sixteen hours in Achaea?" interspersed with ten minutes here, twenty there

After reading this article I've discovered...I am not as addicted as I thought I was. Yay!

I also thought I was addicted. But it seems that I am just a recreational user.

I hear you about the time zones. Apart from that I'm still in denial!

I figured it out when I was looking forward to spending more time in the realm than I was with friends in real life and also when I basically began to swear off sleep.  Luckily, it was only the case when I first discovered the games many years ago and I now have a balance.

You have played for a total of 436 days, 8 hours and 18 minutes.

yep... addicted 

Oh good. I'm not addicted. I've only played for 73 days, 3 hours and 29 minutes. 

Yes, I am sure most students gamers out there can sympathise. Text games really test your willpower when it comes to keeping up with studying/homework. Fight the power!

sometimes I accidently focus on lusternia more then real life things

They make some online mmorpgs and other games considering the science of human behavior using rewards and things to make you want to play more. Kinda like the rat pulling the lever for the food pellets... its actually kinda scary.

This is very true. For example in Lusternia you have "vote weight," where your votes in elections count for more if you've spent more time logged in. And for quite a while they had a different promotion every day where you'd get a prize just for logging in, although sometimes you had to stay logged in for over an hour and a half to get it - on each of your characters. Then there are things like shops which require you to log on regularly to maintain it. And items decay so you have to make enough gold (or as the company would prefer, buy credits) to replace them if you take a "break" and come back to find your inventory empty. Yes there are a lot of tactics to keep you playing...

This is true of all hobbies; one cannot let any hobby interfere with other obligations. That said, having a hobby and spending time or money on that hobby is a perfectly normal pursuit, no matter what anyone tells you. If you spent every free hour in a garage building a hot rod, nobody would think twice about it.  Nobody gives odd looks at the manager who's standing there goofily practicing his golf swing on his break in the office.  The key, though, is as a lot of people have said: time management. Don't let any hobby you have interfere with other obligations. Just don't. Otherwise, spend all the time you like on it.

I can really see how it could be easier to get addicted to a text game than most other games, you kinda live another life, much much more than in other games, which makes it more of a replacement for real life. I however didn't have the time yet to spend enough time on text games to get addicted, luckily


Two hours seems about right during the week but weekends are a different story.

" I am tired more
often even though I have eight hours sleep from when I eventually pass
out. I actually look rather awful when I wake up. I have never been a
stunning beauty in the mornings, but now the black circles under my eyes..."

That is definitely signs of unhealthy gaming. I too have experienced it off and on... and definitely has to stop. Exercise and fixing up your daily diet is one small step to start off in. Limiting hours spent on gaming.... that's the hardest part.

Heh, I already know that I've got an addiction. If it's not gaming online, I have several consoles hooked up to multiple tvs in the house.

I really do NOT agree to limiting yourself to only 2 hours a day on the computer. You just need to watch what else you're doing. If it's been a week since you've had a shower, there may be a problem. But if you're keeping other aspects of your life under control, enjoy yourself!

About 5 years ago, I had a pretty bad addiction to Achaea and tried quitting a few times, even changing my password to random jumbles I couldn't remember. None of it worked, so in one last final attempt to break my addiction, I purposely did some bad stuff to get my characters shrubbed, that way I'd never come back even if I wanted. Well it worked, but only for a couple years..

heh.. addicted for sure :( 

I don't have enough free time to know what that is.

I used to get rows off my wife until I taught her to play Midkemia. Now we both play alot, though not as much as we used to.

This coming weekend, about 10 Aetolians are attending a meet in Ohio, where the first rule is that no one will be permitted to play Aetolia for the duration of the meet. It'll be interesting to see how some of these addicts react to going cold turkey for four solid days.


Good thing there's going to be alcohol!

This is a pretty easy concept as long as you stay grounding in your gaming experience. If you notice yourself getting emotional and feeling obligated to do things in character, it's time to step away and chill out reading books or console gaming. IRE should never have anything other than a positive effect on your life.

Yay, starting to get unaddicted!


I was addicted back in college and remember spending a lot of money that i shouldn't of on Achaea.  I'm glad I'm finally over the addiction now, and just enjoy playing.  It was never as bad as WOW though....

Hello. My name is David and I am addicted to Lusternia.


Admitting it is the first step! xD


Not that I'll ever admit it to friends. Or family. <.<

I've been addicted to, not gaming no, but chatting. I MUST CHAT. CHATCHATCHATTITTERCHAT. If something does not include socializing, it's only good for one playthrough- even if it's SIMULATED socializing.


Hence why I <3 RPGs and Text Games.

You have played for a total of 680 days, 6 hours and 7 minutes.

Since January 2000.


That's 5 days a month, or 4 hours a day for 11 years and 5 months. Given the amount of time I wander away from the keyboard, I'm way ahead!



I look forward to the next artice.. I need it!

My addiction goes in cycles.


Currently, I'm addicted.

.. if you've ever spent money on credits for the IRE game you're playing on, it's very possible you're an addict! And no, I'm not talking about those who purchased those 15cr packages just to permanence their character.


Often, when you're addicted to a game, you tend to be more willing to pour/invest some money into improving and maximising your gameplay experience. After all, credits can be used for so many things.


Now, an addiction to IRE games are not necessarily a bad thing. It just means you're spending more time concentrating on the skills behind a particular aspect of an IRE game.. If you're someone into combat, you tend to spend more time thinking about viable tactics you can utilise with the abilities and limitations of your class. That translates to better tactical thinking skills in games like chess and risk. If you're someone into politics, you tend to spend more time thinking about the nuances of the political sphere, and hence get more involved and interested in the political fields of your real world/country.


However, it's correct to say that you need to ensure that your addiction is kept to a point where it's healthy and beneficial, not disadvantageous to your health and life. There will be a point in time where the things in the IRE games will bleed over into your real life, and you find yourself troubling over game-related methods when you should be concentrating on your work/studies instead.


So keep a good balance between the two!

.. and I forgot to add. I'm one of those "addicts". I mean.. I did stay up from 8 am to 4 am on Great Hunt events just for the creditz. >_>

You have played for a total of 68 days, 16 hours and 7 minutes...


On one character...


Since July...


Having taken multiple months breaks repeatedly...


I'm either all in or not at all :(


Well, some people say I'm addicted to Midkemia, and others say the game is just stupid.

Maybe they're right, or maybe not. I do what I enjoy to do and don't usually care for what the other people think.

By the way, I'm not addicted and Midkemia is awesome.

I have lost so many hours to text games, hah! At one point I had to stop playing for a week just to get my sleep back to normal from it.


If waking up at 6:30 AM on Saturday to play the game counts as being addicted

I think this is a good article. Everything does need to be done in moderation. You know, in the long run, playing for 6 to 8 hours a day or whatever is going to get you burnt out on the game eventually too. Keep it moderate; overdosing isn't fun for any addiction ;P

This is a good article. I have a problem with time management when it comes to a lot of my hobbies. The trick, I think, is to recognize when you are taking things too far. Then make the effort to bring your life back into focus.


"The one I have found most common in text game addiction, especially in myself, is the altering of sleep patterns."


There was a time there, for a while, where I would get home from work, handle the few things I couldn't survive without doing (occasional food, fluids, etc), then I would go to bed... this was around 6-7pm US Eastern. Some few hours later, when the Aussies would be getting settled in after a day of work, an alarm clock would go off in my apartment and I would sit up, grab the netbook that's rarely out of arm's reach from me at any given time, and log in to say hello... and then I'd be on until anywhere from 4 to 6am in my part of the world, at which point I would take a brief nap, get up for work, and start the process all over again... I sorta miss that schedule some days, but more than that, I miss the hours upon hours of chatting with those who (without ever meaning to) drove me to make the line of decisions that lead to that.

If we limit text gaming to two hours a day, then everything should be limited to two hours a day of an activity. I work 9 hours a day, I guess I'm addicted to work then.

I played Achaea for 7 years, and looking back on my life, about 5 of those years were a black void in my life, a waste of a good chucnk of my 20's, the "prime" time of my life when I was supposed to be out partying and meeting people and having a "real life." But I was in a bad place in my life, with no car or job or school, in a geographically isolated area, so Achaea and my tv were literally all I had. And that's a recipe for disaster. I'd spend all my waking time there - so about 16 hours. Two hours a day? Hahaha! Yeah right. See the thing about that is, it's different for every person. Some people have work, some people have kids, some people don't have anything... Everyone has a different amount of free time they can spend on a game without it interfering with other things in their life. It's stupid to attach a flat time rate to every single person; I think you have to figure out what's right for you in your life.


I took a year's break in between Achaea and Lusternia. When I started Lusternia, I was extremely wary because I knew how much it was possible for an IRE game to destroy a life. Except now my RL was much healthier, so I went ahead and tried it, with the firm intention that I would never again let myself get to the point where I "needed" it, where I couldn't walk away at any time without feeling the intense compulsion to return. That's pretty much the definition of addiction, after all!


Other warning signs are, as other people have already said, the game becoming more important than RL things. For example when my grandmother was dying, and I was across the state to be with her, and people knew this, some of them insisted on pushing drama in-game. That's just horrible. If you get to that point, that petty game conflict is more important to you than another player's real life important situation, the game has taken away your perspective, and has made you forget that the names on that screen are played by real people, who have real lives and real feelings. Games like this can desensitize you to things that would normally evoke empathy. That's another sign most people don't think about.


The other big thing is taking on responsibilities in the game. Only do this if you are sure you have the time to dedicate to it. For most of my time playing Lusternia, I was a guild administrator for a pretty stagnant guild, so I also did the role of Head of Novices, shop keeper, archivist, etc. Not to mention being a mentor to several novices. These are the sorts of obligations for which you're expected to drop what you're doing. But when you're late for meetings or get inadequate sleep, forget it, someone else can answer the novice's questions for a few hours! Keep your priorities in perspective. One of the many reasons I resigned from GA last weekend was realizing that no one was going to help lighten my workload - ever - and with the United Way campaign and school coming up soon, I couldn't afford to keep up this level of work in a "game." I was gone for a whole three days for my grandmother's wake, and people were still pouncing me whenever I logged in to check messsages, and not getting work done in my brief absence. I wanted to be able to go for a couple days and not worry about things like that.


Not to mention the stress and drama. It's a game, it's meant to be fun. So now I can wake up and know that I don't have to log in right away. And when I do log in, I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. What a feeling of freedom! I even have time to play alts again if I want. Make sure the reason you're still playing isn't something like "I've invested so much credits and time already" or "but I have to finish this project or serve this org," but because you're enjoying it. Oh and if you're doing homework or something important like that, LOG OFF FIRST. Never ever ever trick yourself into thinking you can do quality work with a distraction like an IRE game!

I was 15 and whenever I was at my father's house, I would play late nights and early mornings on his Xbox 360, as well as his PC. I once played from 8 PM, all the way until 10 AM in the morning....


Luckily I can take more control over my gaming time now....

I DID (still a little bit) have an addiction to MKO...I will not announce the cringeworthy amount of GBP I have spent on this game (Dysse stay quiet) and even though I believe in putting effort into something you enjoy, I have come to realise that spending redonculous amounts of money on an IRE, especially with all the misleading advertising (coughpropagandacough) I jest, anyway, once you turn that PC or laptop off, when you come to the end of your 10 hour gaming session and you are sat there in the dark, eyes bloodshot and popping out of your head, with a bleary eyed stare that could frighten the dead, take a look at that PC/Laptop and think to yourself 'I bought this PC/Laptop for my own entertainment/work w/e, now I'm ploughing loads of money into a text game to buy a text artifact and text credits to play on my console I have ALREADY paid out you really want to be throwing more money at your PC screen? When you log off and you cannot hold your artifact in your hands or check your online bank account and see your 'credits balance' in your slowly depleating bank account, when you walk down the road and see these beautiful shoes in the shop window and you cry out in frustration and proclaim, "I can't have those because I bought credits! But heyho! I will just log on and design myself a pair of text platforms!"- STEP AWAY FROM THAT IRE CREDITS WEBSITE AND PUT THAT CARD BACK IN YOUR PURSE!- An artifact of defense, is not going to help you dodge or parry an oncoming bus/car IRL, because you stayed up all night playing on a MUD and you're now too frazzled to pay attention/concentrate on what you are doing IRL and you can't afford the taxi to the hospital to mend your broken limbs, because your character is now physically in better shape than you are! 'Apply Bandage', does not apply to IRL. That energy drink you have been sipping on all night (and now have tooth decay)- like an endurance potion IG will not cure you either and may do more damage than good. Turn away from the screen, touch the walls in your house, go touch a real person (not in that way) and ask yourself when you are laying in bed at 1pm in the afternoon and the sun outside is shining and life is passing you by, and you smell worse than a dustbin, 'What on earth am I doing?'- I never got this far with my addiction, but it can happen, I even stepped down from a leader position IG, because my addiction was getting a bit much and I needed to stop it in it's tracks, I also thank my husband for pulling me away.

I love you, lots and lots... but please learn to not write in walls of text. It hurts my eyes. :P

See you when I get home from work.

It's definitely a real issue, it's so important to keep a good life/gaming balance, just like it's important to keep a work/life balance.

I definitely need to work on setting - and holding to - a bedtime, otherwise Achaea will destroy me.  Ugh.

Guilty as charged.

I'm not addicted, I can quit.. any... time.. one sec.. hold... on...   just.. level.. sh.. one sec.. shh..


I am... can't help it

I really enjoy all the games I play, but I don't ever let it run my life. I still get up and go to work when I work, I still shower every day, at the same time. My sleeping as been messed up, I range anywhere from 3-8 hours a night, depending on the nightmares I have. I'll never allow myself to become so addicted that I forget what real life is like, I've been in a situation like that before, I know my warning signs, and when I need to take a step back, so I know it wont happen again.