Here are the games that have nearly ruined lives.
Video game addiction is a real thing.
I personally can only tolerate the blaring sound of gunfire in Call of Duty for so long, but some people are so deeply invested in the gaming world that they've gone to insane lengths to conquer a match of "Warzone." In Brazil, an eSports gamer murdered his rival competitor in a Call of Duty match-up and then shared a graphic video of her dead corpse through WhatsApp. Just recently, chicken nuggets shaped as characters from the video game Among Us sold on eBay for almost $100,000.
That's not to say that video game addiction leads to murderous rampages or impulsive spending, but it is to say that there comes a time when people need to put down the controller and go outside and sniff a tree. Here are the world's most addictive video games that have nearly ruined lives.
League of Legends
League of Legends
Ah, League of Legends. It's one of the only games that has warranted its own guide on how to quit because of how addicting it is. It's free to play and can run on pretty much any computer, making it incredibly accessible to a diverse number of PC gamers. In this team-based strategy game, there are 146 different "champions" to choose from as you and your friends compete in long and grueling 5v5 battles to take over your enemies' base.
Complex and satisfying gameplay aside, League of Legends' diverse community can also be incredibly toxic. The game encourages cross-team interaction, but with everyone having access to a microphone, communications have often led to bullying and harassment.
It's become such a widespread issue that quelling toxic players has been the subject of multiple blogs and Reddit threads. RIOT Games has been accused multiple times of enabling this bad behavior, punishing players' stats whenever they leave a game early or refusing to ban players who rightfully deserve it.
Fortnite is apparently such a problem with kids that some studies have shown the game to be more addictive than heroin. In the U.K. a 9-year-old girl was sent to rehab as a result of her addiction to Fortnite, as she apparently was peeing her pants so she could keep playing. Another kid stole $200 from his parents just to spend it on Fortnite upgrades. The sad thing is that since the game is for anyone age 12 and up, kids are often the victims of addiction.
Some of the reasons for the addictiveness of the game are broken down by Celia Hodent, the director of UX for Epic Games, who noted that most of the in-game features are pasted across the main screen and the HUD. This minimizes the player's need to use their recall memory, so the controls become almost instinctual and allow players to remain enveloped in the game for longer stretches.
The game also spawned the international success of "Battle Royale" gameplay, which games like "Warzone" and Apex Legends have continued to chase. With that said, Fortnite's constant updates and seasonal specials (like being able to play as Batman and explore Gotham, or putting on a Travis Scott concert) keep giving young players a reason to return to the game even when they don't want to.
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft
Over 15 years of constant updates and expansion packs have maintained WoW's status as one of the most popular MMORPGs of all time. From the game's vast and constantly changing range of characters, the universe's alluring lore, the endless upgrades, endless missions, and endless ways to interact with your fellow gamer, WoW brought the MMORPG genre back into mainstream fame and hasn't let up ever since.
At one point it was one of the most addictive games ever created, a fact that became so widely known it spawned South Park parodies and legitimate news pieces. Vice profiled a gamer named "Drew" who lost two jobs and spent 20 hours a day chasing the meaningless notoriety of World of Warcraft trophies. "I only left the house for extremely brief intervals to make quick trips to the grocery store and to buy cigarettes," he said. "I ordered pizza delivery every day and only left my room to use the bathroom and very occasionally shower."
With hundreds of heroes to choose from, hundreds of unique abilities to learn and grow, and some of the best patches in RPG gaming, DOTA 2 has many addictive qualities to it. The game was so addictive for players that Valve installed an in-game launch option that monitors your playtime and lets you know when you have a serious issue. While we're not sure what happens when someone plays a problematic amount of hours, it's an interesting feature nonetheless.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Another RPG that has caused sleepless nights for fantasy gaming fans, The Elder Scroll series has a long lineage of expansive universes, multifaceted characters, and some of the best fantasy moments in RPG gaming. Skyrim, in particular, has taken on a life of its own. You can design your character to be just about anything, and Bethesda pretty much took everything great about its past entries and added dragons, a larger map, more side quests, and twice as much fascinating lore to get lost in.
When the game was released back in 2011, gaming nerds in particular had a really hard time returning to the dreary, dragon-less, magic-less realm of reality. One Skyrim player actually lost his mind and massacred every character and creature in the game including peasants, guards, animals, elves, orks, women and children. "I am alone," wrote gamer jaeinskyrim. "'2201 people/NPCs, plus over 2400 various creatures. All gone. I am alone in Skyrim."
Path of Exile
Path of Exile
Another free-to-play online RPG that has ruined lives, Path of Exile had so many addictive features that it caused a gambling addict to relapse. The user, named Candace, actually started playing the game to help quell her addiction. It was working until lockboxes (which contain loot) showed up and tempted her to purchase support packs to quickly obtain the gear inside.
Designed around a massive online economy, the game prioritizes purchases and accruing good loot. Throw in unique and seemingly endless character customization options, and you have a recipe for disaster. Luckily, Candace was able to have the lockbox function disabled after writing to the game's support team.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
It's hard to believe that this game came out in 2012 and still has such a die-hard fanbase. Similar to Call of Duty, this first-person shooter has consumed eSports players for years, to the point where a cheating scandal back in 2020 nearly ruined the game and its community.
Players were banned, 25,000 matches had to be reviewed, and even the FBI showed up to investigate how widespread the cheating was. It's crazy that achieving victory in a video game can come at such a disturbing expense. Addiction is an ugly thing, kids.
To this day, Minecraft is insanely popular with children. Minecraft gives players a blank slate and lets them design their own world from scratch alongside their friends. A vast array of customization options have led to some truly innovative universe creations, but to build those universes takes a lot of time and effort, as resources need to be mined in order to be utilized.
"One of the greatest costs to a player is time," wrote Family Zone, who condemned the game for its addictive nature. "For the average player, there is no quick solution to this." Throw in an online world bustling with millions of players every day, and kids never leave their room.
An online competitive FPS shooter that takes a surprising amount of teamwork and coordination in order to achieve victory, Overwatch has a fascinating cast of characters to choose from, each packed with an array of unique skills and a whole lot of background lore. The game also has a coinciding comic book series, giving players even more opportunities to get lost in the game's world. That's not to mention the game is always growing and changing, and pulling off a victory after some great teamwork is a satisfaction unlike any other. A musician even went viral after singing about his addiction to the game.