The first time someone threatened to kill me was when I left their eight person World of Warcraft guild unannounced. As a sophomore in high school, I was coerced into joining the guild by my co-workers: cooks and dishwashers at a truck stop diner in rural Montana.
The majority of my guildmates were over forty and super, super into WoW. I was privy to their kitchen conversations, long digressions into raid plans and build debates, and since my late hours cut me off from hanging out with my friends, I eventually caved to their friendly invitations to play.
One week in, an old friend joined WoW too. He found a massive, helpful guild right off the bat, so I left the diner guild and joined his. Unaccustomed to the quieter codes of conduct in MMOs, I figured leaving a virtual fantasy club without warning wouldn’t be a big deal, even if I took the leather jerkin gifted to me upon joining. Two hours into my first raid, I started receiving a slew of PMs from my ex-guildmates—interrogative at first, imperative soon after. I paraphrase: “when u come into work 2moro ur fukkin dead.”
My dad didn’t understand. Maybe there wasn’t enough dread in my voice when I told him my fantasy elf and gnome coworker ex-teammates planned to corpse me. So, I had to go into work. Turns out I didn’t get much more than an evil stare or two, the silent treatment, and punitive egg duty. I always broke the yolks.
This was my first brush with video game obsession: that WoW wasn’t worth murdering over. My second was when I kept playing WoW, so much that my girlfriend dumped me. I’m not always a smart man.
This isn’t to say that every obsession is unhealthy. During my time as a teacher, a student told me that she learned to read at an early age by playing Ocarina of Time over and over again. So, maybe an obsession with an MMO hooked you up with a significant other. Maybe Typing of the Dead really taught those fingers how to dance. What's your story, good or bad?
Hop down to the comments and let us know your biggest gaming obsessions, how they affected you, your relationships, your work, and so on. And if you can, show us a screenshot of your hours logged in that game. We’ll publish our favorites.