Addiction is not something I take likely. It is used in reference to numerous vices; alcohol, drugs, gambling, love (or is that just a Robert Palmer classic?), and video games. So, here I admit it. Hi, my name is Samantha and I’m addicted to video games.

Growing up in the ’90s, computers were nowhere near where they are now. When video games came out, they were mostly by one company and more often than not started with Sim, as in SimCopter, SimCity, SimLife, and Sim everything else imaginable. Within a few long minutes of your computer booting up and loading the game, you could be a helicopter pilot putting out fires, picking up patients, and launching tear gas into an unruly crowd. I was hooked.

Once I was gifted Sega Genesis I knew it would never end. It didn’t bother me that I had to blow the dust out of the cartridge. In fact, it became a ritual to do so before playing each game whether it needed to be done or not. I relentlessly played Sonic the Hedgehog though I couldn’t get past the third board, ever. However, this didn’t stop me from playing more and more. Hey, I may be addicted, but I never said I was good.

N64 was next and I had more games than I could efficiently play. I never became good at them no matter how hard I tried. Again, I loved GoldenEye, yet I could never escape the chamber of gas on the second level. I sure did like to beat that first level over and over again and loved to swan dive off the bridge though.

Now, my gaming leans more toward the free kind. As a graduate student with a part-time job, I can’t afford to spend the now outlandish $60 on a video game. Instead, I am seriously addicted to Words with Friends, Cut the Rope, Where’s My Water, and now my newest addiction, Scramble with Friends. Having a BA in literature and getting my Master’s of Fine Arts in creative writing makes these word games more than just fun. I need to beat my friends, especially those who were history and math majors. What did I go to school for four years for if I can’t beat my biology-degreed fiancé in a vocabulary based game?

I am addicted to all games, but video games especially. I’m also not just addicted to playing, but winning. As my father always said, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but winning is a lot more fun.” Thanks Dad. Maybe that’s where my addiction of winning at games comes from.

Win or, sadly, lose, I will continue to delve into a good video game to take me away from the not always so pleasant reality around me. So, I, Samantha, while not saying I will never play another video game again, vow to reel it in a bit and enjoy the actual challenges around me instead of trying to decide which Pokémon I should throw out against my opponents Snivy.