Long-Haul Gaming

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Long-Haul Gaming

How long is too long when it comes to playing videogames?

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Once again, the book "Game Addiction" by Clark and Scott covers that aspect in detail, so if you're interested...

Overall, taking a look at your life is probably the best way to figure it out.

btw is that second picture from south park?

Oh my.
30 to 50 hours? That's a lot. I have trouble just staying awake for 24 hours or so.
But if isn't totally wrecking that guy's health, then it's damn amazing.

30-50 hours. Lawdy, i thought i was badass spending 9 hours on Red Dead Redemption.

Wow, and I thought my 14 hours of straight Civ5 play was long. I really don't know how this guy does it.

If he can do that and still fulfill all his real-life obligations, I don't see much of an issue. Though it'd probably be best to take a one hour break every now and then.

Also, I was worried that Dr. Mark wouldn't be posting anything anymore, since its been quite a while since his last article. Glad to see I was wrong.

Good to see this column is still up, I haven't seen it pop up for a while, guess I've missed them.
I have never played a game for more than 10 hours in one sit, but the times I've done so were due to games like STALKER and Far Cry 2. Games that immerse a lot, and keep giving you stuff to achieve.

So you're also over sensitive to pollen, I've been so for as long as I can remember. And the list of pollen I'm sensitive to has only increased over the years, so I spend most of my time in the summer indoors hiding from plants.
Recently though I've tried getting a hypnosis treatment against it, and it's actually working really well. The theory behind why we get those reactions to pollen and why hypnosis works is also worth checking out.

30-50 hours.....

yay! by comparison, I don't have a problem!

I've spent a whole day gaming, but I take breaks... then sleep for 18 hours...

... I'm healthy.

You know, I consdier myself a gamer, but the longest I've ever played is six maybe seven hours in one sitting.

What can I say, I just puss out. I like things like food, sleep, private places to do private business.

Longest time a game (Single game on one console) has been played for in my household (with no breaks)

3 days - FFX - My mother played it during the day - me through the night D:

By myself..? 18-ish hours.. then i lose interest and find some porn or something :L

(Wait - can I get suspended for saying porn? O.o If so - apologies.)

I can and have spent long long hours playing games. And I did it a lot more when I was younger as well. Back then it was definitely the escapism aspect, not helped by my not-yet-diagnosed Bipolar Disorder and Autism.

Nowadays I'm a lot better, but I still occasionally settle in for the long haul. When I got Mass Effect 2 I finished the whole thing in about three days, and my final hour count was over fifty hours play-time so...

The worst offender was definitely Final Fantasy IX though. When I was 11/12 I couldn't put that game down, and it was long enoguh to engage me for that long. Nowadays it's easier to not play for hours because you can finish a whole game in about 5-8 hours.

Wonder how much of playing so much comes from playing in a world you can control versus horrible real life with its other people wanting me to do things... how dare they!

I have at times spent long hours on games, but some of these numbers put me to shame. If I find myself forgoing a meal, I'll stop the game and go eat. I usually take breaks even if I'm not hungry though, like a thirty minute break every two hours or so. Something like that.

The last time I played nonstop was a while ago, I was playing Borderlands with some friends and we played for like four hours. Which is good for my health but pitiful compared to some of these numbers...

The SettingSun:
30-50 hours. Lawdy, i thought i was badass spending 9 hours on Red Dead Redemption.

Cataclysm release I did 64 hours straight, didn't feel tired at all. I'm not mental, keep in mind but I do have issues with sleep from time to time. I rarely choose to do it.

Longest I've ever spent on a game was around 24 hours. Then I didn't want to see it again for a while.

I'd rather spend a large stretch of time doing a painting or something, and that's what I have consistently spend bulks of time doing. Never 30-50 hours. But like 20 or something.

Sleeps not the issue though. Because I can regularly survive on about 2 hours sleep a night and if I really want to push the bar. 1 nights sleep for the week.

I just don't have the resolve to sit and do one thing for any great length of time. 3-4 hours on a game usually has me bored of it and looking for something else to occupy my time.

wow. just wow. i've done a nine hour marathon, but that was at a LAN, by myself my longest was about 4 hours. Thirty to foutry hours? yee gods.

I'm not going to lie, some of you guys' numbers are kind of scary. I love to game, and some long bouts can last 4-6 hours. But After school and work, I just don't have enough time in the day for more than that.

I think it must be safe to assume the question asker doesn't have any significant responsibilities. I guess he could work for few days on, few off, but he didn't mention that. He also probably doesn't have children or a significant other, or have anyone they have to look after. It sounds almost as though they're living somewhere rent is taken care of, food is bought and cooked for them, and they don't hold any adult responsibilities. Sounds like the perfect environment to escape into a fantasy world more interesting than reality.

Personally, I'd say yes it's unhealthy because 30 hours of a single activity is overkill. Sure, if you enjoy it that's great but seeing as how that something is a fantasy MMO and the person isn't stopping to do anything else I would call that an addiction. Addictions don't necessitate that the addicted hates his vice. There are plenty of folks who love smoking a pack of cigs a day, and tell themselves they can quit any time but just don't want to. The test would be for him to cut down his time to 3-5 hours, and do other stuff for the rest of the day. If he can't bear it or feels like nothing else is worth doing than I'd say he's lost in the abyss of addiction.

I played FFXI for about 3 years at the end of high school and into my first years of community college. At it's height, I woke up and began play immediately. I stopped only shortly to heat up microwave food from my parent's freezer. I played strait through the day, probably anywhere from 12-16 hours a day. After being long out of that scenario I would say I was definitely lost in the fantasy and was quite addicted. I'll never do that again, there just simply isn't enough time to lead two social lives. I like to spend real money, learn knowledge about the real world, and have sex with my real girlfriend.

Simply put, this kid is completely and unhealthily addicted. Hobbies that enrich our lives are always good, as are games. Having that hobbie hijack your life is not.

Can someone explain to me how the fuck these people play so long without their hands and joints screaming in pain?

I have no medical problems but if all I do all day is sit and play games, my hands, wrists, and joints hurt like hell. Im in better shape I've no doubt than most of these people so I don't know what the deal is.

finally just got around to playing Fallout new vegas..

I work a full-tim job, live my girlfriend, have family and friends and other projects i am working on...

however i actually got to play it for like 6 hours straight and i was so happy

i havent had a session like that in a year or more

at the end of it i was pretty wrecked so i dont know how this dude does 50..

but at the same time i do enjoy the "enchanted feeling" after you stop feeling and your mind is racing and even when you are sleeping you dream about picking up loot


game with moderation...life is good...and gaming is meant to be a game

There is no way in hell I will ever reach 30-50 hours...
I barely reached 12 hours without totally passing out. That is an achivement there.

30-50 HOURS?!?!?!

That's insane! Imagine if he spent that time working straight shifts... He'd be rich!

When Dr. Mark mentioned the entranced feeling after playing for hours on end, I know exactly what he means. I haven't played in stretches like the ones described by the writer, but there have been days when my cousin and I have been playing video games almost the entire time we were awake during my summer visits. We would pause for a restroom break and I would suddenly notice that it was dark out, and I hadn't eaten breakfast, lunch or dinner yet.

And yet, that didn't really bother me, as if my body didn't need the food and it was perfectly happy with continuing to play video games. It felt as if I got everything I needed from the game. I don't think extended play sessions are a problem, unless you find them interfering with other obligations, such as family and work. As much as I love video games, some things are take precedent in my own life, but I won't tell someone how they should live theirs.

Isn't addiction to games more of a social problem than a problem with the game itself?
MMOs easily makes people feel accomplished, creating the feeling that it's "better" than real life. Many people blame WoW for being "addicting," when little to none of the fault lies in the game.
But if he can easily stop, then it's more because he finds it fun than anything, so yeah. Not escapism.


Okay, all caps off now, I understand what the sender experiences, as others mention above, getting entranced in a video game REALLY isn't all that big of a deal. Letting yourself be sucked in/immersed in the game is a fairly normal and somewhat exhilarating experience.

HOWEVER, there is a necessary cutoff point. I think at BEST, a 'marathon' game session shouldn't break 5/7 hours, on ONE game. I mean if you're tackling 3/4 games over a 24 hours period and remembering to get food and, ya know, PEE every now and then, that's fine.

But 30-50 hours... dude, you seriously need to tear yourself away from the game. It doesn't matter how engrossed you are, you 'need' to take a break or else your brain will get bo- Well wait a minute, if you're playing for that long, you're obviously not bored...

...Yeah, I got no clue what to suggest. I never could play a single game for more than 6-8 hours at best when I think about it and honestly, it 'needs' to be an open world/'massive' RPG for me to throw away that many hours into it...

Longest I've stayed awake: 45 hours( very long time ago) Longest I've played a single game in one sitting:8-10 hours(not so long ago. I cannot stay up for more then 24 hours now in my old age.

Mark J Kline:
Ask Dr. Mark 20: Long-Haul Gaming

How long is too long when it comes to playing videogames?

Read Full Article

Fascinating article. This "enchanted state" you describe almost sounds like alcohol or drug dependency to me. Not on a biological level, but the addiction of mind-altering substances to give you a happy, 'surreal' feeling. Something that transcends the mundane and keeps the user in a state of, as you say, enchantment. Whether that be getting tipsy or getting high.

I'm going to be brave and admit to my longest session being around 18-20 hours. I'm not entirely sure of the exact time, it's just what Steam told me after i'd finally closed the Witcher. Part of the reason i find it so easy to spend so much time absorbed and 'enchanted' is because i do not have many obligations at the moment (besides study), but also because my excessive gaming has caused the normal, ordinary world to become too mundane. I have become very bored with reality. All the while i'm disconnected from my games, i'm fantasising about some otherworldly existence, such as the world of the Witcher for instance. I'm daydreaming about drowners and dragons instead of thinking about the news or being interested in anything happening in the real world. I'm not so far gone that i can't distinguish what IS the real world, of course, but it's got to the stage where the real world is just too boring and without excitement. The fantasy element has gone from novel to necessary for me; it's almost as though i depend on escapism. When i am plugged into my games, i feel "at peace" almost at once. It's as though i no longer need to wait for half an hour to get that "enchanted" feeling when you enter a zen like state after an extended period of uninterrupted play, it simply comes to me naturally. As soon as i click start on the menu. Almost like a feeling of "Ahh, that's better. This is where i belong." I wonder whether this has any impact on any further life goals. For instance, i have absolutely no interest in raising a family or having kids. I cannot even see why people would want to. Time was, i'd be mopey about not having a girlfriend like so many other normal people, but even that has faded significantly. Instead, i tell myself "Why would i want to give myself real world obligations when i have so many obligations in the fantasy world? Those undead aren't going to slay themselves...". I suppose that's it; replacing real world obligations with fantasy ones. I have to wonder whether that is an unhealthy thing to do. I would say no, but only for the optional obligations, like raising a family. Obviously if it interferes with work, studies, or maintaining my health then something is wrong. Thinking about addiction as a rational, if not entirely dangerous, concept is somewhat frightening. Like the chap in the letter, it's not that i can't stop, i just don't want to.

Longest I've stayed awake: 45 hours( very long time ago) Longest I've played a single game in one sitting:8-10 hours(not so long ago. I cannot stay up for more then 24 hours now in my old age.

Just for the record as an interesting side note, the longest i have gone without sleep for is 72 hours. It was for a personal experiment to see if i would be able to manage it and what the effects of it would be. I don't recommend it, but perhaps my ability to go without any form of sleep or rest for such a long time means i have the fortitude to play or do sedentary activities for heavily extended periods of time. I'm 20 years old, if that counts for anything.


It's very interesting though about the neurons that are still "gaming" long after the game is over.

I also find this to be very interesting. I experience it too, on a fairly intense level. When a game is over, i can replay what i have done over and over in my head. Sometimes the events can unfold of their own accord and my brain invents "alternate continuations", but that is mostly something that occurs when i am in a very suggestible state, such as in bed right before sleep. Other times my "gaming neurons" will force me to remember where that last enemy or health pickup is or was, even if it is no longer important simply because my mind is playing a replay reel in my head for whatever reason. Even more curiously, sometimes i can be sat in front of my console or PC and tell myself i am going to play something, then be doing something else (say daydream, read something, browse the internet etc) and my mind will "play the game for me". That is to say, it will feel like i have played the game in question, but i haven't. It can leave a bit of a strange feeling. It's not something that occurs very often and it's exacerbated when i'm in suggestive states, like the above.

What's *really* interesting is that people see almost nothing wrong with sports fans obsessing about a sport they don't actually play, spending dozens of hours a week watching every game their team is playing, or related to their team, or sports-related programming on ESPN... yet the same behaviour is considered aberrant for a gamer actually participating in the events.

Like Dr. Kline said, as long as you're willing to reflect on what you do, and change your behaviour if it negatively affects your life, there may be nothing wrong with it.

This question could have easily been written by an old friend of mine before he decided to cut off all ties to society and play WoW two to three days straight constantly and then pass out rinse and repeat. Guy would only eat once a day because he needed to keep playing. The most I ever played a game was back in my FF11 days I played it for about four months straight when I was like 13 or 14. Game session would go about 10 hours on and off through the day. It was one of the worst times of my life. I felt mentally and physically horrible from it all. Luckly that was long ago but dear lord thirty to fifty hours? I couldn't do that ever, I need my sleep and such.

Everything in moderation ladies and gentlemen.

I was once seriously addicted to a mud called 3 kingdoms. I played on average 14 1/2 hours a day for a year straight with my longest stretch of non-stop (no sleep) playing being just under a week. Games can indeed take over your life and if you get too involved you stop doing anything else besides playing them. A good game, a really good game, never stops being entertaining or having constant goals and rewards. The game that got me so addicted for instance had a variety of skills that all directly improved my character in an easily observable manner, and that never took more then an hour or so to increase. This caused me to always have something in the near future to aim for, along with large long term goals as well, and eventually I did nothing else but play the game because of that (and of course the multi-player/competition aspects helped a ton).

I stopped cold turkey at the end of that last year after reaching a large goal and realizing how much time I had wasted and that I was throwing my life away. I strongly suggest that if you are playing any online game more then you are doing anything else, that you should stop all together for awhile and then eventually try playing a moderate amount of time instead.

If for some reason you have absolutely nothing else to do, if you are restricted to a bed, wheelchair etc, then perhaps playing games that much time makes sense. Otherwise I suggest trying to enjoy other aspects of life while you can and not get so involved in a video game that you end up regretting it later when you can no longer do so.

btw is that second picture from south park?

Yeah, it's from the 'Make Love, Not Warcraft' Episode. Stan is the blue dude, Cartman's the dwarf, Kyle's the mage lady and Kenny is the orange dude.

30 hours straight? And here I was, thinking I had a serious problem with addiction. I'm fuckin' lightweight >.>

30-50 hours? With only quick breaks for snacks before ten hour crashes? I'm wondering if the play time is a bit exaggerated or not, but it does sound like a bit much for the sake of entertainment. As a fellow internet addict, I'd say it's time to talk to people about it; friends, family, doctor, whatever.

At the very least, take more time to walk around the room and rest the eyes from staring at the screen for so long. That time can still be put to use with ideas that can be put back into the game after a few minutes of thought while you get something to eat.


I think this guy is on the 'laser vision enchantment' side of the argument tbh.

Any sane person would have said that 50 hours of WoW is obviously unhealthy. Surely your muscles being inactive for that long would lead to cramps, you'd get sleep deprivation, start to get starved of nutrients (If your only snacking), then you repeat the cycle after sleeping etc.

This article makes me feel like he doesn't want to piss off Escapee's, so he practically says there's nothing wrong with it, as long as it 'fits into your life'. He even says 'speak to a professional' implying either that he isn't a doctor or he isn't qualified in this particular field. WAIT. WHAT?!

Playing videogames for 50 hrs straight is putting yourself at high risk for a heart attack. You need sleep a bit more often.

What? You have intense spring allergies? Tell us more, dr. Mark, tell us more!

Mark J Kline:
Ask Dr. Mark 20: Long-Haul Gaming

How long is too long when it comes to playing videogames?

Read Full Article

I think the greater hazard in video games is the sense of accomplishment we feel when completing tasks. The task is usually fairly standard, with plenty of add-ons and walkthroughs and such to help us get through even the "really hard" parts... and the rewards? A sword that can split time in half, or maybe Leggings that give your enemies colon cancer. The reward is often extremely disproportionate to the task, even though both are fictional.

Contrast that with the real world. You can work your ass off, all day long, and be amazing at your job... and have nobody notice. You can complete your assigned tasks in record time, help a co-worker complete his/hers, and for your trouble you take a pay cut because they just don't have the money. There is no guarantee you'll be paid what you're worth.

And if there is a prize? It only goes to the first guy to get there. It's not like the game, where each person that completes the task gets the same prize. It doesn't diminish or disappear over time, and the NPCs laud them each in the same way.

It's easy for that sense of reward and accomplishment to overtake its real-world counterpart. Rewards are more immediate and, we feel, more proportionate to the effort we put in. There is justice and balance, and there's a part of us that truly doesn't care that it's not real.

There's a trap there, and a real danger in allowing that feeling to get too strong a hold on us. Even your smallest achievement in the real world is far more valuable than your largest in the game world, often because they both aid and connect you to other people. And when things go bad? Those people may well be the ones that help you out.

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