Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

July 7, 2009 -

A recovering WoWaholic recounts his descent into depression and game addiction in a new blog.

C Gibson explains that WoW Survivor is intended to offer a supportive place for those who found the MMO world a bit too compelling.

In an introductory post, Gibson candidly discusses his own experience:

I was going to school full time in NYC and working. Because of an issue with my family, I became depressed. I stopped going to class, quit a good job for a lamer one... and reinstalled WoW. Instead of dealing with my issues, I ignored them by grinding reputation for a mount while my wife was at work...

 

I was on the verge of losing the person I cared about most over something that really didn't matter to me and had ZERO real life benefits. I agreed to and went to a counseler... and that helped eliminate my depression because I was no longer a passive variable in a world I didn't pay attention to.

I uninstalled WoW and haven't played since. I do read up on the blogs on occassion, and I actually find that that solidifies why I don't play. There is no way to keep up and I don't feel like getting wrapped up in a never ending adventure while my real life crumbles...

GP: When I read such stories, it's hard to know whether the writer's game addiction is a symptom of something else - like depression - or the underlying disease itself. In any case, Gibson's story seems to have a happy ending. He reports that he is successfully pursuing a writing career in NYC and that he and his wife are the proud parents of five-month old.

Via: ExGamer


Comments

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Thanks for taking the time to read this article about the blog. Some of your comments are incredibly insightful and they make for a good read. I tried to add a section to the blog to address how I feel about the situation and clarify a few misconceptions. There are quite a few "I's" in there, as I am only speaking to my experience. I will let others speak to theirs. And before you Jump to Conclusions™, understand I am not a video game prohibitionist. I’m just concerned about helping the percentage of the population that may have a different experience than you.

As I am busy, I can't write a 400-page memoir to address each detail of what I experienced over those 2.5 years so some assumptions here are right and others are off the mark. I only have a couple of minutes but wanted to address a few things. Sorry, I cut and paste and rushed, so I don't think your names are attached to your quotes:

“On a side note, It really bugs me when the primary content of a site is white text on black background. It really messes up my focus when switching to other sites.” 

Sorry about that. =/ Maybe I’ll repost things on a more traditional page.

"I still don't quite understand how wow becomes crack like this for some people."  and "The game is not addicting."

The above link expresses some of my thoughts, but for me the game was a perfect storm. I love RPGs, love Blizz, and love the Warcraft lore. Others, as mentioned above, can dive into Bejewelled. I don't play other video games because WoW was the 'perfect' one for me. Why bother? My blog isn't out to criticize those that successfully enjoy it as nothing more than a hobby while accomplishing other things in life. It is for those, like me, who abused it and want to talk about what we have done since.

I have a fledgling wine cellar, and a liquor cabinet that rivals the bar on your corner. I enjoy a glass of whisk(e)y or wine every other day. If I am having an issue, I don't run to the booze to solve my problems. I am not addicted to it. It doesn't do IT for me the way that game did. But that is just me. However, some people do abuse alcohol and I cannot point to my own life and say they should be able to control it, because it is different for them.

"Pathological gamers tend to have "addictive personalities" or some other psychological condition." and "I would wager that pathological gamers would also tend to be pathological gamblers if exsposed."

I wouldn't be surprised. But that isn't the particular case with me. I am sure some who will contribute to the site will fit that mold, so I am not judging.

 “And, depending on what actually occurred in his counseling sessions, it's possible the counselor committed a bit of enabling in regards to that denial.”

 Actually, didn’t bring up the game. Just told him I had been neglecting my wife and real life issues. He offered me real advice on how to approach certain situations. That helped me change my view on life.

 So, I guess I am well on my way to the 400-page memoir. Thanks again for your input and notes. There is some great stuff in here. Feel free to come by the blog or email any thoughtful comments to the address there. If you have and tips or guidance or links to reports and research, please send it my way. 

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

I agree, anyone who has family issues needs an escape and for this man it was World of Warcraft. The problem was not him playing World of Warcraft the problem was playing it instead of facing his demons in real life.

I can understand his problem but now me and my beautiful model fiancée play World of Warcraft together and love it. Seeing the Depression as it is now in certain cities people getting laid off or not finding a job, I don’t want to totally escape to the World of Warcraft but you know we need an out every once in awhile well conserving and not spending a lot of money. It’s kind of a win, win at times as long as there is not a large excess when playing.

I got into a major car accident, in fact I almost died in May. Then when my car was completely wrecked the day I was supposed to go back to work a division of Allstate decided to outsource to India completely. So yeah, I am out of work and my fiancé was recently laid off right before me because of the economy.

We both agreed to take some time off of the game in May but overall we jumped back in but again not playing in excess. Overall though, I am happy at home my spouse keeps me smiling, though the out of work experience is effecting her for her not being working we rely on each other for support.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

The way I see it:

There is a big difference between "I was depressed because my life fell apart and to cope I receded into a videogame." and "I receded into a videogame and therefore my life fell apart and I became depressed.".

Saying WoW was the cause of his problems is like saying it's the child's fault when a pedophile molests them.

 

EDIT: I quite WoW about 4 days ago because I got bored with it. I was in a hardcore raiding guild running the high end content in the game. While getting to that point I completed a bachelor's degree and got a job in the industry I plan to have a career in. I'm 22. When someone get's depressed and their life falls apart, it's easy to blame the things they turn to for it happening (drugs, alcohol, videogames, sex, etc.) It's a lot tougher to recognize that life is full of stressors that sometimes and often include the people who are rejected by the person who is depressed (family, friends, coworkers) and that the best thing to do for that person is to help them deal with those stressors in a HEALTHY way as opposed to hiding from them using addictions.

WoW can be addicting, but it is a symptom of a greater problem, not the cause.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

No. It can work that way.  I've seen it with a member of my own family.  She ended up medically diagnosed with game addiction and under the care of a psychologist.  It took 10 years to get medically recognised.. she lost her entire life, had no job, no friends and is emotionally stunted from not relating to real human beings for so long.

It wasn't Wow *specifically* (in fact it started with FFXI) but it's a real condition and watching someone go through it is harrowing.  Gaming went from a fun time to an all absorbing and debilitating additction.

Personally I have to hold myself back when I hear some of the dismissive comments here.  Like telling the freinds of an alcoholic that it wasn't the fault of beer therefore the addiction doesn't exist.

 

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Assuming the game caused her inability to relate to other people is the exact problem I was pointing out. Playing a game doesn't take away social skills someone already has. Unless she was playing games from the time she was about 2-3 years old she developed those skills to some extent. Additionally online games like WoW are better then single player and offline games in that you actually do interact with other people.

It's possible your family member for some reason avoided leaving the home (things like OCD and agoraphobia which is actually extreme fear of panic attacks can cause this) or she just didn't want to socialize with the available people around her. There are tons of people who hate or fear their own families for various reasons and avoid them because of it.

Blaming the game is just an easy way of telling yourself that it's not her or anyone other PERSON'S fault. When it comes right down to it someone shutting themselves in on a game has more to do with their own mental health and the influence of those around them in Real Life then it does with the game.

 

EDIT: And as I said in my post, that doesn't mean that the game is any less of an addiction for that person. It just means it's not the root cause.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Kinda reminds me of a few years back, when school got to be too much of a contributer of stress for me. I guess most people thought me addicted to gaming at that time, there was rarely a moment of free time I didn't spend on UT2k4 to relieve the stress.

I was not addicted though. If I was, it was to the need to forget and ignore what issues were present in my life at that time.

So I can kinda empathize with this guy, but at the same time... I kinda want to call bs to him claiming he was addicted. Yeah, it helps to crawl into a bottle or whatever, and sometimes it gets tough to stop. But you can stop. It's only an addiction if the body rewrites itself to think it needs something to work properly. And I am pretty darn sure that only occurs with substances you injest/absorb.

Now that would be the end of this comment, but I just remembered that mental addictions are not quite the same as physical addictions, a mental addiction is mostly made an addiction by the neural entanglement housed within the skull known as the brain, and occurs when certain neural loops are formed and used so often they are almost permanent, just like memories or reflexes. So that just throws away my theory/statement of addictions to specific forms of entertainment not based on substances being nonexistent right out the window.

But then the mention of stress? Sounds just like a parallel version of my stressed out phase, where you game to forget or ignore. I am pretty darn sure that's not an addiction, else stopping would not easily be possible, even after the stress was gone. For gaming was a formed response in my case to my stress, which I believe became a neural loop that only engaged during that period. Part of what engages a neural loop is the proper environment, resulting in the proper chemicals flowing to allow that loop to engage. If stress is what caused it, removal of the stress should cease the flow of chemicals, resulting in the loop not being activated until the stress is reintroduced. Likewise, if hunger caused it, removal of hunger would end it. It's a simple reaction function that the brain sets up for various scenerios...

Methinks I am confusing myself with biology and what to think over this... I shall now play some Guild Wars.

 

This is a signature. Isn't it pretty?

This is a signature. Isn't it pretty?

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

I know that I had suffered a mild cause of depression a few years back, it was because of family issues and issues that were caused at college a few years back.

Videogames helped me allot to forget about things in my real life, but I still did all the things in real life like trying to find a job, look after myself. Eat healthy.

 

The thing that depression does to you sometimes I think (and I only think this is what happenes) is that you feel like you want to forget the world and it's problems because everything else in your life seems overblown to you.

 

You feel like the world is against you, and you feel like you should not care because the world does not care.

 

It is that sort of attitude that really gets under your skin and that is what makes you become isolated from your friends and family.

 

With me, I still kept trying to talk to my friends and family, my family did not understand me but a few of my friends did especilly online friends.

 

Of course listening to the older generation talk about online friends are not your real friends, and it is hard not to feel a bit angry, so instead of feeling angry I just looked at their view in a different angle thinking that they perhaps don't really understand that online friends are like your real friends but just online people, because you do meet some real nasty people both in real life and also online.

 

At the same time, you still need to look after yourself in real life, and also be happy for who you are and the body that you have.

 

Well that is what I went though, even though my mild depression was not as bad as other people, it did really hit me hard when I took everything to heart all too often.

 

 

TBoneTony

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Dear Game Politics,

Could you find out if the American Medical Assocation, or the American Psychology Assocation, have any definative information regarding 'Gaming' or 'Computer Gaming', as a diagnosed condition with physical, mental, or emotional traits/synptoms?

Thanks GP.

I used to have a 'layman's' term and understanding of what depression was and wasnt.  I was wrong.  I had to go through depression to know exactly what it is and isnt.  From my self-education on depression (I hold a BS degree in Management, which is 1/2 psychology), I found that gaming or computer gaming addiction is not an actual diagnosis as of yet.  It has been debated, but that is the healthy aspect of science.  To figure out what th data says, and whether this falls in to an addiction or not.

For this individual, it sounds like he behaved rather human-ily to a tradegy.  But to say, that applies to EVERYONE who plays WoW, War, DaoC, or any other MMO's out there, is unscientific.  While he is welcome to his own belief and thoughts on the issue, I can only see this being used as fodder for the Jack Thompson crowd.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

How much cost WOW suscription in the US? I have a demo copy but I haven´t used it. I would like to play WOW someday, but I think that game was the designed to be "the only game you´ll be playing for the rest of your life".

 

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

 Its about 15 dollars a month.

I also wouldn't call it the game to end all games its fun but frankly nothing beats a single person game where I get to be the main hero who saves the day instead of the heal bot in a 40 man raid that kills a mob that every other guild has killed for the 200th time.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Don't forget hoping to get some of those phatloots!

 

On the brightside, at least 40 mans are a thing of the past (and old world 40s mans are doable now with ten people or less), at least for the time being...

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

If he FEELS that his experiences with WoW were the cause of his other conditions and that, by eliminating WoW from his life, he's better, good for him.

The unfortunate fact is, though, that's he's in denial.  And, depending on what actually occured in his counseling sessions, it's possible the counselor committed a bit of enabling in regards to that denial.

He stated that he already had problems prior to his "addiction".  Clearly, from just reading his comments, he used WoW as an escape from those problems.  And because he, at the time, felt that WoW successfully got him away from some problems, that it would take him away from other problems.

Does this actually sound familiar?

Hiding in a bottle of alcohol.

Hiding in zoned out life of drugs.

Hiding behind religious zeal to explain away everything.

Hiding in a basement performing various hobbies (playing with electronics, working with tools, working on cars, etc.).

One can use nearly ANYTHING to bury one's self from the rest of the world and its problems.

His claim that the game had zero real world value may have been true in his case.  But true ONLY in his case, as an individual.  Putting aside the things you hide behind gives you the opportunity to face your problems.  But claiming that what you hid behind was the problem is still denial.

The sand you stick your head in isn't to blame for the problems you refuse to face.  It's just what you chose to hide in from your problems.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Yeah its called Escapism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism

This is another BS Im addicted to games crap so people feel sorry for the guy.  He had real world issues and instead of dealing with those issues he used Escapism to guess what Escape.  What is sad is his counsoler instead of making him deal with that enabled him to blame games instead; because you know it was the real problem not all the stuff that made him want to Escape.

I'm glad he is doing better but I would suspect if he hasn't dealt with the real issue its only a matter of time before you see him on another site saying I was addicted to books but then I put them down and now Im better.

 

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

zero real life benefits?  people don't play mmo's for real life benefits (except for gold farmers in china).  people play games as a hobby.  even when people collect comic books, they're doing it cause it's FUN and they like it, and not for the off chance that it might be worth something several years down the line.  what about going to the movies? or the library?  There's no tangible real life benefits to watching Transformers, or reading The Wheel of Time (never cite harry potter for a fantasy series! it's a world of magic that can't even fix eyesight so people don't need glasses. its magic is weaker than LASERS)

How many leisure activities must be dismissed as not having real life benefits?

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

 LOL its magic is weaker than Lasers.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

I still don't quite understand how wow becomes crack like this for some people.

hell after about a month of playing, i get sick of it and don't touch it for a while.  the last week has basically been spent logging on to sell crap and chat with my guild, and to  keep myself busy while chatting with my friend, and none of my other games allow chatting at the same time.

 

although he said he was in a time of depression, i can understand why that wouldn't help, but in that case, WoW addiction was an effect, not a cause.  after all, whenever my dad was an idiot and drank when i was little, i'd just bury myself in my games.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Some people have a prediliction towards becoming hooked on addicting substances and behaviors like alcohol, gambling, video games. People who get addicted to video games like WoW basically have brains that are re-wired to receive pleasure from video games and video games alone... to the point where they lose interest in sex, friends, life... it's sad to see.

Pera - http://www.wowaholics.org

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

It's not WoW. Every MMO has these types of players. This issue has been around long before WoW.

There was a support group called Everquest Widows long before WoW was even thought of. And before that, there were people who played Ultima Online obsessively. Before that, there were people who played MUDs for hours or days at a time.

Personally, I don't even like WoW.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

The game is not addicting.

Pathological gamers tend to have "addictive personalities" or some other psychological condition.

I would wager that pathological gamers would also tend to be pathological gamblers if exsposed.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

I used to get 'deeply' into games like Oblivion, sometimes staying up to 3am-4am playing it, but I never really considered myself addicted, I just didn't have anything better to do at the time, I was unemployed, there were no real job prospects on the horizon, and I was suffering from anxiety.

I think the important factors in my playing of Oblivion to 4am are far more likely to be the unemployment, the poor job market and the anxiety than the game itself.

There's a difference between being pulled into a distraction and choosing to leap into it, one is addiction, the other is simply trying to escape real life, you are choosing to go into another world and avoid this one.

 

However, that said, congrats to him for pulling himself out of the hole and carrying on, as someone who did the same thing (I went out and got a degree and changed to a different career path), I can appreciate how much of a struggle it can be to do.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

My deression "crack" from a few years ago was Bejeweled for hours upon hours.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

There is a great deal about that site that makes my arse twitch, it makes me think it was written by someone with only a vague idea of what's actually involved in playing Warcraft.

I would imagine a site like this could help some people, but this just comes across as hollow and wrong.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Can we not get articles from Exgamer?  That guys a moron, arguing with emotion and barely any semblance of fact.  Kinda like Jacko, really.  Everytime I go look at his site, I'm reminded of what a load of crap it is.  Seriously, I've read more supported information on the back of a Chipotle Fountain Drink Cup.

Slurp...

When your insight on gaming addiction issues is sought by media outlets, law enforcement, parents and NGO's, please start throwing your intellectual weight around. Until then, keep slurping that soda, Austin.

-Brad, ExGamer.net

Re: Slurp...

Hey, if I felt like being a media whore by claiming to have a fake disease, I could probably get idiots in the media, idiots from law enforcement, idiotic parents, AND NGO's to care.  Hell, I could do something on D&D, or maybe Goth Rock.  Hell, I could even take a page out of your's and Jack Thompson's books, and be a complete media whore!

Hell, why don't we just pretend that I have MPD to the point where I have a few hundred different personalities!  Why, I could start a blog about how gaming made it happen, and idiots would take me seriously!  Hey, sound like anyone?

Or I could, you know, contribute in a way wherein I keep up my good level of income, work with government and law enforcement, and continue to write my research, as well as doing it.

As it is, I guess Law Enforcement will just continue to listen to what I have to say because, you know, I excel at what I do. 

Also, suggesting you're an intellectual is more than a stretch.  Hell, I'll bet the vast majority of gamers are more intellectual than you.  Know how?  They A) have the ability to turn off the game and B) the intelligence to not blame the game, instead looking within.  Any candyass can blame something they have no control over; it takes a lot of cajones to admit you caused your problems.

EDIT**** about 20 minutes after original post

You know, after thinking about it, I have a question; what the fuck could you tell law enforcement?  How about parents?  As for the media, they love sensationalist pricks, and that's no doubt the reason they love you.  As for NGO's, hell, anyone can find an NGO that'll listen. 

You know what you could do that would be useful?  Tell people they need to be responsible parents.  I doubt you're doing anything but wasting the LEO's time, the parent's time, and everyone's time everytime  you get picked up by some media outlet needing a new scare to harp on (or rather, an old scare to continue to harp on, I suppose).

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Not sure why he thinks he can't play at all now that the real problem is dealt with.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

It helps many people to avoid activities or situations that could remind them of their previous illness. So he may just want to avoid it as it would make him recall how he felt during that time.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Because he had a bad habit that may still exsist independently of the depression.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

I looks like by just reading the description here that the WoW addiction was a symptom of the depression caused by family issues.

Glad to see he got help for the real problem and not the made up one that is game addiction.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

It's painfully obvious from the first paragraph of GPs summary that his "addiction" had everything to do with family and personal problems. It wasn't that WoW was that good, or that he had an addictive personality. He was just weak at the time and he needed something to keep the bad thoughts away.

WoW didn't nearly destroy his life, he did. I'm happy to hear that this guy finally sucked it up and dealt with the problem, but at the same time, I'm disappointed that he still seems to regard WoW as one of his symptoms.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Agreed. A classic case of drepression driving a person to bury themselves in some distraction, even if the distraction itself is not addictive. Some bury themselves in their job, others turn to alcohol. This guy went for WoW. I know what depression is like; I hid in the library, away from human contact. It's that reclusiveness that's addictive, not the hobby.

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

On a side note, It really bugs me when the primary content of a site is white text on black background. It really messes up my focus when switching to other sites.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

It's a lot easier for some of us to read. With a white background, my eyes have trouble finding the next line and I often end up reading the same line twice. If only they made glasses that inverted light, then I might be able to finish a print book or newspaper without getting frustrated.

I love my InvertColors firefox extension, as might you for a similar reason. It doesn't auto-sense whether to turn on or not, but it can at least be set by site. It also has the option to keep the hue while inverting so the colors don't get all wonky.

(edit: looks like it just won't work right on those dark blogspot sites... ignore the suggestion)

Re: Former WoW Player Details His Game Addiction in New Blog

Seriously.  Of course, if he hadn't, he could go on to write his own blog about how gaming addiction is a disease all its own.  He could call it something like... exgamer.net... crazy.

Glad he was able to figure out the REAL problem though, good for him.

 
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