Read this Sentence Exactly Nine Times: Gaming and OCD

Illustration for article titled Read this Sentence Exactly Nine Times: Gaming and OCD

The Village Voice's Chris Ward sat down to play Lego Batman for a review this week, and this happened:

I was unable to complete a single level without trying to collect the hundreds of thousands of LEGO coins that appear when you break something. Note: everything is breakable. It’s the jingling noise the coins make. . .the way they zip through the air into Batman’s utility wallet. . .this simple, visceral thrill led to several uncontrollable hours of collecting shiny things. Current in-game progress as a result: 9.6%


I've made my armchair studies of OCD/neurotic gaming behavior before — I still want to erase my progress in Star Wars:STFU and start all over, even though I haven't beaten it. But Ward talks to some health professionals and notes a study from earlier this year that found a high rate of OCD in those who played classic 1980s arcade games. On the flipside, kids weaned in the 1990s Super Nintendo games based on TV shows, movies and athletes, exhibited less of a tendency. But now we seem to have swung back around.

Take the open-ended Grand Theft Auto series. Its vast landscape intimidates a need to control my environment. “My little brother has major OCD,” one online post reads. “I noticed while he's playing [GTA] that he can’t drive a car in the game if it has the smallest dent in it, he won’t even steal cars if he has to break the window to get into it.”


The Most OCD Video Games [Village Voice]

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I actually have the "busy man" approach to gaming, in which I'm more interested in progressing the story and seeing new environments rather than collecting every single item in the nooks and crannies of the level. I also want to see how the game accommodates for my recklessness should I miss an important item in hastily plowing through each level.