Hikikomori Ethnography ~the reason why I kept playing video games~

Would have killed myself without playing video games

I spent most of my teenage time thinking ‘today I have only played video games for eight hours’ or ‘I would limit the playtime to six hours.’
Longer than 20,000 hours was consumed in video games; the adolescence that should have been very precious to me.
I have not been to school since I was about seven. Because my parents both had jobs outside, I was able to occupy the area in front of the TV at daytime. For some time, reading books illustrated my life, but majority of time was invested on solo-play video games such as Nintendo or Sony.
I did not do any sportive, music nor artistic activities. I did not do a part time job either. I also stayed away from studying for entering college.

However, I have feeling of strong regret on the time spent on video games. It makes me feel as if that they are the principals to have stolen my teenage years.
Even though, I still think that they saved me from getting insane by complicated reality and having committed suicide.
Thus the video games are valuable in giving me the years of my twenties even though they made me to lose teenage time.

Quick effect of video games is the charm

In the period that ‘I’ have spent years at home, there was the still living room to await in the afternoon.
After I finish washing my face, changing clothes, having food or going to the bathroom, after all those fundamental minute businesses, I will be thrown into ‘time’ when there are no limits.
I would not be free; I would be overwhelmed by headache pressure such as ‘you have to study hard,’ ‘you have to do some job,’ whenever the days with no schedule start.
Over the years I was covered by it and I was almost gone crazy. Only defense I had against it was to play video games.
I used to set game software as if it would tranquilize me. Games start. Within a minute you would be in a battle if it is a RPG game; flags would be put up if it is a racing game.
Video games have faster speed than any other hobby or culture in terms of reaching the peak of amusement. Movies, books, sports, arts, outdoor activities or human interactions, etc. are too slow to provide sufficient interest. Plus, they depend on spontaneous will of players/readers, etc. Video games reach the climax instantly and they can repeat it time after time.
There is nothing interesting to you there when you have spent years in the same room. There is nothing to acknowledge, and the vision would be colorless. Nonetheless, video games can still stimulate you with flaming colors because they keep potential to give you new and ever changing excitement.
In addition, they can bring me away from mental struggle of ‘you have to …..’ by easing my pain.
Therefore I spend more than ten hours of a brand new day by making it as small as the TV screen filled with explosions and magic.
This is how I spent every day.

The world is created for ‘me,’ the main player if it is an ordinary RPG game, no matter how many people (i.e. characters) are set there, everything is created for ‘me’ only. All the other characters, strength of enemies or kinds of items I get, exist only for ‘me.’
Events occur with 100% chance. ‘I’ will be involved in it, but I can always resolve them no matter how they are serious. I am immortal because I can be resurrected instantly. After happy ending I will not be unhappy ever again.
…the world there seems as if it was a utopia for a human.
But reality is not like that.

The utopia is a reverse reflection of my reality. I have been taught that not everything in the world exists only for me and I know it does not need anything from me.
Stories in the real world tend to come to bad ends where no full-curing magic works on me.
When I stopped going to school at seven, my parents and teachers, who had been almost over protectively nice to me, have turned to my ‘enemies’ as if they turn down every relationships with me.
This has become my trauma, and I do not believe in anyone who seem trustworthy nor organizations everyone could rely on.
We have learned from the Tohoku Earthquake incident in 2011 that even the ground we stand on cannot be 100% reliable. Likely, there is no 100% chance that we will have ordinary new day.
My own experience as a minority in educational system has become proof that there is no absolute parent nor national system; they can easily be broken down if they lose sight of the bottom line which is not to take it for granted that I go to school.

The reality is more complicated than any open worlds in video games and there are no weapons or items that can change situations dramatically.
By terms of video games, my level would be the lowest in this real world. I could not cope even with a weakest enemy; I stand still without knowing how to bring an end to it.

I keep playing video games, in order not to face the fact that I did not really need to be here……….

Original Sentences by Yashin Kikui
Translated by Yukinori Maehara