ADD (or ADHD) has become as much a common phrase in the gaming community as AFK, LFG and BRB BIO. But the question that I have to ask is: Should it? If a gamer can sit there and play the same game for hours on end, does he/she really have a deficient attention span? I’ve seen a person diagnosed with ADHD wait around for over an hour while a 40 person raid group is organized and then successfully played through a 5+ hour raid with only minimal bathroom breaks and plenty of sugar running through their body. Now I’m no doctor, but I think that diagnosis may have been incorrect.
Don’t get me wrong. Some people do truly have ADHD and this is a serious problem. But just because you are boring, doesn’t mean the person you are talking to has ADHD. It’s just means you are boring. Right now I am playing roughly 7 different games: City of Heroes, Champions Online, NHL10, Dragon Quest VIII, Dead Space, GammaWorld (where I GM), and I’m currently writing a backstory for my next Pathfinder character for when we start back up. Oh and I’m currently planning a wedding, shopping around for a house, and work full time at a hospital. I do not play every single one of these games every day (Gammaworld is only once every two weeks), but if I get some free time late at night or early morning, it often becomes gaming time. My mother has claimed since I was a child that I have ADD, but she never had me tested. I am very thankful for this because I have seen the side effects of Ritalin and thanks, but I’m all set.
Now if you notice, most of these games are video games. I believe this is why gamers are often times told they have ADD. New games come out all the time, and let’s be serious, a lot of them don’t have a ton of content so can be finished in a day or two. Then it’s time for many to move on to a new game. This is not ADD; this is a byproduct of the instant gratification society that we live in. When the next installment for a gaming series is already in production when the previous one arrives at the stores, is it really a wonder that replay value has declined? I am one of the few that is happy still playing NHL10 because there really isn’t that much difference between that and 11 and 12, other than the names of the players, or what teams they are on. That to me isn’t worth $60, especially when trying to save for a wedding. $60 is food for approximately…. 3 whole people at the reception. Now this is not a new development in the gaming industry. Going all the way back to the 1980’s and the original NES, you can see the trend already developing. On September 1st, 1988, Nintendo released Super Mario Brothers 2 and then released Super Mario Brothers 3 on October 23rd, 1988. That’s less than two months! And companies wonder why, less than a quarter century later, gamers expect new games every time they turn around.
When I was a child, my mother told me that I could be “anything I wanted to be”; just like I’m sure many other people were told. I think I took this to heart a little too much. I currently have 34 different alts on City of Heroes, and only one max level character. There are just too many archetypes with too many primary powers and too many secondary powers and too many story arcs to do it all with one character. Because of this, it took me over 6 years to get my first, and only, level 50 character. With World of Warcraft, on the other hand, it took me a substantially smaller amount of time to hit max level (and then hit it again, and again, and again) mainly because there are far less choices. This is probably the reason that I still play CoH, and no longer play WoW.
So the next time you jump to the conclusion that someone has ADD, maybe you should hold off on the diagnosis until you get to know them a little better. Maybe they just want to experience everything that life has to offer. Maybe they want to try out new and different things. Maybe they aren’t that happy in life and want to escape to a world where they get to slay dragons or shoot Nazis. Maybe they just find you boring. Either way, the person you are talking to probably doesn’t even realize, or care, that you have labeled them, so why should you?