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Games and Me: A Sad Love Story

Greetings all. I'm new here and this is my new throwaway account for this subreddit. I don't want my identity compromised. I'm still not even sure what's going on, but I feel a need to post.
I definitely have addiction problems in nearly every area of life; one could say that I become infatuated/obsessed with things that I'm interested in, very often to an unhealthy degree. Obsession began, strangely enough, with my mother, as I remember bursting through glass windows on a door to get to her in a temper tantrum at the age of four. The only emotion running through my mind at the time was sheer terror. She would leave me here alone?
I've always been told I was "smart", "talented", etc. Focusing on math, science, music, writing, etc came naturally to me, but when faced with an insurmountable problem I often just quit or ignored it. Keep this in mind, as I'll be referring to it later on.
Act I: The Beginning
One of my very earliest memories playing a game and enjoying it (well, no - more like having a complete inability to stop thinking about it, even when not playing) was The Legend of Zelda for NES. Those 8-bit sprites are burned into my brain so perfectly I may have visions of them on my deathbed. I was three when I first played it, and six or seven when I first beat the game. It was quite the landmark. I would go on to complete countless games in life; NES, SNES, N64, PSX, PS2, XBox, NGC, and Wii, for the most part, with PC Gaming as a staple throughout the entire spectrum. One might say I'm such a video game expert that I can't even be bothered to write reviews on a website and monetize this hobby.
The parents put time restrictions on my video game habits as a kid, as any good parent would, and I feel that this helped me stay afloat with my problem immensely. However, like any true addict, once I had Pokemon on my Gameboy, it didn't really matter, I'd just do double- or triple-time and they wouldn't notice. "Going outside to get some fresh air" was never more fun when you're busy lovingly leveling your OP Blastoise to 100 to whoop kids your age at the public library. sigh I did still play with sticks in the forest, but it would always devolve into some maniacal video-game-inspired imaginative storyline. I was most often alone, and had some issues understanding friendship.
As I got into 6th grade, I came across "true" RPGs when a friend let me borrow them. Final Fantasy 6 (III in US) and Chrono Trigger were the big ones. I've wanted to be a part of these stories for a very long time, and I spent hours and hours grinding every goddamn character in FF6 to level 99. Later on, this branched out into RTS games, like the WarCraft/StarCraft series and Red Alert, with almost everything in between.
Finally, I hit 9th grade. This is an important time in one's life. Basically, who you hang out with in HS determines your motivation in school, and that affects the classes you take, etc. Luckily, I was in marching band, which was my saving grace...because this was around the time Diablo II was released, which nearly ruined my life.
Act II: The Denial Years
Diablo II brought my grades lower than they've ever been and caused my parents and I to have screaming matches across the house. For me, a B+ was absolutely unheard of. It was the equivalent, in my mind, of an F. I don't get B grades. When the "sticker shock" of the report card came, I was flabbergasted. I tried to change by hanging out with a different lunch table and a different crowd in band - the FPS guys, rather than the RPG guys (lol, yes, I went to an extraordinarily cliquey school). This worked, for the most part. Unreal and Unreal Tournament/2004 were tremendously fun games that didn't drive me to play them when I didn't want to be playing, at least, and it gave me an excuse to hold LAN parties with the boys, which was quite enjoyable.
The grades went back up, but the motivation was still half-assed. I had a 3.8 GPA and was ranked ~50 out of 300. We had an experimental program where you could take "college" or "honors" courses to get a 4.25 GPA, so mine wasn't actually "that" good. There was an odd surge of extremely intelligent people in my class. Most of those ahead of me didn't play video games at all, however. I thought I was on top of the world, because I had the "best of both worlds" mentality. Little did I know, many of highbrow-sport "jocks" were often the ones with even higher grades and therefore even brighter futures.
When I got to college, I tried the WoW Beta and I instantly knew that it was designed purely as a "carrot dangling in front of the donkey" type of game. The monthly fee was the real reason for it, though. I wanted nothing to do with a company that put money in front of fun. Most of my friends played WoW; I basically played everything else, like Final Fantasy 10, Halo 2 and 3 (always with friends), CS: Source, Half Life 1/2, and more UT2k4. I convinced myself that I wasn't addicted, because I wasn't paying. Of course, I thought - addiction is only when you're stupid about it, right? I was still being stupid with my usage of time, though.
Act III: Closer to Home
The last few years of my life have been very rough. My girlfriend has stayed with me, though I've essentially been a jobless, purposeless, gaming loser. Over the last year or so I've had a helpdesk job in IT that pays around 40k, and I have a four-year B.A. in Computer Information Systems (programming and management, mostly), so it doesn't look too bad from here on out - I've managed to escape the public's perception of me as far as being an entertainment-focused hippy weirdo. That's probably because most people that work in this building are addicted to TV, or some other form of media, themselves.
None of this matters. What matters is today: now.
Today, I am nearly fanatical about my diet, and I've been working out for over a month consecutively (every other day, strength training and cardio), but have severe issues facing any moderate-or-higher amount of difficulty in dealing with problems in life unless I'm in a structured environment with competitive peers also interested in truth (read: academia). I know to to build websites and have some basic programming knowledge, but suffer from a habit of procrastination and decision paralysis from a desire of perfection (probably as a result of games, reinforced by some familial norms). I also meditate from time to time and took a Vipassana 10-day retreat which opened my eyes to the world of the self, and all of the demons my mind has crafted to prevent me from reaching my full potential. One of the biggest, last demons to go would have to be games.
I have three computers at home - a netbook, a fileserver, and my main gaming rig which I now use to mine for Bitcoins. It keeps me from playing games, actually, in fear of missing out on profit, haha - funny how those hoarding mechanisms in RPGs have now made me sort of addicted to money, too...
Most of all, I am interested in a (currently nonexistent) career in the "gamification" of school - that is, adding RPG-like hooks to the learning system to get children to be more interested in schoolwork. Is this a bad idea? I really, really don't think so. What has made all of these games so compelling to me? The fusion of entertainment with interaction. I believe, very strongly, that interactive learning is the next evolutionary stage of school. It is how some of us learn the most effectively. There would be less lost potential for everyone due to teachers that can't teach students that have special needs - "ADD/ADHD" or whatever the psychiatric community is labeling it these days to get kids on drugs. These kids just need more interaction in their learning, and they will then have the potential to kick life's ass.
Khan Academy is already employing these methods into their design, and I think what they have done so far is only the very, very beginning. I'm already "addicted" to Khan Academy's new badge and achievement system - but it's super-fun and healthy!
I'm still playing games, but I'm scared for Diablo III - several friends have expressed a very strong interest in it, and it's only about a month away now. Should I just quit games altogether? I have like $2000 into my Steam account, too, but my playtime per week is usually pretty low in the summertime. I'm just not sure if this is something I'm actually growing out of or if games have just generally gotten more mediocre overall. Otherwise, it could just be the wave of addiction passing for a bit before it comes back.
TLDR: I feel that games, or rather, my obsession with them, has obliterated my life's potential (scientific progress, for the most part) until now. I'm taking steps to correct it, but I'm still unsure if I'll ever be able to stop.
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