Addicted to gaming

Local News

   Seems like just about everybody plays video games.  But the billion dollar industry may also be making some players sick, or worse.   A Rochester man suffered serious consequences from his tech-connected life,  “Before you know it you’re streaming 8 to 10 hours a day,” says Joe Marino. “You’re not getting up and leaving your desk so as not to lose your viewers.”
     Playing video games was Marino’s life and livelihood.  Marino was known on-line as “Geekdomo” and had more than 40,000 followers on the gaming platform Twitch.  He’d play all day, then devote another 6 to 7 hours on social media.  This past February, his friend, a popular player named Brian Vignault, was nearing the end of a 24-hour streaming marathon.   He got up for a smoke and was later found dead.
     Marino went to his own doctor for a checkup.  “I had 100% blockage on the backside of my heart and 75% blockage on three arteries at the top of your heart called the widowmaker,” he said. 
     The crisis was Marino’s wake-up call.  The gaming wasn’t killing him.  It was the sedentary lifestyle.  Research has linked prolonged sitting with obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other significant problems.  At Westfall Associates in Brighton, therapists like Rick Briggs treat people with drug and alcohol problems.  But it’s not unusual for them to encounter clients who can’t seem to quit tech.  “Isolating, less engaged with family, they become very angry and irritable if they’re separated from their computer devices or their game,” Briggs says.  “The damage to their relationships is often very significant, very intense.”
       After surgery, Marino went back to streaming his games.  But over time, his recovery demanded less time on line and more time exercising.  “Your health is the number one thing,” he says.  “If you’re dead, you can’t stream anymore!  There is no ‘one-up.'”  
       Now, he walks all the time and is in much better shape.  He also has a new career as a photographer.  His advice for gamers?  Take breaks, stand up and move around.  Marino admits he wasn’t the picture of perfect health *before* he got into gaming, so it’s likely his medical crisis was made worse afterward.  He and other tech experts say gaming can be a great outlet. but players need to be self-aware, and show restraint when their health calls for it.   Gaming may not be dangerous, but there’s risk in how you play.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Covid-19 County by County tracker

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss