As someone who has cycled through several game addictions, I have mixed feelings about this video. Disclaimer: These opinions are based on personal experience and introspection throughout my life. I have very little knowledge in the field of psychology.
After listening to this video essay, I was left with the implication that video games are the cause and game addiction is the effect. I have personally never felt that a game has been responsible for my addiction.
I have obsessive compulsive tendencies and I'm attracted to immediate gratification. I'm stubborn and fairly introverted. I have interests in art, stories, music, puzzles, learning/development and friendly competition. Having started to play video games at a moderately young age, it's possible that games helped shape my personality into what it is today. However, I'm more inclined to think that with the multitude of other influences in my life, (parents, siblings, friends, teachers, school, sports, media, etc.) an interest in video games was an effect, not a cause.
TF2 introduced me to my first serious and destructive addiction. I was in my late teens and didn't accept or understand that I was addicted. I would spend 200 hours a month playing, and my school, work, and home life suffered. But if I could go back in time, armed with the self-awareness that I have now, would I stop myself from ever installing the game? No.
I would stop myself from playing when the fun was gone. That's literally the only thing I would change.
When I started playing I was having fun. I enjoyed learning and improving. I enjoyed winning and even losing friendly competition. I enjoyed the community. But eventually I stopped getting better. Eventually, losing became more frustrating than winning was enjoyable. Eventually, I started resenting the same people that I used to enjoy playing with and against.
I stopped having fun and it started being destructive because I was looking for something in the game that I wasn't getting anymore. I was completely oblivious though, and my illogical response was to play more.
The author of this essay mentions that if he didn't get hooked on games, his life would almost certainly be better. You could say that about pretty well anything in hindsight. I had friends who spent their early adulthood binge drinking and partying. Others spent their downtime watching 2-3 hours of TV a night. If any of those people went back as the mature adults that they are today, they might have made a better future for themselves. As for myself, I doubt much would have changed. I've never been a scholar and my first real job wasn't one that I'd take seriously even today. If I had better managed my video game indulgence, I probably would have spent more time watching youtube videos or pursuing my dead-end hobbies.
It's not as though we're all doomed now though. We've all spent our post-secondary lives in drastically different ways, making different mistakes and learning about the world and ourselves. The future is still out there to be had.
I still enjoy playing games frequently today, and I still play more than I should occasionally. Whether it's my competitiveness that draws me to play one more game, or the completionist in me that wants to get that 100% save file. Whether I'm pushing myself to outdo my own time in a speedrun, or simply trying to drive the plot of a story. Over the years I've come to know my demons, and I can usually catch myself faltering and correct the behavior before I ever start feeling bad about myself. I strongly believe that I'm wise enough not to fall victim to my own personality flaws again.
I know today that happiness is the most important thing to me, and I'll continue to allot some of my spare time to video games so long as they continue to bring me enjoyment.
TLDR: I appreciate the video for raising awareness - but I don't think that I would have given it any consideration when I was actually addicted. I feel like the presentation of his views could serve to worry parents, and would fall deaf on the ears of those actually at risk.
Depending on the circumstances, I feel the most impactful things I could have told myself are simply "are you even having fun?" or "was it worth it?".