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Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction Paperback – May 10, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1st edition (May 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757313620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757313622
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Van Cleave is out to settle old scores, set the record straight, and share highlights from an 80-hour-a-week addiction to the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft. With confidence verging at times on arrogance ("If you figure out how to make a girl or two howl -- I mean, like biblical noise -- word gets around"), Van Cleave shares the highlights of his early life. Despite an already-formed addiction, he was a "gifted classical guitar major" in college, and wrote a fantasy novel that could have, he has no doubt, been huge. Top-notch agents were calling, but a computer meltdown left everyone empty handed. "Like the... novel that Ernest Hemingway left in a suitcase that was stolen from his wife in Paris in 1922, my epic fantasy would never know an audience." Van Cleave returns often to two main themes: his adoption as a child (which still causes him great pain) and the failure of the world to embrace unique individuals like him. He finds fault with everyone, including himself, but stops short of real insight, and his interviews with other addicts likely won't satisfy readers seeking actual support.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"[Unplugged] reads like a thriller novel . . ." --Sacramento Book Review

"Unplugged is an important warning about the treacherous nature of any kind of addiction and about the possibilities of self destruction that are inherent when one is absent from one's own life."
--Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple

"Video game addiction is a real and growing problem  . . .  I'm glad Ryan Van Cleave has been willing to tell his story and hope it helps many young men avoid similar patterns."
--Kurt Bruner, co-author of Playstation Nation

"The uncommon insights and personal insights make for a great read!"
--Dr. Darcia Narvaez, University of Notre Dame

More About the Author

Ryan detests long walks on the beach.
He enjoys napping with a small dog dozing in the crook of his arm.
And he squeezes toothpaste from the top of the tube. Always.

**For those who prefer the more nuts and bolts info**
He's the author or co-author of 20 books.
He's got a Ph.D. from one of those big Southern schools.
He also teaches writing to a bunch of super-talented young artists at The Ringling College of Art and Design.
And he's a frequent speaker at schools, businesses, and community centers on issues of the digital age, publishing/writing, and creativity.

For more on Ryan's idiosyncrasies or to just contact the author for any reason, use the CONTACT form at www.ryangvancleave.com

Customer Reviews

I feel like I really know (and like) this guy now.
Amazon Customer
The lack of details into his video game time-sink does not parallel the alarmingly dark nature of his sexual encounters, sexual abuse, and binge drinking.
Beaucoup
It seems that the author's true problem is being unable to distinguish between fiction and reality.
RedWolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Beaucoup on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
The second half of the book deals with Van Cleave's journey out of his addiction from World of Warcraft (WoW) and has some honest self-reflection regarding the fall-out from gaming. The first half of the book (Ch. 2-7) however is not at all what I expected as a journey into the dark world of _video game_ addiction. Rather, it includes some grave tales concerning his childhood, many unfortunate misfortunes & misadventures, and a lot of details of his addictions while in college including with sex & booze with a much lesser emphasis on video gaming and gambling. The lack of details into his video game time-sink does not parallel the alarmingly dark nature of his sexual encounters, sexual abuse, and binge drinking. And the chapter about his time as a teacher at Clemson leaves me thinking he was a caring teacher who connected with & saved depressed students and the reason he lost his job was because he saw "Administrator Sally" cheating with a woman on her husband. He writes, "This was the beginning of the end of my days at Clemson" (p. 126). Perhaps these chapters are the side of Van Cleave that is looking everywhere outside of himself for the reason for his addictions or anything but video gaming as the cause of his problems--and therein lies the rub!

There seems to be a journey into a dark world definitely, but it seems to me to be into the dark world of an addictive person(ality) struggling to come clean and be truthful about anything and everything that matters to him. Perhaps this is more the journey _out of_ the dark world he has found himself caught in.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Doan on August 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a society that struggles with accepting "video game & technology addiction" as being real because this is a new type of addiction, I commend Ryan Van Cleave for sharing his addiction and writing this book. The book spends a significant time discussing Van Cleave's struggles with other addictions: sex and alcohol, and then leads into his addiction to World of Warcraft. As a recovering addict myself, I know that addicts will trade one addiction for another. Regardless of whether the addiction is sex, drugs, alcohol, or video games, these addictive behaviors stimulate the brain's dopamine reward pathways, essentially becoming an anti-depressant people become addicted to.

I discovered Unplugged while doing research on video game addiction and found the book helpful as it gave me insight into the mind of the addict and how the addict thinks. Thank you for sharing your story in this book.

Andrew Doan, MD, PhD
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Catholic Mom on March 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have a video game addict for a son, actually two. So I bought this and other books to help understand. I really appreciated that the author showed me the draw of this type of game, and I had no idea it could be so terribly addictive. I wondered throughout, though, if he had exaggerated, and reading some of the reviews here, I still have those doubts. However, it did offer a gateway of understanding, and so I still have to recommend it, especially if you have a loved one who is involved in WOrld of Warcraft.
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By jodi on December 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
I finished your book last night. Your life has been full of such an array of good and bad, right and wrong. It’s fascinating. I identify with you through all of your feelings expressed so vividly in the book about love, loss, abandonment, sexual abuse, friendship, family and addiction. Thank you for your candidness, it’s very brave, much braver than keeping it to yourself! It did not make me dislike you as you suggested, just the opposite. The book left me wanting to know more, I hope there’s a sequel! You are a miracle. Recovery is a miracle. My wish for you is that you continue on your journey of recovery and self discovery. You have alot to offer others who have experiences such as yours and by sharing these things it helps to remove the stigma associated with such.
Thank you Ryan, Best wishes to you and yours. I hope you get a puppy for christmas! ;)
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Holland on June 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If there were ever a time for a book like this, it's now. This book helps to understand how people affected by video game and electronic addiction behave - so that those affected by this can recognize how to help.

Normally, self-help books are a snooze - and really, this is a self-help book. But the fact that it's an expertly written memior keeps it interesting and engaging. I can only imagine the people that this book can help.

It's sad that some will choose to see this addiction as less legitimate because it doesn't introduce chemically addictive drugs into your metabolic system. In fact - I think it's worse. Essentially, your body is hooked on itself.

I know many people who need to read this book.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I started this book and couldn't put it down until my eyelids got to heavy late in the wee hours. I woke up the next morning, ate breakfast and continuing my fascinating journey through this book until I came to the end. Van Cleave shows the most up to date and investigative research I have ever seen. He has definately done all of his homework. His writing is so thoroughly open and honest. He is also so descriptive that at times I felt uncomfortable like I was invading his privacy. His words flowed in a way resulted in my visualization of everything as I read. This is something that only a PHD in Literature with unbelivable writing talent could pull off. I was mesmerized yet educated at the same time. I feel like I really know (and like) this guy now. I feel like I totally understand the exteme draw a video game has on so many. No one is immune.

I do warn about a few graphic discriptions that may make some women feel uncomfortable in the beginning of his book, but I definately do not discourage buying this book in any way. It is well-researched, includes interviews with addicted gamers, game-creators, people that say they balance their gaming with a full life and people that love gamers. There are also several pages at the end of the book with great web-sites that you can't always find by googling on your own.

All of you gamers, psychology majors, doctors, teachers out there that don't believe that video games are addictive, read this book first. Then come to your own conclusion.

I highly recommend this book. It has changed my perspective forever and helped me and those I love in a good way.
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