14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
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. I get from reading this book that he is still battling his addiction to WoW because he both says it and shows it in his writing by not really giving the kind of details he gave about other addictions he seems to have conquered (sex, & booze).
The book may be a very worthwhile for others battling any issue of addiction but I must admit that I would recommend it be taken with a grain of salt... that is some of the stories may or may not be true. Van Cleave himself agrees with his wife that he may be "manipulating his memories" with "what seem to be out and out lies" as a way of protecting himself (p. 192).
I thank Van Cleave for reminding me of Yoda's wisdom--"Do or do not, there is no try". I also think the appendices are a great asset to anyone battling the addiction to video games. Wherever the truth lies, I believe he is a talented individual who deserves the very best in his journey forward and out of the dark world of addictions into his place in the sun!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified 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
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2012
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.
on December 10, 2014
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! ;)
14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified 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.
12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2011
This book is yet another inappropriately targeted look at addiction, marketed towards fearful parents who worry about their kids because they let video games do more parenting than they do. The book paints a picture of a man with an obviously addictive personality who spent his time in college following other vices like alcohol and sex before moving to a much less harmful one in video games. If he hadn't discovered video games and become addicted to them, chances are this book would be titled "My Journey into the Dark World of Gambling/Alcohol/Drug/Sex Addiction". If there is any valuable information to be taken from this, its that the author's addiction to video games may have saved him from numerous other addictions that would have done a great deal more damage to his life and family.
As such, this book reads a lot more like an ex-addict looking to make excuses about why he acted the way he did, and marketing it to people who don't know enough about video games or addiction to know better. He even says in his own book that the truth of some of his stories may be questionable - which only supports the idea that this book is written from a flawed perspective. Do not be fooled; this is simply another ex-addict's cry for attention and money, and one that supports the misinformed view of video games as a 'dangerous substance'.
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
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.
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is for those of you who think you cannot be addicted to the internet. Good read; outlines the path from casual user to full blown addiction. It also shows how few treatment options are available for those who do want to recover. Gives us something to think about.
6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2010
One of the charges laid against video gaming is that its addictive nature can isolate susceptible players from developing or participating in relationships by substituting a virtual environment for the real world. "Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction" is the personal story of Ryan G. Van Cleave, a player in "World of Warcraft" video game who found that his addiction jeopardized his career as a college professor, his family life as a husband and father, and even his mental health and well-being. "Unplugged" is also the story of how video games have advanced in their technology -- and their grip upon their players. A fascinating read that is both informed and informative, "Unplugged" is highly recommended for both academic and community library collections -- and should be considered mandatory cautionary reading for anyone engaged in online video gaming.
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was a huge disappointment. I bought it to help my son. After reading the first chapter - a very emotional story about an attempted suicide, spurred by computer game addiction, I thought it would be helpful. It wasn't. The next 100 pages were about the author's drunken sexual escaped in college with a few references to playing computer games. I got disgusted with this and leafed through the rest of the book, reading a sentence here and there to see if it there was anything helpful. There wasn't. I threw the book in the trash.