Gamer quits his degree after failing his exams due to playing League of Legends 14 HOURS a day.
A Kingston student became so addicted to a fantasy battle video game he dropped out of his engineering course.
The 22-year-old became so obsessed with the League of Legends game that he never went to lectures, fell behind with classwork and flunked his exams.
The student, who at times played the game for 14 hours a day, dumped all his other interests before finally deciding to leave Kingston over the summer after failing his second year.
“Learning and focusing on the game came at a cost,” he said.
“I lost all motivation for anything that I didn’t enjoy. Why would I study something that I had no interest in?
“Lectures fell to the wayside, I did the projects I needed to do but I honestly didn’t know a thing about my course by the end.
“I dropped out because I knew I would have to resit second year. I averaged 20-30 per cent in my exams.”
His addiction became so serious he would become violent if he lost a game, breaking computers and even hitting himself.
“I’ve always been a competitive person,” he said. “I’ve played sports for GB and won national championships, but I’ve always been chilled out. With esports it’s different. I become cut-throat competitive, and incredibly angry when I fail.
“I’ve broken expensive mice by throwing them at a wall, and three laptops have suffered at my hands.
“When I was frustrated at my own performance, I would even turn on myself.”
He would even become oblivious to his own family and lacked emotion.
“I would say the best example of my lack of involvement in the real world would be an esports semi-final weekend,” he said.
“As we were waiting in the loading screen I received a call – my grandad had just died.
“I thanked my mum for letting me know and put the phone down, grabbed my mouse and played.”
The student, who now works as a debt collector, became addicted to the video game five years ago.
“I played my first video game when I was 10, but nothing has ever captured me like League of Legends,” he said.
“I’ve played other games before and other games since but I’d always go back to it.” The goal is to destroy the enemy team’s base, and you compete in teams of five.
He said: “It would be a cliche to say I was instantly hooked.
“You don’t get hooked on heroin the first time you use it and League of Legends was the same.
“I played for a week or two, a couple of hours here and there and then my laptop died.”
However, things changed when he bought a new machine, meaning he could play League of Legends for as long as he wanted.
“My mind really exploded. After all that deprivation, I could play for hours, escape the stress of falling behind on my A-Levels and learn about this new game,” he said.
“Suddenly I had my six weeks of study leave, and it was time to claw back all of the time I had been slacking off my work.
“All of my friends buckled down and I thought, well, I’ve got six weeks. I’ll play a few days of League to start, and then I’ll work hard.
“The ‘few days’ grew into a week, the week into a month and the month into turning up to my exams and hoping for the best.
“I could list you off every league champion and describe their abilities and matchups, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you the sum of the forces acting on a race car driving along an angled road.”
He even deceived his mother about his gaming habit.
“I would leave text books lying around open, write a page of fake notes a day, and I’d scribble diagrams to take up more room,” he said.
“I failed every single A-level exam I took in my second year of sixth form.”
He secured a place at Kingston University in clearing, and managed to pass his foundation exams.
He also discovered esports, where video games are played competitively against rival teams and other universities.
“I had more people to hang out with, a girlfriend, and more importantly the National University Esports League,” he said.
“I skipped lectures to stay at home and play.”
His competitive nature and the excitement of playing in esport tournaments went hand in hand, and gaming tightened its grip on the struggling student.
Consequently, the addiction grew and grew, and it began to affect his mood significantly.
Successes and failures in the league were all that mattered, and ultimately determined his emotional state.
“Victories in league grew to be my happiness,” he said.
“If I had a losing streak, I would get a pit in my stomach.
“If I was disappointed by my performance, I would become bitter and foul.”
He said he continues to play but has calmed down since leaving Kingston.
“I have fun and I still love the game with a passion, but I don’t get as angry. I still want to be the best, but without the pressure of doing something I don’t want to do it’s a lot more relaxed.
“I have a lot more friends and a wonderful girlfriend who tells me when I’m being an idiot,” he said.
He wants a job in esports which he says “is truly where my passion lies”.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with a gaming addiction, contact a UK Addiction Treatment centre or call 0800 511 8111.