Stranger Things star David Harbour explains how The Sims saved him from World of Warcraft

midian182

Posts: 8,149   +96
Staff member
In brief: We're used to hearing about celebrities being casual fans of video games, but few of them are what you would describe as hardcore gamers. While he might no longer fall into that classification, Stranger Things actor David Harbour was once so obsessed with World of Warcraft that it "ruined his life" for a year. The only thing that saved him was another video game: The Sims.

Harbour and his Stranger Things co-stars were interviewed by Felicia Day on the Stranger Things Unlocked livestream, part of Netflix's Geeked Week. At around the 17-minute mark, Day mentions World of Warcraft, which brings a look of anguish to Harbour's face.

"Oh my god, the most embarrassing thing in my existence," Harbour says as Winona Ryder asks, "What is World of Warcraft?"

"In 2005 I played the shit out of this game!" Harbour continues. "It ruined my life for like a year. I mean, I was like out of my mind. I was wildly addicted to this video game. I was a Night Elf warrior called Norad, and he was second tank of my whole guild."

Day, the actress who founded Geek & Sundry and a former Critical Role host, asked if Harbour was a raider, which he confirmed.

The one-time Hellboy actor then explained how he broke away from the hold WoW had on him. Ironically, it was another classic game that helped.

"You could be an actor on the Sims. You can progress in your career, but what you have to do is, like, work on things. You have to work on your speech and on your body, right?" he said.

"I remember my avatar got to a certain level in his career, and I kept trying to get him to work on his speech. He was like a supporting player, but I wanted him to work on his speech and his body, and all he wanted to do was sit around and play video games. And then I was like, whoa who whoa whoa, I had this vortex moment where I saw my life before my eyes."

Ryder noted that "an actor playing that game could really mess with your head," to which Harbour responded, "that's what I did, and that's why my life was ruined."

Harbour, of course, saw his star rise in the following years and is well known today for playing Sherriff Jim Hopper in Stranger Things and Red Guardian in the Marvel Universe. It sounds as if his days of being a hardcore gamer are behind him, unlike his fellow actor, the PC-building, miniature-painting, Warhammer-loving Henry Cavill, who says he has played The Witcher 3 twice, the second time on the hardest difficulty, and completed Total War: Warhammer 2 six times as six different races.

h/t: PC Gamer

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yRaz

Posts: 4,618   +5,564
I don't understand how people get addicted to games. I play ESO and EvE, but I can only play them for a week or two before I get bored.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,958   +7,001
Having my own experience recovering from addiction, I have to say, Sorry, Mr. Harbour, but I have to ask you if you just replaced an addition to one game with an addiction to another? It is possible to be engage an addiction only very rarely and still be addicted.
 

Achaios

Posts: 389   +1,079
I play WoW Classic (just what "Sheriff Hopper" played, I bet he was raiding Molten Core and Blackwing Lair and Onyxia too) but not addicted to it by any stretch of imagination.

I also stop playing occasionally and unsub when it gets in the way of work.

The thing that gets me the most about WoW Classic is just how many men and women in the US Armed Forces have played it. You'll just never understand unless you work with them and pick off their references to WoW from their speech and see the WoW tributes painted on their military hardware.

 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 73   +74
I played WoW and quit because I didn't have enough time to invest in it to keep up with my friends. The raid and dungeon content was amazing, but it is too much of a time sink just to get to the good content. I don't really want to waste time farming for potions and gold so that I can play a game with my friends. Half the time it was fun and the other half it felt like work. It felt like I had a second job.
 

fadingfool

Posts: 269   +330
Having my own experience recovering from addiction, I have to say, Sorry, Mr. Harbour, but I have to ask you if you just replaced an addition to one game with an addiction to another? It is possible to be engage an addiction only very rarely and still be addicted.
Sims doesn't require the same level of interaction as WoW so I guess Mr. Harbour may now be a functional computer game addict (as are many of us) as opposed to a problem addict. I think though it was the realization that the difficulty he was experiencing with his sims was the same difficulty that others were having with him in real life - that helped shift his WoW addiction into the light of day.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 535   +683
I play WoW Classic (just what "Sheriff Hopper" played, I bet he was raiding Molten Core and Blackwing Lair and Onyxia too) but not addicted to it by any stretch of imagination.

I also stop playing occasionally and unsub when it gets in the way of work.

The thing that gets me the most about WoW Classic is just how many men and women in the US Armed Forces have played it. You'll just never understand unless you work with them and pick off their references to WoW from their speech and see the WoW tributes painted on their military hardware.

It was quite the experience back then. I too was highly addicted to WoW when it came out, and that really didn't end till about 6-8 months after BC came out. By that point I was maxed out again, and starting to get board. Fallout 3 is really what pulled me away.
 

Raytrace3D

Posts: 348   +424
I can truly say I suffer from game addiction. Nearly two years ago I was spending about 1600 a month on mobile and desktop gaming. I know it sounds completely insane, foolish and stupid (and trust me, I 100% agree.. IT IS), but I swear, I felt trapped and helpless and genuinely depressed (and suicidal) and looking for an escape. The need to constantly check on things, maintain a certain status or rank and literally work full time to manage groups and forums and discord channels for the sake of game kept me distracted, but also lonely and unsatisfied (the lack of sleep probably didn't help either). It sucked and it was extremely difficult for me to break the habit.

You might be asking, how could this happen? I can tell you from experience, for those of us who are prone to forming habits (doesn't matter what it is, drugs, alcohol, sex, or gaming), it's all about the how the brain works and the brain doesn't need a reason to become addicted, it just does. The best course (for me anyway), was to find others dealing with the same problem and work together to quit collectively. I found a few who I played with that would join me in quitting and it worked. No one in my family understood what issues I were dealing with or how truly difficult it was mentally to quit and I don't blame them, but for those who suffer from addiction, I feel you. Get help and find someone who will support you.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,880   +4,383
My WoW addiction was cured by WoW becoming absolute trash. I feel sorry for anyone invested in that game.
 
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Eldritch

Posts: 463   +769
I never played WOW in it's days of stardom because of addiction stories. Treated it like an Opioid and stayed away. Tried it in 2019. Laughed at myself and moved on.
 

Gezzer

Posts: 287   +145
As well I was, addicted to WoW? Yeah I guess when you play so much that you fall asleep at the keyboard while on a 5 man instance run, you're addicted. Thing was it fell off a cliff for me when I reached end game raiding. You had to be so regimented and focused on getting and keeping your character prepared for a weekly raid that it started feeling more like a job than a past time.

By BC I had stopped raiding and mostly played solo. The shine was even off that come the Pandaira expansion. I half heartily played a couple more expansions and finally when the epic weapon I worked so hard to level up was no longer relevant I just quit and haven't looked back. I don't even miss it. Still play video games, but I don't obsess about them like I used to, which is a good thing... I guess?
 

BobDoleStillAliv

Posts: 37   +61
Hi, I'm bob. And I'm an addict - (crowd)*HI BOB!*

I make light of it, but I have to say I was addicted to WoW. I played the OG release through wrath of lich king. I would wake up, sleep depriving myself so I had a chance to login to WoW and check the auction house and my crafting skill cooldowns. I'd go to work and think about WoW. On my lunch break I would go home and play WoW. Go back to work and think about WoW. Come home and do some grinding for gold, waiting for my hardcore guild to all come online. Then raid for 3-4 hours. And finally sleep deprive myself some more staying up playing WoW instead of going to bed

I was single and one day the loneliness got to me. I unsubscribed and uninstalled the evil game, and began some dating. Its been about 8-10 years since I played I think and I'm happily married and can't imagine playing the game like I was. I remember reading about support groups for married women who lost their husbands to WoW.

I look back at what I was doing and now can't understand who I was or what I was doing. I'm very glad I've changed, and I'm careful on what games I play now. So far nothing except maybe the recent diablo ii remakeh has sucked me in too deep, and I quit that last December '21