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

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.