Why I Quit Video Games

By default, I’m pretty lazy. I’m easily pulled into the gravitational pull of the black hole that is inertia. It’s something I struggle with all the time. Now, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with playing video games, but for me, it’s an addictive pastime. I don’t have the discipline to play with limits like an hour a couple times a week. In fact, when I play a game, I want to be really skilled at it so, not only do I practice the game, I watch videos and read up on strategies on how to be better.

There were pockets of my life where I did nothing but play video games in my free time. It was fun at the time, but I couldn't remember any singular gaming experience from those eras. They all blend together into a single blank and empty space in my memory. In hindsight, I’m astonished at how many hours, weeks, even years I invested building skills that are difficult to translate outside the domain of a game. It wasn't that video games were in and of themselves bad, but they displaced the time I could've spent on other useful activities. What if I had spent even half of that time developing my writing or any of the dozen other hobbies I love doing. Or exercising!

Eventually I realized that gaming was an escape from having to think. Inside the game I felt a sense of peace, because all my external world problems disappeared and all I had to deal with was trying to win. Unfortunately, I realized I put off thinking about stuff that actually needed to be addressed and running away from it didn’t help matters at all. 

Also, I’m ashamed to admit it, but there’s another reason why I quit. 

Competitive games brought out some pretty ugly behaviors in me, even towards my friends. I found myself focusing on the wrong things. I would get so myopic on losing that not only was it not fun for me to play, I made it miserable to play with me. It’s a big red flag when I realize I don’t like myself when I’m doing an activity.

So I quit. 

The first day was actually kind of hard. But then the second was less so. By the third day, I didn’t think about it too much at all other than to berate myself for not stopping sooner. 

The funny thing is I’m a little scared to play video games these days. I fear the dopamine hit might trigger another vicious cycle of compulsive gaming.

For now, I’m diverting my attention to this. I’m still not sure exactly what this is, but I know it feels better than how I felt at the end of a gaming night. I experience the same sense of peace writing as I do gaming, but it's a little different. This sense of peace comes from confronting what I’m thinking instead of hiding from it. After years of neglect, trying to work through the mangled mess of thoughts is challenging but satisfying.

I still love gaming, but at the end of the day it's about feeling right about how I spend my time. As an older gamer, I probably spent 10-12 hours at most a week playing video games, but that's still significant considering I have a full-time job and a family. If you love gaming and none of my experience feels familiar to yours, then that's absolutely fine. If however, any of what I said is stuff you've thought about, maybe try a couple days without playing to see how it feels. You might be surprised at how much of your life opens up when you break free of that inertia.

Subscribe to the Visual I.D.E.A.s newsletter to get 4 of my favorite visuals every 2 weeks.

Visual I.D.E.A.s

Visual I.D.E.A.s

©2024 Milani Creative LLC. All Rights Reserved

©2024 Milani Creative LLC. All Rights Reserved