Bad Gaming Habits
I have a friend who likes to brag about how good he is at video games. At the same time, they are constantly broke, have a hard time holding a job, and don’t follow through on their hobbies and passions. What should be a fun activity is ruling their life due to a lack of moderation.
As a gamer, his gaming ability is very interesting. We have a great time playing competitive games together. On the other hand, my friend’s gaming abilities are drastically undermined by their low quality of life.
When we aren’t living to our full potential in real life our digital accomplishments don’t really stand for much. My friend isn’t alone in this as I used to have the same problem. My bad gaming habits were having a negative impact on my life.
Who doesn’t love a good Minecraft session? I know I do. Being able to make anything my mind can conjure is truly amazing. I have spent many hours working on building the perfect castle or making pixel art statues.
This all led to countless hours of fun, but I began having pangs of guilt. Sure, I have a save file on my computer with a giant skeleton fortress. Was this the best use of my creative energy?
I got to a point where I began thinking of everything I could have accomplished. My skeleton castle could have been a painting. My pixel statues could have been a novel. I decided it was time to cut back on consuming other people’s art in order to create my own. I was going to start using my creative energy for myself instead of giving it to my favorite video game companies.
Once I made this decision I went back to my friend to tell them my plan. I received a lecture about how meaningful video games were to them and how they do not feel it is a waste of time.
In my defense, I never said that gaming was a waste of time. I merely stated that I thought our gaming to life balance was out of wack, especially when it came to creative output.
My life has drastically changed in the last five years. Sadly, my friend’s life hasn’t. While they were getting their KDR up in Call of Duty I began working for a local comic book podcast.
As their Skyrim character hit new highs, I joined a band. Their Hearthstone deck is the best I have ever seen. Mine is lacking because I was busy making this very website.
I still play games. That part of me will never change. However, I have changed my gaming habits to better fit the lifestyle I would like to live.
Sometimes sound/voice chat is not crucially important to gameplay. For example, the sound effects and background music in a puzzle game are not as important as listening for footsteps in a first-person shooter. I use these times to catch up on podcasts or listen to audiobooks.
My friends argue with me, saying that playing video games on mute drastically lowers the quality of the experience. I agree to a certain extent. However, I have found that the knowledge I have gained from listening to podcasts makes up for not having game sounds and music. This is a great way to learn about our hobbies and passions without cutting back on game time. It is all about balance.
Games With Low Time Commitment
It is important to pick games that will be fulfilling in the amount of time we allow ourselves to play. Once I decided to change my gaming habits I found myself playing games where I could accomplish something important in the little time I had to play.
I started seeing a lot more roguelikes, MOBAs, and FPS games in my rotation. These games let me reach goals without a large time investment. Sure, I can’t spend hours each week MMO raiding, but I am able to focus more on creative output.
Don’t get me wrong, I still play Fallout, Dark Souls, and other games that require a lot of time investment. I make sure that I am scheduling time to play these games. When my time is up, I get up and do my next activity.
There are times in our lives where we naturally don’t have much to do and aren’t in the situation to work on our passions. We often find ourselves in waiting rooms, lines, and the passenger seat of a car. These are times where mobile and handheld gaming can help provide gaming fulfillment during downtime.
We should be aware of our downtime and act upon this awareness. If the rest of our time is scheduled or on a routine, downtime should come at constant intervals. Don’t look at this as breaks or boring periods.
Regularly occurring downtime offers a great opportunity to work on projects that are sitting on the back burner. It can be tempting to spend this time gaming on our phones, but our time could most likely be spent on a more fulfilling activity.
Friends and Family Come First
One downside to playing a lot of video games, and bad gaming habits, is the damage it can have on your social life. Going out with friends and spending time with family is difficult when you are thirty hours deep into a one hundred-hour game. This is especially true for those who play MMOs.
In my early 20s, I used gaming as a way to avoid dealing with my social anxiety. I would make up excuses to not go out with friends, then fill the spare time alone with my video games. It wasn’t until I realized what was happening that I decided to take action.
My strategy for rebuilding my social life was simple. I would say yes to anyone who wanted to hang out. I wouldn’t contemplate it, or negotiate plans. I would just say yes. Not only did this help with my gaming habits, it also helped me overcome some of my social anxiety.
Buying Games on Sale
Gaming is an expensive habit, especially if you are into AAA games and the newest gear. Shelling out $60 per title can have a drastic impact on your finances. This doesn’t even take into account DLC, memberships and micro-transactions.
I changed my bad gaming habits by only buying games that are on sale. As an indie gamer, this was pretty easy for me. There are always great indie games on sale. Buying games that are on sale helped me save money to put toward my creative projects.
Make Gaming A Low Priority
Another side effect of my bad gaming habits was my ability to put gaming over my responsibilities. This included school work, my social life, finances, and life goals. I was progressing my RPG characters, but not my life.
Like most people, I only have a certain amount of mental energy each day. I found that I was going to bed with this energy left. I got around this by not playing games until the tank was empty. That basically meant that I did not play any games until the end of the day when I was ready to wind down.
Fix Bad Gaming Habits!
All of our energy must go somewhere. It is crucially important that we are putting as much energy as possible back into our own lives. It is only then that video games are not a waste of time. Dungeon crawling feels so much better when I know my life is in order.
How do you feel about your gaming habits? Do you have any bad gaming habits you would like to improve? How do you manage your time when it comes to gaming?