Today I decided to uninstall all my games, get rid of steam, delete my windows partition, and unsubscribe from all my favorite games rss feeds. This is, combined with banning myself from reddit and cutting down on internet usage in general, means the only way in which I’m keeping tabs on the industry is through some people I follow on twitter, and I’m considering cutting that off as well. I even made a video of this monumental, but surprisingly quick, process.
Why am I doing this?
There are a couple of reasons, but none of them are because I think video games are evil or a waste of time. I believe video games are a great way to spend your time; many games are very social shared experiences that bring people closer together, and even when they’re solitary it’s something that can engage half my brain while I listen to a podcast or be a intellectual stimulant in it’s own right. Some are even thought-provoking. I don’t feel like I’m waisting my time playing video games by any means. However, they are enabling me to perpetuate a very serious personal problem: extreme procrastination.
I’ve been struggling with procrastination for some time now; it’s gotten to the point where I’ve been putting off some volunteer projects that should be very important for me for months. It’s affected every part of my life; personal relationships are suffering, it results in frustrations at work, and I don’t feel a sense of satisfaction in anything. I have several creative projects that have been stalled indefinitely that I really would like to see through. I’ve always had a natural tendency to get distracted, but now it feels like unless something is keeping my constantly entertained, I can’t even finish some games I’d like to play!
This isn’t being caused by games. This is something really deep inside me and I have to figure out what it is. But doing what I’ve been doing isn’t working. I’m hurting people and I have to try something radical.
What could go wrong
If this is going to work, I need to anticipate the pitfalls. This wasn’t an easy decision, and it won’t be fun for me to give up something I really enjoy; I don’t want that effort to go to waste. So here’s what I’m going to be keeping my eyes open for happening:
Replacing one procrastination enabler for another
What might happen is rather than getting a surge of productivity, I’ll just finally finish LOST or something. My plan for dealing with this is to have a support group of people that can keep me accountable and focused. That leads me to my next pitfall…
Ignoring my support group
Another thing that I’m afraid will happen is I’ll just start being miserable and withdrawing from everyone, ignoring their prodding that I myself told them was vital to dealing with this. That’s an easy thing for me to do; another thing I struggle with is pride, and many times I feel justified in my bad attitude. I don’t want that to happen either.
Not being honest with myself/my support group
I don’t want to start being a workaholic that never does anything fun, but I have to know when I’m really doing my best and when I’m slacking off, and I have to tell people. I keep thinking to myself as I write this that I sound like a drug addict or something; I have to realize that all addictions have these things in common. Nothing wrong with admitting you’re messed up and need help.
This isn't forever, though.
I really like video games, and like I said, of all the things I could do with my free time, it is by far the best entertainment option (and sometimes more than entertainment, but that’s for another blog.) I think 3 months sounds like a decent term; long enough to get difficult, but short enough that I can stick to it.
I think I’ll do regular blogs about this; it could prove interesting for people who enjoy games to a fault, and maybe also for those who don’t play video games and would like to get inside our head a little. Regardless, I plan to be using this blog more often anyway, so stay tuned for more good things in the future.
Video games are my passion. I love playing them, I love talking about them, and I love to imagine how they could be better. I’d even like to make them one day. But right now, they’re helping me ignore the most important things: my family, my responsibilities, and my faith. And nothing is worth that.