I don’t use the word addiction lightly. Because I know there are people who are literally addicted to playing video games. As in, they can’t function otherwise. So, I consider my relationship with gaming to be more of a habit.
Because, I game a lot. As in, just about every single night.
I’ve been playing video games since, well, the emergence of video games. No, seriously. As a kid we had the very first Atari. The day it hit the market. So, gaming has been part of my life for over thirty years.
For the past year or more I have been thinking about how much time I spend on playing video games. During that same time I’ve threatened to quit playing all together.
Some of the rationale behind quitting is that I am not quite the gamer I used to be. In my younger gaming days I was usually on top of the leaderboard in most shooter games I played. But, as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that my skill level is dropping.
I’ve come to recognize that I am still pretty good at the strategy needed for most games. But my thumbs (I play on an Xbox, not a PC like I used to when I was younger) don’t have the level of twitch responses you have to have these days to compete with ten-year-old kids that didn’t grow up using a mouse and keyboard.
Other reasons for quitting are that I just don’t get the same amount of pleasure from playing anymore. Today’s gamers are very different from the gamers I grew up with. Not just in age, I’m usually the “old guy” in the group at 45, but also in attitude. They even play games differently. I attribute some of that to the increase in popularity of streamers who have set the bar for how you are “supposed” to act and talk during a match.
Take Battle Royales for instance. The norm seems to be to land in the hot spots and shoot it out right away. If you get knocked (i.e. incapacitated) you just log out of the match and start a new one. Forget waiting to see if your team will come to your aid or even how they will do.
There is one more reason I’ve thought about dropping out of the gaming world. I can sum that up with one statement — I have better, more productive things I can be or should be doing with my time.
No better example of that exists than my recent return to school, after almost twenty-five years post-college graduation, to get my MBA.
It isn’t that this phase of life is any busier than others. I’ve had a full-time job, multiple side hustles to run, and a family to be with for a long time now. So, the idea of using the time I devote to gaming for other things, like growing a business, is something I am used to doing.
With your own business there isn’t anyone grading your participation or results. Sure, clients could get unhappy. But, I’ve been fortunate enough to always over-deliver. That’s how I become a “Top-Rated” freelancer on Upwork.
However, with school you have to deal with grades…on everything. Since I am a classic overachiever getting high marks matter to me. Especially so many years removed from my undergraduate days. Which is exactly what it has taken to finally kill my gaming habit. Nothing else has slowed down my gaming like working on my MBA.
There has been something about this process of going back to school that has reignited my desire to achieve other long dormant goals. I haven’t just taken on the task of trying to get my Masters. I’ve also finally started writing my latest book, begun investing in real estate, and am in the middle of relaunching a business.
Rest assured, I still play games when I can. But, whereas my default was gaming, now my default is spending time on more productive things that will actually move me toward a personal goal.
So, going back to school for my MBA may be killing my gaming life. But it is also helping me focus on other things that matter more. Mostly things that don’t involve thumb dexterity.