I have been an faithful gamer for years, from CounterStrike and Warrock though Grenado Espada (Sword of the New World), Diablo series and many others. I still play… by not so much… Why?
Why I have stated to play in the first place? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMrN3Rh55uM)
It was back at university.. I was in RPG club (way better mode of relaxing to be honest) and kind of got talked into trying Diablo. It was already a tad old by then – that was in 1999 or 2000. I got hooked on it due to overall stress and problems with my family that I really needed to vent but had not many options. It was cool to imagine that each of the dogs in it (the ones spitting acid or venom at you) are the person that most hurt you. From there it was a down hill.. maybe not as deep into the pit as some of my friends went (one passed out at the computer after playing for 3 days straight) but I did take it to extremes for a moment. After I graduated games were for me a way to vent the frustration resulting from numerous unsuccessful job searches. And when my son was born.. and I reached the level of tired where you can’t even sleep cause you are so exhausted (yes, there is something like that).. they helped me unplug and reset.
The only real pro I can find are the 3 good friends, whom I can count on, that are left from those years of gaming. I believe I could have met them otherwise as well. People we are meant to come across can take us by surprise anytime and anywhere.
Games were my exile…. yet their cost.. and I’m not saying financial.. the toll they took on me and my life can’t be underestimated. I was running.. foremost from myself, from looking with clear eye at myself and my life. And I did get myself in a mess, hell I did.
Regardless of the reasons behind me gaming….now, some 15/16 years later. I can say I have unplugged myself from them. It was a conscious decision and here are the reasons:
- In overall scope of the day I used to spend at least 2 hours on games. After 10 year of gaming the count is simple 7300 hours = 306 days used up on something totally intangible. Imagine that I could have relaxed or unplugged with more beneficially by my second favorite pastime – book reading, or better yet needle point or developing my skills as a drifter? Where would I be by now?
- The involvement in games made me forget the world around me… this did take a toll on the way I look, on the way I see others and on the way I communicate with them. In some ways positive, in some quite the opposite. But it definitely made my ties with real life friends go somewhat loose. What would happen if I used at least part of those hours to actually physically socializing with those I care for?
- I took a deep look in the mirror. And I got shocked. I was shocked by my own thoughts on the matter, on why I actually play. I saw a person who is running away from herself, trying to avoid an honest look at her own life, at where she stood and where her path was leading. I fell into the trap of addiction (again maybe not as strong as others e.g. my own husband) but non the less and addiction. And addiction, any addiction, if not kept in check is destructive force.
- Then I did the math on all the money I have spent on the F2P games… believe me they are not free if you want to mean something in those virtual worlds and they ain’t cheap. The cost… well.. I could have easily gotten my dream car a few years earlier. And I am not rich by any means. I think this realization was the last nail to the coffin.
I do play now, but I keep a close check on when and how much I spend on it.. and I DO NOT SPEND anymore money on that. If I get tempted to spend more I do exercise or go for a walk; and the funds… I simply take out of my account put into my old-fashioned Piggy. After a year of keeping myself in check I have collected enough money to buy some books I wished to read for long time, to take my family for a fancy dinner and to have running subscription on Spotify (I love music, maybe they don’t have it all.. but they are better than average radio).
I decided I can use this time better, do something meaningful with it instead of living in virtual world. So far, small steps.. but I already see much good in the decision.
I know that taking look at yourself, on why you REALLY game and facing the response is the hardest, but I strongly believe there is much to be gained. I would like to encourage those infested by the plaque to do so. We have but one life (at least that’s how much we are conscious of ) why waste it on something that will in few years leave us with almost nothing…