Abandon Ship!

So, I’ve pretty much decided to give up on video games. Yes, I know that comes as a bit of a surprise, considering I just finished a 10 week series on my favorite video games of all time. But that series is actually part of the reason why I’ve come to this decision. I spent so much time writing and thinking about video games that I’m thoroughly sick of them now. It’s time to focus on something else.

I’m just kidding, of course. Not about giving up on video games, but about the reason why I’m giving up on video games. There’s actually a multitude of reasons, but that series did get me thinking about video games a lot. I thought about the games I have played, the games I want to play, and what it is about video games that I may or may not enjoy.

There are a variety of factors that have led to this decision, but I suppose I should begin by explaining in more detail what this decision actually is. At one point, I had contemplated selling all of my video games and never playing video games again, but I dismissed that idea as too drastic. Instead, I’m going to keep the games I have, but I’m more or less not going to buy any new ones. I also feel no obligation to play any of the games I have, although I can play them if I want to.

The reason I have to consciously tell myself that I have no obligation to play the games I own is also part of the reason why I’m giving up on video games. My OCD-addled brain has been driving me nuts for over two years now, pestering me to finally get to the point where I’ve finished every game I own. It’s a little difficult to enjoy a video game when there’s a nagging voice in the back of your head saying “You MUST play this game and finish it whether you like it or NOT!” So if I keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter if I finish all my games, maybe I can actually focus on playing games that I enjoy.

Which leads into the second reason why I’m giving up on video games. I just don’t seem to enjoy them any more. It seems like every game I’ve played lately makes me think, “Why am I playing this? I’m not having any fun.” Maybe that means I just need to try playing different games. And maybe I will do that at some point. I’ve been playing a lot of JRPGs lately, and I just don’t seem to enjoy them anymore. They’re so slow paced and time consuming. On the other hand, I played Gears of War 2 recently, and I enjoyed that immensely. Maybe I just need to focus more on shorter, flashier games.

This would help with the third reason I’m giving up on video games, which is that I just don’t have time to play them anymore. Part of that is because I have two kids. It’s difficult to sit and play video games for eight hours straight when you have two small children that need to be fed and played with and stuff. Plus, a lot of the games I play are pretty violent, and I don’t really want my kids to see that kind of thing, so I can’t really play games when they’re awake. Plus, even if I did miraculously have an uninterrupted stretch of eight free hours, I don’t think I’d fall asleep if I tried to play video games that whole time. But even with all of that, I think I’d be fine if video games were my ONLY hobby.

The real problem is that there’s just so many other things that I enjoy in addition to video games. Books, movies, TV shows, music… all of these things require time to enjoy, and there’s just so blasted many of them. The more time I spend on video games, the less I can spend on these other interests. And the more I spend on other interests, the less I can spend on video games. I simply don’t have enough free time to give all of these hobbies a decent share of it, so I needed to give up at least one of them to keep myself sane.

My decision was simple in the end. It was simply a matter of deciding which hobby of mine I was enjoying the least. As much as I’ve enjoyed video games in the past, I just don’t enjoy them all that much any more. Video games have just gotten too complicated. I don’t mean that they’re technically complicated or that the gameplay is too complicated or anything like that. I just mean that the process of turning on the TV, turning on a video game console, putting the disc in it, navigating to the actual gameplay part, playing the game, and then doing the whole thing in reverse when I’m done is just too much of a hassle. I know that sounds kind of lazy, but when the alternative is laying on the couch with my Kindle, or going to Netflix on my laptop or iPod and watching an episode of Battlestar Galactica, the hoops I have to jump through to play a video game are just too much. Besides, I can’t play a video game while laying on the couch.

So I’m saying goodbye to video games for now. It may be a temporary goodbye, or I may find that I really don’t miss them at all. It’s a bit bittersweet to think of the possibility of never playing video games ever again, but considering how frequently my tastes in hobbies seem to shift, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m writing a blog post about my new favorite video game in a few weeks. If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I can’t ever seem to commit to any one hobby for very long.

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