I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

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TopHatFox
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I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by TopHatFox »

And yet I can play them 10 hours at a time. It really is rather unhealthy.

It's not that I hate them per se; I obviously do enjoy them as the hours dwindle on. But, I find myself immediately regretting dumping hours that could've been better spent learning a skill or actually doing something in real life (aside from literally staring at a screen).

I have already wasted a good portion of my youth on these things, and I'd like to stop.

Got any ideas? (solutions, thoughts, personal experience, stories to share)

theanimal
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by theanimal »

Sell your gaming console. Or if you want to keep it, leave it at home when you go to school.

ashe
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by ashe »

I find that it helps to get into another interest if you want to stop doing something else. Maybe there is something else you like to do and you can focus on that? Friends, women, music, sports, travel, entrepreneurship come to mind.

Of course, I've also had bouts of video game cravings, (civ, sims, starcraft, assassin's creed etc). I'd basically just hunker down for two days and get it out of my system.

lilacorchid
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by lilacorchid »

What do you like about them? Try to find an IRL equivalent. The auction house of WoW translates nicely into craigslist. :P

Tyler9000
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by Tyler9000 »

For me, it took a while to recognize that one specific game had become an addiction. I still play video games quite a bit, but forcing myself to quit that one made a big difference and now it's more hobby than compulsion.

I'd also recommend setting time limits and forcing yourself to focus on another activity for a while. A brain you never exercise will eventually atrophy, and it will get harder to switch gears the longer you allow yourself to get stuck in a mental rut.

m741
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by m741 »

I've never owned a game console, but in college I used to play a fair amount of computer games.

Some games I simply need to recognize that I'll pour far too much time into (example: Civilization series - I can easily play for 10 straight hours). These I don't even start unless I know I can spare the time (eg: vacation, friday night). I know it's too risky.

Other games I gradually lost interest in simply because they took so long to start. I guess it sounds strange but if it takes me 4-5 minutes to actually start the game, sit through the intro ads (for various producers, video card manufacturers, etc), then select the actual mode I want to play, then wait for the level to load, and then watch some crappy cutscene before I can do anything... I'll be easily dissuaded.

Finally I took a look at what was actually addictive to me about a given game. Some games I liked to play on an easy difficulty level (by choice or not). The mechanics were fun, but there was no challenge. These games made me feel a little ill. If the difficulty was naturally low, the game felt abusive, actually. I was just in a sort of skinner's box indulging addictive game mechanisms. A prime example was Pokemon - it's almost impossible to lose, if you have 40 hours to kill, but there are multiple addictive layers of gameplay. You can't even set difficulty. This was a game that's easy for an 8-year old to play! In that light, it's pretty depressing to even start it up.

A few games I played because I liked the cinematic experience. For instance, Portal is great interactive cinema. But most games in this category are crappy games (you have no free will and no decisions to make) and crappy entertainment (because a movie would be far better). I simply can't stand these games where the campaign is cutscenes that mostly tell you what to do. For instance, in Call of Duty there were repeated cutscenes where the 'gameplay' was "Press E to stab." I started Assassin's Creed and quit immediately because you had to press the keys the game told you to in order for a baby to wiggle its legs. What's the point?

Finally there are a few genuine games where you can set an appropriate difficulty, and where you make interesting decisions. For instance, Unreal Tournament or Age of Empires, you are making decisions on a tight timeframe. But, because they're tough and intensive games, I can't play them for that long. I still play these games but only for half an hour at a time. There's a trap for these games because they have good mechanics but I tended to set their difficulty easier so that I could just win. Then they become easier to play for longer sessions.

I found that categorizing games and figuring out what I disliked about the category was a powerful disincentive for ever starting those games at all.

GandK
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by GandK »

There are a few people in my family that have similar issues. The underlying problem is that they have an addict's mentality. Simply stopping the gaming/drinking/porn/gambling/drugs doesn't help them. They MUST lose themselves in something, because it's keeping something worse at bay. So, whenever they stop using one crutch, they pick up another.

That may not be you, and in that case, please ignore this post. However, if it is, try to figure out what the underlying "something worse" is and address that issue. Otherwise, you'll just find another time suck when this one goes away, and 6 months from now you'll be telling us that some other obsession (day trading, Modern War, snorting whipped cream, etc.) is devouring your #@#$%@! soul.

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Ego
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by Ego »

Image +1

Tyler9000
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by Tyler9000 »

+2. Well said.

Regarding M741's post, I also agree that explicitly identifying what draws you in or drives you away from a certain game genre can be helpful. Some addictions are more tempting than others.

For me, I generally avoid RTS games altogether as I know I'll get overly hooked. I get lost in optimization problems, but these games are specifically balanced to have no right answer. So I'll spend days and weeks fine tuning a strategy with no possible optimum solution. RPGs are better, as they take planning but are more story/goal oriented and I can walk away satisfied at an obvious break point.

jacob
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by jacob »

I spent the majority of my youth playing computer games and upgrading computers to play the newest games. This interest/hobby lasted until the second year at the university where I failed my first class ever. As a result, I just stopped cold in order to focus on studying.

Since then my gaming interest has been rekindled every 3-5 years, often coinciding with buying a new computer. However, I seem to lose interest rather quickly. It might be that games have become a lot simpler---I used to enjoy sims and strategy games with 100+ page manuals and a ps2 just doesn't cut it---but I'm just religiously opposed to spending $3000 on top of the line flight sim, unlike my 18 year old self. On another level, I think I somehow flipped a switch in my personality/value system that makes it really hard to enjoy something that's inherently useless. Or maybe it's just that now I'm more aware of alternatives that are more fun e.g. compare NHL 2005 on the ps2 with playing a real life hockey game or building a virtual railroad empire with administrating a portfolio with real money.

TopHatFox
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by TopHatFox »

Well, I don't think I have any underlying problems; stoicism & a nature-loving/simple-living girlfriend pretty much got rid of depression. :D

I do find that I don't have many real life alternatives to gaming though. I figure: "well, I can read, or go to a park, or just play through this nice first person assassin game where I skulk about and optimize my character. Yeah, that third one sounds fun." I guess I can go dumpster diving at night to replicate the sneaking in real life, or raid dorm kitchens? :lol:.Thankfully I don't take my Xbox 360 to college, and there's more stuff to do there, so I'm naturally more occupied & happier. Also, since I, um, modded my Xbox, everything's sorta...complimentary. At least gaming isn't a financial sink!

I think it's true that my personality is changing to see games as inherently useless; it now takes a really specific game to get me hooked, like the Bioshock series incredibly complex story line, or the survival aspect of the Fallout series, or the adventure aspect of the Elder Scrolls series.

I think if I pick up more actionable things to do--to compliment reading & watching instructional YouTube videos--I'd be able to curb the 10 hour sessions. For example, the day I got my used road bike off Craigslist I spent about 16 enjoyable hours toiling away at making it perfect! After that there wasn't much left to do....so I got a free used winter mountain bike and fixed that one up. Then, same issue, and I couldn't excuse getting another bike.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

What did you guys fill up your time with while at college/later in life?

I usually hate school clubs aside from the outing club & mountain biking club. I try to make my own entertainment, mainly applying minimalism to my life, reading, barefoot hiking, biking, urban exploration, parties with the alternative crowd, movies off of ERE's forum movie list, and piano improvisation sometimes.

I've been meaning to pick up a passive income producing hobby that would eventually give me money during college (and hopefully long after), like blogging--except not blogging since I'm terrible at writing consistently. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.
Last edited by TopHatFox on Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

Ian
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by Ian »

You might want to look into MOOCs if you need more productive blocks of time. I think at least part of your problem might be spending that much time on a single thing, which suggests a lot of your activities (like instructional videos) are flexible and easily ignored. Taking a class will provide a bit of structure, which might make you more productive overall.

jacob
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by jacob »

There's also a downside to always focusing on useful stuff. The reason I got a ps2 (8 years ago) was that all my time was spent either programming, reading [textbooks], or lifting weights. However, it's impossible to use up all one's time doing that without being completely blasted. Unfocused/"unproductive" activities can be fun ... at least if they're "allowed", it opens up the choices a bit.

Unfortunately ps2 games weren't it for me. Not my style.

BW
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by BW »

I had a video game addiction that still comes back in spurts. I don't have any hobby suggestions but I do have a flash game for you that can act as a quick fix by giving a heavy dose of regret. This worked for me about a month ago -

www.kongregate.com/games/Crovie/idle-mine

It's every rpg that you've ever played.

1taskaday
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by 1taskaday »

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life by Charles Duhigg.

This was a really interesting book on breaking habits and forming new ones-may help.

Tyler9000
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by Tyler9000 »

Displacement is a common step in overcoming an addiction of any sort (although I agree that eventually you need to deal with the underlying issue). For fellow optimizers, I recommend giving art or an instrument a try. It'll help you loosen up, but you will never run out of room for improvement.

mikeBOS
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by mikeBOS »

I find myself immediately regretting dumping hours that could've been better spent learning a skill or actually doing something in real life
Maybe instead of trying to figure out how to get rid of video gaming you could try to figure out how to get rid of the regret that follows it. Why feel bad that you just enjoyed yourself for 10 hours? That's more enjoyment than many people can hope for in a day. How many skills do you need to master before you can just let yourself be happy?

I mean, sure, if they really are causing you to fail at other things that are important to you and keeping you from reaching other goals, then it makes sense to figure out strategies for cutting back on them. But I tend to think people are too hard on themselves with this modern obsession with productivity.

UrbanHermit
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by UrbanHermit »

It sounds like the OP is still a fairly casual gamer who does the occasional binge, but I thought I'd share the following link just in case. Best resource I'm aware of for people struggling with video game addiction, or just looking for support group to help quit.

http://olganon.org/?q=forum/14

Jean
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by Jean »

I played 90 hours on endless legend during the last 2 weeks, while studying medicine, and spending several days with my gf (i didn't play on those days).
It seems like despite taking as much time as a job, I doesn't prevent me from functionning, no kurva dlaczego nje robjen wojnu dlya franzii!

Campitor
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Re: I #@#$%@! Hate Video Games!

Post by Campitor »

If gaming is an issue, increase the opportunity cost to play them. For example, if you're gaming console is always hooked up and ready to go, try disconnecting it and putting it in the closet after playing or put it in a less traveled room. You want to make playing inconvenient to avoid making it the "go to" activity.

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