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NEW PODCAST: Dealing with Gaming Nostalgia


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About Saab900S

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  1. Day 2/90 (or, 2.2% of the way there). Is it 90 days to break a habit? Or 21? Or 254? Science gives us a lot of different answers. But 90 sounds about right. That would be March 16, 2020. The day before St Patrick's Day -- if (when) I can look back at Dec 2019, and say "Yeah, that's the day I stopped playing addictive computer games," I can look forward to a celebratory Guinness the next day. Seems fair, yes? Had dreams about Call of Duty last night. True story -- the dream took place in the "Battle Royale" scenario, where I was talking to co-workers in the game scenario. Weird. But so far, no re-install. Tomorrow's gonna be tough, as I start my first day of "use or lose" vacation days. Free time is tempting time, so I think I'll get my car inspected and do some Christmas shopping to take up the day.
  2. My God -- I feel like I have a twin from across the pond. Your story really hit home with me. We're about the same age. I bought my first PC in 1986, right after I got out of college. Ostensibly it was to learn dBase and Lotus 123 but, really, it was to play games. I was addicted to Civ2 as well. My marriage broke up in 2001. Not entirely due to the gaming addiction, but that was a big part. By then I'd gotten early broadband and discovered Ultima Online, which I'd play for hours at night, sometimes getting so upset at losing that I'd yell at the computer, or break a keyboard... gee, I wonder why my wife left me, now that I think about it... ha. Since then, it's been on-and off with the gaming. Mostly on. I met another wonderful woman, who put some boundaries on my gaming, and that actually worked. She'd come into my basement mancave and literally unhook my PC when I'd been at it too long. Sadly, I lost her to breast cancer in 2011. My current GF thinks games are a waste of time. So I've been lying to her about how much I've been playing Call of Duty -- which I deleted a short 24 hours ago and WILL NOT re-install. Dude, we're both working on 30 years of bad habits here. This is not going to be easy. But I'm gonna read your journal regularly, and ping you when you don't post for a while. You can do this. The secret, I think, is to channel that energy and focus into something else. We have, I think, addictive personalities. The trick is to get addicted to something that's good for us! Thanks for sharing.
  3. Well it's been about a year since I started this process. What got me started last time was an absolute addiction to a technically excellent, but utterly addictive game called World of Warships Mobile. My addiction to that game cost me a shattered iPad, and, furious at myself for destroying $600 worth of hardware, I banged my fist onto my laptop, apparently breaking the motherboard, which will set you back about... yeah, $600 for a MacBook Pro. I joined this forum, sold all my ships, deleted the game, and haven't gone back. Part of me still feels like an occasional, short game isn't the worst thing. Killing 10 minutes with "Last Day on Earth" or even a round of Candy Crush seemed... manageable. The problem with World of Warships was that there was no timer. There was no downside, from the game's perspective, to playing for two, four, or ten hours straight. In fact, it rewarded me. Different measurements of progress, new ships and features, and always that lure of "one more battle." At least LDOE and CC have timers, and if you want to keep playing, you have to, eventually, start spending money. WOW didn't require that. So, fast-forward a year, and I see an ad for Call of Duty Mobile. I'd played that on the PC years ago, and later, briefly, on the XBox. I downloaded and tried it out, and OMG was I hooked. The setup, unfortunately, was just like World of Warships: Multiple ladders to climb, new weapons to unlock, with new mods, and no penalty for playing for hours. I got pretty good... for an old guy, quickly reaching level 125 (out of 150). But something weird happened: Either I suddenly got way worse, or the other players all of a sudden got way better, or some kind of cheat came out, because I went from almost always scoring at #1 or #2 in a match to routinely finishing last, sometimes with no kills. Which, I realize now, was a blessing: I no longer was enjoying the game, and was in fact getting frustrated. I hadn't broken anything -- yet -- but I knew the four hours a day I was spending playing this stupid game should be spent elsewhere. I deleted it a little over 24 hours ago. And I've been so tempted to pick up the iPad and play "just one round" to see if I still had my mojo, but have resisted it. I almost went so far as to mail my iPad to a friend in California, with instructions to mail it back to me in a week, but so far that kind of drama hasn't been necessary. Tomorrow I'll count off 48 hours, then Thursday it'll be 72, and before I know it, it will be a week. Tonight I organized my home office, assembled some shelves that have been sitting around for a month, and put together a box of giveaways for GoodWill. All time that I would have spent playing Call of Duty on any other night. I can beat this.
  4. Thanks, Cam. I think it does help to write it all out. Reading some of the other journals, wow, I really thought I was alone in game addiction!
  5. Great job, Steve! Think about how those alternatives were all positive: Reading for learning or pleasure keeps your mind sharp; exercising improves the mind and the body; socializing is vital for healthy minds; watching non-gaming content on YouTube is a great way to learn. Keep at it!
  6. Well, that didn't last long. The problem with modern, cloud-based games is that often the accounts are stored offsite. So by merely re-installing the game, all of my progress, purchases, etc, were still there. I read the parts in the guide where it says "moderation doesn't work," but I guess I thought, well, there are some value to games. Let me explain: When I'm on the subway, or waiting for my GF to get ready to go out, or waiting at the doctor's office, or any of a million other times, it kinda, sorta makes sense to kill time with my iPad. Sometimes I read the news, but it's been so toxic lately that I hesitate to go that route. My goal, such as it was, was to find a non-addictive (ha) time killer game that I could just pick up, play for 3-10 minutes, then go about my business. Perhaps that's what healthy people do... "World or Warships: Blitz" is insanely insidious. Talk about "tracking progress," and rewarding play. The player himself (me) gets graded and ranked, both overall and in shorter-term, usually one month, league play. Then, for each ship he has, say an American destroyer, there are experience points for the ship. Once you sink enough other ships, you can convert those points into another, nicer ship, and the process starts over. So let's do the math: There are 15 "lines" of ships, for example, American destroyers, cruisers, battleships and carriers. There are also Japanese cruisers, destroyers... well you get the idea. And there are ten "tiers" of ships, from I to X. Ramping up the first few tiers is easy; you can do it in a few battles. Once you get to tier IX, it literally takes hours of play for weeks to advance. AND there are experience points for the NPC commanders that we assign to the ships. And, every twelve hours, there are bonus times for each ship: You get extra xp and silver until you get your first win. The matches take about six minutes. There are 15 ship lines (I actually had 25 ships), and even by saying "Well I'll just play the bonus rounds and stop," do the math: 25 x 6 = 150 minutes, and that's assuming I won each time. I didn't, my win rate was about 62%. So that's about FOUR HOURS just to take advantage of the bonus rounds. And here's the kicker: The bonuses reset after 12 hours. So, you guessed it, I was starting my day with four hours or game time, doing a little work, then starting back up again at night when the bonus rounds reset. Long story short, psychologists examining game addiction should investigate World of Warships: Blitz to see how brilliantly they entice you to play "just one more." And there's more than I've even posted here, there are social aspects, with fleets (clans) that offer yet another currency and competition level. I started out just playing one ship that I was trying to master. Then it went to to, then, by mid-January, I was back to 10-12 hours a day. After a particularly upsetting loss (and a few beers), I did my bottom-of-the barrel move again, bashing the iPad against my forehead. This time, the screen didn't shatter. I was lucky. But I knew I had to put a permanent stop to this. Since there's no real way to permanently delete the game, I took advantage of the in-game economy, and sold all my ships. You get about 50% of the value in doing this, it's a way to dump old ships to buy new ones, but with a hefty penalty. Then I bought some new ones with the silver I had, and sold those. Eventually, I was down to one crappy ship and almost nothing in the in-game economy. I knew that if there was a way to get back my accomplishments, I might get weak again some night and log back in. But I also knew I would never start from scratch, after being so advanced in the game. It worked. That was a week ago, and I haven't logged back in. When I think about it, I remember, "oh yeah, I have no ships, not much point." I won't say I haven't played any other games. I think I might have found a non-addictive one that my GF likes as well, a true time killer with none of the addictive aspects. So I haven't gone cold turkey... yet. But this was a huge move for me. It was a tough week, and yes, I've had dreams about the game. But I haven't played, and don't think I will. Baby steps. Sorry for the long post. I needed to write this all down.
  7. Day one: - I deleted seven games from my iPad. - Gonna keep it (the iPad) because it's good for other stuff. - Deleted my Reddit account, since all I ever discussed with that account was games It hurts -- I have about $250 sunk into World of Warships blitz, and probably close to a grand on Last Day on Earth. But as we learned in module three, that money is already gone; brilliant of Cam to tee up the Sunk Cost Fallacy, something I learned about years ago WRT product marketing, but never thought to apply the principle to gaming. If I'd lost that money in the stock market, given it to a friend, or doused it in gasoline and set fire to it, the results are the same: It's gone. So is the time, the shocking amount of time, that I spent on those games.
  8. Hey, it's as good an opening line as any. I honestly don't know if I can do this. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with some pretty severed ADHD. One of the things I learned is that ADD people can, in some cases, hyperfocus on activities they enjoy. That revelation explained much of my life. When I was in my 20s, as a programmer, I remember very often getting so wrapped in my coding that I'd lose track of time; all of a sudden I'd look up and realize that, not only had all my co-workers gone home, but the cleaning crew had come and gone. It was 1 in the morning, and I hadn't so much as taken a bathroom break in seven hours. At least then, I was channeling the hyperfocus into something productive. Later, it became games. So, so many games. I'd get into that "zone" and lose track of time. Forget to eat, forget to piss. Forget to do my work. When I started working from home a couple of years ago, that was it. I'd be lucky to get in an hour of real work for my company a day, compared with seven or so in Last Day on Earth or something equally stupid. This time sink is so ingrained into my brain that I'm not sure it can be erased. To truly detox, I might actually have to commit myself to some place that will physically prevent from getting to my iPad or laptop. We'll see. But today is day one.
  9. ...the big prize. It's likely that I have the longest-running game addiction out there. See, when I first got addicted, it cost money to play Defender or Berzerk. 25 cents a pop kept me in check until the mid 80s. Then I took an Intellivision for my college dorm room in 1984, and that's when my grades started to suffer. Yep. 34+ years. It's the open-ended games that kill me, the just "one more round" or "a few more minutes," then I'll go to bed. Or back to work. How I kept a career going for three decades after being addicted to Quake, followed by Ultima Online, followed by stuff I can't even remember, up until most recently, World of Warships. Ultima Online probably was the #1 killer of my first marriage. The addiction was bad enough, but the sore loser aspects were the worst. I've probably smashed 25 keyboards in the past 20 years. Three iPads. A couple laptops. When I threw an iPad through my condo window last week I knew, this has to stop. I actually have a decent job and make a good living, somehow, even with this issue. I wonder what I could have done with my life if I hadn't wasted an average of three hours a day for 30 years. I wonder. So, here I am. I have to do this. I have to.
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