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Jake's Journal


baronjake
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Dear Diary... Jackpot.

I keep a handwritten journal, and have been doing so for a while (I'm much better at writing in the journal when I don't game. When I do, I usual go without writing in that journal for months at a time.) so I don't know how much I'll be posting here. I guess it might be useful for writing my thought about quitting gaming. We'll see.

My biggest challenge with quitting is that everything reminds me of this game or that one, and then my mind goes through a spiral of nostalgia and thinking about this character or that mechanic. I get stuck in that state for maybe hours at a time, and then I want to play those games I've been thinking about. I think using meditation techniques, like redirecting focus to my breath might help short circuit this thought cycle. Has anyone else had success using those methods?

-Jake

Edited by baronjake
Added info about handwritten journal
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Meditation was a hit or miss for me, usually the urge for a maladaptive behavior would overpower my meditative attempts. What I’ve found works for me is almost a form of self-delusion where I simply tell myself that I don’t engage in said behavior. Works like a charm for me.

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22 hours ago, Paul A. said:

Meditation was a hit or miss for me, usually the urge for a maladaptive behavior would overpower my meditative attempts. What I’ve found works for me is almost a form of self-delusion where I simply tell myself that I don’t engage in said behavior. Works like a charm for me.

Thanks! I'll try it out.

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Forgot to write an update yesterday. Oops!

So far the cravings haven't been too bad. The first day was definitely the worst so far. My days haven't really had any structure, but I have managed to work in some small workouts and some socialization with family and friends. Normally I'd be anxious around other people, but it wasn't so bad because I was able to be more present in the conversations. I completed a few things that I had been procrastinating on for waaaaay too long, and it felt great to finally get them finished. It was something simple that should have taken 20 minutes. I just couldn't bring myself to do it before because I'd find an excuse to ruminate on or play some video game. I napped a lot too, which was weird because I've been sleeping well. I might have just been overtired and never realized it. It might have something to do with my mind was always occupied. It feels nice to slow down and not feel like I have to accomplish something immediately, or look towards the next goal/quest or something.

I'm working through Module 2, and deleting my games didn't seem nearly as difficult as I thought it would. It was a little frustrating and tedious because I had a pretty big Steam library, and had just bought some games. It doesn't matter though, because I know that if I spend more time and effort on them, I'd be missing out on other opportunities.

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I heard something today, and it made me think. There was a video of a supposed "zombie", and people were excited because they watch lots of zombie movies or play lots of zombie video games. They figured that their skills in the game transfer to real life, but that's just a fantasy. In truth, if the zombie apocalypse happens, they'd probably be the first to die because of arrogance. I've heard similar things from people who play FPS games, about how great of a sniper they'd be in real life, but it just doesn't work that way. The first time I shot a gun, I was horribly inaccurate. I'm still not much better today. I only shoot once or twice a year when hunting so it's not likely to improve anytime soon. The whole experience is entirely different than pointing a mouse and clicking, or tapping a button on a controller. People say stuff like this for pretty much every genre of games. Real life is much more complicated, and video games are designed to make it easier to do things. If you were discouraged when you start a new game because you were bad at doing something, you might not get that same dopamine rush as when the video game makes something easier for you to do. It's okay to not be good at new things when you first try them. Video games might have skewed my assessment of my ability when trying something new, because I always assume that I'll be good at it, just like I am in a game. That's probably a big motivator to keep playing games, because in that game, you're good at everything. Today, I want to become better at something I'm "bad" at. I say that it's something that I'm bad at, but really I'm just inexperienced!

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  • 1 month later...

Well I messed up.

I was about 10 days into my 90 day detox and I had an idea. I had a lot of games on my steam account, and my level was decent so I figured I have a decent chance of getting booster pack drops as a means of passive, albeit small, income. I had plenty of games that I still had to get cards for to be eligible for booster packs, and all that matters is playtime. I figured that I'd open up the game, minimize it, and let it go until I get enough cards to be eligible for a booster pack for that game. Then I'd permanently remove the game from my account.

It worked for the most part, but then there was a few games that I always wanted to try, so I did. Mostly because I was always curious about them, and if I didn't try them at that time, then I'd never find out what they were like. It went about as well as you can expect. Most of the time it was fine, kind of like a last hurrah. I'd play the game for half an hour or so and give up on it, because I had my sights on better things. Then on a few other games, I'd lose whole weekends in the past month. I figure I spent all of my weekends playing games from the moment I woke up to when I went to sleep.

On one game I racked up over 120 hours. that's nearly a whole week's worth of time (24x7=168 hours in a week)! It's really painful when I think about it that way too because I had some great ideas for projects I wanted to work on right before this gaming binge, and I only half-assed my way through one. I even played a bit during work, as a "break". In truth, the game itself was pretty stressful. It's the 4X genre. I got addicted to building my empire and convinced myself that I needed to see it through to the end. I had to restart plenty of times to learn the mechanics of the game. I finally finished my first playthough today. I conquered the whole map and finished in first place, but the victory was hollow. Just a basic status screen. There was so much work involved in managing my empire from diplomacy, to managing my civilians. There was so much going on all of the time that it'd end up exhausted when I was through with a session. It affected my work performance too since all of my mental power was focused on that game, there wasn't anything left for the stuff I had to, and wanted to do more.

I'm frustrated with myself. I did learn through the experience though. I found a website that gives you a quiz and you find out what type of gamer you are. It's called Quantic Foundry, and I encourage everyone to check it out. I took the quiz and my result was Architect. It clicked into place. I understood my motivations for playing, and the reasons why I chose the games that I did. I can find, and have found some hobbies that scratch that same building itch so I should be able to specifically address my reasons for gaming. I'm a programmer by trade so I came up with some programs that I can write as side hustles, and others that would just be for fun. Something to build and grow. Here's the text from Quantic Foundry on the Architect gamer type:

Quote

Architect: The Architect wants planning and decision-making that leads to progression and task completion in the game. They also want games with interesting settings and stories. They strongly prefer solo gameplay, without teamwork or competition, so they have full control over their gameplay experience. And they prefer games that are slow-paced, relaxing, and serene. This is a player segment that wants to plan and build something tall and enduring. They want to build something over time and have it not be destroyed. In their popular games list, we see titles like Europa Universalis and Civilization.

That wasn't the only revelation I had in the last month. In my youth I used to have very different opinions than I do now. I couldn't point to a specific time or a quote that changed my opinions. They most likely changed gradually, and I think I know why now. When you read a piece of fiction, it stays with you in subtle ways. You might not even realize it at the time. I think that's a great part about reading books. It can be such a small shift that you don't even realize it until years later, and by that time you're a different person. I think some of my foundational beliefs came from video games I played when younger, and also some more recent ones. For instance, I was raised in a religious environment, but then I played games that questioned the role faith plays in people's lives in a fantasy world. I played those kinds of games a lot. I never played a ton of games until I got into RPGs. I think it was because they allowed you to build your character in a persistent and continuous way, matching my motivations above.  Games were just a kind of fun way to pass time, until I found Final Fantasy 10. That's when I was hooked. For those unfamiliar, the primary religion and government in Final Fantasy 10 create many of the antagonistic elements in the story, and I think that led me to question my faith. I don't regret it at all, and I don't see myself going back to religion any time soon. If anything I'm thankful to that game and the others that formed the foundation of my values, and I think that's why I keep going back to them. They're a part of me now. I think I can move on, knowing that they've become a part of who I am.

Thank you for reading this (if anyone actually reads that wall of text). It was pretty cathartic, and I'm ready to start my 90 detox again with the knowledge that I've gained.

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On 9/24/2022 at 7:58 PM, baronjake said:

Thank you for reading this (if anyone actually reads that wall of text)

I read it lol. I’m glad you’re back! I messed up too recently. It takes a lot of strength to mess up, not lose yourself in self-pity, and get right back up. So be proud of yourself! Now you learned some lessons you can carry with you on your second attempt. You got this!

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