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JustTom

The Anticipation of New Games Doesn't Go Away

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Today I'm exactly 2 months into the detox, but I can't help but get excited for certain new games that are coming out in 2019, all from companies that made games that I loved previously. As part of my gaming detox, I'm also trying to eliminate content consumption such as mindless reddit browsing and binge-watching youtube, but this is much harder than simply uninstalling games and not playing, therefore news of my favorite games still get to me and then OF COURSE I have to watch the gameplay trailer right? And then read all the rumors, listen to some random dude talking about the lore of the world or whatever, just wasting more time. 

Maybe if I didn't browse reddit/youtube, this wouldn't happen, but that's easier said than done. 

Currently, it is my intention to play at least one of the games I'm anticipating in 2020, which is an offline single-player story-based game so it does have an ending point after which I can quit. At that point, I will have long finished my 90 days detox. Not sure if I should change my mentality to forget about all games forever or not. I do have other hobbies as well as a passion or two and if I find that the game interferes with them in an unhealthy way, it's clear what needs to be done, but right now I'm still deep into my detox and so I find myself fantasizing about playing future games one day. I am 99% confident I will successfully finish this detox, but what to do after? 

Experiences? Thoughts?

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Hey there!

I am working on my gaming habits for quite some time now... About 4-5 years. When I first started trying detox programs I failed spectacularly and often relapsed either after some days or in the first 3 weeks, throwing me back to square one. But I kept at it and continuously refined my technique on how to deal with urges/cravings, etc. and started to get results. The time frames between relapses became larger and larger and often I am able to go without gaming for several months. I am not totally "clean", but my gaming habits changed vastly over the years. Nowadays, whenever I have a relapse I'd play for 2-4 hours a day for about two weeks max. Then I go back to quitting cold turkey for several months. Daily moderation doesn't work for me and all relapses are somewhat semi-voluntary.

So... I am still gaming a little bit every few months, but I am not in full control and this is actually quite scary. I never know how hard a relapse is going to be, sometimes I can't control when it's about to happen - this is actually the reason for my current 'intentional' detox: to broaden my capability to handle cravings and relapses. However, I really don't how this will turn out for you. If you have any questions ask them right away. I'd love to be of help.

Cheers,

Max

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On 9/12/2018 at 6:50 AM, JustTom said:

Today I'm exactly 2 months into the detox, but I can't help but get excited for certain new games that are coming out in 2019, all from companies that made games that I loved previously. As part of my gaming detox, I'm also trying to eliminate content consumption such as mindless reddit browsing and binge-watching youtube, but this is much harder than simply uninstalling games and not playing, therefore news of my favorite games still get to me and then OF COURSE I have to watch the gameplay trailer right? And then read all the rumors, listen to some random dude talking about the lore of the world or whatever, just wasting more time. 

Maybe if I didn't browse reddit/youtube, this wouldn't happen, but that's easier said than done. 

Currently, it is my intention to play at least one of the games I'm anticipating in 2020, which is an offline single-player story-based game so it does have an ending point after which I can quit. At that point, I will have long finished my 90 days detox. Not sure if I should change my mentality to forget about all games forever or not. I do have other hobbies as well as a passion or two and if I find that the game interferes with them in an unhealthy way, it's clear what needs to be done, but right now I'm still deep into my detox and so I find myself fantasizing about playing future games one day. I am 99% confident I will successfully finish this detox, but what to do after? 

Experiences? Thoughts?

In my opinion, if you're still browsing Reddit and Youtube mindlessly, and especially if that's bringing gaming related content to you, you're not really in the detox. The consumption of video game related content I imagine fires off most of the same signals in the brain as actually playing the games themselves. You get that expectation of a reward because you're anticipating a new game. You're getting dopamine hits because you're watching the game trailers that get you all excited for them.

The whole point of the detox is to transform your life. To start moving in a direction that you can be proud of. In my opinion, if the detox is "working", you're keeping all gaming related content as far away from you as you can, within the limits of your control. Then you're replacing that time you would have spent with activities that are moving you towards your real life goals.

Just remember one thing if nothing else: there will always be another game. You can keep telling yourself that this is the last one, but that last one will never, ever satisfy you. You will constantly crave more until you cut it off completely.

Edited by seriousjay
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Hey guys,

I had that feeling too but once I understood how it works to get someone hooked into a new release, I started to notice when I was REALLY looking forward to a new release and which times it was just a hyped feeling created by announcements, ads, YouTube-videos and stuff like these.

So learning about marketing and potential customer manipulation could maybe help deal with this problem in the future - but I'm not sure.

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I'll try to explain with an example:

I LOVED playing Ori and the Blind Forest. I totally loved the gameplay, the artstyle and so on. But I never kept me going with cheap tricks that I HAVE to keep playing - when I was done I was done. So, I'm looking forward to Ori 2. But I'm not looking forward to it's release date so that I can jump in an spend all day playing because some trailer "showed me WHAT I CAN BECOME --> like Assassin's Creed's last trailer did" - instead I'm looking forward to having a great time for a few hours enjoying the GAME - my mind still differentiating between PLAYING and enjoying the game and BEING THE SUPERHERO whatsoever - that's a feeling that's generally created by those EPIC TRAILERs / adverts - a clear sign to me that makes me realize I'm not actually looking forward to playing the game - but rather to avoiding my current life and be (in that particular case) the assassin having an action packed life --> in that case it was also a sign that I wasn't happy with my current life situation because there wasn't enough action in it - so I signed up for parkour training again and now I'm not blindly following on the Assassin's Creed release anymore but on training those skills in real life.

I hope that makes it clear what I mean.

SIDENOTE: I'm playing games in moderation successfully for weeks now, whereas I'm not even playing every week but rather about 1-4 days a month.

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While I see the difference, especially when it comes to having played a game and looking forward to playing it again vs. looking forward to a fantasy of playing a game (by being hyped by trailers or blinded by cravings), but I'm going play the devil's advocate here: What made you want to start parkour? Isn't it also just a vision of being agile and cool? Aren't you also just fulfilling a void in your life? 

I mean you're saying the main reason we want to play some games is because of a vision that the marketing presented us, but I would argue the main reason why we do ANYTHING is because there was a vision the activity presented, whether it's presented by a marketing team or by the society, doesn't matter. 

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Of course I'm just fulfilling a void in my life - no arguing with that -- but I'm trying to find the real void (the NEED)  but don't take the first solution someone offers me. Then comes evaluation about what would be the best activity to satisfy this need. (Last year I dealt with the need for action in my life by training swordfighting regularly - which isn't possible due to my schedule this year --> maybe a reason why the vision of being "cool and agile" brought fore the need for action.

And yes, you're probably right that it doesn't matter if the vision is presented by marketing, society or even your own imagination. But not doing anything about it, would only result in being subconsciously lead by this need into the first, easiest to reach way of satisfying it.

30 minutes ago, JustTom said:

I mean you're saying the main reason we want to play some games is because of a vision that the marketing presented us, but I would argue the main reason why we do ANYTHING is because there was a vision the activity presented, whether it's presented by a marketing team or by the society, doesn't matter. 

Not necessarily, it's more that the vision presented to us makes aware of what we DON'T have (even though we sometimes have it) generating a vision of what we could have (and in case of any media that wants to provoke action: shows us a way to get it - not necessarily the best for us) - and that's something different for each person.

Edited by Philipp

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15 hours ago, Philipp said:

Hey guys,

I had that feeling too but once I understood how it works to get someone hooked into a new release, I started to notice when I was REALLY looking forward to a new release and which times it was just a hyped feeling created by announcements, ads, YouTube-videos and stuff like these.

So learning about marketing and potential customer manipulation could maybe help deal with this problem in the future - but I'm not sure.

I don't think there's a difference. Biochemically, really looking forward to a game, as you put it, and looking forward to a game because marketing told you to still likely fire the same signals. You're still going after that carrot on a stick, that reward that you think will make you feel good because your brain told you it will make you feel good. Video games are explicitly designed to trigger these reactions. I would strongly encourage you to read The Willpower Instinct. It talks about all of this.

Just out of curiosity, have you finished a 90 day detox? Before you decide to play games in moderation, I would encourage you to fully complete the detox. 90 days no games or gaming related content. That means no Youtube, Reddit, Google searches, anything that brings you games, cut it all out. Just make sure when you do the detox that you actively pursue other interests. After the 90 days, if you've given it an honest shot, you can decide if you still want to play games or not. At least you'll have fully completed the detox, know how it feels like, and feel empowered to make a decision based on all the facts.

12 hours ago, JustTom said:

While I see the difference, especially when it comes to having played a game and looking forward to playing it again vs. looking forward to a fantasy of playing a game (by being hyped by trailers or blinded by cravings), but I'm going play the devil's advocate here: What made you want to start parkour? Isn't it also just a vision of being agile and cool? Aren't you also just fulfilling a void in your life? 

I mean you're saying the main reason we want to play some games is because of a vision that the marketing presented us, but I would argue the main reason why we do ANYTHING is because there was a vision the activity presented, whether it's presented by a marketing team or by the society, doesn't matter. 

Every activity we participate in is filling a void in our lives. This is true even for people who are addicted to nothing. People who simply exist, doing the same things day after day and just going through the motions are living an empty shell of a life. They feel nothing and care about nothing. This is what it means to give up completely.

As former video game addicts, we have plenty of voids in our lives to fill that games filled. We should be pursuing other activities and interests. That's the only way you'll ever find out what other things in life you actually enjoy outside of games.

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On 10/14/2018 at 2:41 PM, Philipp said:

And yes, you're probably right that it doesn't matter if the vision is presented by marketing, society or even your own imagination. But not doing anything about it, would only result in being subconsciously lead by this need into the first, easiest to reach way of satisfying it.

Good point!

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@seriousjay I think it comes down to the scarcity vs. abundance concept. This is why gaming can be healthy for some individuals and extremely destructive for others. If a person is coming from a place of scarcity, lack of a need, low self-esteem, self-efficacy or escapism, if the person is just trying to fill a void in their life, then the activity will be harmful, regardless of what it is, really. On the other hand, if a person is perfectly happy with their life, have a high sense of self-awareness, live congruently with their values, goals and lead a satisfying, conscious life, then any activity they choose to do will be fine. Because their life is already complete, gaming would be just a cherry on top. They are not chasing satisfaction or relief or escaping pain, because they are already happy with their life and are self-confident in their ability to handle the uncertainty of the future.

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@seriousjay yeah, I agree with you that during the detox it's crucial to quit everything gaming related to clear your mind and reset your life goals. But as Tom said, gaming in itself isn't good or bad - it's the individual's use of them.

And I don't think you can reduce everything to biochemistry. Because if everything would be dictated by how something affects our bodies then we wouldn't be anything more than slaves to our genes and instincts. But even then, looking forward to something is (biologically speaking) pretty normal and nothing to banish from someone's life. It's, again, how the individual deals with this anticipation. Of course, if you ditch everything else and pretty much "chase after the carrot" --> orientate your whole day on what will be once the thing you anticipate happens --> yeah, than you're pretty much screwed. But that's not just looking forward to something (in my opinion) - that's fanatism and something I sure was guilty of doing before the detox, like many others. Get past that and what stays will be the feeling of anticipating something. Nothing bad, just a feeling.

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5 hours ago, JustTom said:

Good point!

*****************************************

@seriousjay I think it comes down to the scarcity vs. abundance concept. This is why gaming can be healthy for some individuals and extremely destructive for others. If a person is coming from a place of scarcity, lack of a need, low self-esteem, self-efficacy or escapism, if the person is just trying to fill a void in their life, then the activity will be harmful, regardless of what it is, really. On the other hand, if a person is perfectly happy with their life, have a high sense of self-awareness, live congruently with their values, goals and lead a satisfying, conscious life, then any activity they choose to do will be fine. Because their life is already complete, gaming would be just a cherry on top. They are not chasing satisfaction or relief or escaping pain, because they are already happy with their life and are self-confident in their ability to handle the uncertainty of the future.

Totally agree with this.

3 hours ago, Philipp said:

@seriousjay yeah, I agree with you that during the detox it's crucial to quit everything gaming related to clear your mind and reset your life goals. But as Tom said, gaming in itself isn't good or bad - it's the individual's use of them.

And I don't think you can reduce everything to biochemistry. Because if everything would be dictated by how something affects our bodies then we wouldn't be anything more than slaves to our genes and instincts. But even then, looking forward to something is (biologically speaking) pretty normal and nothing to banish from someone's life. It's, again, how the individual deals with this anticipation. Of course, if you ditch everything else and pretty much "chase after the carrot" --> orientate your whole day on what will be once the thing you anticipate happens --> yeah, than you're pretty much screwed. But that's not just looking forward to something (in my opinion) - that's fanatism and something I sure was guilty of doing before the detox, like many others. Get past that and what stays will be the feeling of anticipating something. Nothing bad, just a feeling.

Seems you have a reasonable amount of awareness of what's going on. Just be careful you don't fall into the trap of thinking you have everything under control when you really don't.

I do agree however that it isn't all about chemistry. Our reaction to what happens is even more important. This is where awareness of what's going on really helps.

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