Breaking up with Skyrim

(Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash.)

I started playing Skyrim on the PlayStation 3, many years ago. I absolutely loved it. It was the first really immersive electronic RPG I’ve ever played, far beyond anything else: I could create many different characters, explore the world, and even roleplay in ways I could only do with pen & paper RPGs before.

My PS3 was full of unplayed games, by the way – it was used mostly for Skyrim and Netflix. After I sold my PS3 I bought Skyrim on Steam, and played a little bit there. After Steam, I bought it again on PS4 and played countless hours again. A few weeks ago I bought Skyrim for the fourth time, now on the Switch, and was immediately hooked.

I’m on a break now, and I have 2 rules for myself for the time being:

  1. I want to be with family as much as possible, and help with the situations we’re in right now.
  2. I want to enjoy the time by trying as many different things as I can.

Soon after starting my break I realized that I was still playing 1-4 hours of Skyrim per day… but why?

  • It’s convenient. It’s there, mobile, on the Switch.
  • It’s safe. There are no unknowns, no excitement, no risk.
  • It has a reward loop: you take a quest, you do it, you get the rewards… and more quests. It’s an easy – and fake – way to feel productive, useful.

Most importantly, it was actively preventing me from trying new things: new activities, new games, anything that could potentially get me anxious or nervous would immediately be replaced with a “quick” session of Skyrim.

When I caught myself doing this, I realized this could not go on and deleted it.

I felt an immediate sense of relief, and decided to move on. Since then, I:

  • Deleted all the Kindle books except a new one that I wanted to read (The Sovereign Individual, which I already mentioned on the blog)
  • Deleted all my Spotify playlists
  • Deleted all my 3DS games except one (a new one, still unplayed)
  • Deleted all my Switch games except one (a new one, still unplayed)
  • Deleted all my bookmarks

I did this to remove the convenient, the safe, so I can create space for the new, the exciting. Let’s see how that goes!

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