Minimalism and games

In the ongoing quest to simplify my life, I have been thinking about what other “hidden to-do lists” I have. I trimmed down books, apps, and even my goals and plans, but I still felt some “open threads” running in background in my head. Then I remembered games!

Ever since I broke up with Skyrim I bought more games and even went back to some of the older ones. That’s fine: the point is not to avoid adding anything, but to constantly curate (more on that on a later post).

The problem is that I filled my Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch with games again: games that were there as constant reminders of things that I “should” play (after all, I spent all that money!) I decided to try a different approach: I deleted all games from both consoles (I only own digital titles), put them in their boxes and stored them in my closet.

The purpose of this experiment was to find out:

  1. If I missed playing video games at all.
  2. If I did miss it, which games I actually wanted to play (as opposed to games I felt like playing to avoid sunk costs or whatnot).

In the first few days I instinctively looked at the place where my Switch used to be every time I went to the living room, but told myself it was OK: I could just do something else. I replaced the time playing games with walks, fiction books, and writing, and felt great about it.

Even though all my games were digital, and I didn’t kept tons of boxes or physical stuff, removing them and hiding the consoles made me feel free.

It’s been over a month, and although I do miss playing video games a little bit, I don’t feel excited to play any particular game right now; I know that if I unbox the consoles, I will play something, so for now I’m keeping them hidden from sight.

I have no idea how long this will last. I read somewhere that Diablo 3 will be released for Switch, so I’ll probably buy that and play it, but until then I think I’ll keep things this way.

Video games are not bad, and I’m not doing this to be “productive” or to do “better” things with my time: the point here is to ensure that I’m not doing things just out of habit. I want to do what I actually enjoy doing, and to achieve that yes, I might give up on a few things.

If you’re happy playing those games, keep at it! If you think you might be going through a similar situation with dopamine-hungry habits, just try this experiment and store your console away; you might be surprised with the results.

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