Jan 29, 2015, 10:24AM

Finding the Motivation to Game

Why I need to be inspired to sit on my ass.

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I moved to Baltimore a little over a week ago to attend college. During that time, I’ve unpacked the essentials and organized my space to make it feel homier. I lugged my precious PS4 with me, with the impression that I’d hook it up and jump right back into playing the game I'd put on hold.

I didn’t. As I’m typing, my PS4 is still in its box. It’s begun to accumulate a thin layer of dust. Just mentioning its neglected state makes me want to turn around and hook it up to my television out of guilt. But by the time I’m done writing this, I can guarantee that my console will remain untouched.

It may sound like the pinnacle of laziness when I say that I need to find the motivation to sit down and start up a video game. After all, it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to press a button and then plant my ass into a chair. I received my PS4 as a Christmas gift from my parents. I couldn’t run upstairs fast enough to set it up. Fast-forward to now and… well, I’ve lost the drive to pick it back up again.

Something similar happened in high school. I was 17 at the time, halfway finished senior year. It was a stressful point: I was still unsure of what I wanted to major in or pursue career-wise. All of the pent-up anxiety and desire to shut down my brain for a little while inspired me to pick up a controller and start a game that I’d watched my brothers play years ago. It was called “Mass Effect.” I couldn’t put it down for weeks. I bought the second game after finishing the first and eagerly waited for the release of the third.

Then I crashed and burned. Between the couple of months it took for the third game to be released, I hadn’t touched a gaming console, nor did I have the desire to. There was a list of games I’d wanted to play; yet I couldn’t find the will to sit down and take the time to get going. It’s the same problem I have right now.

I’ve been an avid gamer for many years. It’s a hobby that I enjoy with a raging passion. Yet here I am, complaining about how I’m too lazy to do what I love the most. Why is it that I have a list of video games I want to play, but can’t seem to do it?

I’m convinced it’s because I need a break from gaming. Still, who ever heard of needing a break from their hobbies? Within the next couple of weeks, when I’m bogged down with assignments and readings, I’ll reconcile with “my baby” and dust it off. When I find myself in college-induced insanity, I will definitely be inspired to pick up a controller again.

  • I'm 33 and have been a passionate gamer since NES hit my block. I didn't always have the latest games, nor did I play with the frequency of most of my gamer friends. However, I've put a lot of time in and did things at my own pace, and as a result have a considerable roster of completed games in me. I've known for the past 5 years or so that my gaming habits were changing. At first, I was able to put games aside when it was time to make art, my most important life passion. It was like depriving myself of easy amazing times in order achieve a more difficult but also more real thing. 2014 saw a change for me, though. I got dark souls and played quite a bit until I was forced to put it down (right near the end!) because I just...wasn't good enough at it to get any farther. This helped me into a long stretch of playing no games and getting a lot of major home recording done that I'm very proud of. I decided to reward myself by getting some new games and vegging out. This turned into an uncomfortably long period that was mostly dominated my zombie-like Skyrimming. I started to feel worthless. I forced myself to take the CD out of the system, put it back in it's box, and put it out of sight. I tried to decompress with other new games but nothing stuck. I remain in this stalemate currently. I don't know if I'm unconsciously avoiding playing known addictive games, or if some other change has occurred in me. Maybe the time I lost during Skyrim addiction hit me really hard, and kind of scarred me. I guess the older you get, the more greedy you are with that kind of time. You want to make sure it goes to something useful. I suppose I'd be happy not being addicted to another game again until I've accomplished all the things I want in my life. Gaming and productively really don't mix. You can find a healthy balance between the two, but it's kind of like finding a balance between smoking cigarettes and going to the gym, or drinking just enough alcohol at work to not get caught. Gaming is nothing more than a glorified vice.

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