The Thin Gaming Line

Every once in awhile, I’ll sit down and pick up a controller and play Titanfall 2 on PS4. If you spotted me at Target or Best Buy, you may see me wander into the video games section to browse. I’ve always enjoyed video games, and as I have gotten older that really hasn’t changed a lot. I restrict myself with a certain amount of time playing, but my enjoyment of it hasn’t changed.

There was a point, though, when I used video games as a form of escapism. I didn’t like the real world so I would escape into a fantasy world. More than that, I didn’t like who I was in the real world. Growing up, I suffered with many different self destructive tendencies that ruined relationships around me. I would retreat into video games to try and dull the pain. This type of gaming is bad. It isn’t healthy, and its straight up addictive behavior. In all actuality, its very little different than turning to alcohol or drugs to dull pain. It may not come with the immediate health or criminal dangers, but it is a money pit and it also can keep us from dealing with the deeper issues within our own hearts.
Its a fine line to walk. There is a thin difference between escapism and enjoying a good story or puzzle. When I sit down with a game, its always important for me to ask the reason why I am playing. Am I escaping a difficult conversation? Is there anything that happened that I’m not wanting to “deal” with? Its hard to answer these questions, because they take us to places that we don’t often want to go.

Really, this type of self-evaluation extends beyond just playing video games. It extends to any form of consumption of entertainment. Why do we go to movies, watch television, listen to music, and read books? I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud, because I like all of those things. I believe that there is just value in asking why when it comes to consumption.

In a way, these forms of entertainment can actually help us connect to one another. There are aspects that we can draw from shows, movies, music, even games that can teach us something. They can also be a form of social connection. I remember my wife and I laughing and having a ball while playing Little Big Planet 2 when we were dating.

However, that’s not always the case. How many gaming sessions kept me from sitting down and writing? I imagine a lot.

What’s your why when it comes to entertainment? Are your hobbies keeping you from doing anything that you should be doing?


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