On gaming

When I left Automattic one of the things I wrote in my farewell post was

I have a huge gaming backlog (Fallout New Vegas beckons)

That backlog has grown (got to buy a good game deal, right?) but it has not gone down. It has been bugging me as to why an activity (video games) that I have played since I was a teen at school (truant yay!) just has not figured in my life since April when I got all the time I needed to play.

After some time I figured that is was escapism.

Flip back some years …. I am caring for Jacqui. I have an increasingly stressful job at Automattic yet I still found time to play so many games – Burnout Paradise, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Far Cry 4 and others took thousands of hours of my time.
Playing those – and many many more – games gave my mind a rest, a diversion, an escape. I very much believe in games providing the escape you need from life and that made sense.

Look at now. I have no caring role since Jacqui died. I left Automattic in April this year, so maybe my need for escapism has gone so that’s why I don’t play games.

That made sense to me. Almost.

I got to thinking about all the years – decades – I have played games. I would bunk off school to go into the city and plug 10 pence into video game cabinets. I got the Megadrive (Genesis), SNES, PS, Saturn, Dreamcast and way more yet in those days I did not have the job at Automattic and Jacqui was well.
Looking at it that way, the use of games as escapism makes no sense. I had nothing to escape from.

Over the last few days I have made an effort – and it was an effort – to play some games. I even renewed my PS+ subscription to play online.

And earlier it hit me.

I played games because I enjoyed them. There is not now any enjoyment. It is not fun, it is not satisfying, it’s just something to do to pass the time. In some ways once I open a game it becomes a chore.

When I realised this I thought about other activities – walking the dogs, TV, films, reading. There is no enjoyment in any of them.
There may be a fleeting like in a short video, a meme.
But overall my enjoyment level has flatlined.

“It’s dead Jim.”

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