Why I Stopped Playing Video Games

By Ian Garrity

The console alone? At least $3-400.

Online play? $60 for a year.

One new game? $60.

   Many developers don’t ship full games either. They milk the gamer for all their worth by selling incomplete products so that they can charge gamers for additional downloadable content (aka “DLC”) at a later date. The infamous “Call of Duty” series developers ship an “up to date” $60 game every year which renders each previous installment obsolete. They essentially release an alternate permutation of the same game with a few changes to make it sparkle like new.

Most video games consist of pitting players against strangers and their friends in an arena of competition and violence. Sure, it can be satisfying to beat your opponent and show off your “skillz,” but at what cost? Several paychecks, your grades, and social life; THAT is the cost. My theory is that if technology is being made to simulate things, why wouldn’t we use that technology for the better?

Video games do have redeeming qualities, and they are not all bad. Most are violent, but some are puzzle solvers, adventure/explorers or simulations of everyday life among other nonviolent activities. Some allow the gamer to explore their creative side such as in Minecraft, Halo’s “Forge” mode, etc. Studies have shown that gamers dream more often and that video games are helpful for relieving stress. I have really good memories associated with certain games. They do wonders for the ol’ imagination. Sometimes I play them just to be immersed in a stimulating, fantastical alternative to reality. The one thing I take away most from games is their soundtracks. The first two Harry Potter games on PC, The Elder Scrolls series (both composed by Jeremy Soule), Beyond Good and Evil (a sci-fi adventure cult classic composed by Christophe Heral) and the Halo franchise (composed by Marty O’Donnell) are among my favorites.

However, games, especially those that reward the player through “leveling up” and unlocking new abilities, can also be extremely addictive and negate their positive effects. Modern gamers are, in my humble opinion, investing too much time, money, and energy into an entertainment appliance that robs them of their dignity. It may temporarily boost their confidence to get really good at a game, but indulging in escapism, in the long run, will leave them feeling empty and unfulfilled about real life. Why waste so many precious resources on something that at best rewards your inner dominator and at worst pisses you off and leaves you feeling frustrated? That happens out in the real world enough as it is. Stick to games that have a ton of replay and creative value. Then go outside, get some exercise and interact with other humans face to face. Or pet a dog.