Recently I was triggered to start playing World of Warcraft Classic with my old gaming buddy, although I hadn’t played games for a few years. In the beginning it sounded like a lot of fun, but when I remembered the familiar dull feeling while leveling my character and why I even decided to quit games in the first place, I became very anxious.
I was afraid that it would take over my life again, and it was difficult to describe these feelings to my friend, because somehow I felt responsible for staying in the game and sticking to the plan which was made under the influence of temporary emotions.
Thankfully I was able to stay honest and express my fears to him, so he acted like a true friend and recommended me to stay out of it. This enabled me to easily stop playing, since the social pressure or the fear of hurting someone’s feelings was a much stronger contributor in my case.
But I’m not going to lie. While I’m completely sick of games since I wasted so many years of my life because of it, and I lose the enthusiasm of playing very quickly, I still have cravings from time to time. Even after a complete break from games for multiple years, I kept seeing them vividly in my dreams.
So I asked myself, why are video games so tempting? Even if they have the power to destroy my physical life (or at least be a strong contributing factor), why do I still feel the urge to go back?
I was watching a particular video with nice graphics and music, and felt a sense of nostalgia and sadness. The world of fantasy games seems so mysterious and thrilling. Full of unpredictability, danger, adrenaline, challenge and wonder.
The adventure seems so spectacular, especially for children. And most definitely for a teenager who couldn’t walk on his feet and felt like a nobody.
These are emotions and experiences that a lot of people are unable to perceive in their physical life. The real world can seem so routine and empty compared to the virtual dimension. But why?
Virtual vs Physical Reality
There is a big dilemma. On the one hand, the fantasy world is SO attractive and engaging. It is a total shock to our nervous system – we just can’t help, but want more and more…
But at the same time we feel emptiness and pain, because we also want to live and enjoy our physical lives. We suffer if we don’t take care of our bodies, because we are born with it. We suffer when we don’t communicate with our loved ones – true friends who are always with us, if we just dare to open ourselves. We suffer if we don’t reach for our dreams because we are so busy living in a program where everything is calculated.
In spite of all the beautiful elements in an imaginary world, I eventually start to feel pain and emptiness, because I notice that I’m sitting in front of the screen, between four boring walls.
The moment I become conscious of my life and all the dreams I have, I start to feel guilt and heaviness. There is an urge to play, but I know it is harmful to act on it. I know it is just a temporary feeling of pleasure that can become a large piece of my future if I don’t keep these kind of habits in check. And every time I close the game, I have regrets because it never creates anything that lasts. Not a single legacy that I can leave for this world.
Maybe this sounds depressing or sad only because the digital addiction has taken control of my life in the past. Maybe it is possible to find balance even while playing computer games. Maybe I’m too biased.
But I can also ask the question: What would be possible in our lives if we enjoyed it as intensively as an epic video game?
What if we could satisfy those same needs in another way?
If you had the possibility to create whatever life you desire, would you still choose the game?
If no, a good question to think about would be: How to turn your life into an epic masterpiece? And how could you start today?