Well, today’s the day.
It’s been a full month since I’ve had my smartphone replaced after it mysteriously bricked on me, at which time I decided not to load any of the mobile game apps I’d been pretty religiously playing until that time. And I’ve been strong the entire month: not a single gaming app was loaded onto my phone. Not a single mobile game was played on it. Now, I can go back to playing Pokemon GO, Marvel Avengers Academy and other such time (and money) sinks on to my phone after proving to myself that I don’t really need them in order to go about my life, relieve stress, or keep me occupied in my down time.
And the thing is, I actually may not do that.
I’m simply not inclined to go back to gaming on my phone, or at least nowhere near to the degree that I was previously into it. In the last month, I’ve changed jobs; worked more on being productive–creatively, domestically, and personally; read more, in various formats; and enjoyed a lot less need to recharge my phone’s batteries or eyeball my data usage. It’s been nice, and I think the past few weeks have made me a little bit better for it.
Now, anyone who knows me and how much I love video games may find this to be a little bit of a shock, but I should probably point out that there are a number of factors that helped me reach this decision.
First and foremost, don’t think I’ve given up gaming completely. I’ve played plenty of video games over Steam and on my PS4 over the last month, and that’s probably not going to change. But not having the games immediately accessible in the palm of my hand has probably led to me making better decisions about how to spend my free time, such as deciding to listen to a podcast or undertake a Spanish lesson while I’m on the go. Audiobooks have also been great–I listen to them a lot while I’m either walking or driving. Restricting where I can access video games hasn’t cut down on my love for them; it’s just made me smarter about when and where I play them.
Heck, I technically haven’t even given up mobile games completely. Marvel Puzzle Quest is available on Steam–though I think most people play it on their phones or tablets–and that’s exactly where I’ve been playing it for the last month. I may also reinstall Pokemon GO, since that’s a unique and fun experience, but even there I’m only somewhat inclined to do so. But there are other games that have probably lost me for good as a result of this exercise, and for good reason.
- Marvel Avengers Academy: resource management with college-age iterations of the Avengers? Great concept! Initially, this game was a lot of fun, but it quickly became weighed down by the endless string of events that quickly became obvious money grabs. Now it’s ever more clear that the purpose of this game is to put out new characters to charge you big bucks to acquire, and on top of that demand the lion’s share of your time to farm the others. This one was on the way out before I left, and now I’m just done.
- Marvel Future Fight: yes, I love my Marvel games. For a while, this one was perfect. An action game with RPG elements and a beat-em-up style featuring Marvel characters was about as close as we’d get to a sequel to the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series of games for some time. And it held up for a while–it certainly gave its players more bang for their investment buck than Avengers Academy–but eventually got to feeling repetitive and pointless. Then they started sticking characters behind pay walls, and… that was that. Being away from it hasn’t made me miss it any more at this point.
- Cards and Castles: oh, wow, a NON-MARVEL game?! Yes, I actually can play those–just watch me play the Batman Arkham series. This looked amusing, and tugged at my love for old trading card games, so I gave it a shot. It wasn’t bad, and the game play was fun, so it was in my rotation when I lost my phone. But like the Marvel games listed here, time has just shown that there’s not quite enough here to make me want to come back to it. Maybe I’ll give it a shot on Steam.
I could list any other number of games on here, but I think the common thread between why I’m not continuing with them, beneath all the other very good reasons, is time. I just don’t have the time to continue playing these games in a way that makes it worthwhile to me, especially when there’s other activities I could be filling that time with: exercise, creative pursuits, being with loved ones. Since where we place our money and our time says where we place our priorities, the last month has shown me that this change is one that will only benefit me going forward.
I want my priorities to be my writing and my loved ones. And so, there it is. No more games on my phone.
Except maybe Pokemon GO. Occasionally.