I’ve finally come to the conclusion the other day that I have a big backlog of games that I have developed in the late part of 2016. Developers pushed great games that I never touch because I was focused on finishing the latest release that hit the stores. Titles such as Inside, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Bioshock: The Collection, The Witness, Darkest Dungeon, Mafia III, Gears of War 4, Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, Owlboy, Call of Duty, Dishonored 2, the new World of Warcraft expansion, Watch Dogs 2, Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, Dead Rising 4 and many, many more. You can tell by this list, there is no possible way a college student, or even anyone with a full-time job can complete such a list in the short amount of free time that we have.
Due to the humongous backlog of games that I have, it got me thinking recently about why I play video games and constantly remind myself that I have to finish playing all of these titles that I have accumulated. A lot of the times, after a long day at work or school we enjoy a relaxing evening of unwinding with our favorite game or a new title that just released. It helps us relieve the stress and anxiety that is accumulated throughout the day. We just want our time to ourselves and a good game.
But is escapism from our everyday lives the only thing we strive for from games? Games helps us forget about the difficult questions we don’t want to answer. Questions that give us that uneasy feeling when we talk about them, and some of those questions are about death itself.
Games satisfy a human desire to escape the constant reminders and daily life that are our time here on Earth is finite. In a game, we can enjoy the illusion of exploring a world endlessly until we see all that it has to offer, even returning from death to press onward. It’s a bit tempting to apply this logic to the consumption of games, making an even more pleasurable escape, just look at my Steam library (500 plus and counting). Endings are hard for us because it’s a reminder that we are mortal, our lives will inevitably end with a backlog of games that we never got to play, experiences we never got to have, but we can’t ignore that we use them to overcome difficult obstacles and challenges that are presented to us in the world.
We linger on the things we wish we had time to do because we don’t have that much time to complete them.
It’s a rather scary topic to talk about, but it’s something we all have to realize in our lives. Death happens and people move away from Earth. Play the games you love to play and don’t fret about all the games you wish you had time to play and can’t get around to, I promise you that you will get to it eventually, and you will love yourself for doing that.
The few hours I get to play video games at the end of my day is pure escapism, and I cherish every moment of it with a passion. We don’t know when our last time to pick up a controller or smack the keys on a keyboard will come, but at least you get to enjoy what you love most. I use games because I don’t want to worry about my problems at the moment, not to come back to them in a more effective way, but just to step back and do something else for the time being, just like those internships I really need to get to, but keep putting them off. But that might just be my procrastination and me being lazy at times.
Escapism sometimes can lead to addiction, and gaming addiction is a thing that is real in many parts of the world, but for me, I treat gaming as a cure. It’s a pain reliever that I use often throughout the week. The pain will still be there every morning when I wake up to face the challenges of real life, but for now, I play video games every night. Even for an hour or two because it helps.