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Discussion > Video GamesSep 13, 2023 8:00 am CT

How do you deal with a game that takes over your life?

I play a lot of video games.

I know it’s necessary to maintain a healthy balance between the various components of life — we need to work to live, but need to make sure we don’t work instead of actually living, and our mortal bodies require sustenance and regular sleep. We need to have pastimes and hobbies for enrichment — making sure that there are things we enjoy in our lives — and of course we have to make time for the people we love.

So why am I instead staying up until 5 a.m. wrestling that one last stubborn spaceship part onto the recalcitrant long-hauler I’m currently using to create what feels like Ship of Theseus Simulator, Spaceship Edition? Why, oh why, did I ever let Game Pass convince me to download Starfield, and how do I get it back in its cage before someone tries to get it wet or feed it after midnight?

It’s not like I don’t have other things to do. There are several games right now I’m either in various stages of playing — Baldur’s Gate 3, Diablo 4, and World of Warcraft, which just got a new patch I’m interested in — and yet, here I am playing a game that combines the crafting mechanics that got me hooked on Fallout 4 with the space adventure of a Mass Effect or The Outer Worlds. At one point, I stumbled into a lost outpost and discovered that I was fighting a bunch of space pirates trying to rob the last bunker of, I kid you not, space Batman. Space Batman was a woman, so I guess Space Batwoman? Whatever, the point is, I now have Space Batwoman’s spaceship and I needed to keep the basic look while jamming in a much more powerful reactor, and so I haven’t slept in four days.

This is fine. This is perfectly fine. I can taste laughter now, but it’s fine.

Obviously I’m working to throttle back my obsessive need to be space Batwoman and spend all my time fighting space pirates, discovering what this whole lost artifact deal is, and choosing between romances. Yes, romances exist in this too — so I pick a sassy British explorer/space archaeologist, an exotic and pragmatic assassin with a mysterious past but a soft side that keeps coming out at odd moments, or a space cowboy who is raising his daughter on his own but refuses to badmouth his ex wife even though she’s such a workaholic space sheriff that she often misses her daughter’s important life events? Oh, and he’s struggling to deal with his complicated past as a space sheriff himself.

Yes, I know I’m putting space in front of things a lot. Help me.

So how do you deal with this? When a game has a hold on you and you find yourself awake in the middle of the night exploring one last hidden bioweapons lab instead of sleeping? Building another outpost on a volcanic moon you know you don’t need just because there’s Titanium there and you need that for gun mods? Guys, please, share with me your wisdom before it’s too late/

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