Baldurs Gate 3 comes out on Mac tomorrow. I will not play it.
I’m at the point where I’ve played so many games that it’s rare for me to get excited about a new one. Baldurs Gate 3 is an exception.
This game looks perfect for me, in the actual sense of the word. When I first saw the PC release, I knew - I’m gonna play the hell out of that.
And that’s a big problem.
I get addicted to video games. Like anyone with severe addiction, I can use to the point of self-destruction.
No joke, I can play video games until my mind, body, career, and relationships suffer. I’ve been struggling with it ever since I was a little kid.
I’ve tried many times to stop. And I’ve had some pretty long abstinence streaks. But every attempt so far has ended with a relapse.
So back to Baldurs Gate 3. The day I saw it, I was happily “sober”. I hadn’t played video games in a while, didn’t even miss them. Things were going well, and I was feeling on top of life. But that game looked so good, I made a plan that, when it came out, I was going to play it.
It’s special. It’s different.
Why would I decide to ruin a good thing, and go back to video games, knowing how bad my addiction is?
Crazy as it sounds, it’s because this specific game seems like something special.
I’ve never seen people get so excited about a game. Every reviewer is giving it perfect 10/10 scores. It might be the single best video game I’ve ever had the opportunity to play.
Plus, it’s a ridiculously high effort output from an underdog team. I love that. It’s like a big middle finger to all the big studios pumping out lazy cash-grab games.
“Don’t you want to support that? Don’t you want to support this rare glimmer of hope, something truly exceptional, which they labored over for years not even knowing if it would be worth it?? Do you realize how lucky you are that they even made this game instead of another stupid Candy Crush or Call of Duty?? Isn’t it your moral imperative to buy and play this game!?!?” screamed my no-longer-dormant addiction.
“You make a good point. Ok.”, I replied.
The build up
That was a month ago. The game came out on PC, and I’ve been waiting for the Mac release so I can play it. I’ve been a little obsessed with it in the meantime. Watching videos, checking the subreddit every day, reading other people’s experiences with it.
Reading it back, it sounds ridiculous for an adult to be doing this. And yeah actually, I haven’t been so excited about a game since I was a kid.
Well finally the wait is over. Tomorrow the game comes out on MacOS, and I will be able to play to my heart’s content.
You have to choose
I made the decision in a moment of clarity while taking a walk today.
I was thinking about how, in life, we have to choose. How we just don’t have enough time or energy to do it all.
It’s a always been a hard pill for me to swallow, and I’ve often looked for some way to cheat it.
Well I think I’m starting to accept it. Time is limited. Energy is limited. You can and should manage them better, but no matter how well you do that, you’ll still have to choose. What will you do? What won’t you do?
Last month, I made a plan to play this game. With that plan, abstinence felt pointless, so I got some other games to fill the time. As always, I got addicted and suffered consequences far worse than whatever benefit I could hope to get.
So, if I caused problems for myself merely in anticipation of getting Baldurs Gate 3, it’s easy to predict what’s going to happen when I actually get it.
I’m going to spend dozens and dozens of hours playing it over the course of weeks or months. I’m going to stay up late and lose sleep. I’m going to think about the game even when I’m not playing it. I’m going to exercise less, eat less, socialize less.
I’ll get stronger in the game and weaker in real life. My career will suffer. I will spiral further into the vicious cycle of my addiction.
The choice is clear. I won’t play it.
The best time
The best time to stop playing video games was when I was 8 years old and got my first Gameboy.
The second best time to stop is when I’m 30, less than 24 hours away from playing “the best game ever”.
The fact that the game is so good makes this choice meaningful. How often do you get the chance to look the strongest ever manifestion of your vice in the eye, grab your balls, and say “No.”
It changes everything. What was going to be yet another round on the addiction rollercoaster will instead become a pivotal moment. Something that I’ll be able to draw strength from, and look back on with pride.
In the future, when I’m tempted by addiction, I’ll be able to tell myself “Remember Baldurs Gate 3? If you could resist that, you can certainly handle this.”
Let’s get real though. I can talk a big talk today then quietly download it tomorrow, or next week, or next month. And if I don’t say anything about it online then you, dear reader, will certainly never know.
So I need some proof. A daily journal will do. My video game addiction is so severe that when I play, it takes over completely. It does not leave me with any time, desire, or mental clarity to publish a daily journal.
So, that will be the proof. If you see me posting my daily journal, you’ll know I’m still in the land of the living, holding to my decision.
Not that I expect anyone to be policing me here - but just saying it for the record.
What’s the point?
You might be thinking, what’s the big deal? Why not just play a little?
I wish I could just play them in moderation like most people, but because of my addiction that is much harder for me than simply abstaining.
So I guess the point is that I think I can do better things with my life if I don’t play video games. It would be fun to play, much more fun than reading a book or meditating, or calling someone. But I know from experience that regardless of how much fun it is, it will never be worth the cost to my mental health, physical health, relationships, and career.
So, I’m making my choices:
No to video games. Yes to sleeping well, eating well, exercising.
No to investing in a fake world. Yes to investing in my career.
No to digital escapism. Yes to accepting pain and discomfort.
No to playing Baldurs Gate 3. Yes to getting better at playing this game of life.