Finding hobbies outside of gaming

Someone finding a new hobby

So; you’ve decided you want to spend less time playing games, and you have a plan in place to make that happen. Whether you’re just reducing your play time, or going on a gaming hiatus, or even stopping indefinitely – you’re going to be left with two voids to fill. The first is the most simple; time. You are going to have free hours in your day and will need to find a way to fill them. Secondly, you’re going to be left with whatever emotional void gaming was filling.

What will you be giving up?

People play games for lots of different reasons. Some people do it for a challenge, others to hear compelling stories, others play for social reasons. The first step to finding hobbies outside of gaming is to figure out what gaming was providing you. Grab a notebook (either physical or digital) and start writing a list of the 5-10 games you’ve either enjoyed the most, or played the most, over the last year.

Once you have this list, you’ll need to do some introspection. Why specifically did you like each of these games? What need of yours did they meet, what itch did they scratch? If you had to replace them with a related non-gaming activity, how would you go about doing that? This process will require you go deep, and be self-aware and honest. Talking to someone who knows you well may help draw your attention to certain truths, making this process easier.

A picture of a man carrying a camera
Your new hobby away from gaming?

Some example ideas

To show exactly what we mean, here are some examples.

If you play games to…Potential replacements hobbies outside of gaming
Be told storiesReading, cinema and TV, podcasts/radio.
CompeteSign up to an event (e.g. a run), join a sports ladder or league.
Master/improve at somethingLearn a skill/study (such as game development), exercise/work out.
Discover new things/exploreWalk/hike, travel more, go to new restaurants/bars, start a collection.
Be challengedDo crosswords, brain teasers, logic problems, word and number games (e.g. sudoku).
Interact with othersSee friends and family, join a club, volunteer.
Express your creativity/createStart a project, write or draw, play music, cook/bake.
To relax/find comfortMediate, practice yoga, knitting or listen to music.
(This is by no means an exhaustive list)

A few final considerations

To narrow it down even further, it may be worth evaluating your hobby away from gaming on a few additional fronts:

  • Required time commitment. You want to pick an alternative hobby that actually fits into your life and the new free time you’ve found.
  • Cost. Gaming is an incredibly cost-effective hobby, particularly once you’ve bought the required hardware. Don’t choose something that isn’t going to be financially sustainable for you.
  • Pickupability. A bit of a made up word in truth, but it refers to the quality of being easy to start and stop at any time. Like a book takes seconds to pick up and open, games often fulfil this ‘I want a quick 15 minutes fix’ need.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas. If this has helped you find your next hobby outside of gaming, please leave a comment below or get in touch with us on Twitter.

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