S2: E35 | Quitting Games Can Be a Good Thing

Daniel A. Kaufmann, Ph.D
Dr. Gameology on Twitch & The Gaming Persona Podcast
Owner of Area of Effect Counseling

Quitting games can be a difficult decision. Dr. Gameology and the Gaming Persona cast review games they have had to step away from. This difficult decision comes accompanied by research and player experiences from the entire group. This thoughtful discussion aims to bring gaming habits into a real-life context that helps to emphasize the value of knowing your in-game goals, and using play time as a way to help you move forward as your best self.

Listen to the Podcast Here:

Gaming Library:

Live A Live, Assassin’s Creed, Dead By Daylight, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Darkest Dungeon, Bioshock, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XIV, Resident Evil 5 / VII / VIII, World of Warcraft, Mega Man


So, what are we talking about from the world of video games today?

We’re going to be talking about quitting video games.

Oh my gosh, like all of them?

No, maybe not all of them. But times when you have quit?

Oh, times where I specifically have quit.

The Royal you.

Wow, my head is spinning Jenny.


The Ordinary World


Let’s just go The Ordinary World where everything can calm down. And we can focus simply put on our everyday life in our games. All right, Jenny, Gene. What has your week been like in the world of gaming?

Well, I’ll go first. I don’t have anything to report.

Oh, no. Okay, Gene, it’s up to you to save our conversation.

Okay, well, I didn’t do a whole lot of game because it’s mostly been packing. But I did play several demos.

Any good ones?

So, I played the demo for I guess it’s called Live A Live. It is an interesting old RPG that never that was developed in the 90s. But never made it out of Japan. And now they’ve remastered it and actually translated and all that. And that’s on the Switch. And that’s an interesting kind of a thing a game because, well, the demo, you only get to play at three characters. But the full game is about a whole bunch of different characters in different timelines. And you just play somehow through these individual character stories. And somehow, they will all converge. But these people are like hundreds and 1000s of years apart. So, it’s very interesting to see how it’s about to converge. Like Assassin’s Creed. I guess I don’t know, the demo doesn’t show you much. So like, for instance, in the demo, one story is about a robot in the distant future. He’s on a spaceship. And then, oh, another storyline is a ninja, you know, back in feudal Japan, so it’s like, okay, you know, there’s like, 3000 years apart here. What’s happening?

I like that. That sounds like a lot of fun. What is the game genre?

It’s mostly a turn-based RPG. But there’s a lot of interesting elements to it. Like the Ninja. He has a stealth, you know, style of play. So, you’re not trying to run into people and get in the battles. You’re trying to get around them.

Okay, excellent.

But yeah, every character supposedly has a slightly different play style.

All right. Well, I did play a few video games this week I played Dead by Daylight. I’m over the weekend for the second week in a row. And I did a lot worse last weekend than I did the first one. So bad, I think that I need to figure out a way to always be level one. And that way I can avoid playing with people who understand the game and enjoy it more than I do.

So, I know that that beginning of that game is a common complaint, that we’re basically until you just, fail upwards, you have to suffer through enough games to unlock enough abilities, to where you can piece together a character that doesn’t suck.

You know, it’s interesting, I talked with a few different people throughout the week, so far, about that whole idea of struggling in a forward progression, how toddlers don’t string together their first set of successful steps without falling a bunch. And other metaphorical ways that we can see the idea that we have to struggle through in order to get to the place that we can enjoy. But do I want to do that in Dead by Daylight. So, I do have other game related things on my mind. And I’ve specifically been working on a bit of writing. And I’m thinking these days specifically about mentorship being represented to our heroes in video games. So, I’m thinking about the characters that are encountered during the main story by the central protagonist, and how they learn lessons from the other game characters and how they’re supported and how they come to understand the worlds that they are experiencing their quest in more completely by interacting with these mentor style characters. And I thought it would be an interesting side quest for our ordinary world. Since we’re kind of exploring a random topic today. Apparently, I quit games a lot. But before we talk about that, what are some of your favorite mentor characters from video games?

Well, so the first person that popped in my brain, when we started talking about this was Lana. In Star Wars the Old Republic.

Lana Beniko.

Yes. So, we’re both Sith. And the game and the Sith have, you know, the famous power structure of apprentice and master. So, it’s a pretty common thing for there to be mentors. And just throughout the story, I feel like she really was a guiding force. Um, for me, I would even so in that game, I played as a very dark character, and made lots of dark decisions. And there were a lot of times where Lana didn’t like that. She was a little bit more of a I don’t want to say she was neutral, but she was she just had I feel like she had a really good head on her shoulders.

Do you tend to be more interested in the Sith flu version of Lana? Or, like the well done? You know, face not suffering from a flu possibly wearing good makeup that day.

Flu like you turn into a yellow zombie man?

No, in the Shadow of Revan expansion where we first met Lana, her character skin, had all kinds of weird red coloration around her eyes and her nose. And that got redone. So, Lana actually has a different character model covering in Knights of the Fallen Empire.


Quitting Games: In the Shadow of Revan expansion to Star Wars: The Old Republic, players are introduced to new support characters; Lana Beniko, Theron Shan, and several others.


Yeah, yeah, I know. I know what you’re talking about. She looked very sickly. Yeah. I wasn’t a fan of that. But that didn’t stop me from pursuing a romance with her.

All right. You have these memories of Lana being a middle of the road influence on you. But I remember since I was playing a light side Sith during Knights of the Fallen Empire, there is a fight in that first chapter where you’re trying to escape as a cool. And there are two nights on the final platform, you have to defeat them. And then you get on the ship. But you only have the chance to execute one of them. The second one runs off. And I did not execute that one and one disapproved strongly and clearly, with my showing of mercy.

Yeah. I know. So, when I say that I’m not saying that she’s like, lightheaded at all. She still is this. I just think she was a little more pragmatic than I was than the way that I played. Yeah. Like, there were certain people that, you know, probably didn’t need a force choke that I was

Enjoying force choking?

Yeah, I mean, she was still bad. So that’s why I really loved her. She was she was intimidating. I think isn’t there a part of the story where she just? Well, I guess it depends if you choose a dark side, choice or not. But I remember there being a part of the story where she just like straight up slices, someone with a lightsaber?

I’m sure. I’m sure there is. Yeah. All right. Well, that was a neat journey back through the SWTOR days, where all of us used to be Gene, what are some of your favorite gaming mentors?

So, and I’ve mentioned the game Darkest Dungeon before. So, its darkest dungeon kind of has a mentor that works in reverse. The premise of the game is you are a supposedly, you know, a distant heir of an estate, and you know, that your ancestor has died. And it’s, you get a letter saying, come back, you know, save your birthright, basically. So you go to this state, and it’s all full of monsters and garbage and disease and all that. And you the way the game is told the narrator of the game is your dead ancestor. And you as you play through the game, you pick up little notes, and store and journals and stuff, where the ancestor narrate something that happened. So, you know, he’ll be so you find the bandit leader, and you find a journal saying, oh, yeah, the bandit. You know, the reason part of the reason the town sucks so hard, it’s because of bandits all over on the town. And then, but the way the game works is that the more you play, the more you realize the ancestor is a horrible, horrible person. Because like, after a while, you’re like, oh, so you find another journal? It’s like, oh, yeah, the peasants rebelled. And I hired these bandits to keep them in line, and then the pet and then the bandits went out of control, because they wanted more and more money, and I wouldn’t pay them. Okay, so it’s a mental relationship that continuously declines, the further you get into the game.

I think that’s something that happens in a lot of fiction, and probably to a lot of people in real life as well. I actually was listening to both of you and didn’t have a conclusive list in my mind. Because my agenda here is to think about other characters and the ones that naturally pop up in my head. So, my question is, does Atlas in the first BioShock game count as one of these mentors? And I’m specifically asking, because Gene, your mentor relationship declines. And without spoiling Bioshock, directly, I just thought I would ask, “Would you kindly” discuss with me if Atlas is a mentor relationship?


Quitting Games: The phrase “Would You Kindly…” echoes repeatedly throughout the Bioshock series. Understanding why is a key element of the plot and finally making sense of what happened in Rapture.


I definitely believe so. At least for a good chunk of the game, maybe the first half even?

Yeah, because you don’t know Rapture. Because you have amnesia. You’re the amnesiac hero, which is a very common thing in video games. And so, you understand rapture better because of him. You understand the Little Sisters and the big daddies. Much more quickly because of him and his contributions over the radio, and your main class. US are basically you are getting jerked around to different parts of rapture because Atlas feels like it. And you’re inclined to believe him because you have no reason to doubt this person because early on in meeting him on that radio, he seems to help you. So cool. I you know, I was also thinking about characters like Midna, from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and are on from Final Fantasy X. I think that those characters fit this question pretty well. In because

Titus, I feel like everyone says mentor because he’s very dark.

Oh, well, you’re definitely not “Team Titus” Gene, and I know that from our friendship. Yeah, I find Titus to be one of the lesser Final Fantasy protagonists as well. But for some reason, Final Fantasy 10 is still solid. Probably because it’s just Final Fantasy, A New Hope. And A New Hope is just The Hero’s Journey.

Yeah. Cast formation is definitely what carries it because like, you know, A New Hope, if it was just Luke. Yeah, that would not be that great of a story.

But that’s the point of the journey is you have the protagonist, and then you have the allies and the mentor, and you have the supernatural aid, and you have all these different other characters, and many of them have backstories and levels of influence and their own personal side quest to the main protagonist quest. So well, that was a pretty cool, ordinary world. That’s what I’ve been working on for the majority of my week.


The Call to Adventure


Because I’m one of those people that decided to answer their call to adventure where we get into our topic for the week. Oh, man, that was such an awesome segue. Yes, I’m podcast patting myself on the shoulder for that one. So, we’re going to have a gaming persona conversation about games that we have played for a really long time. I just want to have all three of us chime in. We can name one or two games, that we feel like we played a long time, a long time for some people is a week. And for some people, it’s seven years. And that, you know, we have clinical diagnostic labels for that. Yeah, but who’d like to go first? Alright, first.

I feel like we both are so polite, and we chance and then it gets to a point where it’s too long of a silence and we both jump in.

And you need to ask yourself more often what do you mean to do?

Oh, yeah, she would just jump in every time. Yeah, force choke this conversation.

Oh, no.

So, I games that I played a long time. So, I consider Final Fantasy 14 to be a game that I have played for a long time. I’ve played some periods of time consistently some periods of time, not as consistently, but I still get on and login at least a couple times a month. And it’s still a really fun game and I still very much look forward to playing it. The other games that come to mind so tour Star Wars The Old Republic and also Magic: the Gathering. I have played Magic: the Gathering since I was in high school. So that’s probably the game I played the longest.

That’s interesting, because I was already going to say something that lines up with that. Gene, what’s on your list?

Oh, okay. Magic gathering is a game I’ve also played and quit like five or six times.

About right. That game.

That game like lives on whether or in my head lives on whether or not the following expansion is of interest to me if it’s not I just drop it.

I play like game totally different than that. Like why? I haven’t bought new cards. I mean recently I have because my new boyfriend and I got really into it. Before that I hadn’t bought new cards since like Morrowind

Well, yeah, I went on like a nearly like eight-year break, too.

But I still played with my cards. I still played with my deck that were just old decks, and I had fun playing casual.

But yeah, there’s, you know, for me, it’s the theme plus the mechanics, because sometimes it’s like, when you get a preview of the next expansion, it’s like, oh, that’s what they want to do with this expansion. That is a very dull game set. I’m going to wait.

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.

Gene, you just made me think with that whole, what’s the next entry going to be? And I know, it’s a little bit different than Magic: The Gathering and how that operates. But video games for me operate in a much different way. Because the challenge feels current, even if the setup of the story and it’s ending, clearly indicate there will be a sequel. So, if you know that there will be DLC or a sequel, that and you decide that looks dumb, I’m out. That would be what I just heard you explain. So, there would actually be games where I don’t think I would have continued playing them, being challenged by them, and coming to love them or enjoy them if I had knowledge of what the next game is going to be. So, for example, Resident Evil VII. I don’t think I would have dived in and worked on the trophy list in that game the way I did. If I knew Resident Evil Village was going to be Resident Evil Twilight. But because you don’t know that, then ignorance is bliss, and you do your best with the current challenge.

I sometimes I think if it’s definitely good to wait. Like, for instance, if I was joining the franchise now of Resident Evil, I would definitely say don’t bother Operation Raccoon City.

Oh, gosh, that was a terrible game. Exactly. I was so excited to buy that game. And then it is not what I thought it was going to be.


Gene, why did you add that game to our list of games?

Because Resident Evil is this weird franchise where everything is either great, or, okay. But then there’s two games that are like extraordinarily bad.

I was doing the post where you talked about this special style of weird that you enjoy from Resident Evil. And so, I got to that part in the transcript. And I really wanted a GIF in the website post of Chris punching the boulder.

Chris punches!

Oh my gosh, it’s one of the best moments in videogame history. There, there’s a giant boulder think Indiana Jones raid or the log size. And it is coming at Chris and basically blocking him from getting to Wesker for their epic fistfight in a volcano. And in order for Chris to get around the boulder, he keeps pushing it and as the player you have to match the correct buttons for him to push it successfully. But when he gets it near the edge, he stops pushing it and he starts punching it. And it works. And the boulder rolls into the lava and you either get out or you get to the place where you can continue the battle with Wesker in the volcano.


I could not find a gif that did not have a Twitter handle or some kind of Reddit post tag in the corner that also included the full range of pushing and punching and landing in the lava. I wanted the whole thing, but I didn’t want to advertise, you know other people. Right? And I didn’t I didn’t want to play all of Resident Evil five just to make my own GIF. So anyway, that was a wonderful sidetrack topic there. I would say that Pokémon games are different every couple of years. But I really do feel like I’ve been playing that since middle school. Yeah. And especially since the book just came out and my chapters there. So, there’s lots of Pokémon stuff going on for me right now. And those memories are so far in the past, but they’re such an important part of the present, too. And so, I just feel like Pokémon is a game franchise that buy cards and buy handheld, and buy the Switch console have continued to hang in there with me, even if I’m not actively playing it. And there are many generations of that game that I have not played, meaning I have quit Pokémon before.


The Road of Trials


So, let’s go on The Road of Trials where we face our challenges and discover our strengths. So my friends, why did we quit these games at different points in time?

Okay, so I mean, like, as I explained, magic gathering, the game works in a in a cycle, right? So you know, they come up with an expansion like every, I don’t know, three months, it feels like, Yeah, sounds good. Yeah. And so, you’re expected, if you want to keep playing the current competitive block of cards, you have to keep, you have to refresh your sets every three months, you know, or give or take.

But what’s the price tag on that refreshing?

It’s pretty big.

It can be very big, depending on the style of game you want to play. I mean, it can go anywhere from you know, let’s see, what’s a box worth nowadays? Like? You’re on a box?

Yeah, probably somewhere in there.

Yeah. So, you can either buy a box and you get what you get, I mean, which is fine. Or you can be someone that’s really out to win, and get, you know, four copies of every, like meta level card to throw your deck. And those can go up to 1000s.

Oh, my gosh, I need to start charging more for counseling sessions.

But yeah, I mean, but I like to play draft modes. So that’s you pay the price of entry, you join, you go to a draft event, and you pay like, something like 25 bucks.

What do you get for that?

25 bucks, they give you a, they give you a certain set number of cards, and then they throw you a bunch of booster packs. And then it’s like, using these cards, try to make a competitive deck, and you get to try you get to play against everyone else using that same restriction. It’s a very level playing field other than the sheer luck of it. But you’re not going up against people that spent 1000s of dollars on their cards.

I feel like in Dead by Daylight, I’m playing against people who spent 1000s of dollars on…

Failing forward is an important understanding in some of the most powerful paths to success. Click To Tweet

Yeah, I like playing draft you it’s fun. It’s a little bit challenging for me, because I don’t know the guards as well as a lot of people. So that’s where my difficulty lies. But yeah, it’s it does level the playing field quite a bit.

Yeah. But yeah, otherwise, you know, I keep quitting that game, because it’s like, well, if the mechanics of the next set, don’t interest me, then I don’t want to draft those cards. I don’t care. Because every expansion of this game, they add different mechanics that alter the how the cards work together. And some of them the mechanics are really boring.

Three months is such a quick turnaround too.

Yeah, they reprint cards sometimes too, and like bring them back into rotation. But there at this point, there are so many different guards, so many sets, so many new mechanics, it is sometimes really hard to keep track of and be comfortable. You’re constantly having to update.

Yeah, yeah, it does. I mean, it’s fun, it keeps things like fresh and new and different and lively. But depending on the set that fresh and new could be not great. For me with magic, the only times I’ve ever quit are times when like we just don’t get groups together to play. Okay, so yeah, my my acquitting isn’t really based on the sets that come out or anything like that. It’s more so because I don’t Play with new sets anyway, it’s more, so just having time to get together and play with people.

You know, both of you have played a very important game in the history of video games that I haven’t really played. And I don’t think you do play it anymore. So, World of Warcraft, why are both of you playing that right now?

So, for me, it was a combination of So okay, so we have to rewind back to say that the Warcraft series of strategy games, were amazing games. Yes, I love the Warcraft one through three, those are some of my favorite games of all time. And so, I got into World of Warcraft, knowing that this is where they’re going to continue the storylines that, you know, appeared in Warcraft three. And so right. For me, it was, it was me exploring the world of warcraft trying to figure out like, hey, what’s happened since then, you know, what happened to this NPC? What happened to that place? Whatever. And so, I quit that game three different No, two different times. Yeah. And it’s because I would burn through this story that exists. And then I would get bored, and I would just wait for more story and more expansions to get added, and then I would go back. And then same thing happened. And then I quit. The second time for final quitting. Because it became, so at the beginning of water Warcraft, there was a, I wouldn’t say I promise, but there was the idea from the developer saying that the storylines that we develop, and border Warcraft, will build up to Warcraft four, Warcraft four never came out.

So, there! We’re doing World of Warcraft, right?


Quitting Games: Some MMO Games, like World of Warcraft, lock story behind achievement in hardcore game modes. This challenges players and encourages dedication across numerous player types.


So, it’s like, oh, okay, so these stories are not going to be resolved for decades. Because, you know, that’s how MMO stories work. So, I’m like, yeah, so then that’s why I Finally Quit it for real, because it’s like, I am never going to get the result resolution. So that storyline while I’m, you know, still enjoying this game.

So, you played an MMO because you were interested in the characters in the story?


I don’t know what that’s like.

I even play that game at a competitive level, you know, doing the high-level raids and stuff, because that was where the media story was, you know? Yeah, where what happened to Illidan, after he became a, essentially a demon, you had to do the Illidan raid.

You know, in Final Fantasy 14, you have to do all the story. But there is no differentiation between story that is locked behind Savage mode, or Ultimates. So, you just be those because you are driven to be the harder version of that same boss. It’s not like the story is locked behind it.

Yeah, that is definitely something interesting later. MMOs. Like, I feel like that was an improvement on the formula.

There was a comment by the developers of world Warcraft that said event, basically, the hardest raid that they ever made, like something like, you know, a fraction of a percent of players ever saw the final story to that particular storyline. So, it’s like, Oh, okay.

“Our players are not as good as we thought they were. Losers.”

So, for me quitting, World of Warcraft, again, had to do with I guess, who I was playing with. So I used that game as a way to connect with one of my ex partners because we were long distance. And so we would have wound dates. And I got into the game because he played, and it was a fun thing for us to do together. Whenever I was, we were in the same city. And then eventually, we were in the same city and it I just didn’t have as strong of a community in there as he did. All like all of his friends played that game and it was just really meeting him. I mean, I played with his friends, obviously. But yeah, so it kind of just played because I had fun playing with my partner and then stopped playing because I really didn’t have to anymore.

Okay, yeah. So, for me when I step away from games like Star Wars, The Old Republic, for example, it really is because the game may be going in a direction that I don’t enjoy. Or it could be that there’s no new content for me to work on to challenge myself with. Whereas comparing Final Fantasy, which right now I’m playing far less than in previous periods of time since I started playing. That’s because I’ve gotten much busier with academic tasks that matter a great deal to me. And also, you know, difficulty wise, I did step away from my raid team. Two different times in Final Fantasy 14 So far, and I quit my two raid teams in SWTOR going back to the pandemic era. Well, the early pandemic era. And some of that is a mixture between I am logging in at times where I don’t really feel like playing a video game because I owe it to my team. And sometimes it’s another feeling, meaning, I don’t think we’re going to actually win this. Or I think we could win this, but the amount of time that we’re going to invest in order to accomplish that is so inefficient that I would rather say No, thanks. Yeah. So those are the things that pop in my head, about why I would step away.

Yeah, I definitely can agree with that. The first time? Well, the only time I quit SC 14 was kind of a that situation. Um, what when I quit, it was right after Heavensward came out. And it was a weird low in contents. Were the only thing you had to do. Were the only thing that was meaningful to do at that time in development was every week, fight the different stages of Alexander, and then you kind of quit that that week. Like there was not a lot to do at that time in the game. I know. Now you have a million other things to do. But back then it was like, Fine, Alexander logoff. Come back next Monday.

Yeah, you can still do that, by the way. Yeah, that’s the thing I think is so cool about Final Fantasy is it’s such a long game, from the beginning to the time where you’re in end game content, and everything seems to still be available. So, if you’re A Realm Reborn player, you can play basically as if you are an end game or Realm Reborn player. Yeah. Collect your exp that way. And then one day, your friends will say to you, “oh, you’re level 60. Now, can you do the endgame Heavensward content.” It’s like, “oh, it turns out I can.” And so now you have two different end games that you can work on. And I think that one major difference that I’m seeing in Final Fantasy compared to where I was in SWTOR when I stepped away, and this is actually not a failing of SWTOR. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic for a solid nine years. Every class was at max level at the time when I stopped playing. And every class that I wanted to use in raids had the highest level of gear because they disconnected gear acquisition from in game achievement and they connected it to grinding loot boxes. So, I did not have anything left to do. My mind started to wrestle with this idea of you’re done. Why would you run anything on Oricon? Or why would you go through God’s from the machine again? And Dxun was bugged even 18 months after it came out. which also was a major turnoff for me is, you know, I grade things, I grade a lot of things. And it’s unappealing to me when something is put together poorly, the week that it was due. But if you have an extra 18 months, and you still can’t be bothered to make sure the fire doesn’t turn the boss and visible, that’s a problem. I don’t even know if it’s still fixed. I didn’t want to bash on anything in particular, but that’s egregious. So, I am bashing that. But that’s, that’s not why I stopped playing Star Wars. And that’s not why I started playing Final Fantasy 14. Wife convinced me to make the choices that I’ve made up to this point. So, there’s actually research on this, and we should talk about it.


The Ascent


So, let’s go on The Ascent and elevate the topic. All right, I found an article from the DiGRA archives, which I was just clicking through, because I got to present there this year. And I started getting emails that update me on what’s available in different topics. And this article popped up from 2011, the beginning of my doctoral journey. And the article is titled, leaving a never-ending game, quitting MMO RPGs, and online gaming addiction. And it’s by Lee and you. So, I read through the article right before we started recording and thought this could be an interesting thing to talk about, because why we quit games is actually a really interesting window to me into what we value and how we think about our leisure activities and where they fit into our life. So, there are four points here. And I wonder if we have any thoughts about them? Should we read through them for our audience to know where we’re going? Or? Yeah, I think so. Yeah, we can paraphrase. Let’s, let’s paraphrase. We don’t need to read the whole thing. Who’d like to read? Point number one? I will, why we would leave the game. Yeah, go ahead.

That’s point number one is basically why I read why I leave any game in my life. So, it’s to do other things. Like, falling in love, going out. To play other games are finding a time-consuming job. So, I feel like I’ve done all these things.

Oh, my gosh, time consuming job is in there. Yeah. It’s like they knew me before I became what I am.

Same, same. My job is the reason I haven’t played Final Fantasy 14 In four weeks.

All right, so remember the difference between real and virtual worlds? I talk with people about this all the time, I do therapy sessions. And I’m a certified geek therapist now, which I actually finished that. So yeah, that’s an actual thing that I can put next to my name now. And sometimes, lots of minutes will string together in that conversation where we’re talking about video games. And one of my favorite things to do with 50%, down to a third of the session left is to flip the whole idea of the video game into a real-world context. And talk about well, what’s the lesson that we needed to understand about how we played that game? And what is the real life parallel of that lesson? What can you become that you already understand how to be just in the context of the game? And how will you make that a part of you here, the person that’s talking to me, the person that’s going to get off of this computer, face their challenges and discover their strengths on their own road of trials. And I think that if we can identify our own goals in life, the way that our quest list identifies our goals in the game, and if we can track our progress the way that we see our player level and our EXP bar. Video game players are so exceptionally equipped to be able to do some of the most impressive things in adult life, college life, high school life. The thing that’s missing is they’re not transferring the virtual world. Attention to detail and manipulation of the minutia into things that help their own player sheet have better stats. And that’s what I’m all about. The third option is the catastrophic, it’s the atomic bomb option. It’s eliminating the game access, close your eyes, delete the game, uninstall and delete your character.

Okay, that one hurts.

That one hurts. And one of my first presentations in grad school that got to incorporate video games was a YouTube video of a kid I’m going to guess middle school, maybe young high school, but young kid who just had his World of Warcraft character deleted by his mom. You don’t see that in the video. The video is the older brother laughing his head off. Yeah, planting, planting a camera in the bedroom, because he knows his brother is about to have a panic attack nuclear meltdown. And this child comes in flailing out of control. If you are a biblically minded person, you may be concerned that he’s possessed by a demon. And at the end of it, he picks up the TV remote and starts putting it inside his butt over is, yeah, boxers, it’s a very bizarre thing to watch. But it is also a reversion down to infantile reaction. You know that. It’s like sucking your thumb, but much more awkward to watch on YouTube. And this is all because against his will, the mom decided you’re playing too much world Warcraft do lead it meaning it’s not just unsubscribed, it’s not just disconnecting the credit card. It’s everything you’ve ever done in this game has gone.

That video made me so sad.

It’s terrifying. And I don’t know what that child did to bring out that parental decision. And I’m sure he was overplaying from many different vantage points. But I also am just as certain that the parent looks at the game like it was an unimportant thing that they felt I have no connection with my child. Now. Because of this game. I’m blaming the game for that. And I’m going to delete this thing that represents 1000s of hours of meticulous effort and interest that my child has done. And I know video games are not the same as many other hobbies and a one for one comparison. But if your child is spending up to 100 hours painting something, you’re not going to get upset at them for always being in the room with their paints, sit them down in the living room and they and then make them watch you light the painting on fire. Yep. So, I don’t think that that video represents the entire story. And I don’t think this is the quitting video games that I actually wanted to talk about on this episode. Because I feel like that’s such a disappointing parenting fail.


Agreed. I feel so bad for that kid.

Man, and that was like 15 years ago. I just feel dead inside now all over again. You really do.

I’m so sad.

Well, there is one more. Yeah, I think this one is actually hilarious. Gene.

So, number four, knowing that number three exists? I find number four completely baffling.

There is a Big Bang Theory episode about this one.

Yeah. Number four is welcome catastrophes and take advantage of them. So, you’re letting yourself get hacked, or something along that line so that your character your character is as you know, removed out of your control, essentially, your characters, delete your characters, equipment, money, and everything else is removed from you, which is almost the same as three. So, I don’t understand why you would go this way.

It’s because you don’t have to push the button.

Yeah, well, you have to push the button of like saying, hey, some guy on the internet, here’s my login info or whatever.

It’s different. Totally different. I got it.

Sometimes, video games do not completely fit into life. We may need to focus on other things, set realistic goals for balance, uninstall a game, and do other things to step away. We can always come back when the time is right. Click To Tweet

Yeah, so Jenny, I just imagine that you getting it is like the difference between a person jumping off a ledge and being pushed.


I read that completely different. And I was I was mistaken. The first time I read that I was thinking that you make up catastrophes that you tell your friends, so you don’t have to play with them. Oh, no. Sorry, guys. I can’t record the gaming persona tonight because my son has food poisoning. And when he vomited the cat status now, they have food poisoning. And then I slipped and busted my knee and my internet building get paid. So, our conversations about end and three two.

I love that.

We all have at least one friend that’s kind of like that.


So yeah, extra. The part that’s really baffling to me about number four is that it doesn’t. And your problem, like okay, so current MMOs like, Final Fantasy 14, your one character is, you know, aggregate it does everything. But an older MMOs like World of Warcraft, and someone’s just deletes your wine character or whatever. Because you, you the way the game works. It’s like you if you want to play more classic, you’d have to make more characters. So, like, if someone ruins your character. I mean, if you really wanted to play the game, you’re just making a character that you haven’t played before.

Yeah, I mean, but that’s yeah, that’s similar to three if you wanted to play again, just make a new character redownload.

The player, your player avatar relationship, though. Yeah, is a major factor in how traumatic that is?

Yeah, that’s why when we were explaining number three, and you said deleting the game, or you said deleting your character. I was like that one hurts way more than deleting the game.

Yeah, you can always reinstall, and Jean, inside your cold-hearted presentation, I think you are an “avatar as a tool” kind of player.

It depends. There are games where your avatar is already. But we’re in other games like Final Fantasy 14, that game is centered upon your character, actually doing the things, and actually moving the story? Yeah, they’re putting the story out there and my mind like you are colonist number 4712 B, you’re on this planet, do your thing and it’s like oh, okay. Don’t get

You were not on our past episodes where we went into this, but my first Final Fantasy 14 character was a white-haired guy with a tattoo on his face that I mostly liked, and he didn’t look like me at all, but he was what character would I want to play in a Final Fantasy game? And it did not work, and I played that character for about eight different days eight different play sessions, and I quit for nine months. I come back and I play my pink pig tail cutesy girl also black mage, start over from level one but I’d rather be level one with my cute pink hair. Then be level 45 with my white hair and be this uninteresting, angry brick. As Nick Yee informed us a year ago.

The connection we feel to our characters can have a direct relationship with our desire to keep coming back to a game. What is the best character creation experience you have ever had? Click To Tweet

Was this the days before the hairstylist transformation guy?

No, I didn’t know that that existed Gene. Okay, poking holes in my face.

That means you’re telling me that didn’t exist. And people Yeah, it was like, “Oh yeah, time to make a new character.” I liked it.

So, I create a new character. And nine months later, the game was just one of the best ones I’ve ever played. So, for me who my character is really matters because I did not. I don’t know why I didn’t see the qualities of me in that first character at all. Yeah, I don’t know why I see the qualities of me in the girl character. I just like her facial responses better than the guy character? I, I still don’t have an answer for that.


The Return


Let’s go on The Return since we’re not answering that question today and go back to our daily lives with a next step forward. So, what can we take with us? That is a positive change to our life from today’s conversation but doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to delete our characters.

Oh, we always could welcome catastrophes. I really love how they put that. Will I take back? I mean, I already knew this. My gameplay, always my gameplay, and my game quitting always revolves around who I’m playing with. So as long as I have a steady community of people that are in a game with me, chances are I’m not going to quit it. Good point. What about you, Gene?

Well, since I am in the middle of moving, I am going to be looking at my extensive board game collection and figure out which of those to quit the bottom tier of the games. I’m going to take them in probably donate them to our library, because our library does have a board game section. That’s cool.

Wait, so you have so many board games that you’re not going to bring many of them with you on your move?

There are many bottom tier games where you know you just either get them as gifts or they look interesting, but then they play like garbage. For instance, I love Megaman, you know the character and the series of games. The Megaman board game is garbage.

Who would have thought?

I don’t think Mega Man has ever come up on The Gaming Persona. Now I’m just curious of how that’s possible. But I’ve never played any man he got a man rafted figure that really well. Like maybe, maybe it doesn’t need to always fall on my shoulders and then. All right, well, I’m going to just continue trying to help people bring their greatest ideas that help them be successful in video games into a real-world context. That should work if we’re thorough enough and want the change every bit as much as we want those positive moments of growth in our video game characters.

So, with that, I have a final quest for everyone to accept for today. Fail forward, level up, have a good strategy. That’s many side quests. Enjoy those and continue the journey.

See you next week.


Important Links


Lee, I., & Yu, C.-Y. (2011). Leaving a Never-Ending Game: Quitting MMORPGs and Online Gaming Addiction.

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