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Issue #40

On Video Games

John Loeppky

March 20, 2024

A cartoon character sits, side profile on a blue bean bag chair on a green background. They are sitting in front of a yellow TV and are holding a controller while wearing a headset.
What a vibe/cromaconceptovisual from Pixabay

How I Create Even More Work for Myself

I used to be a five video games per year type of person. I would buy the latest editions of the basketball, baseball, hockey, and football games, plus a Sims expansion pack or two, and keep it at that. In my early twenties, I got too busy and put down the video games in favour of more work. It’s not lost on me that, despite having picked up video games again in the last eighteen months or so, by writing this piece, I am once again making video games part of my job.

My current video games of choice? Planet Zoo and Farming Simulator. In the first one, I’m building the game’s version of an equitable, conservation focused, non-profit. And yes, I used to work for a non-profit. For the purpose of this demonstration, my love of Farming Simulator might be even more egregious. On that one, at the moment, I’m farming on a fictional map based upon an area of the province in which I actually live—it even has accurate license plates!

Now, there is a school of disability culture—let alone crip culture— which would see this type of set up as rather dire. Here is someone so in love with capitalism that, not only has he created his own business, he even builds businesses when he plays video games. To which I say, yeah, kinda. Except for the loving capitalism part. I exist within it, I am good at it, it doesn’t mean that I love it. 

And, reflecting on my current pixel-based reality, I actually think playing the video games that I do is a way to subconsciously reinforce good habits, and unpack bad ones, in a low-stress environment. For example, in Planet Zoo I went out and built the biggest thing I could in the career mode. I went bankrupt in, essentially, five seconds. Lesson learned, even in the digital world, John over-creates. Noted. 

And, despite playing Farming Simulator for more than a year, I recently deleted all of my saves. I decided, as a practice in habit setting, that I would only build on one map for a while. I kept seeing new and shiny ideas and jumping into those instead of sustaining my momentum. I’d build a save to the point where it was self sustaining and then abandon it for the next thing. Sound familiar? 

I think, in the past, I would have also judged myself for this thought process and yelled at myself internally with a phrase like, “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST ENJOY SOMETHING FOR ITS OWN SAKE, LOEPPKY.” Right now, I’m trying not to, I’m trying to settle into something that can both fun and engage those productivity muscles at the same time. I don’t need to be building my business all of the time, even if I’m working less than I ever have. These don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Which leads me to ask a question: do you find your productivity habits—positives and negatives—bleeding into your leisure time?

Until tomorrow!


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