Why I Play to Satisfaction

thanks to Naithin for this topic idea!

Going back through my old posts, it looks like my plan to “Play to Satisfaction” is almost as old as this blog. I started back in July of 2019, dove hard into Blaugust 2019, and I spotted my first mention of Play to Satisfaction on my very first post of September. I can’t definitively say I remember my thought processes around it, but my best guess was that I felt like I needed to give myself explicit permission to … not play something I wasn’t enjoying.

It sounds absurdly simple, doesn’t it?

But for a very large part of my life, I equated not finishing something I started as a failure. I don’t like to think about how many books I hate-read long after I was getting any pleasure out of them at all just so I could say I completed them. Add to that some sunk-cost fallacy (“I already paid for this, I’d better play it!”), and hobbies started to turn into chores.

While it’s nice to have come up with something that seems to resonate with people, I also need to admit that I don’t always fully utilize it! I have the hardest time applying this idea to subscription based games; there’s that sunk cost fallacy again! I’m far more likely to keep playing something I don’t love when there’s a ticking clock and a hard end-date to when I will either have to pay more money or lose access.

The other side of the coin is that, because I’ve given myself permission to drop a game at any time, I often don’t give things a fair chance to capture my whimsy. I didn’t realize how much of a problem this was until fairly recently, and tried to set some parameters to make sure that when I am looking for something new, I dedicate enough time to each title in order to make a reasonable assessment of whether or not I’m going to find the fun there.

I’m sure to some folks, this sounds like a lot of work, and a lot of rules, and writing myself an unnecessary permission slip for something that seems really obvious. But as someone who feeds on structure, and who, for the most part, lives a rather structure-free existence, I actually find it very comfortable. I don’t mind skipping out of the new stuff when I’m fully engaged with other options, and I find that I spent less time in a decision paralysis loop than I did even a couple months ago.

Bonus Blaugust spin-off prompt ideas: What decisions to you make around gaming (or reading, or other geektastic hobbies)? Do you only spend money on things you’re going to use immediately? Are you overwhelmed by your backlog / library? Do you always finish what you start? Do you never finish what you start? Are you a completionist, or are you a main-quest-only type of gamer?

4 thoughts on “Why I Play to Satisfaction

  1. Hah, you’re more than welcome for the idea — Lord knows I’ve had plenty of mileage both in posts and utility out of the idea since seeing you espouse it some years ago now. 🙂

    I will no doubt end up tackling some of your bonus prompt questions too, just a matter of when. I’ve got tomorrow’s post in the can already and it talks to some of this, but of course, was written before I read this!

    Blaugust always gets a bit odd for me in this respect. I usually write and then directly post, it’s pretty strange having posts sitting ready to go ahead of time!


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