Tracking Plays

Yes, I am in a small crisis.

We live in an age of data. We carry in our pockets sleek devices of glass and plastic that hold more computing power than multi-million dollar supercomputers from the decade of my birth. Being the titans of technology that we are, we use these mighty tools to take pictures of food and to navigate a vast sea of mostly trivial information, like the name of that character from Avatar: The Last Airbender that always had a weed sticking out of his mouth. We accumulate data like tourists collecting truck stop trinkets. I saw this movie. I read this book. I ate this burrito. I visited this donut shop more often than that dude. I played this game.

Many gamers, myself included, choose to log or track their game plays. We debate about the merits of recording details like opponents, win/loss stats, or the time it took to complete the game. There is a lot of talk about whether to track games that you play online, or how you should keep track of short games, but lately I’ve been wondering why I keep track of my plays at all?

What does the tracking of games actually do for me? This month, looking at the number of games that I’ve played has done nothing but make me sad. Let’s say I set a goal to play a certain number of games each month, because I know that playing games helps me keep the warp coils in my brain aligned; however, if I fail to meet that goal, like I failed this month for example, then I feel bad not only for failing to meet that goal, but also for not playing enough games and for writing extremely long and probably grammatically improper sentences, like this one. The easy answer would be to just not set a goal, but there’s more to it than that. Why bother logging how many times I play games?

It’s not like I’m going to forget to play games. I play games because I enjoy it. I just don’t see what I’m getting out of logging my plays. I don’t log any winning or losing stats, because I don’t care. I guess it’s cool to contribute to the five and dime list, but I’m not really sure what that does for me either, especially when I hit months like this when I’m not playing squat. I guess you could say, well there’s no harm in bothering to log your plays, but I kinda think there is for me. I have more than enough stuff in my life that wears me down and makes me feel bad. Why should I allow any negative aspect into one of the few things that helps to alleviate some of that stress and responsibility. Maybe that’s a key concept here. Why should I feel any kind of responsibility to log my plays? I have more than enough responsibilities without adding in something like that.

You might think I’m being silly. Why don’t I just stop logging my plays? Why is this a decision that anyone, myself included, should care about? But I know that other people have had similar feelings about this. Also, once I stop tracking my plays, then the completionist in me says, well you can’t ever start again because your data will be incomplete. Even as I wrote that I realized how ridiculous this sounds. I need to just let this thing go. I should probably let a lot of things go, but I’m going to start with this.

I will no longer log my plays. I will not do anything to make what is fun not fun.

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