The Minimalist Gaming Guide: Dive Deeper, Not Wider
Let’s explore minimalist gaming today.
This approach to gaming may come in handy if you are about to drown in a sea of games with a growing backlog that seems as intimidating as scaling Mount Everest in flip-flops…
Or you may frequently find yourself lost in the gaming hardware jungle, not knowing whether you need that flashy RGB mouse or the VR headset that costs as much as a small island.
Again the minimalist gaming approach can help with that too…
So today, I will cover the following:
- What is minimalist gaming
- The five benefits of minimalist gaming
- How to practice content prioritization as a minimalist gamer
- How to approach essential hardware
- How to practice mindful consumption as a minimalist gamer
- The five minimalist gamer types
- The five flaws of minimalist gaming
What Is Minimalist Gaming?
At its core, minimalist gaming is about reevaluating how we interact with the gaming world.
It’s an approach that prioritizes quality over quantity, focusing more on the depth and value of the gaming experience rather than the breadth.
Just as minimalism in life can encourage you to declutter your surroundings and focus on what truly matters, minimalist gaming encourages a similar decluttering.
In this case, it’s decluttering your gaming habits and environments.
So, it’s not about owning the fewest games or having the most basic setup…Instead, it’s about ensuring every game you play and every piece of hardware you own brings value and joy to your life.
Minimalist gaming has the following three key aspects…
Content Prioritization: A minimalist gamer doesn’t feel the need to play every new release or maintain a large game library.
Instead, they focus on a few games that truly engage them and offer a rewarding experience.
Essential Hardware: Minimalist gaming isn’t about having the latest or most expensive equipment.
It’s about having the right equipment.
So, minimalist gamers invest in hardware that enhances their gaming experience without leading to unnecessary clutter or complexity.
Mindful Consumption: This aspect of minimalist gaming involves intentional decision-making around gaming habits.
It could involve limiting daily gaming hours, being selective about in-game purchases, or reflecting on how a game impacts one’s emotions and thoughts.
To sum up all the above, simplifying their gaming approach, minimalist gamers aim to enhance their enjoyment, reduce stress, and cultivate a more mindful relationship with gaming.
It’s a practice of intentional choice that leads to a more rewarding and fulfilling gaming lifestyle.
The 5 Benefits of Minimalist Gaming
Before you even think of getting into minimalist gaming, you should know the benefits.
Benefits may motivate you to change something in your gaming behavior, or if they are not interesting, keep you where you are right now.
So let’s dive into the five benefits of minimalist gaming…
Reduced Clutter: By owning fewer physical games and gaming hardware, minimalist gaming helps maintain a cleaner and more organized gaming environment.
Increased Focus: A limited number of games allows gamers to fully immerse themselves in each gaming experience, enhancing their focus.
Value Optimization: Although minimalist gaming might not always lead to immediate cost savings, it encourages gamers to derive more value from each game or piece of hardware purchased, optimizing the value derived from their gaming expenses.
Conscious Consumption: Being more deliberate about their gaming choices can help minimalist gamers develop a mindful approach to consumption, impacting their lifestyle positively beyond just gaming.
Improved Time Management: By focusing on fewer games, minimalist gamers will likely spend less time browsing through libraries of games and deciding what to play next.
This can free up more time for other meaningful activities, leading to a more balanced lifestyle.
How to Practice Content Prioritization as a Minimalist Gamer
Practicing content prioritization as a minimalist gamer involves carefully selecting games that resonate with you.
The aim is to spend your time and resources on games that bring you joy, engage your senses, and offer a valuable gaming experience.
Here are six ways about how you can approach this…
Reflect on Your Preferences: What types of games do you truly enjoy? RPGs? Shooters? Puzzles?
This is a highly personal decision that has no right or wrong answer.
Understanding your preferences will help guide your game selection process.
Audit Your Game Library: Look at each game you own and ask yourself, “Does this game bring me joy?”
If it doesn’t, let it go.
This could mean uninstalling some or selling or donating physical ones.
Set a Limit: Decide on a reasonable number of games you can play and engage with meaningfully at any given time.
This helps to avoid the overwhelm that can come from having too many games on the go.
You can also apply setting limits to the game to avoid getting dragged into a time blackhole. It starts with the game selection to avoid getting sucked into such a black hole.
Some games are designed based on rounds and limited by time. And then there are the open-world games with a lot of crafting, etc., where you can get sucked into such a time-eating blackhole…
It’s way more difficult to set a time limit for this latter game type, but it can be done.
Prioritize Quality: Instead of chasing the latest releases, focus on games known for quality.
This might be their gameplay, story, graphics, or overall experience.
Be Mindful of New Purchases: When considering a new game, take a moment to reflect.
Are you excited about this game because it genuinely interests you or because of its hype?
Will you have the time and energy to dedicate to it?
Make sure every new addition to your game library is a deliberate choice.
Complete Before Moving On: Make it a point to fully explore or complete a game before moving on to the next one.
This encourages a deeper appreciation for each game and ensures you get your money’s worth out of every purchase.
How to Approach Essential Hardware as a Minimalist Gamer
The philosophy of essential hardware in minimalist gaming centers on the belief that you should own only the hardware that adds value to your gaming experience.
This means reducing clutter, streamlining your gaming setup, and investing in quality equipment that enhances your gaming sessions.
Here’s a guide on how to approach essential hardware as a minimalist gamer:
Evaluate Your Current Setup: The first step is critically examining your existing gaming equipment.
Do you use all of it regularly?
Does each piece contribute to your gaming experience, or is it gathering dust?
It might be time to consider letting go if it’s the latter.
Invest in Multipurpose Equipment: Opt for gaming hardware that serves multiple purposes.
For example, a high-performance PC can be used for work, leisure, and gaming.
Similarly, a gaming console like the Nintendo Switch can be a handheld and a home console.
Choose Quality Over Quantity: Instead of owning multiple pieces of mediocre equipment, consider investing in fewer, higher-quality items.
These will often provide a better gaming experience and last longer, making them a wiser investment in the long run.
Limit Peripheral Devices: Fancy gaming chairs, VR headsets, specialized controllers – they can all enhance your gaming experience, but only if you use them regularly.
Before investing in these peripherals, ask yourself if they’ll add value to your gaming or just serve as decoration.
Chances are you are not the Gaming pro you watched on Twitch these days who eats and sleeps in this fancy gaming chair.
Maintain Your Hardware: Regularly clean and maintain your gaming equipment to extend lifespan.
This saves you money in the long run and reduces electronic waste, aligning with minimalist sustainability principles.
How to Practice Mindful Consumption as a Minimalist Gamer
Practicing mindful consumption in gaming is all about intentionality in your gaming habits.
It involves being conscious of how much time and money you’re investing in games and ensuring that your gaming experiences add value to your life.
Here are some steps to start practicing mindful consumption as a minimalist gamer:
Set Clear Boundaries: Establish a healthy balance between gaming and other aspects of your life.
This might involve limiting your daily or weekly gaming time or deciding on specific ‘gaming-free’ days.
As I mentioned earlier, it also starts with selecting games that don’t potentially drag you into a “time-blackhole”.
Understand Your Motivations: Reflect on why you’re playing a game.
Are you genuinely enjoying the experience or playing out of habit to escape other parts of your life?
Understanding your motivations can help you make more intentional choices about your gaming habits.
It can also reveal things about yourself you may have to confront.
Be Selective with Purchases: Don’t buy a game just because it’s on sale or because everyone else is playing it.
Instead, consider if it’s a game you’ll enjoy and have time to play.
Limit In-Game Purchases: Microtransactions can quickly add up, leading to spending on a game you might not play for long.
Before making in-game purchases, ask yourself whether they’ll genuinely enhance your gaming experience or are impulsive buys.
Reflect on Your Gaming Experience: After playing a game, take some time to reflect.
Did you enjoy it? Why or why not? How did it make you feel?
This can help you understand your value in games and guide your future gaming choices.
Embrace Slow Gaming: There’s no need to rush through games.
Take your time to explore, understand the game mechanics, and immerse yourself in the story.
This will likely lead to a more rewarding gaming experience.
The 5 Minimalist Gamer Types
Just as minimalism can be personalized to fit different lifestyles, so can minimalist gaming be adapted to individual preferences and interests.
The beauty of minimalism is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach but a mindset to apply in a way that works best for you.
Here are three minimalist gamer types:
1) The Selective Gamer
This type of minimalist gamer is all about quality over quantity.
They carefully select a few games that genuinely resonate with them and dedicate their time and energy to thoroughly enjoying these chosen experiences.
This could mean focusing on one RPG for months to fully explore the story and world or mastering a particular strategy game.
Their game library may be small, but each game holds significant value to them.
2) The Essentialist Gamer
This gamer applies minimalism primarily to their hardware.
They invest in one versatile console or gaming PC that can handle their favorite games and keep their gaming area clutter-free and functional.
You won’t see piles of unused gadgets or outdated consoles gathering dust.
Instead, every piece of hardware they own serves a purpose and enhances their gaming experience.
3) The Mindful Gamer
The mindful gamer incorporates minimalism into their gaming habits.
They consciously manage their gaming time to ensure it doesn’t overtake other essential aspects of their life.
They also carefully consider their in-game choices and purchases, ensuring they only invest in gaming content that brings them genuine joy and satisfaction.
4) The Retro Gamer
This gamer finds joy in the simplicity of older games.
By focusing on retro games, they minimize the need for the latest hardware and software updates, expensive new releases, or powerful gaming PCs.
Instead, they enjoy the nostalgia and straightforward gameplay of classics, proving that you don’t always need the latest technology for a satisfying gaming experience.
This would be me with my favorite game Age of Empires II Definitive Edition.
But I also belong to the previously mentioned gamer type category (the mindful gamer).
5) The Single-Genre Gamer
This minimalist gamer knows what they like and sticks to it.
They focus on one genre that brings them the most joy: RPGs, puzzle games, first-person shooters, or simulators.
This approach helps to reduce the influx of new games and prevents them from being overwhelmed by too many choices.
This focus allows them to explore and enjoy their chosen genre deeply.
The Flaws of Minimalist Gaming
I always like to provide a balanced view of things, so let’s also look at the flaws of minimalist gaming…
1) Loss of Variety
You may miss out on the wide array of gaming experiences by focusing on fewer games.
This could lead to a lack of variety in your gaming repertoire and potentially limit your exposure to new genres, styles, and innovative gaming mechanics.
2) Potential High Initial Costs
The minimalist focus on quality over quantity can lead to significant upfront costs.
Opting for a high-performance PC or top-tier console is expensive, which may not be feasible for everyone, especially those who game on a budget.
This can, however, be mitigated by a focus on retro games.
3) Pressure to Finish Games
The emphasis on fully completing games before moving on to the next one can put pressure on gamers to slog through games they aren’t enjoying.
This can take away from the pleasure of gaming and turn it into a chore.
4) Missed Opportunities
Flash sales or discounts on highly-rated games can be excellent opportunities to expand one’s library.
However, the minimalist gamer’s approach to careful and deliberate purchases might cause them to miss out on such deals.
So there you have the drawbacks of minimalist gaming.
But it’s important to remember that minimalism aims to enhance one’s enjoyment and satisfaction.
So, like any philosophy, it’s about adapting it to suit your unique needs and circumstances rather than adhering rigidly to its principles.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.