14 Things to do Instead of Playing Video Games

Video games have never been more popular.

According to Forbes, video game revenue hit a new, monthly high with $10 billion in March 2020. This new, monthly high comes on the backs of the previous year that saw the industry rake in $152 billion from its 2.5 billion players.

In our previous article, we cover why video games are so good at drawing in players. How the best games involved behavioral specialists in their design and feed off of our human need for competition and socialization.

Additionally, we also covered why you should stop playing video games. We detail the extensive health and mental effects these digital realms have on us, including medical studies and research.

If you have put the controller down or are ready to do that, we have a helpful list of what to do instead of video games. 14 activities and hobbies that you can take up straight away.

Fun Alternatives to Video Games

Learn to Code

alternatives to video games

Part of the draw of video games is entering into a whole, new world. Why not learn to make your own instead. By learning any of the various programming languages, you can build anything from websites to advanced AI conversation bots.

Even more of an incentive, according to the employment website, Glassdoor, the average developer makes over $75,000 a year.

Make Music

Even if you don’t love music video games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, making music can be appealing, especially if you thrive on precision and intricate patterns. With programs like FL Studio, Traktor DJ, Groovepad and Beatwave, relative novices can begin making new music fairly quickly.

Take to The Concrete

Going on a bike, scooter, skateboard, or roller skate rides is a great outlet to replace video games. Indulging in one of the various forms of wheeled transport is a great way to fill the void of exploring maps and going on missions in video games. It also provides the added benefit of physical exercise that is good for the body and mind too.

Into the Wild

Maybe you don’t live in an area that is conducive to anything other than car travel. You can then go to a natural reserve like a park, hills, or forest and follow marked trails in proper gear and with water. Like the previous point, this is a great activity for full-body health benefits.

what to do instead of video games

Additionally, the outdoors has metaphysical benefits that are hard to quantify but enrich our lives. Florence Williams writes describes this phenomenon in The Natural Fix,  

We don’t experience natural environments enough to realize how restored they can make us feel, nor are we aware that studies also show they make us healthier, more creative, more empathetic and more apt to engage with the world and with each other. Nature, it turns out, is good for civilization.

“The Natural Fix” by Florence Williams

Yoga and Meditation

One of the often-overlooked negatives of playing video games is that players develop bad body posture that leads to pain in the lower back and/or neck. Taking up yoga is a great way to strengthen core muscle groups that leads to better posture and reduces the strain on other body parts. Additionally, yoga is a great stress reliever.

Perhaps you lack the coordination or even the space to do yoga. Just taking a few moments to do some mindfulness or other meditation exercises can be very beneficial. In addition to providing calm to our days, it is a great way to plan out the rest of your day.

Complete a Puzzle

Putting together a puzzle can be a fun activity for either one person or a group. It is a Player vs. Environment (PVE) game that also helps, according to the New York Times, to sharpen your real-life skills like mental acuity.

Pick Up a Good Book

reading is better than gaming

Some of the best video games are ones that tell stories. Games like The Witcher and the Rainbow Six series are just two games with narratives based on literature. Reading can be a great way to dig into the actual story upon which your favorite game’s arc is based.

Start Playing Tabletop Games

A lot of video games have inspired tabletop versions to be made. Bioshock and Assassin’s Creed are two of the most popular, tabletop games and have been acclaimed for their faithfulness to their digital predecessors. Of course, there are iconic RPG games like Dungeons & Dragons and Starfinder which can provide hours of excitement.

Regardless of which game you choose, playing board games is a great way to socialize in real life with others.

Clean Up Your Stuff

As the old maxim goes, an “A clean house is a clean mind”. Our psyche absorbs a lot from our surroundings. Tidying up and keeping your belongings organized reduces spiritual bombardment.

Cook it Up

cook instead of game

Even small changes in our diet can have monumental effects. A study at Harvard found that at least 400,000 deaths could have been prevented with better dietary habits. By taking an interest in preparing your own meals, you can ensure you are getting the best and freshest food.

Add a New Language

As NPR reports, there are numerous benefits to learning multiple languages including improved protection against cognitive decline in later life. Additionally, it opens up further opportunities and communities to you.

Take up Gardening

The patience and concentration it takes to pass certain missions in video games can be positive in gardening. Additionally, if you plan on improving your diet, growing your own vegetables and fruits is a further step to ensure quality and freshness.

Learn to Play an Instrument

Just as gardening takes patience and concentration, learning an instrument does as well, while also yielding ample rewards. While you won’t be able to eat the notes your instrument emits, the resulting music is a great stress reliever and can have added psychological benefits.

Make Art

paint instead of game

Whether it’s drawing or photography, or any of the other ways of expression, let it unlock your post-video game life. Creating work in any form is a great way to process your feelings and further self-discovery. Not to mention you have something cool you can give to people for holidays and other special occasions.

Life can be very busy and stressful and it can seem overwhelming to invest time and energy into starting a new hobby. 

However, the various benefits both mentally and physically of choosing an alternative to video games are innumerable. Start working through this list and discover a whole new and better life away from the screen.