Renewal by removal: my first week as a minimalist gamer

I am now a week into my new project as a minimalist gamer. It has been a week of removal and subtraction.  A week of analysis and reflection. The last seven days are the start of a path to more intentional gaming. I am happy with the results, and I’m enjoying the time more when I do decide to play.

minimalist gamer desk warcraft

The first thing I did to help me establish what I mean by minimalist gamer was to identify the three things most important to me while gaming. (For you, it may be two, it may be five. I would advise not going over five.)

  1. Enjoy my time
  2. Limit the options
  3. Be streamable

With these points in mind, I began to look at my gaming life in more detail.

Drilling down further, I took a critical look at all of my gaming habits, the hardware I use, and how I want my ideal playing situation to look.

  • What do I play? PC, PS4, Macbook Air, iPhone, iPad, 3DS, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch (on pre-order)
  • Where do I play? At my PC, Living Room, basement, anywhere with my phone
  • What haven’t you played in the last 90 days? Xbox 360
  • How could you streamline your gaming life? Realize you can never do it all. Reduce the options in front of you. Be intentional in you gaming choice.

Minimalist Gamer: A week in review

By applying the answers given above to my current situation I took the following actions to create a minimalist, more intentional gaming life.

  • I restored my five-year-old, 3rd generation iPad which I primarily used for gaming while on business trips to its original factory settings. Apple made it obsolete with iOS 10. I made it obsolete when I quit my job to work for Kyla last April. It will be sold or donated.
  • I deleted all games on my iPhone. The games I do enjoy to play occasionally – Fire Emblem Heroes, Ascension, Fallout Shelter – I installed on an old iPhone 5s. The 5s is now an iPod Touch for gaming only. This move has created a distinction between devices. My 6s is for work/social media, and the 5s is for the moments I want to play one of these games.
  • I reinstalled the PS4 remote play app on my PC. For the last year,  the system has lived in our living room attached to our main television. When I decided to dive into Fallout 4 to finally finish the main campaign last month, the game and system needed so many updates, I had to hardline it in and used my computer monitor to get them done. It took almost four hours to complete. I also remembered I could play it at my PC with remote play. It now lives in the basement not plugged into a television and streams to my PC.
  • I have completed a purge of the games installed on my PC. I used the 90/90 rule on my game library. If I hadn’t logged into a program in the last 90 days, I removed it from my hard drive. My Macbook Air also had all games removed from it. The MBA is now for business and writing only.
  • The Xbox 360 is now a media center for our basement TV.
  • I gave my 3DS to Kyla to play, and she has since started a new character in Pokemon Sun.
  • Nintendo Switch pre-order is now cancelled.
After week one, this is my new reality:
  • What do I play? PC, PS4, iPhone 5s
  • Where do I play? At my PC, this includes iPhone gaming.
  • How is your gaming life now streamlined? Gaming is in one place on a central device.

The steps I used to create a more intentional experience can apply to any aspect of your life, not just gaming. By removing obsolete, stressful and imperfect situations, I now have a gaming life I enjoy. And that should always be the goal. Enjoy what you are doing, especially with your leisure time.

How would you better use your leisure/gaming time if you could? Let me know in the comments!


With my gaming life now in order, I move on to my primary goal of this project – make World of Warcraft fun again! I started streaming again over the weekend and will go through some of the progress in my next post.


Where to find me: Instagram /  Twitter / Facebook / Twitch

7 Replies to “Renewal by removal: my first week as a minimalist gamer”

  1. I also struggle with getting sucked into the odd console game. Tricks me into buying a new one every gen. Really a waste of money. I should learn to just stick to PC instead of shelling out 500-700$ every gen of PS. Thanks for the content. You are doing a good job striving to set an example for balancing work and play with tech!

    1. Thanks, Ryan. Appreciate the support. I am still tempted to sell my PS4 but, at this point, it is easier to enjoy and complete the games I have on it. I joke with Kyla calling it my Playstation Fallout 4 since it is the only game I play. It also the last game I bought for it. We are adding a Nintendo Switch next month, so I will revisit what I did here when that arrives.

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